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Cold Case: Kelly Lynn Cooper and Ermelinda Iannuzzi murder 8/24/1984 Maricopa County, AZ *Mark Merila arrested in this cold case*

Ermelinda and Kelly Lynn
Ermalinda Iannuzzi & Kelly Lynn Cooper

Find-a-Grave Kelly Lynn Cooper
In Memory of Kelly Lynn Cooper and Ermelinda F. Iannuzzi
Cold Case Suspect Extradited To Phoenix
Suspect indicted in desert murders after 2 decades
2nd person sought in ’84 murders
Websleuths: Ermalinda Iannuzzi & Kelly Lynn Cooper
Unsolved Child Murder
Update: Kelly Cooper and Ermelinda Iannuzzi murder *Mark Merila convicted of both murders; Sentenced to life in prison*

Scott Merila


186 Responses

  1. is therre an earlier picture if this Scott Merila? I would like to know what he looked like in 84 when kelly came accrossed his path.

  2. So far that is the only one I have found. I will keep looking. If I find one, I will post it.

  3. I found an earlier one that has been in the news, i was hoping to find one that some one would know who he was hanging out with in 84 they are looking for the 2nd person involved and some one knows some thing. I have attached a url of the younger scott merila but not sure what year. We need to help police solve all of the case not just part of it.

    • Melissa Fritz.
      I was an associate of Linda Wimmer in 1984. She worked at Gladys Compton Audiology. My children (babies then) are deaf and they were helping us. I have left Arizona 22 years ago, and winter here now. I came across the information on Merila by accident today. If you are still looking for information I would like to help (you look). I have never forgotten and have prayed a thousand times over the years for the girls and their families.
      Viki Gingras

  4. Is everyone in this state out for blood? Or is the US Constitution just a piece of paper specifically written for the linch mob and the accused is treated with unjust condemnation before he is legally prosecuted? The hyprocity of this justice system is the accused is “guilty until proven innocent” or as it should be – “Innocent until proven guilty? in a court of law.

    What if I tell you that the facts presented so far as published in tthe media a bag of lies. This person photographed above is not the person with the name Scott Merila. If the DNA came back with the name Scott Merila, why is Mark being held? The Maricopa Sheriff says “they have been tracking him for a year.” If that statement is true, then why did they not arrest Mark when he was held in the Maricopa County Jail from April 2004 to December 2004, defending himself against a drug charge which he was acquited on both counts and released? This seems strange to me and opens up a can of worms.

    Even if the DNA is a possible match, the only fact this proves is that the two of them had sex . This does not prove that he killed anyone……..all else is assumption not facts.


  5. Paula,

    Are you related to the suspect? I see your last name is the same, so I suspect that you are his wife or sister?

    (please remember when you say “in this state” that I am NOT in AZ – the blog owner that is)

  6. I am proud to be Mark’s wife. He is a warm and compassionate man. I apoligize for assuming that everyone associated with this unfortunate incident is from Arizona. But it appears to me that the media and Maricopa Sheriff’s office is taking full advantage of violating Mark’s constituional rights. I have read their remarks and they are only opinions. And the facts are yet to be known.

    Take a look at the press that he has received thus far in Arizona. The media coverage speaks for itself. They are more concerned wtih sales than an unbias representation of the facts. Between the opinions expressed by the Sheriff and the media coverage, I don’t believe Mark will receive a fair trial in Maricopa County.

    In closing, I pray that my husband be given the opportunity to prove his innocence in a court of law.and not prematurily judged by the media coverage he’s received.

  7. Well after reading these comments I have a few things to say.
    1. I am in AZ, Kelly was one of my closest friends.
    2. Any one who is from here in 1984 knows for him to be out in the middle of the desert at the location they were at it wasn’t like tourist seen and that is why the bodies of young kelly and erme were not found for 2 days.
    3. You want to talk about the contitutional right? Where were kelly’s and Ermie’s? If Scott didn’t do it he wont be prosicuted but kelly will still be dead!

    • I was a friend of Ermie’s…seeing their bodies on the freaking news being carted off is a memory I will never forget….she had a closed casket funeral due to the length of time out in the desert…when I found out that a suspect was found, my mother went to the trial because I live out of state now. She was only 14 when she was killed, I didn’t know her friend, I am sorry, but if that man did do it, I hope he rots there…

  8. This is for you Paula – you are seriously making yourself believe Mark is some sort of rehabilitated, warm compasionate man. I wouldn’t call a man celebrating his 20th birthday with a young teenager a warm and compasionate man. This is such a gross thought him celebrating with a 16 year old teenager, he should have been man enough to find a woman not a girl! I was Ermy’s best friend back then and your husband has the answers to the questions you state are unanswered. The best place for this so called man is behind bars. Mark has used different names and you of all people should know this. And yes I did find his charges when he was in jail here last. Not all inmates are required to submit to DNA, he was not convicted, and being acquited from charges back then wouldn’t have been required to submit to DNA anyway. However, he apparently had another string of charges in Florida and in San Diego, and who knows where else yet, this is a supposed so called warm compassionate man (look it up in the dictionary!!!). Who were the charges from on the assault? You? Maybe if he, of all people, come to grips with honesty we would have our judicial system back where it needs to be but when there are so many who refuse to admit and stay in denial about those who need help, we will always stay with the same system. Mark knew this was a party area where he hung out and where he led his ex-girlfriend to. That is how she found the bodies, so we will see where the truth lies! But don’t be too quick to defend when you have already been lied to by him. I am glad to hear you are PROUND to be his wife, let’s see how you feel when trial has passed.

  9. Christine,
    I am so glad to hear some one speak about this with some sense. I cant even think about this with out complete engulfed feelings of anger and fear for what kelly and ermie went through that night. I am also so glad to see some one speak on ermie’s side of this, some thing I haven’t seen much of this for 22 years. Although I didn’t know ermie as well as I should have back then, we had difference of opions and didn’t really spend a whole lot of time together. This has been a big regret for me and I will never forgive myself for that. There are so many things about this terrible night mare that changed so many poeples lives. I understand a wife is supposed stand by their man and this has to be a diffacult situation for Paula BUT… The though of mark, Scott who ever he is not getting a fair trial is rediculous. It has been 22 years… Kelly and ermie are not here to accuse any one and the only thing we have here are cold hard facts. I dont understand, Mark has every thing stacked on his side here, so much has been held back from the public and family members and friends. Things that will only be discussed at the trial. I guess what i am trying to say is I am glad to hear some who is calm enough to state the truth in all this and speak for ermie, I miss them both and cant believe we are finally seeing some thing done.

  10. Melissa – thank you! Thank you very much for acknowledging Ermie as well. Please don’t feel bad or sad because of your difference of opinion with Ermie. She was a beautiful young lady and I miss her greatly, she was stubborn, yes. But, you just like everone has a right to your own opinion whether it be different or not you have that right. Of course some details and evidence will be withheld from the public as they are still attempting to locate a possible other lead. Were you by chance ever interviewed with regard to mutual friends or anything like that following their dissappearance? And his true identity is Mark, not Scott. I hope to see you and meet you at the trial, I really can’t put a face to your name but we have something in common – a friend that was taken from us. Take care.

  11. Christine,
    I did speak to the det. many times that is why I hoped to see a picture of mark when he was yonger so i could maybe place his face. I dont know when the trial is and i am watching the papers for this info but dont see any thing. I was going to write the editor tell let him know this is a cold case but there are a lot of poeple who want to know what is going on. I dont know who you are but I haven’t seen anyone from those times for many years. Did you go to mesa jr or mesa high? I have to wonder if we didn’t know each other back then. I thought I would see a lot of familure names since this has all been brought back to us but i have not seen any one. Only kelly’s mom. its no wonder she feels all alone in this. I do want her to know she’s not but no way to tell her…
    Out of all the thing all of us went through back then all the good and the bad, this case can bring some thing great to a very bad time. I still miss those young girls like this was yesterday and find myself thinking about it all the time. I want to be at this trial but I it will be closed to the public, I wonder if we will be able to see it from the cold case trials on television.
    I know this was a long time ago and I had almost forgotten about the disagreements ermie and mysef had but this all brought that back. I hope one day she will see I do care and we were so young back then that none of it makes sense today. I think part of the problem was we were just so much alike. Now isn’t that a funny thing to argue about.
    Please take care, and keep in touch as I think this is going to very hard time to get through for every one.



