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Sandra K. INMAN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: March 22, 2011
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: 1967
Victim profile: Summer Inman, 25 (her daughter-in-law)
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Logan, Hocking County, Ohio, USA
Status: Pleads guilty. Sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on June 18, 2012
photo gallery

Sandra Inman confession: Kidnapping 'was my idea'

By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch

February 28, 2013

Summer Inman’s mother-in-law told an investigator that it was her idea to snatch the mother of three in downtown Logan and force her into a car so she could beg for weekend visits with her grandchildren.

“It was my idea,” Sandra K. Inman told a deputy sheriff in March 2011. “I thought I could talk to her.”

Her confession was released today after Hocking County Common Pleas Court Judge John T. Wallace agreed to unseal it.

They kidnappers forced Summer Inman into the car and drove off. With Sandra were husband William A. “Bill” Inman and son William A. “Will” Inman, who had bound his estranged wife’s wrists with plastic zip ties and sat with her in the back seat.

Summer Inman was struggling and screaming, “and telling me we’d probably never see the kids again,” Sandra Inman said.

Everything went wrong when Will Inman accidentally strangled her with a zip tie he had put around her neck, she said.

“I know, I know positively, he didn’t do it on purpose,” Sandra Inman said.

“I, I think he blacked out ... he looked at me like, ‘Oh my God,’ you know. ‘Mom, where’s the knife? Where’s the knife? Where’s the knife?’ and I couldn’t find it.”

Sandra Inman recounted the tragic trip on March 22, 2011, to Hocking County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Speckman in an interview at the sheriff's office. That was a week later, as authorities were still searching for 25-year-old Summer Inman, and were holding her in-laws on kidnapping charges.

Wallace had sealed Sandra Inman’s March 29, 2011 confession, but unsealed it after The Dispatch and The Logan Daily News requested it.

It had been sealed because it was thought at one time that Sandra Inman might testify in her husband’s trial. She did not.

A jury sentenced Bill Inman, 49, to life in prison without parole on Feb. 6 after convicting him of aggravated murder and other crimes in the abduction and strangulation of his daughter-in-law. A jury gave the same sentence to Will Inman, 28, after convicting him of the same crimes last year. Both could have received the death penalty.

Sandra Inman, 47, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison last year after she pleaded guilty to murder and other crimes.

Once the zip tie was fastened around her daughter-in-law’s neck and it was clear that she was not breathing, Sandra Inman told the chief deputy in her statement, “We all panicked then, at that time.”

Her husband was driving, she said, and he pulled off Rt. 33 at Faith Tabernacle Church near Nelsonville. “We used to go to church there,” she said.

Speckman got on the radio immediately with other law-enforcement officers. He guided them as Sandra Inman told him about the lidded septic tank behind the church.

At first, she said, she thought to put her daughter-in-law’s body in the Hocking River. It runs behind the church. “... and then I seen that tank and I was like, you know, ‘Well, they won’t find her in there.’ And I was so ashamed of it.”

Sandra Inman told Speckman that if it hadn’t been for her and her insistence on talking to Summer Inman about more time with the grandchildren, none of it would have happened. “It’s mainly my fault.”  Summer and Will Inman were in the midst of a messy divorce at the time.

When Speckman pointed out that her husband and son participated, she said, “I think they done it for me. I know they did.”

Speckman was back on the radio with authorities. They were unscrewing the lid to the septic tank. “They got a foot. They see a foot sticking out,” he told Sandra Inman and her lawyer, Bill Henderson, who was present for the half-hour confession.

“They got her? Good,” she replied.

Summer had been like the daughter she never had, Sandra Inman said. If only life were like a tape recorder, she told the chief deputy.

“Just rewind it. There’s no way, no way possible, not any of us, not me, Bill or Willy would’v e ever, ever, ever, ever stepped foot in that car."


Sandra Inman pleads guilty in murder case

She gets prison term of 15 years to life

By Mary Beth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch

June 29, 2012

LOGAN, Ohio — The eldest of Summer D. Inman’s children, 6-year-old Alex, has started to ask, “ How did Mommy die?” and “Where was she when she died?”

Alex’s maternal grandparents, who are raising him along with his sisters, 4-year-old Kaley and 3-year-old Alanna, cannot provide the answers.

“Think about how sad the possible answers are: Daddy killed Mommy; Daddy strangled Mommy; Daddy and Pa Paw tortured and strangled Mommy; Nana only drove the car, listened to the tortured screams and watched Mommy be buried in a septic tank,” wrote Summer’s parents in a letter to Summer’s mother-in-law, Sandra K. “Sandy” Inman.

