12-Year-Old Testified at Ohio 'Trial of Century'—Against Dad

27 years after mom's death, Collier Landry returns to make documentary
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2016 6:36 AM CST
Updated Dec 31, 2016 6:40 AM CST
12-Year-Old Testified at Ohio 'Trial of Century'—Against Dad
John Boyle is next eligible for parole in 2020; he'll be 77.   (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction)

At just 12 years old, Collier Landry took the stand in a Mickey Mouse turtleneck to help put the man who murdered his mother behind bars: his father. Now 38, Landry is returning to what the Mansfield Journal of Ohio calls "the local trial of the century." On Nov. 13, 1989, Dr. John Boyle and his pregnant mistress began the process of purchasing a $299,000 home in Erie, Pennsylvania. Four days later, wife Noreen filed for divorce from her high-school sweetheart, citing extreme mental cruelty and gross neglect. Before the year was out, she was dead. On New Year's Eve, Boyle killed Noreen, whose body was found buried below the basement floor of that Erie home three weeks later. The Journal separately notes that in the days before the murder, Boyle rented a jackhammer and inquired about the soil under the basement floor.

On the night in question, Landry heard an argument, a scream, and a thump. Boyle had hit Noreen and suffocated her using a plastic bag, police say. Now Landry—who goes by his middle name—is an LA-based cinematographer who is working on a documentary on the case, which had some weird twists: After Boyle was sentenced to 20 years to life, he successfully appealed to have the body exhumed, arguing that based on the weight noted by the coroner, it wasn't Noreen's—even though her Rolex and gold cross were noted on the remains, reports the Columbus Dispatch. DNA testing proved it was her. Landry won't reveal much about the film, other than to say he's hoping to reconnect with little sister Elizabeth, who he hasn't seen since she was adopted by another family 26 years ago. (Read more murder trial stories.)

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