    • I knew Kelly and Erme, and as horrible as this was (I remember it like it was yesterday), just remember that your brother always had the chance to turn his life around for God. No matter how horrible it was and whether or not your brother was involved I would never wish HELL on anyone. If he found God, trusted in God, had faith in God and asked for forgiveness then I truly believe he will not be rotting in Hell. I hope this helps you in your struggles.

  13. Melissa – I went to both Mesa Jr. and MHS. I am hoping the trial is public so we can be there to watch him or them go down and have some closure to all of this mess. Their memories will live on but we need to let them also rest in peace. There are ways you can contact Ms. Weimer. Try to write her through a reporter or look up her other friends on (bulletin boards). I hope you have luck and will help you if I can.

    LKAG – bless your heart. Regardless of what the DNA results come back as, remember you may be family but you are only responsible for what you or your children do, not relatives. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and sympathy and may your brother rest in peace if that is indeed what he seserves. I do have faith that the evil monsters will pay the price, whether it be in this lifetime or the next as I believe what goes around comes around. Did you also live in Arizona with your brother back then?

  14. LKAG,
    I know right now things are really hard for you and your family right now, waiting on those test can make a person crazy. I want you to know some thing I learned a long time ago. There are bad poeple and and their are good poeple that some times do bad things and God is forgiving.
    Can I ask how your brother died, I understand if you dont say, that is personal. It wont be long now and we should all know what happened that night and who was involved and then we can start healing from all of this. The one thing we have on our side is we have time…. I having been wondering for years why this had to happen and how things would be sooo different if this bad thing would not have happened. My thoughts and feeling were changed that night about every thing, but not all of that is bad. Decisions are made to protect poeple today, back then I didn’t realize how us as kids were not safe, now I am very carefull, I ask lots of questions and when I feel like I am going to far I can clearly understand the importence of going to far. Life is so fragile, and it can be take when you least expect it. I hold every day as if it were my last. I hope every one feels that way although i know no every one doesn’t.

    I know the importance of keeping our selves safe and putting information out there for poeple to see if dangerious but I would like to meet you, (again maybe) Any way, I agree on the case being open and i am hoping. I will write a letter to the reporters today and see if we can’t get some thing letting us know when the trial starts and try and get a message to linda.
    i still would like to see a pic of mark merallia back then. I want to know if I new him back then. Do you ever remember meeting him or does he look familure?

  15. Melissa – no he doesn’t look familiar. We can go off this site, are you listed with

  16. no

  17. how about meeting some where?

  18. MELISSA,


  19. LKAG,
    That is very tragic and does not sound like some one who would be involved in the killing of 2 young teens. My heart goes out to you and your family no matter what happens. when I think about kelly I like to think about her smile and the love she shared with every one. I some times think the most important thing in her life was her friends. She made every one feel like they were special.
    Dont associate the bad things you are going through now, with your brother. No matter what happens the person you knew and remember is the person he wants you to remember.

  20. To those following this case, if you want to stay abreast of court proceedings, etc. you can go to Click on Case History, then click on criminal cases, and finally click on minute entries. Enter the defendant’s last name and then first name (Merila, Mark). You can then click on the case number for this person (the most recent case information will be at the bottom of the list). I have been following it closely as I knew Kelly from our “Skateland” days together. I can tell you that according to the case history/minutes that this is currently being pursued as a death penalty case and that there is a hearing set for December 1 for oral argument regarding “Aggravating Factors”. I don’t believe that these hearings are generally open to the public. I pray that we all receive closure soon on this as I can tell you that not a day has gone by since Kelly’s murder that I have not thought of her.

  21. Thank you!

  22. LKAG,
    Have you heard any thing about your brothers involvment?

  23. Let me first say that what happend to those girls was a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to their family and friends. I agree that who ever is responsilble for this tragedy should pay for it. But I fear that this has become a witch hunt and the public has not been given all of the facts, but merely enough of them to convict someone before he has even been tried by a jury. I am Mark’s niece and I know that even I have had my moments of wondering if I really knew him. But with lots of soul searching I can honestly tell you that the man that I know now as my uncle is not capable of such a hurrendous crime. Yes it is true that Mark has a record but his record is not filled with violent crimes. There is other DNA that was found at the crime scene and until that other person is identified this crime has a huge missing piece. God willing the truth will come out during trail and allow these girls to rest in peace, and hopefully give their loved ones some closure . It just really bothers me that everything I have heard in the press already has my uncle tried and convicted without all of the facts and missing pieces. Our family sends our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of Ermalinda and Kelly Lynn. And we pray for justice and closure.

  24. Bambam – thank you for your remarks.

  25. Has any one heard about the trial? if the DNA was thrown out? Bam Bam, I also want to say thank you for your comments. I dont know if mark did what they say and i surly dont want some one that did not do the crime to pay for it, but i think we should walk into this with a open mind. We will know soon what happened to the beautiful young girls. I know I am tired of being angry and would like this to be over…

  26. Melissa and bambam,

    Everything I have read has said that Scott was linked to the murders by the DNA. Does not look good for him.

  27. bmp1213
    I am so glad they are finally doing some thing about this, but look at every one who loves this guy. I remember when i heard about kelly, it was one of the single worse days of my life. now, if convicted the poeple who love this man will have to endure this kinda of pain. I want him convicted if he did it, but it is his friends and family i feel for now. justice is not happyness in any shape or form. not for any one. i miss kelly and that will never change, but i cant wish this on marks family, they dont deserve this any more that kelly did.
    if convicted their lives will change, just like all of ours did.

  28. I am looking at the case history, i am confused about the florida thing on 1-5. what does this have to do with the az courts?

  29. Melissa,

    The reference to Florida on 1-5 under case history is in regards to the allegation of prior convictions. The defense attorney is attempting to have it ruled as inadmissable with respect to an aggravating factor. The state is seeking the dealth penalty based on aggravating factors including prior convictions and/or history of violent crimes. Lastly, it is obvious that at the moment the defense is making a large number of motions, i.e. suppress dna evidence, suppress prior convictions, miranda violation, etc. This is to be expected in a trial of this nature and is a sign of a competent defense attorney. Whether we agree with the defense or not, it is important that this case be tried fairly and impartially. I agree with you Melissa that I want to see justice for Kelly, but certainly do not wish for any family to have to go through what Mark’s family is going through.

  30. Mona,
    You seem to be very knowledgable, are you in law?

  31. Melissa,
    No, actually I am a human resources manager, but I have studied law.

  32. Hey Paula,
    I lost your address and I want to send you a Thank you card for the stuff you sent the baby. She loves the blanket!! Do you have an email address? Give me or my mom a call.

  33. Thank you all for your concern for our family. We continue to pray for the truth and for these girls and their loved ones.


  35. LKAG,
    First of all Mark was not the one who named your brother. Mark has not named anyone. If you knew anything about what is going on in this case you would know that everyone that Mark had known at that time was under suspision and tested. There have even been people tested that Mark has only known for a couple of years. I knew your brother very well and more than once he brought negativity into my family’s life. So let’s not start throwing stones here! You yourself in your earlier statements said you barely knew Mark so how are you so sure that he should rot in hell.

  36. For those following this case, the court has set this case for trial to begin January 14, 2008 at 10:30 am. While the court has set this as the date for the trial to begin, at any point during the pre-trial processes, either the state or defendant can submit motions for continuances and therefore the trial date(s) can change. Most trials are open to the public, but I would contact the court to confirm. All of the defense motions are set to be argued before the court on April 6, 2007. This is the time set for the state to clarify and expound on their evidence to support the death penalty (aggravating factors). Additionally, the defense will argue its motions to dismiss the aggravating factors, suppress DNA evidence, dismiss death penalty. I would also expect that this also would be the time that the defense will argue to dismiss all charges and/or remand the case back to the grand jury (if any new/additional evidence has come to light during the discovery and disclosure phase of pre-trial). Again, I will state that regardless of anyone’s opinion of guilt or innocence, all of these steps are vital to a comprehensive fair trial and if convicted to establish a lack of basis for appeal (death penalty convictions are almost always automatically appealed – however, they do require a basis for the appeal such as new/additional evidence, defense or prosecution errors, court errors, jury errors, etc.). Hope this helps to keep everyone up to date on the progress of this case.

