When Frank Martin Theer, known to friends and family as Marty, was introduced to Michelle Forcier during high school, some thought it was a perfect match.
Marty and Michelle were both Army brats. They were both ambitious. Her outgoing personality perfectly balanced Marty’s quieter, more reserved demeanor.
After graduation, they each pursued their own career choices. Marty enlisted in the Air Force and Michelle joined the Air Force Reserves. For the next four years, the couple held tight to a long-distance relationship but after Michelle’s company activated for service in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Marty decided they’d been apart long enough and he proposed to his high school sweetheart.
Over the next six years, the couple would bounce from base to base. Life as members of the military isn’t easy, and the Theers’ relationship was no different. When Marty was home, which wasn’t often enough, he and Michelle often spent their time bickering.
Deep depression consumed a woman who undoubtedly suffered abandonment issues after her parents divorced and she was left to help her father raise her siblings. Michelle was lonely, and something had to give.
That “something” turned out to be an Army Staff Sergeant named John Mikael Diamond.
Virtual Affair Becomes Reality
In 2000, Marty was stationed at Pope Air Force Base outside of out Fayetteville, North Carolina. Pope AFB is part of Fort Bragg – an Army instillation who has earned a reputation among military members as an undesirable transfer, partly in thanks to people like Dr. Jeffrey McDonald and Tim Hennis. Soldiers and their families frequently refer to Fayetteville, the host city to Fort Bragg, as Fayette-Hell, Fayettenam, and Fatalville.
The Theers had managed to keep their marriage together, although barely, as long as Michelle was in school, but once she earned her Psychology degree and went to work, she felt the void of Marty’s absence even more.
A lonely Michelle began turning to the internet to fill the silent hours, and it there in an Yahoo! chat room that she met John Diamond.
John had graduated high school and enlisted in the United States Army the same month Marty and Michelle had exchanged their vows. By 1998, when he and Michelle met in a virtual world, John was on his second marriage and it was already showing signs of collapse due to John’s frequent bouts of infidelity.
Just like the Theers, John had been born and Army brat. He’d come from a long line of military men; his grandfather had been a prisoner of War in World War II and his father was a Vietnam Veteran.
Michelle and John had a lot to talk about, but they were mostly interested in flirting; a little romance in their otherwise boring lives. After spending months exchanging seductive messages, they finally agreed to meet.
When the couple met at a Fayetteville coffee shop, they hit off right away. John would later say it was love at first sight; Michelle proclaimed John was “very, very charming.”
Pretty strong words to describe a couple of people who were married, but not to each other.
Just A Swingin’
Whether it was love or just a strong connection, John and Michelle began spending every spare moment together. They frequented Fayetteville’s many night clubs, and soon began attending swingers’ parties as a couple.
Swingers parties has become a popular means for many couples to keep boredom at bay inside their marriages. Typically hosted in a participating couples’ home, party goers attend for the sole purpose being to swap sex partners. These discreet parties are attended by as few as two or three couples and as many as twenty or thirty – extravagant parties host even more!
John and Michelle, already cheating on their spouses with one another, were enjoying this “broadening” of their experiences. They both enjoyed it immensely and their relationship was growing more intense.
Then Marty came home.
Marriage Counseling and Murder
Marty had been away for six weeks attending a flight training course in Little Rock, Arkansas. When he returned to Fayetteville, he knew his marriage was in trouble. So Marty and Michelle began attending marriage counseling; an appropriate effort by a Psychologist.
To their therapist, Marty complain that he wanted Michelle to be a better housekeeper; Michelle declared Marty to be obsessive-compulsive. Michelle argued that she wanted to go out more; Marty, frequently away from home, preferred to stay in. And on and on it went.
In the summer of 2000, Michelle moved out of the Theer home. During this time, she lived with John in an off-base apartment. During a vacation she and John took to Netherlands Antilles, she and John talked about living there and she even applied to the Saba University School of Medicine where she listed John on the application as her “fiance.”
Somewhere along the way, Michelle found herself in a dead end relationship with John. It was no better than her marriage. Michelle returned home to Marty.
