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Mercedes McCambridge's Son's Note Exonerated Her

April 17, 1989|From Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In a letter found at his suicide scene, the son of actress Mercedes McCambridge exonerated her of any wrongdoing in his investment thefts from a Little Rock brokerage.

"Guilty: John Markle traded your account on an undisclosed discretionary basis. I added funds to your account, I added losses to the Stephens account," said John Markle in a letter to his mother about his trading practices at Stephens Inc. of Little Rock. "Innocent: You are clearly innocent of any wrongdoing in this matter. I am 100% responsible."

Markle, 45, a broker with Stephens, killed his wife, Christine; his two daughters, Amy and Suzanne, and himself in their Little Rock home on Nov. 16, 1987, police said. All of the victims, including Markle, were shot more than once. Police said Markle apparently wore a Halloween-type mask during some of the shooting.

Markle's letter and other documents found at his house by police investigating his death became public today at the state Supreme Court when the court dissolved a stay that had been in effect while it considered his mother's attempt to keep the documents from public disclosure.

The court previously had denied her petition, but she had requested a rehearing. Today, the petition for a rehearing was denied.

Letters, Diary Pages

Documents in the file included a 13-page handwritten letter by Markle to the Academy Award-winning actress, pages from a diary he kept in a spiral notebook, letters to his lawyer and miscellaneous papers.

The diary makes clear that in the month leading up to his suicide, Markle was engaged in negotiations with Stephens over how much he should pay the firm for his mishandling of investments that had the effect of transferring money from Stephens' account to his mother's account.

Three days before the deaths, a diary entry said Markle had asked his mother for cash, saying he would probably be sued, ruined and eventually end up in jail.

The diary said Stephens was demanding cash payment of about $1 million by Markle in the discussions about his handling of the account.

Two weeks before the deaths, Markle went to a gun shop to determine the value of weapons he owned. He left a list of weapons and the value of each for his attorney. It was found after Markle's death.

Markle also was conscious of his moods, including them in diary entries, and often thought in terms of relying on God to help him get through his troubles.

Dairy entries included: "Anxious about all this now," "Uncertain today. I awoke at 5:30 and was scared. I turned it over to God and went back to sleep until 6:30 to take Suz to school."

A diary entry on Oct. 27, 1987, said: "My wife Christine is the greatest woman alive and my children are the very, very best. Amy got an A in algebra because she knew it would make me happy. Suz is such a upward-looking person. None of these people deserve me. I have put all of their futures in jeopardy. My relationship with my mother has been destroyed. I fear I have placed my family at considerable financial risk, i.e., I am broke and they (my) children have no inheritance left because of my action. Christine says I have put the family last and I have. There really is only one choice now."

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