  37. Mona,

    Do you know why the trial is scheduled for basically a year from now? That seems so long from now. It seems to make “speedy trial” an issue. Especially with the accused sitting in jail.

  38. Please remember that this is a murder trial and as such, it takes a significant amount of time to gather all the necessary information to prosecute it and defend it. Both the defense and the prosecution have provided input as to how long they think they will need to prepare for the trial. There are a substantial number of motions to be made, argued and decided on. While I understand that it does not seem like a “speedy trial” to you, it really is moving quite quickly. At present time, the defense has submitted a number of motions that do add time to the process (however, the defense is doing their job as they should). Anytime a motion is filed with the court, the opposing attorney(s) must be given the opportunity to object to the motion – the opposing attorney(s) is given 30 days to file their response – then the attorney(s) who filed the original motion are given 30 days to file they counter response. So, that alone is 2 months. There are actually specific Rules of Criminal Procedure that must be followed to the letter to ensure that the trial is conducted appropriately. Once all the pre-trial motions are completed, then they can begin the process of seating jury. All potential jurors will be subjected to voir dire (questioning). These voir dire questions must be submitted to the court before jury selection begins. Also, jury instructions must be submitted/agreed upon before the trial begins. The actual trial phase is expected to last approximately 8 weeks. There are a lot of steps in the process, but they are crucial to an impartial trial.

  39. Mona,

    I actually understand all of that. I have taken several law classes in school. I have a double major: Psychology and Criminal Justice. However, I have seen many high profile cases go to court much faster, including Mark Hacking and Scott Petersen. That is why I wondered. I would have figured August. However, I know that a defendant can waive his right to a speedy trial, which may be the case here.

  40. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but if you know how the criminal justice system works, why are you asking me why it is going to take so long for the trial? I am not a member of Mr. Merila’s defense team, nor the prosecutor’s office. I cannot tell you what has or has not been discussed between the attorneys. All I can tell you is that the website I referenced several posts ago is showing a trial date in 2008.

  41. Mona,

    I apologize, as I thought you must have been close to the case. When I check the comments, I do not read all of the comments previous to that one at the time and compare. I will check out that website later.

  42. bmp1213,

    As an update for you, Arizona law requires that capital cases be tried within 18 months. This can be delayed based on defense attorneys (required to have 2 defense attorneys), motions, etc. I was one of Kelly’s friends and am following the case for that reason. The website will also show you all the motions that have been filed and lays out a court calendar for the case.

  43. I met Kelly at Mesa Jr in our spanish class and was drawn to her sweet personality and disposition. I was very saddened at the time her murder and throughout the years with the lack of an arrest or conviction for such an incredibly long period of time. I have thought of her very often and was so glad to see that the “cold case” of her and Ernie (whom I did not know) had not been forgotten. I was even more relieved when I heard that there was an arrest made in connection with these horrific murders. I believe the truth will prevail and the evidence will speak for itself. It is so nice to see the people who care about Kelly corresponding on this blog – and even nicer to know that I was not alone in my hope for bringing her killer(s) to justice.

  44. BAM BAM


  45. LKAG,
    i’m truly sorry that you feel the way you do. and i realize that investigators have led you to believe what you believe. they have not been completely truthfull with those they have questioned and i know this firsthand. i promise you it was not mark who named your brother though. investigators have told every single person that they have taken DNA from that mark named them which is not true. they have questioned everyone they could find that knew him and have taken DNA from every man that has known him. i hope your family recovers from the stress you have been put through. and thank god that your brother was proven to be innocent of any involvement in this. and ia m sorry for my harsh words before. emotions have been running high lately. my love to your mother and the rest of your family.

  46. For those following the trial process…the case was dismissed against Merila at the request of the state. Although I did see that there is a new grand jury indictment against him on 3/8/07 and an arrest warrant was served on him on 3/13/07. Not sure what this means, but we are back to square one in the process again.

  47. Monda,

    Thanks for the update. I have heard of this happening before. Hopefully more details will come to light soon.

  48. I’ll keep updating as info is posted on

  49. You know I am watching this blog and I am amazed and the fact that poeple are saying that merila is so inacent and loving. You know most good and loving poeple dont go on trial for Murder. And some thing else. This is not the first time merila has been in any trouble. I personally think even if you are some one who loves this man you should pay real attention to what is going on. The eyes can be very decieving. esp if love is involved. I dont know that merila did it and he (as well as any one else) deserves a fair trial but the truth will come out! It always does. I think we should try to be patiant and see what happens. And I prey that Linda has a chance to follow this through. This has to be the hardest thing a mother could ever go through. Nothing will ever compare to the trama these 2 families have gone through! If this is what it takes to get to the truth, so be it.

  50. Melissa,

    Hope your comments were not directed towards my posting regarding the trial. I am squarely in Kelly’s court, but thought that since I am monitoring the legal process on the internet, that I would post only the facts as they are listed on I am not happy about the turn of events that have occurred regarding the state dismissing the charges, but obviously they want to make sure that there are no mistakes when and if a trial actually happens. Arraignment is scheduled for the new charge(s) on March 19.

  51. Mona,

    I truly appreciate you posting those facts for us. Sometimes, due to networking at work, I am not able to get into some websites. It can be weird!

  52. The plight of poor mark, it almost sickens me to hear it. Thru most of 2003 Merilla was in Florida, engaging in various acts of drug use, drug sale, and theft. In August 2003 he committed aggrevated battery and eluded the police with the help of family and friends until he was again picked up on drug charges in Arizona and extradited to Florida for trial. Its my understanding the lesser drug charges in Arizona were dropped in order to pursue the more serious charge in Florida. He was not released from Arizona except to be transferred. He plead guilty and was released once again on society around Nov. 2005 with 10 yr probation / parole. I understand it was after his guilty conviction that his DNA sample was posted. He skipped out on his parole after less than a month, again with families help and eluded the authorities until he was caught in California. Yep he’s a real winner than deserves sympathy. And his history previous? Crimes in 7 states at least. Most of his adult life in some kind of trouble, a history of abandoned women and families, the list goes on and on.
    Before the friends and family of the victims get lured any farther into the poor mark routine, I hope they are smart enough to consider the source. At least one of his nieces has a criminal history almost as long as his and has had more than one child taken away by the state of Arizona. In fact, most of the family members I’ve run checks on have drug related charges and enough history to fill a season of Springer.
    I have done my research on Mr. Merila, have interviewed more than a few of his victims. From all accounts he can sweet talk ice out of satan. This is an evil man. He has a history of drugs, violence, and shattered lives. Instead of singing his praises, his family should be thankful none of their little girls are going camping with uncle Mark.
    Convicting a man before trial, maybe, but I think the DNA on the dead girls is damning, unless you want to go with the conspiracy theories. I suppose the real killer set up Merila by knowing the future of DNA technology and planting the sample 20 yrs + in advance.
    I wonder how many other bodies lie along his path of destruction. Serial behavior in his case would be no surprise. For over 20 years the system has failed with Mark Merila. He has been shuffled around from jail to jail, forgiven time and time again, and given more second chances than a $2 hooker. Nothing has worked. I would suggest California, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, and Florida all give his DNA a close look.
    My dearest condolences to Merila’s victims and I hope this brings closure to their pain. I also hope those that have aided this man for the last 25 years and helped him repeatedly elude police and get away with most of his crimes get comfort wondering how many people have died because they helped him remain free. It would seem they are almost as guilty as he.
    Fortunately for all of us, even if he somehow skates on these charges, society will be safe from him for at least 10 more years for crimes he has already admitted his guilt to. OH but let me guess, he probably didn’t commit that crime either.