The letter from Mike and Debbie Cook to Inman was read in Hocking County Common Pleas Court, where Inman pleaded guilty yesterday to murder and other charges in the death of her daughter-in-law. She was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

Inman, 47, will be eligible to appear before a parole board after serving 15 years.

“Sorry, Alex, you will never have a Mommy or Daddy,” the letter continued. “Alex still asks, ‘ When can I see Nana?’ Oh, I’m sorry Alex, you will never grow up with Nana, either.“How long will he cry about losing so many people he loves?”

Inman wept as county Prosecutor Laina Fetherolf read the letter in court.

Judge John T. Wallace convicted and sentenced Inman yesterday after prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiated a settlement in which she pleaded guilty to all charges.

Wallace sentenced her to 15 years to life in prison for murder, 10 years for kidnapping, three years for tampering with evidence and one year for gross abuse of a corpse. He ordered the sentences for the lesser crimes to run at the same time as the murder sentence rather than back-to-back.

Inman’s trial was to start July 9. She faced the same sentence of 15 years to life if convicted of murder in the zip-tie strangulation of her daughter-in-law.

Earlier this month, a jury sentenced Inman’s son, William A. “Will” Inman II, 27, to life in prison without possibility of parole after convicting him of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in the abduction and murder of his estranged wife. He could have received the death penalty.

Summer Inman, 25, was abducted on March 22, 2011. Her body was found a week later stuffed head-first in a church septic tank near Nelsonville. Authorities found her body after her mother-in-law divulged the location.

Her father-in-law, William A. “Bill” Inman, 48, is scheduled for trial in August. He could receive the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder and other crimes related to Summer Inman’s death.

At one point in yesterday’s hearing, Sandy Inman turned around in the courtroom to face Summer’s parents. Crying so hard that she was difficult to understand, she said, “I am so, so sorry. ... That was never supposed to happen. I loved Summer.”

Summer and Will Inman, who lived with his parents through their marriage, were divorcing at the time of her abduction and murder. She had taken their three children with her when she left the marriage to return to live at her parents’ home, and she had a boyfriend.

Sandy Inman believed that the boyfriend was mistreating the children and that they were in danger, her attorney Kristen Burkett told the judge.

“That is what led to her participation in this evening which went horribly awry,” Burkett said. “ She never intended harm to come to Summer.”

Kaley plants flowers for her Mommy, sings songs to her and looks for her in heaven but can’t see her, the letter from Summer’s parents continued. She misses her Mommy but doesn’t know what happened. She misses seeing her Nana, too.

“Kaley still asks when she will see you again,” Summer’s parents told Sandy Inman in the letter.

Alanna was only 15 months old when her Mommy was taken from her, and she no longer remembers her, Summer’s parents wrote.

“Will that make the lifelong loss any easier?"


Failure after failure left Summer Inman's family struggling

Summer Inman felt trapped and scared as her husband and his parents, now murdersuspects, saw hopes falter

By Randy Ludlow and Mary Neth Lane - The Columbus Dispatch

April 3, 2011

Bill Inman considered himself a man of God.

Tiring of playing the piano and strumming his guitar at Faith Tabernacle Church near Nelsonville, where he had married his wife, Sandy, in 1983, he set out to shepherd his own flock.

He converted a garage at his rural Hocking County home into a church around 2004. It never attracted many of the faithful.

Bill then led his family - Sandy, their son, Will; their daughter-in-law, Summer; and the grandkids - to Florida for two years in search of construction work for himself and Will. But they lost their home in Arcadia to foreclosure.

Bill returned to Ohio in mid-2008 with the family in tow and new designs on the ministry, this time in rural Vinton County.

He obtained a minister's license last spring, listing himself as the leader of Mercy Tabernacle Church and creating Mercy Ranch - a nonprofit organization - with Sandy.

Bill envisioned Mercy Ranch as ministering to orphans and widows, "to help people who has lost their jobs or been cut back on hours keep their homes," he wrote in an incorporation document filed with the Ohio secretary of state's office.

To fund his charity, Bill set out to sell $10 raffle tickets, promising on a website to award a new home or $200,000 and 99 other big-ticket prizes in September, once 100,000 tickets had been sold and $1 million raised.

But it all soon collapsed. Mercy Ranch went nowhere. Summer left Will in June, taking the grandkids with her. Bill and Sandy were thrown out of their Vinton County home on Dec. 1 for failing to make the payments. It was against this backdrop of personal and family failures - as recounted in interviews, police reports and court records - that Summer Inman was killed. She was snatched in a Logan parking lot by two men wearing ski masks on the night of March 22 and wrestled into a car driven by a blond woman.

