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A Dark Tale of Betrayal: The Double Homicide in Prairie Township

 



In a shocking and disturbing crime that took place in October 2020, a woman, Kelly Dale Vokas, pleaded guilty to the murder of her elderly former neighbors, John Blanc (77) and Susan Castore (75). The heinous act involved stabbing John and strangling Susan with a rope during a burglary at their Prairie Township home. The case has sent shockwaves through the community, as it sheds light on the dark corners of human nature and the tragic consequences that can follow.

On the fateful day of October 18, 2020, Franklin County Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 hang-up call from the victims' home on Carilla Lane in the Lincoln Village subdivision. Upon arriving, they found all doors locked, and there was no obvious sign of forced entry. However, looking through a window, they spotted Kelly Dale Vokas in a pink hoodie, hastily stuffing items into her purse. The deputies ordered her to come to the door, but she attempted to flee out the back, only to be apprehended by one of the deputies.

During a search of her purse, the officers made a chilling discovery - the IDs of both victims, Susan Castore's checkbook, and a bag of coins, all of which linked her directly to the crime scene. The deputies then entered the home to find a gruesome and heart-wrenching sight - John Blanc was found unresponsive in the first-floor bathroom, with six stab wounds to his head and neck. In the basement, they discovered Susan Castore, also unresponsive, with stab wounds and a rope tied around her head, neck, and body. The autopsies later confirmed that John died due to his stab wounds, while Susan's cause of death was attributed to strangulation.



The evidence was overwhelming, and Vokas admitted to the facts presented by the prosecutors. Shockingly, security footage from Ring Doorbells of two neighbors showed that Vokas was the only person besides John Blanc to have entered the victims' home on the day of the crime. According to Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Rick Minerd, preliminary investigations suggested that Vokas might have been allowed to stay with the couple on certain occasions after she moved away but had stolen from them on different occasions. However, it is essential to note that she was not related to the victims in any way.

The crime sent shockwaves through the community and left the victims' families devastated. The motive behind the violent act remains unclear, and the extent of Vokas' relationship with the victims and what led her to commit such atrocities remains a mystery.

In December, Vokas, now 43 years old, pleaded guilty to murder, involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated burglary as part of an agreement with county prosecutors. The other charges, including two counts of aggravated murder, were withdrawn. The sentencing took place in February, where Judge Michael Holbrook sentenced Vokas to 37 years to life in prison, the maximum possible punishment for her crimes.

Throughout the sentencing hearing, Vokas cried and expressed remorse, apologizing to the victims' families. Her defense attorney, Francisco Luttecke, shed light on her troubled past, including an abusive childhood, mental health issues, and drug use.

The victims' families struggled to comprehend the heinous act committed against their loved ones. Julie Blanc, John Blanc’s daughter, spoke during the sentencing, describing the couple as inspirations who spent their lives helping others. She expressed her bewilderment at how someone could be so cruel and commit such evil acts against elderly individuals who had shown kindness to their killer.

The tragic double homicide in Prairie Township serves as a grim reminder of the darkness that can lurk within some individuals. It highlights the importance of understanding mental health issues and the need for intervention and support to prevent such devastating acts in the future. The community, while reeling from this tragedy, must come together to heal and work towards a safer and more compassionate society, where such horrors are minimized through early intervention and collective care for those in need.

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