  53. Investigator Bob:
    Thanks for the insight and information on Merila. I sincerely hope that this time he doesn’t get a slap on the wrist and a poor Mark. I agree with you, no one could have predicted 20 years ago that we would be looking at his DNA today, so we at least know that he was there and did have contact with Kelly and Ermie. I am just praying that the State of Arizona does this right. Kelly’s friends, myself included, have waited a LONG LONG LONG time for this. If Merila’s family really did aid and abet him, then my compassion for the family and the situation they are facing has certainly waned. They say blood is thicker than water, and it would seem that based on the information you have provided, in the Merila family it is lacking a moral compass as well. Sooner or later, everyone has to answer to their actions… let’s just hope that this time the court system asks the right questions.


  55. Amanda,
    What is any one supposed to do in this situation? Forgive and forget? There are certain things I can not forgive, this one is at the top of my list…..

  56. I am Praying for everyone. And prayer is the best thing. This is my last comment about any of this . God is a loving GOD. I never asked anyone to forgive Just Let GOD handle this We have no right to judge. WE ARE NOT GOD. I am sorry for the loss of these girls.

  57. Amanda,
    I don’t want you to stop writing, I am sure your beliefs are as strong as mine. The thing is, you are right, God is the one who every one has to answer to… but in life, are we supposed to turn our cheeks so this can happen again? I once was told many years ago when this first happened that the person responsable would be caught, but only after he did it again…. If we dont take responcability for protecting children, protecting our selves. Then who will? I was very close to Kelly when this happened to her. I thank god every day that I was not there when this happened! I very well could have been and so could a lot of other girls. We were nieve and trusting. When this happened it shattered the picture perfact portriat that we all had. This changed us ALL FOREVER.
    I wasn’t trying to insalt you, I am sorry if it was taken that way. I am frustrated that it took so many years to get this far in the case. I am frustrated that IF Merila is the person we have been looking for, for so many years has had a chance to live and enjoy his life. The thing to top it off, If Merila did it, He would have never been caught if he didn’t continue to hurt people, his DNA would have never been put in the Data Base if he would have not done some thing to put his DNA in the Data Base.
    I don’t know any thing about Merila I don’t want to know any thing about Merila.
    I do want to finally put this to rest for Kelly, for Ermie, For Kelly’s Mom Linda. They all paid the ultimate price for a seemingly small request, Justice. You are right it is only for god to judge but it is our responseability as adults to keep people safe. I hope every day my children never have to Burrie any one close to them. I hope my children never know what it is like to loose some thing so good and full of life for no reason at all. I know we don’t live in a perfact world I know we can only do our best, but I also know that the person that did this destroyed a lot of lives and for what….? If it is proved that Merila did this? Then after all these years and all the chances he had in this life to do anything good? I Have no mercy for him.

  58. Mommie Dearest:

    Kudos…I couldn’t have said it any better! Yes, ultimately, God will judge Merila, but in the meantime, if guilty, he should not continue to “enjoy” his life. Kelly and Ermie did nothing wrong except trust the wrong person and ended up paying the ultimate price. There must be a penalty for that and it cannot wait until the guilty meets his maker. Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, we have laws in this country to protect the populus as a whole and those laws cannot be used discriminately but must apply to all equally.

  59. ifeel for the loss of these young women but also I know first hand what it feels like to have to burrie someone very dear to me. So I understand the Pain I am just Saying We need to let the law handle this matter And at the same time Be able to trust god Because I think that He has the upper hand in this matter. AS far as the legal system goes no matter if merila is found innocent everyone will still think that he did it regardless of the ouitcome and i think that its wrong that people sit here and slam him when nobady really knows for sure . like i said only Merila and GOD know the Truth to what really happen that bad night. I pray for everyone to be strong and have a open heart to all of the coming days in the hearings. GOD BLESS AND i WILL BE PRAYING FOR EVERYONE

  60. If citing a mans history is a slam, then just maybe its a testiment of his character. Facts are facts and God gave us the common sense to understand the difference between right and wrong, some people just don’t seem to get it. Obviously the police aren’t going to publish every fact they have, but we do know this, his girlfriend at the time is the person who found the bodies, she also later told police he told her where they were ( ), he admitted to having sex with an unknown girl that night, his DNA on Kelly, his criminal history since proving his lack of character … and the list goes on and on and on …
    I am not God, nor would I ever profess to be even close, but I do have God given common sense, and nothing anyone can ever say about this man can alter the facts, its not judgement that dictates what the facts are, its reality. He is at the very least guilty of having sex with a 16 yr old girl at the age of 20, numerous various drug charges in multiple locations, and various other crimes including aggravated battery. It is not judgement that makes these things true, its his own admissions. He had over 20 yrs to try to redeem himself, he did not. What a man does with his life after making any mistake is how he defines his character, Merila has defined his character time and again. Again, facts not judgement. Sorry if you choose to refuse to admit it. Also sorry you feel I’m wrong for stating the facts.
    Kelly and Ermie deserve better than to have this confused with sympathy for the wrong person. This man has no credibility, and those poor girls can’t speak for themselves. God will speak for them with Merila I’m sure, but thats later, for now its just us and our justice system (pathetic as it can sometimes be). Why is it that sympathizers are the first to call others judgemental and possibly mistaken, without ever acknowledging that they are human and can be wrong as well. If I had knowingly done anything to help this man escape justice I’d be looking for a rock to crawl under in shame. Facts are Facts

  61. BOB,
    Are you an investigater on this case ? Do you know Merila first hand? Because you seem to be babbling about a bunch of stuff you know nothing about. Facts are facts but do you know yours? I have come to conclusion that you are not who you say you are. People are trusting in a false image that you are giving them. I know that you think your facts are right but you know they arent. As far as the case goes I hope that we can all pull thought this.

  62. ahhhh amanda, straight to insults huh? Guess your high Christian values only apply to your family, so how many times did you help merila elude the police?
    I have never claimed to be an officer of the court, if you assumed that then it is a wrong assumption. Investigator – one who investigates. My investigations are my hobby not my vocation. Ok, my real name isn’t bob, some people actually use alias’ on the net.
    My information comes from court records, eye witness accounts, and numerous interviews. But I tell you what amanda, I may be hard but I’m fair, if there is something I’m misinformed about let me know, I’ll be glad to include a correction with an appology. Once I can verify it of course, something I do before I believe anyone. In fact, I strongly suggest everyone do the research themself before trusting the blogs on the net.
    Trust my facts not, thats your perrogative, we’ll see when its all over who has been babbling.

  63. I am not interested in creating a “pissing” match, but here’s my thoughts on the subject. Amanda, if Merila is such an upstanding citizen, falsely accused, and innocent of this crime, then answer this one simple question…Mark was in the desert that night, he was partying with Kelly and/or Ermie, he had sex with a minor (Kelly) as his DNA was present on her person and/or clothing , the girls turns up dead, he keeps his mouth shut for 20 years….If he wasn’t involved in their murder, why didn’t he come forward and say I was there, but I didn’t kill them…Kelly was still alive after I had sex with her? Last time I checked, a statutory rape charge is not grounds for a death penalty case or even life imprisonment and if he had been honest and upfront about his involvement in having sex with a minor (if he didn’t commit the murder) twenty years ago, he would have already served his time (if any) and been done. Doesn’t take genius IQ to figure out that he kept his mouth shut because there was a whole lot more to it than just having sex with a minor!

  64. Sounds like Investigator Bob (are is your name Terry) is someone who holds a “bone-to-pick” with Mark and this is his 10 minutes of fame. Keep your speculations to yourself and stop fueling the fire. As far as your facts concerning Mark in Arizona, he was acquitted of these two charges in Dec. 2004 and then went to Florida. If you have gone over the court records like you said, you would have discovered this little fact. Oh, forgot, you are the investigator.

    Let the court system do what it does best. With God’s help, the truth will be known. So sit back and wait, or is that an unreasonable request?

  65. I’ll double check about the Dec. 04 Arizona incident, but it is really a minor detail all things considered. Fair is fair though and I will attempt to verify the exact sequence if that makes you happy. As far as who I am, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there with a “bone to pick” with Merila. Your effort to figure out who I am rather than refuting the DNA, or the “girlfriends” statements, or even his own admissions is a statement in itself. The attempt to redirect this to being about anyone’s “claim to fame” is sad. There is no fame to be found in what has happened, not for anyone involved. This isn’t about anyone else except Kellie, Ermie, and Merila. My conclusions based on evidence are my right. Those who wish to speculate as to his innocence because he’s a “nice guy” have the same right. Which brings up the point P Dodson, if you practiced what you preached, wouldn’t someone else have to tell me to keep my speculations to myself?

