Thursday, March 25, 2010

To catch a murderer (UPDATE)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:49 PM

UPDATE: Frank Dryman went before an Arizona court this morning to determine whether he'll be extradited to Montana to serve out the remainder of a life sentence. The Montana Department of Corrections reported today that Dryman did not contest his extradition, meaning he'll be transported back to the Montana State Prison sometime in the next two weeks.

After 38 years on the run, the man behind a murder on the Hi-Line 60 years ago has been apprehended. A private investigator tracked Frank Dryman to the Cactus Rose Wedding Chapel in Arizona City, Ariz., which Dryman was operating under the alias Victor Houston. Montana corrections officials are now working to extradite the man.

According to a release from the Montana Department of Corrections, Montana resident Clarence Pellet picked up a 19-year-old hitchhiker by the name of Frank Dryman outside Shelby in April 1951. Dryman shot Pellet to death with a gun he'd purchased on his way from California, stole Pellet's vehicle and drove to Canada, where he was later arrested and transferred into state custody. Dryman served 14 years—1955 to 1969—of a life sentence in the Montana State Prison for Pellet's murder, and was paroled in 1969. But Dryman disappeared in March 1972. He's been listed as an absconder by the state ever since.

In February 2009, Pellet's grandson Clem Pellet, an oral surgeon in Bellevue, Wash., found newspaper clippings about the murder in a box of family possessions. He hired private investigator Patrick Cote to find Dryman. Cote followed leads to Glendale, Ariz., and eventually to the Cactus Rose Wedding Chapel. There he reportedly contacted proprietor Victor Houston, inquiring about one of Dryman's aliases, Frank Valentine. Houston's birthday closely matched Dryman's, and tattoos on his hands resembled those described by law enforcement. Houston later confessed to his real identity after local law enforcement officers made the arrest.

We think this will eventually make one hell of a "Cold Case" episode.

Frank Dryman in 1955.
  • Frank Dryman in 1955.

Frank Dryman in 2010.
  • Frank Dryman in 2010.

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