Summer was bound, strangled and stuffed in the underground septic tank behind Faith Tabernacle, the church her father-in-law had helped build with his carpentry skills and had filled with his music.

It ultimately was mother-in-law Sandy who pointed police on Tuesday to Summer's unholy grave after striking a deal with prosecutors. The three Inmans have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, and the deal Sandy made has not been revealed. No one has been charged in Summer's death yet.

Yellow, purple and green ribbons in Summer's memory flutter throughout Logan, where friends and family will gather at 1 p.m. Monday for her funeral at First Church Praise and Worship Center.


The 25-year-old woman was desperate to leave her marriage of six years, one in which Will once punished her after an argument by rounding up her cats and driving away with them. He told her he threw them out of the car window; she never saw them again.

In an undated journal entry shortly before she left "Willy" - she was the only one who called her high-school sweetheart by that name - Summer wrote of feeling controlled and losing her sense of self. She described herself as a "slave."

Bill and Will have been described as demanding and dominating men. But those who knew them said Bill was the unquestioned boss of all in his household.

Summer wrote of wanting to find herself, and love, again. She worried that her 26-year-old husband might hurt her. She swore in an affidavit that Will had threatened to kill her if she ever took the children away from him.

Summer left anyway, filing for divorce in June, about the same time she started seeing Adam Peters. The sheriff's office soon was fielding periodic reports from her and from her husband's side of the family that the other was guilty of some transgression. "It was a really nasty divorce situation," said Vinton County Sheriff David Hickey.

Summer showed up at the Inmans' Vinton County home with Peters on Dec. 1 to pick up belongings as the family was moving out. She expected trouble and had summoned a deputy sheriff and brought along a friend to videotape the encounter.

Bill first threatened to shoot Peters and then said he was going to beat him. Bill ended up wrestling with the deputy. He was convicted of misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest, and was fined and given probation instead of jail.

The grandkids who had long been a daily presence in the Inmans' life were gone for sure. A friend said the 47-year-old Bill and 46-year-old Sandy had lost weight and looked haggard. The divorce dragged on amid a fight over custody of the three children, now ages 21 months and 3 and 5 years.

Five days before Summer vanished, Will filed an objection in his divorce case to being ordered to pay child support of $150 a month on his $6,000-a-year income. He asked the judge to reduce the amount to $50 a month.


Father, mother and son were arrested March 24, less than 48 hours after Summer's abduction. Police rounded them up at the home of Bill's 70-year-old mother, Rose Mary McKinniss, in Jackson County outside Ray.

King Kelly is the pastor of two Nelsonville churches - Faith Tabernacle, the one-time religious home of the Inmans, and Pentecostal Faith, where McKinniss sometimes worships. Kelly arrived for services a week ago today to find McKinniss upset and in search of prayer. Her son, daughter-in-law and grandson were in jail, accused of kidnapping the missing mother of her great-grandchildren.

The congregation prayed for the family, pleading for Summer's safe return even as she lay lifeless in the vault of human waste at the church up the road.

McKinniss told the pastor that her son had told her he was innocent of any crime. "She said that Bill just told her that it was a trial from the devil," Kelly said.

Clad in orange jumpsuits, manacles and shackles, the Inmans appeared separately in court on Wednesday. The men were impassive, showing no emotion, and they avoided eye contact with Summer's mother and father.

Sandy, however, appeared to have been crying. As she shuffled into the courtroom, she locked eyes with Summer's family. She didn't speak, but mouthed the words clearly enough: "I'm so sorry."

Summer's thoughts

Summer Cook Inman kept journals from the time she was a girl. She wrote an entry shortly before she left her husband, Will Inman, in June. The entry became part of their divorce file. Following are excerpts:

"I'm so tired of having to please everyone else but leaving myself high and dry. Don't I deserve to be happy, too? Don't I deserve to fall in love with someone again and feel love from someone again? I think so ... I don't know if it's the right time to tell Willy or not ... I feel bad not telling him because I think he deserves to know the truth and to know that I don't want to be with him right now.

"I want to be alone for a while and find out who I am again. I'm just some slave that runs around and does as she's told ... I'm so used to just doing whatever everyone else wants to that I've forgotten who I am.

"I love my kids with all my heart and I wouldn't trade them for anything, but I don't want them to grow up remembering their mom as someone that just did as she was told. ... I would be OK with shared custody and wouldn't try for full custody unless he wanted me to or forced me to. I think that the kids should see both of us the same amount of time.

"I just don't know how Willy will react to all of this. I don't know if he will get mad and try to take the kids and run, if he will threaten to hurt me, or worse yet actually do it, or if he will be civil about it and let us try a separation and see what happens ... I know his parents will gang up on me and try to get me to just work things out and not want me to leave.