  66. I should have done the google thing sooner. I’ve been missing out. Welcome to my world Bob. Form an opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs and you will be attacked. They will question your integrity, file phony complaints and charges against you, bring up any mistake you’ve ever made, call your employer, start rumors about you, believe 1 totally biased witness over dozens of others, and in every way possible do everything they can to blame the accuser or the victim instead of Mark. Up to and including death threats. Been there, got all that. For 4 years I have been blamed for almost every thing he has done wrong. Probably my fault somehow for all his previous crimes as well. Your opinions are probably my fault too. You see I made a terrible mistake, I survived to testify. No matter who had what role in what began our confrontation it ended in Mark standing over me with a pipe and a stranger dragging my unarmed body out from under him. He decided to choke me, he decided to try to kick my ribs in, he decided to grab a pipe and try to cave my head in. I’ve made people mad before, that’s not the usual response. There are still some who believe it never happened, still some who will deny every single witnesses statements. He plead guilty to that crime. He skipped out on his sentence.
    I don’t have a “bone to pick” with Mark. The state of Florida took care of that. I do despise the man and everything he represents. I have never been shy about voicing my opinion of him either. I’m quite sure that he doesn’t like me much either. But I’m not here to argue, I’ve heard it all way too many times. I was passing thru and couldn’t resist chiming in after reading the blogs. So, if your referring to me, there’s my 2 minutes of fame P Dodson, hope you enjoyed it.

  67. WOW, I can not believe some of the things I am reading.
    This is about Kelly and Ermie and all those poeple whose lives were changed in so many ways. None of them for the good. I know very little about the law. I know nothing about Mark. I will tell you what I do know. Good poeple don’t end up in the courts over and over! Poeple get off on technacalities but that does not make them inacent! I wonder what Mark’s story is. I bet he says he didn’t do it. Who in there right mind would say other wise? What is he supposed to say?
    This is for all of you who defend this man. I bet you think you know him real well, well I am telling you… You probobly dont know him any better than me and I have never met him! I would love to know all about this case. I want to hear about the facts… AND If Mark did it I want to see him pay for it. I am watching all of this, Poeple comming together and sharing their feelings, supporting each other in every way when it comes to this case. We are not against each other, and frankly I want to hear every ones opions whether I agree or not. I want to hear the facts whether I like them or not. But we are not here to attack each other, their religon or beliefs. We are here because we care…
    Terri? Will you tell me more about what you were talking about? How did you know Mark? Did you know each other well?
    Investigater Bob, I appriciate the support you give us on this side of the whole thing. I agree, Mark is not this loving, giving person he wants us to see. I think to much have been said and done to show otherwise. I think Mark has his own view of him self that is very different than what we see and I am sure his wife and family share that vision with him, they are supposed too, this is his familly. If you want to know the truth I am really more concerned if he is found guilty how these poeples live will then be torn apart. Like ours were 22 years ago.
    Amanda and Paula, it is like every one is here trying to show you the sky is blue and you wont open your eyes and look at the blue sky. Expect the unexpected. There is nothing that is going to prepair you for the truth if it is not the same thing you know as the truth. May God Help us all through this and keep us strong and wise with wide open eyes and hearts.

  68. The support comes with no appreciation necessary. And thank you. Sorry, I get a little frustrated when I hear an opinion is only reasonable when it assumes innocence, no matter how unreasonable the assumption is. I presumed instead to look at the evidence offered. So far the only offering against that evidence has been a questioning of a small technicality. The only response to the other 20 + assertions was personal attacks. Seems terry was right about that. I have no problem at all with people disagreeing with me, but throw some evidence out there. show me why the “girlfriend” lied, show me why the DNA is wrong, explain to me how he was set-up 22 years in advance. I understand the families loyalty and love to Merila. No one would blame them for that. But, love and loyalty are not an excuse for all actions. Nor should the victims families and friends loss be minimized because of any sufferring the accused has brought upon his own family. They defend the source of their grief. Anyone who does a crime of this nature destroys lives in all directions. I would be inclined to feel more mercy if I hadn’t found out in march that several of the family and friends knew of the murder investigation and his involvment as early as 2005.


  70. Maricopa law enforcement began questioning friends and family as to his whereabouts around Dec 2005. Even with the benefit of doubt as to prior knowledge, at least a few family and friends knew from that point on they were helping a potential murderer of little girls escape justice. I understand the “moral dilemma” they were in, torn between family and the police, but we’re not talking jaywalking. I can’t imagine how a person can decide that their personal faith in family justifies helping the murder of 2 young girls go unsolved. If found innocent it will be “see we were right to help him he was innocent”. What if he’s found guilty, or worse yet, what if he’s guilty and his DNA comes up on a murder from the first few months of 2006? I wander if that thought crossed their minds. As to the case, it will all be decided on what evidence the jury is allowed to see. If the “girlfriends” statements, both original and recent, and the DNA to back it up, gets in front of the jury its done.

  71. It just amazes me that poeple knew what was going on in a case like this and the possibility he is guilty still helped him walk the streets. I think if he is found guilty the poeple like his ex-girlfriend who lied about how she found the girls in the first place should be prosicuted right alond side of him. 22 years of waiting because of her statment to the police back in 84.
    Linda if you are following this you are my hero in pushing for justice!

  72. Has any one heard any word on this case?

  73. Latest update is that the prosecutor had to take the case back to the grand jury for a third time. Once again, they ruled that there was sufficient evidence to issue an arrest warrant. Merila has been arraigned again and entered a plea of not guilty. Initial pretrial conference is set for January 9, 2008. We have waited this long for justice, we must now keep the faith and see it through to the end.

  74. Kelly I miss you so much the time we spent together were the greatest days of my life I still hear your voice I still see your smile I feel you holding me tight you are and will always be my star shining bright The day I came to find out you were gone I was coming over to tell you I love you but you were gone so you never got to hear my words I know you hear my prayers the tears still roll down my face whenever I think of how much I miss you but I know you must miss me too I feel you in my heart I feel you around me and I know we will be together again I have never felt love like I do for you forever and always I will be with you

  75. you can contact me at

  76. Trial date is set. Jury selection to begin 7/14/2008.

  77. thank you for this site.

    i’m so glad to see something has come up for these girls! the trial is so close now. i also knew Kelly and Ermie from mesa jr. and mesa vista. i’d like to know what kind of a vehicle this marila guy had back then. when we were kids we were so into who was driving what. we knew boys sometimes, first because of their ‘wheels’ and would even hop in with our girlfriends without knowing a boy. if their ride was ‘bitchin’ with a loud stereo, shiney rims, loud mufflers and he dressed like he was in the band ratt, we thought of the driver as safe, cool, instantly. sooo stupid/now to look back at that. we were innocent and lost that innocents when Kelly and Ermie were taken from themselves and us. if i remember correctly it was said the girls were last seen getting into a pick-up truck at the convenience store on stapley and 8th ave. i believe? if there isn’t a picture available of marila from back in the day (because i, like you women who knew Kelly and Ermie as kids, have wondered myself with shivers if i had ever met the beast that did this to them). is it possible to come up with what kind of vehicle he drove? was it indeed a pick-up or something else? investigator bob?

    christine, i think i know you. melissa i think i know you too. if you went to holmes elementary school i’m certain it’s you. i wish everyone well and am glad to know these young girls still live on Forever in our Hearts and it’s beautiful to know even though we were blessed with them for too short of a time that they left a life time of their love in us… while we so patiently root for them and their justice. God Bless.