But she and John continued their relationship, now an on-again-off-again affair. John sent emails and private messages declaring his love for Michelle; asking her in many how she could be with a man she said she no longer loved and who made her miserable.
On December 17, 2000, Michelle’s romantic quandary would come to end. On this night, Michelle and Marty had attended a Christmas party hosted by Dr. Thomas Harbin, a fellow psychologist who shared office space with Michelle. On the way home, Michelle asked Marty to stop by her office so that she could get some books she had forgotten to bring home earlier that day.
Marty stayed behind in the couples’ 1999 Ford Explorer as Michelle went into the upper floor office. After several minutes had passed, Marty grew impatient and went to see what was keeping his wife. As he climbed the outdoor stairway, Marty was shot four times by a gunman in the shadows. When his body tumbled to the bottom of the stairway, the gunman fired a fifth bullet into his body. It was this bullet that was fatal, according to medical examiners.
Michelle would later tell police that she ran from the office screaming Marty’s name. Rushing to her husband’s side, she believed him to still be breathing. In her rush to exit the office, she had inadvertently locked her keys inside and so, despite the area’s dense population, she ran two miles to a video store to call 911.
Extreme Fugitive Makeover
It didn’t take long for investigators to zero in on John Diamond. His affair with Michelle was known by many and his name had come up several times.
When Lourdes Diamond told police that she was at home with her husband watching a movie, police were disappointed. Then she told them that about 9 p.m. on that evening he got a call and suddenly left the residence. Lourdes told police that he changed his clothes, bundled up in winter outerwear and said he was going to the barracks.
Lourdes had told police the call came in on John’s cell phone and records confirmed that he had, in fact, received a call; a call from Michelle. MIchelle, during questioning on December 20, denied that she made such a call.
Investigators learned later that John had borrowed a Smith & Wesson Model 5906 from a friend just a couple of days before the murder. It was the same kind of weapon used to gun down Marty Theer. In February 2001, John reported a break-in of car during which he claimed his friend’s gun was stolen. It would turn out to be a major mistake for John Diamond.
On March 15, 2001, Army officials charged him with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. The Army had no jurisdiction over civilians, but strongly encouraged civilian police to press charges against Michelle.
In August 2001, John’s Court Martial began. While on the witness stand, Michelle, at the advice of her attorney, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights with every question. A six panel military jury convicted John Diamond on all counts.
Fayetteville police continued to build a strong case Michelle. She, however, wasn’t waiting around and moved to New Orleans. By the time a grand jury handed down an indictment of first degree murder against Michelle in May 2002, she had fled her Louisiana residence and was now a wanted fugitive.
Michelle had learned how to recreate herself with books such as Reborn in the U.S. of A., Secrets for Getting a New Identity, and How to Disappear in America. She began by changing her brunette locks to bleach blonde. She used a computer software program to prepare official-looking documents, including fake birth and baptismal certificates. Then she took a most drastic step: she underwent plastic surgery to straighten her nose, have a chin implant, and laser surgery to remove acne scars and other blemishes.
In Florida, where she’d had the surgery done, she signed an apartment under the name of Lisa Pendragon. The Florida driver’s license she obtained was issued to Alexandra Solomon.
Fayetteville investigators turned U.S. Marshalls for help in locating Michelle. They soon learned that, as was expected for Michelle, she already had a boyfriend. The boyfriend was put under surveillance and in no time, he had led them to the killer’s new lair. On August 5, 2002, Michelle was arrested for the murder of her husband.
End of the Road
Although it took two years for her case to go to trial, it only took juror six hours to return a verdict of guilty on December 3, 2004 – just six days before her 34th birthday. She was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. She is currently incarcerated at the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh, North Carolina.
With the help of her mother and sister, Michelle continued to proclaim her innocence her blog at www.michelletheer.org; that is, until it mysteriously and without warning shut down in early 2012.
In April 2011, a federal appeals court denied her request for a new trial.
John Diamond is currently behind bars at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For a short while, he attempted to maintain his own blog, which he named Free John Diamond, with the aid of his sister but apparently gave up as it has not been updated since November 2007.
His most recent appeal, filed on the basis of a conflict of interest, was denied by a federal court.
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