"But I don't think that I can work things out unless we are separated. I can't focus on myself and what I really want unless I don't have to focus on what he wants. He asked me last night during an argument what I wanted. I couldn't answer that because I don't know what I want. I know that I don't want this ... I don't want to be unhappy and feel trapped. I don't want to not know who I am anymore. But I couldn't tell him that. So I just sat there in silence. ...

"All I want to do all day is cry and sleep. I just don't know how to get out of this situation and have it end well. Maybe by the next time I write I'll have figured it out."


Summer Inman Disappears: Her Husband, In-Laws Are Arrested for Kidnapping

By Terry Kotz -

March 31, 2011

UPDATE: Police say Summer Inman's mother-in-law, Sandra Inman, led them to the church where Summer's body was found. Sandra's friends believe she was coerced into being the driver used for the kidnapping and murder of her daughter-in-law.

Summer Inman seemed to have endured the classic abusive marriage. In June, the 25-year-old mother of three filed for divorce. She claimed her husband, William Inman II, threatened to kill her if she ever left with the kids. He'd also kept her captive in their Logan, Ohio home.

She said he'd often hide her car keys and cell phone so she couldn't leave.

A few months later, Summer started dating a new boyfriend, Adam Peters. He went with her in December when she went to the home of her inlaws, William Sr. and Sandra Inman, to pick up some stuff she left behind.

That's when the elder Inman threatened to shoot Peters. He was charged with disorderly conduct.

So when Summer disappeared last Tuesday, police didn't have far to look.

Witnesses say she was working inside the Century National Bank at about 11 p.m. She went outside to the alley to empty some garbage. Witnesses saw her being forced into a car by two men. A woman with bleach-blond hair served as the driver.

Summer hasn't been seen since. But two days later, police raided the Akron home of her in-laws. They not only arrested her estranged husband, but his parents as well. William II, 26, William Sr., 47, and Sandra Inman, 46, have all been charged with kidnapping.

The problem: There's still no sign of Summer.

The FBI and police are asking residents in a multi-county area of southeastern Ohio to call if they notice anything unusual near bridges or roadways in the area. Though they're hopeful Summer is still alive, they acknowledge she may be injured or already dead.

She's described as 5-foot-3 and weighing 120 pounds. She has three children all under the age of 5.

UPDATE: Summer Inman's body was found stuffed in a church septic tank.

The Athens County sheriff's department found her last night, stuffed inside a septic tank behind the Faith Tabernacle Church in Nelsonville, Ohio. The discovery came from a tip from someone in the Inman family. At the the moment, police haven't released a cause of death.

But detectives are clearly locking in on her husband and in-laws in the kidnapping and murder. Those who knew them say Summer and Sandra Inman were kept women, rarely appearing outside the home. And when they did, they were entirely dressed in black.

They say William Sr. fancied himself as some kind of religious leader, holding church services in an outbuilding near their home. He also went door-to-door to raise money for something called the Mercy Ranch, his plan to turn his home into a retreat for the homeless.

But the FBI says the Inmans behaved strangely shortly after Summer disappeared. They appeared to be attempting to alter the look of their car.

William Sr. had removed a police spotlight mounted on the driver's side door. They'd also been caught on surveillance tape cleaning out their car at a car wash in Seven Hills, hours away from the abduction scene.

And about 12 hours after Summer disappeared, three people described as the Inmans showed up at a salvage yard in Cleveland. The man said he didn't like the tires on his Crown Victoria. So he traded them in for a set of used tires.

UPDATE II: Sandra Inman led police to the body of her daughter-in-law.

That's the word from Logan police Chief Aaron Miller. He says Summer was killed very quickly after she was kidnapped last week, likely strangled with a rope or a cord of some kind.

But Sandra's friends believe she was forced into involvement by her controlling husband. One friend described her as distraught over her son's failed marriage to Summer, and wouldn't have taken part in the murder without being forced.

In court yesterday, she told Summer's family that she was "very sorry" for the murder.

Summer was kidnapped March 22 in the alley behind a bank she was cleaning at about 11 p.m. At least one person tried to stop the two men who grabbed her, but a woman believed to be Sandra pepper-sprayed the rescuer to drive her off.

According to the Rev. King Kelly, the elder Inmans were familiar with the grounds of the Faith Tabernacle Church where Summer was found. They were married at the church, and William Sr., a construction worker, helped build two additions to the building.

The two Inman men tried to claim they couldn't be involved in the abduction, since they were driving to Cleveland that night and their car broke down on the freeway. But that claim was contradicted by William II's cell phone records, which showed he was in Logan on the night Summer was grabbed.



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