  78. thankyou kim for turning me on to this site! Kelly and Ermy were my best friends we were together almost everyday, I missed my friends by one hour that night!One f#$&ing hour anybody who knows me knows nothing would have happened if I were there!!!!Talk about emotional crap to cary around all these years.To scott?or mark? or what ever alias he so chooses to use,Someone destroyed a minimum of a hundred lives the day they killed those girls! First and foremost their families,their friends, their friends families E.T.C. I was severely affected and still am. I am thankfull that someone is behind bars, his DNA was found does that make anyone guilty? no! But all the other evedence that has been found certainly points the finger at your beloved familly member! I of all people truely beleive in innocent until proven guilty.As for him not telling on his partner I have always been told three can keep a secret as long as the other two are dead!!!! HHHMMMM which also makes me wonder!!!!I was harrassed non stop by detectives over this,not only did I lose my friends but I was a suspect F&^%you and your winey brother,uncle,or whom ever it may be MY F$%#ing DNA wasn’t on thier clothes! I never had sex with them! so let him endure this if he is innocent let his maker set him free if not let him ROT IN HELL

  79. I was friends with Marie …Irmalinda’s older sister and was their neighbor…I often wondered what had happened in this situation…I often felt guilt for some strange reason…I was to attend a desert party the weekend the girls went missing…my friend Cindy and Kelly had a fight and I decided not to drive us all to the party…I never seen Irmalinda or Kelly again. Was this clown convicted? Where does it stand now and does anybody know whatever happened to Marie Ianuzzi? Thanks. Mindy

  80. Not sure what happened to Marie I havent heard from her in years, and this mark guy has trial starting July 14th unless they postpone it we are all still waiting to see what is going on.

  81. Chandra, Its Melissa. How are you? Its been years since we spoke. I havnt been on this for a while but i have just been watching to see who is going sine in. are you still in the Valley?

  82. hi melissa and…. others, (meaning ie.. those that defend the side of the deceased’) this is kimi. i don’t know if i know you (melissa) did you go to holmes school, mesa jr. or vista? in a cryptic situation like this i trust my companions which you clearly seem to be:) i’m friends with channy/chandra, i see you commented to her today. if you didn’t read the above, i did know the girls. my memories of them consist of… besides seeing them at school, they had little stuffed animals that they carried with them, when they’d greet friends, they would take their stuffed animal and sweetly put it to our cheek and make a kissy noise.

    i did leave message with chandra letting her know you contacted her.

    as kids, we were all hit too soon with this tragedy. i, and i’m sure like you, could never fathom what their families went through and are going through. if you are living here in town now, ( ….and even those who knew the girls, if you reside here in az. ; christina, mindy, lori, vito anyone in support of the girls and their families, etc.. ) i’m trying to schedule a get together on July 13, the day before marilla’s trial. since we can’t be present, maybe we could have some sort of dinner/vigil/ get together/candle ceremony/ or if in the mood, an effigy burning, if you will. meaning; a burning at the steak of a psuedo/fake bastard, like at high school footballgames!/or what ever.

    it’s clear that after all these years most us here are on this site are putting our love and hopes of justice towards the girls and their families behalf while at the same time looking for some sort of peace and safety within our selves for our own families. what was done to these girls is a crime far worse than one done by any animal, and far below human. God forbid this ever happend. i know kelly and ermie’s families would appreciate although maybe unbeknownst to them the additional support in this, thus far. i’m glad we have at the very least come together here with our thoughts, our words, our memories, our wishes and prayers for a worthy outcome. is a get together possible? when you are amongst friends you go farther, and faster. please comment, or if you have a better idea or time frame, please say so. i see many years of hearts involved in this by reading the comments above. i’m sure like chandra said, more than 100 lives have been changed, for forever. i can’t help but want to bring us together out side of this page because we are unterlaced by more than 20 years. it’s clear, we are joined together and won’t be blown away as wished.

  83. AAAAAAHHHHH yes Melissa it is me LOL i’ve been good,Kimi and I thought this was you when she came accross this site.How have you been? Yes I am still in the valley.I wondered where you were I have your #tried to call but I didnt have the id # so I thought i’d leave you a message here too.I would like to go to this trial and support the girls and their familys. I think if this guy has to see the faces of the people he has devastated maybe he will conviently remember what happened that night.Strange how the girlfriend who knew about this for twenty four years has not had any reprocussions over this.I agree with Kimi I think we do need to all get together and visit and reminisce about the GOOD times with the girls and each other.I to remember the stuffed animals thanks Kimi that was funny.

  84. Chandra, call back and ask for Melissa, I am the only Melissa here. You spoke to some one right next to me.

  85. Kimi,
    That sounds like a great Idea. I am sorry I did not see your note above until today. I am not sure I remember you & I am sorry Their were truly a lot of us back then. Like Chandra said hundreds. I am really surprinsed there are not more here on this site.
    As far as your idea goes I think this would be a great Idea and I would be happy to be there. Do you have some place in mind?

  86. LMOL I didnt want to get you in trouble that dude was asking all kinds of buisness. I will call on the 9th ill call kimi and see if theres a place centraly located so we dont have far to go.I guess his trial is pushed back till sept but thats okay he’s not going anywhere!!!!!!!

  87. Chandra, do you still have the email address? Send me an email tomorrow and I will reply imm with my direct line.

  88. i will look at my yahoo account if not we will figure it out

  89. Hi girls, it’s me. I’m still here paying close attention. Thanks for the comments Melissa and Chandra. I like the ‘good memories’ idea too:) Much love chickadees. I can’t wait to see you soon.

  90. Trial is today. Are we all still going even if it’s closed???

  91. Unfortunately the case has been continued til September. Kimi

  92. let’s try to get together soon girls. I would love to share stories and memories of these little beauties that have left such holes in our lives, thanks to Merila.

  93. I would love to get together sometime to reminisce as well – Christine – thank you for the updates! You’re the best 🙂

  94. what is everyone doing this saturday eve? i still live in town. is there any place you all are fond of? sundays and mondays are good for me too, day or eve.

    hi lori, your ears must have been burning cause i see it’s been awhile since you’ve been on:) does your maiden name start with an n? just wondering if i know you too:)

    and hi christine. i remember your brothers and you:) i saw this evenings news on channel 3. they said marila is being held on 3 counts of murder. i hate that freaking word! god bless.

    christine thank you for keeping us all in tune with the trial. i called this the courts this morning and was told it was at 8:30am today. you were more up to date than they were. channy told me through you the date has been pushed up. although i did learn that i will be an open trial so we can go.


  95. Hello ladies i’m wathcing the news hopeing that I can see something,I would love to get together with all of you. Dionna’s daughter is celebrating her b-day on sat night so maybe sun. or mon any day I will make sure I am there. I miss those beautyful girls too, what a prick he is….. And yes christine for helping all of us it is truely important for all of us.And I do feel the girls and i’m sure they feel our support.

  96. Hi kimi,
    No my last name started with a K – I did go to Holmes, Mesa Jr and Mesa High tho….

  97. Chandra, I have been moving the last couple of weeks, I will dig every thing out this weekend and give you a call back, I have been so busy. I am sorry It have been so long.

  98. Hello ladies it is the 24th anniversary of the girls death… hope all of you are remembering all the good times we had, I often wonder what they would be doing now. Kelly would be 40 and Ermie would be 38. All the years i’ve missed giving them hell for getting old….I hope the dirty bastard rots in HELL may he remember this day as vividly as we do.

    Hey melissa sounds good I would like to hear from you.And christina if you pop on i’d like to hear from you too.

  99. Well, I just wanted to drop a line to tell every one Hi and ask for an update on the trial.

  100. I did not know Kelly, but I know her family. I have been reading this blog for a while now and never posted anything because aI was not sure how Kelly’s mom, grandmother, step father or brother would feel about it. I spoke to kelly”s mom today and told her about this website. She is going to look at it since she didn’t know it was here. Jury selection in the trial began today. Testimony begins tomorrow. Oct 7,2008. For those who want to be there and support kelly and the family, it is at the Central Courthouse in room 804. At least that’s where it was today. I’m not sure if they have everything in the same court room. Hope to see some of you there.

  101. Thankyou Lucy I talked to Chritine today and she and I will be there tomorrow..I have met Linda many times and knew rick very well his sister and ermy were my best friends and I miss them dearly. I am exstatic that they finally have this dirty bastard….

  102. I cannot find anything about Scott’s trial starting or anything. Can someone update us and let us know what happens today?

