Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Copper Dollar Ranch murders.
As friends joined together to remember the victims Monday evening, they learned cold is no longer a term used to describe the case.
The candlelight vigil was supposed to be a somber occasion – an opportunity to mark 31 years since a horrible murder that rocked the entire community. But now with word of an arrest in this double homicide there’s also a sense of relief.
The day was March 3rd, 1983. The bodies of 17-year-old Melissa Gregory and her 20-year-old boyfriend, Steven Fisher, were found in a trailer at the Copper Dollar Ranch near Newton.
The pair had been so viciously attacked, police originally thought they had been shot. Investigators later determined they were killed using a claw hammer.
Police and family members always suspected Terri Supino and her brother Tim. Terri was Fisher’s estranged wife and had been in several fights with Melissa Gregory. But while police had their suspicions, there was never enough evidence to make an arrest.
“After completing hundreds of interviews and processing evidence, today, exactly 31 years later, we are announcing the arrest of Theresa Supino. She also goes by Terri, age 53 of Altoona on two counts of murder in the first degree for the death of Steven Fisher and Melissa Gregory,” Japer County Sheriff John Halferty said.
A few dozen people attended a candle light vigil for Gregory and Fisher. Some hadn’t yet heard about the arrest.
“Well I think we’re still a little shocked. Elated, but at the same time, it’s 31 years today. We still don’t know what to absorb and what not to absorb I guess,” Melissa’s sister-in-law, Karen Gregory said.
Melissa’s sister, Lisa Gregory, has mixed feelings about the arrest. She is glad there may finally be justice for her sister but worried about Supino’s family and the pain they will be facing.
“I do feel because there’s what’s called forgiveness and I’ve done that,” Lisa said.
Police would not answer our questions about whether Tim Supino is considered a suspect. They would also not say what led to the break in this case.