In 1987, Marty Etchemendy was murdered by two complete strangers. Now, more than a dozen years later, his family is still seeking closure and answers, as one of his killers may soon be released from prison. In a new episode of The Dr. Oz Show, the host goes into detail about the harrowing ordeal.
The 23-year-old father was murdered after exiting a bar in Wyoming. Unable to locate his car, a man known as Vernon Kills On Top and his brother Lester offered him help, and Etchemendy got in their car.
The two men, along with one other accomplice, then took off with Etchemendy against his will, and after robbing him, continued to beat him endlessly for a reported 17 hours. His body was found 150 miles away from the bar, inside the trunk of a car that was parked near an abandoned building.
The following year, the pair of killers were found guilty of deliberate homicide, aggravated kidnapping and robbery. They both received death sentences for the murder, but it was later overturned, and their sentences were reduced to life in prison without parole. Their accomplice received 12 years in jail and is now out.
However, in another turn of events, a court decided in 2019 that the brothers can now be eligible for parole — though Vernon died this past fall.
In a clip from the episode, Dr. Oz and cohost Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi discuss how Etchemendy wasn't just killed, but tortured.
"He had been brutally beaten. He had been beaten with pipes, a tire iron, rocks. They had tried to kill him with a nail file," she stated. "This is tantamount to not only physical, but psychological torture, as bad as I've seen."
Despite the awful circumstances, Lester may soon be released — something Etchemendy's son Johnny has thought about plenty of times.
"You never had the opportunity to face the people responsible for your father's death," Dr. Oz noted. "Is there anything you'd want to say or ask them if they're watching the show?"
"I just felt like it was one of the few things I owed my dad was to confront one of these killers. I didn't want to approach it with anger, I didn't want it to just turn into me blaming him for everything, because I've lived a good life," he explained. "My mother has been one of the most incredible people in the world, and I didn't want that event to define who I was. But I guess I just would love to know why they had to do it to him."