    This is the case files for the trial. They were in the process of selecting a jury as of yesterday. I was part of the pool but asked to be dismissed as this case parallels what I am going through in my life currently. I pray that justice is served, as I am a mom seeking justice for my son and his best friend who were brutally attacked (my son suffers from a TBI and his best friend was murdered in January 2007) and we are still waiting for their attackers to be arrested. We know who they are, we know that they live in our neighborhood, and we know we don’t feel safe. I’d really like to see that Ms.Wimmer gets to live long enough to see that her daughter gets the justice that she deserves. I’d also like to see Ermalinda’s family get the justice deserved and be able to close this horrible chapter in their lives. My prayers are with all the victim’s families and the jury that they will return with the correct verdict.

    thank you so much for the link!

  104. The trial has started. Kelly and Ermalinda’s mothers testified today. The case continues tomorrow then will break until Monday. Both mothers did fine on the stand. You could see they both were trying so hard not to break down.

  105. I was taking a bath tonight and had the news on. (which I never do, its usually E channel, weird). I am having an 80’s themed birthday party next week so I have been looking at old photos from Mesa Jr. Unfortunately i do not have any of Kelly & Ermie. With all this said, I was friends with Kelly.
    I have and will not ever forget hearing that ‘Kelly had been raped and murdered’ and as a young 13-14 year old teen girl it instantly FORCES me to recognize that the world is not so easy as I had thought. I truly look over my shoulder in parking lots, and fear being murdered/raped to this day. The tragic loss of Ermy and Kelly have affected not just family but their school friends also.
    Kelly’s murder has never left my thoughts. She will pop up in my head at the most random times or when ANOTHER young woman’s life has been taken way to soon and unfairly. I’ll never forget her smile or her always wearing a flannel shirt as an accessory with her tight jeans (as we all did-zipping them up with pliers) then off to Skateland we went.
    I truly hope that Kelly & Ermy’s family can get the closure and the justice system works. To the parents, I hope you can feel a sense of love that your daughters still live on in our hearts and minds. xx

  106. I was in court today thankyou Christine for letting me know about the hearing.I thought of you kimmi and did not have your # I am sorry. All of our support is needed for the mothers of these girls.I know how I felt when these two increadably happy and loving young ladies were taken from my life. I cannot ever imagine how Arlene and Linda feel. It isn’t bad enough to have to live everyday with the pain of this tragedy. Now they are reliving this night mare 24 years later on the stand in front of the girls accused killer. The time is here. Although, I wish it had happened sooner I am not complaining.. It is now time for us to come together and show support for our friends and their familys and get some closure to this tragedy and let our friends REST IN PEACE. I will be in that courtroom every day, waiting for the day they finally read the verdict. That scum sucking bastard is guilty of all charges…


    There is a more current picture of this guy Mark/Scott whatever his name is. Put his hair in a ponytail and put a suit on him and that’s what he’s looking like in court.

  108. Chandra, I dont have the option to go to the court house right now, can you please keep me updated. Thanks!

  109. Ok but I need you to get ahold of me melissa I dont have your # in my phone.

  110. I am Kelly’s mother. Thank you for all your thoughts, love, memories & support. Thanks too for being here for me, Arlene & Mr.Iannuzzi and the families. The heartache and pain is always with us all, but we will get through this one day at a time. Love Linda, Rich ,Rick & Grandma Daline

  111. Boy all I can say is this is tuff……Linda, Arlene and everyone else that loved these girls and still carry their hearts around daily. This trial is supposed to help with some sort of closure. I am not sure it will work for me. Not only have we had 24 years of not knowing and the build up of anger and hurt is just flat wrong. And now, having to sit through this trial is very difficult. They decided today that they will try to finish up trial on Thursday afternoon so If any of you can make it, please feel free to come and show their parents and family support as the girls would for us. I was there this afternoon and listened to additional testimony and its funny, someone on this blogg, way early on stated “Mark is a very loving and compasionate man”, well if that is true where is his loving family support? There are none thats why the defense side is empty! What does that tell ya? Take care and hope to see any of you on Thursday at 1:15.

    We love and miss you Ermie & Kelly 🙂 Friends Forever!!!
    You two left some very happy scars in many lives

  112. Christine,
    Thanks so much for the update. I have wanted to be at the trial but unfortunately work would not allow it. Do you have a gut feeling on how the prosecution’s case went???? I am hoping that after all these years they had a ROCK SOLID case. By finishing up the trial do you mean the prosecution’s case or the defense case or both??? Any additional information would be appreciated.

  113. Hi evryone,
    Can we get some updated photos of Kelly from Jr High/or above. I would love to see her again the way i remeber her. She had such a happy sweet face! Please.
    Love Kimberly

  114. Hi everyone,
    Can we get some updated photos of Kelly from Jr High/or above. I would love to see her again the way i remember her. She had such a happy sweet face! Please. I always was envious as a peer of hers of her strength and confidence. Whether it was a mask (as a young girl) or not I always wanted to be like her.
    Love Kimberly

  115. Hello ladies, WOW I have been blessed to be able to go to the trial everyday, it is hard but the thought of closure after 24 years is bitter sweet. I have enjoyed reminiscing with Linda and Arlene about the funny things the girls did, it makes the trial a little easier to deal with. Anyone if you can go please do. Melissa you have Chritine’s e-mail give her your # so we can get back in touch, Kimi call me my sweet we have lots to chat about.

  116. Chandra, I know longer have the email address but i will reach you one way or another. I too have really enjoyed thinking about the good times we have had and would like to talk to linda as well. I want to thank every one for keeping me in the loop but I have to say I dont check this as often as I should do to a lot of emotions it brings. I am so glad i found this web site and wish we had this years ago. I think we would have all stayed in touch but now we just have a lot of catching up to do, as well as a lot of tears. I know this should be a happy moment for every one but in this case time did not heal but only made it worse and more frustrating. Linda I have thought about you often over the years and hoped one day we would meet again. Looks like I am the only one who has not been able to go to the trial or meet up with any one, its time I change that. Please watch for my number in you email.

  117. Sounds like the trial is moving along pretty quickly. I’m hoping for the best outcome – Ms. Wimmer and Mr. & Mrs. Ianuzzi – my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, and have been since the day I heard about Kelly and Ermie (even tho I don’t know if I knew Ermie) – and I have thought about them very often throughout the years. Justice is finally on the horizon. Take care all. Will be waiting to hear the outcome.

  118. Melissa, if you look at earlier messages Christines e-mail is on there. If you contact her she will give you my #.

  119. Any updates from the trial? I have not been able to get out of work to attend. My thoughts are with Kelly & Ermie’s family and friends. Fingers crossed and praying for justice for Kelly & Ermie!

  120. I wish we had cell phones back then….

    please tell Kelly’s Mom to call me I am living in NY now my number is 845*264*3779 I want to come out to see her

  121. Hi everyone that is concerned with the case unfortunatly per the judge we are not allowed to say anything. But I am hopefull that the prosecuter has all his evedince together.If you have anyway to get in touch with Christine or give your # to bmp and she will e-mail me and we can all get together…It is comming down to the wire. Vito I was one of Kelly and ermys dear friends and I do not recall her ever telling me about you.Please refresh my memory I can’t say if Linda will call But i’ll tell her you left her a message.

  122. I had only met her weeks before she was taking
    I was good friends with Sherri
    call me tomorrow Im going to bed now

  123. Vito I am not calling, And Sherri who? I saw kelly everyday and she never mentioned anything.

  124. Chandra,

    Thanks for the trial update. I was not looking for specific details as I know that you guys cannot discuss it. I was just looking for the “gut feeling” of those attending the trial as to how the prosecution’s case is proceeding and if it appeared to be solid. Again, thanks for letting us know. Fingers crossed and praying for justice for Kelly and Ermie!

  125. Hi Mona, I am sorry that I can’t be more detailed it is difficult to hear some of the things that are being said but all of us have to have a brave face. After all is said and done we will get together and talk.

