Everything she wanted in life was just about in reach for Karla Lou Brown, 22. She and her fiance Mark Fair where moving into their home at 979 Acton Street in Wood River, Illinois, and she knew children wouldn’t be far behind.
Sadly, she would ever get to have those things.
On June 20, 1978, John Noble Prante entered Karla and Mark’s home most likely under the pretense of having went to school together but sex being his real reason for visiting. When Karla shunned his advances, Prante became enraged and brutally beat and attempted to rape her then shoved her upper body into a barrel of water.
Investigator Alva Busch kicks off an investigation that experiences a host of foul-ups that will result in a four delay of justice. But John Douglas will come through with a criminal profile that couldn’t be more accurate than if Douglas was the killer himself.
Proscutor Don Weber recounts the case along with St. Louis Dispatch reporter Charles Bosworth Jr. in their 1993 true crime Silent Witness: The Karla Brown Murder Case. While the focus of the book is on the murder of Karla, there’s so many pages filled with fluff and back-patting of Weber (and intially Busch) that I wondered quite often, “Who is this book really about?”
If you can deal with that, great; but then you come to the long, overdrawn trial portion. Bo-ring! There were no surprise revelations, unexpected witnesses, and the ending wasn’t a shocker.
Self-made pedastals. Hardly no background on the accused. Long and boring trial section. I’d say that’s three strikes and a recommendation to skip Silent Witness.
Where Are They Now?
John Noble Prante continues to be a guest of the Illinois Department of Corrections and is currently housed at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.
Mark Fair(psuedonym of David Hart used in book) is believed to be living in Bethalto, Illinois.
Donna Brown Judson and husband Terry are now living in Mesquite, Nevada.
No updates could be found for Karla’s mother, Jo Ellen Vangilder Brown, or her oldest sister Connie Brown Dykstra.