  126. Chandra,

    I saw the article this morning on I know that this is a difficult time for everyone and I so appreciate you sharing what you can. I guess I am just hoping that we all get the closure (if there really is such a thing) that we have been seeking for all these years. I am sure all of us are feeling the same things and I hope that Kelly and Ermie will be able to rest peacefully knowing that justice was served. I am sure that even when (I don’t say “if” because I am staying positive) Merila is found guilty, we will never get the one answer we all want…WHY? Again, thanks for keeeping us (me) updated and I look forward to the opportunity to meet everyone and share our memories of Kelly and Ermie 🙂


    Finally an article about this case. I am still praying that justice is served.

  128. Chandra,

    I sent an email to bmp asking her to give you my contact info. When you get it, please send me an email as I have a question I want to ask outside of this blog.

  129. Sounds good hon I will. I got the paper when I went to the store today and almost lost it. I am trying to be strong but it still effects me as if it just happened. And the families need people to be strong for them as well. Everyone please pray it is really in the jurys hands after this week.

  130. I was a friend of Marie’s at Longfellow Elementary. Ermie was like a little sister to me during the years I was close with Arlene’s family. Marie went to MJS, I went to Powell then Taylor…and we lost touch.
    I remember hearing about Ermie right before I started my Jr. year in HS, I was DEVASTATED! I went to their old apartment on University but I don’t think they were there anymore.
    Several months later I SWEAR I saw Marie and her dad in Mervyn’s on Main…I saw her, I saw him, I stared so long she looked up at me, all I could say or do was say I’m sorry and I walked away and cried.
    I am old now, and my own kids are adults, but Kelly and Ermie’s story played in our house on more than one occassion. As well as warnings about things that happened while Marie and I were at Longfellow.
    Today, was reading the editorials, and I saw Kelly’s name on the next page–I went back to the front of that section and started reading.
    My heart sank again, I cannot believe after more than 20 years, there is evidence to bring justice. I am so relieved and so thankful that there will be some type of justice to this case.
    Marie, Linda, Mr. I: If any of you actually read this blog post please know that even tho life broke us apart==Marie you remain one of the few happy childhood memories of my life, and I am so so very sorry that you all had to go through this. I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to talk to you in Mervyns. I’m sorry.

  131. It still affects me the same way. I can’t read anything about them without tearing up and at the same time I am drawn to reading anything and everything about that night. All of you are in my thoughts. We will all get through this one day at a time. I pray the jury has the strength to see that justice is done.

  132. Thoughts and prayers are very welcome. Talk aloud about it to everyone you can. It actually helps others be aware of what our society holds and hides. It has affected me every day of my life and actually has helped me raise my daughter in a safer invironment, it helps to be aware of what horror lurkes our there. Talking about it hurts, but helps healing. I don’t think there will ever be closure due to the fact it has taken this long just wondering and waiting for justice. Merila looks like a very ugly man inside and out and as we sit through trial I just have to believe justice will be served. I stand strong on my faith that he will be judged by his peers in this life and will be judged before the rightous God in the next life. He has not only hurt families and friends but he also robbed our society of some wonderful people. Keep your head high and your faith positive and strong through this trial.

  133. Chandra,
    It was great talking to you last night. Thanks for taking care of all that stuff I emailed you. My thoughts are with everyone and I am praying for us all to be strong and see this to the end. Thanks again, and I look foward to meeting you in person when this is all done! (PS – I owe you a beer or twelve lol.)

  134. Thanks Mona it was nice talking to you to. I just want everyone to know the trial is comming to and end so please pray for the girls and they’re families. It is up to the jury now so hopefully the verdict will come down soon.

  135. Just an FYI – The case went to the jury on Thursday about 4:30. They will return on Monday and will deliberate then and pray we get a favorable verdict. I will keep you posted. I would like to plan some type of candle light vigil in memory of the girls soon.

  136. -Chandra-
    Again, it was nice to talk to you too. We are all anxiously waiting for the verdict, and when this is all said and done I am surely buying you a drink! I am with you praying for a favorable verdict.

  137. Thankypu Mona Hopefully they will come back with a verdict soon. And pray that it is a guilty one.

  138. THEY CONVICTED THE BASTARD ON ALL COUNTS !!!! I just got a call from Kelly’s grandmother and the jury came back guilty.

  139. Okay, I have kept quiet while reading all the conversations back and forth, some for and some against and to tell you the truth, I am not for either side, but I do want to say something. First of all, I feel very sorry for the families of these girls. They lost God’s greatest gift to us other than Himself and that is a very sad thing. Secondly, Mr Merila has probably made some bad decisions in his life or he would not of been in either the Florida or California jail, but I don’t think that everyone is looking at the whole BIG picture. These girls were 16 and 14 years old… What were they doing at this party in the desert at that age? Are the parents accepting any responsibility here? Now I know you are all getting ready to flame me, but I think that there is a strong message here that PARENTS need to be PARENTS and know where you kids are. It is not your job to be their friend, so you fail to keep tabs on them or want to know their every move. You probably wonder why I think I can say these things, well probably the same reason you all think you can. Like are you the only ones that can have an opinion. Let me tell you something. I have a daughter, and by the way, she is my ONLY child. She was sleeping in her room one night and a young man came through the window and RAPED her. Now, yes, I do think that man should of fried, but he got not a moment of police attention, but you know what, she was at home and not at some party. I see so many girls out there and the way they are allowed to dress and the way they are allowed this freedom, I am not saying that they deserve to be raped and or killed, but we as parents have to assume some sort of responsibility for our kids. It is our God given job to protect, nurture and raise our kids. I am not justifying the actions of Mr. Merila or anyone who does this, but if nothing else and you have children – PLEASE be thier parent and keep the reins on them. It is not how many friends we allow them to have by having the freedom, it is how many days we get to enjoy them in all sorts of ways. Please LOVE your kids and keep them away from harm by being tough. BTW, feel free to go ahead and flame me in any way you want, because I will not be back on this site, but if I can make one person be more protective of the child he or she has been blessed with, then I have done a good job here. We don’t have to stop watching our kids cross the street when they think they are old enough. Peace be with you all and may God help you have closure on this. Mr Merila – God knows whether you did this or not and I truthfully do not know how they found you quilty from just a spec of semen as disclosed, but if you did it. Come clean and say you are sorry, it is what you SHOULD do. If not, then may God see you through your sentence.

    Note from blog owner


    Please do NOT come here and blame these children’s parents for what happened. Period. It is NOT their fault. For one thing, it was a different time and place back then. Kids did party late and that was the norm. It is offensive that you come here and compare the rape of your child home in her bed to the murder of these girls. As sad as it is, yes, your daughter’s rape could be turned around against you as well and let you feel helpless too. But read my comment policy before ever commenting again. Here, the victim’s family and the victims are not to be blame (unless they are the ones accused or convicted)

  140. Bonnie is it? Yes you are about to get reamed. First and foremost these girls were two of my best friends.Second there mothers didn’t toss them to the streets to go to a party. You do not know them you have absolutely no place in stateing that opinion. And Mr. Merila as you would like to refer to him as, Had more than a speck of semen on kellys panties!!!!!And OH MY as his rotten luck would have it he stumbles on the bodies of one of the underage girls he conviently had sex with. Before you open your judgemental mouth you might want to get all of the facts. Like the fact that he addmitted to kidnapping the girls!!!! So if you have no interest and you don’t know what your talking about you need to just keep your mouth shut!!!!!

  141. I am so glad that the jury found him guilty. He deserves what sentence Judge Whitton puts on him. That man was frightening to look at during jury selection and I have prayed that the jury would do the right thing. Every victim of a crime deserves to get justice for the crime committed against them. I hope that someday my son will get justice for the vicious assault he has endured.

  142. I am sorry for what happened to your son, I see you mentioned something had happened to him in earlier posts. I really liked the judge and the procecuting attys they were all great. We got to meet some of the jurrors after the verdict was given. And yes he was a bit hard to look at. I just wanted to look in the eyes of the jerk who murdered my friends…

  143. WOW Bonnie that’s some cold hearted s#!t. The parents weren’t on trial last I checked. How does poking the victim’s friends and family in the eye make you feel better about your pathetic opinion? It’s a free country and all but jeez. if you don’t have anything nice to say shut the hell up!

    When I became entwined in this nightmare a month ago I knew nothing of this case or people involved. Who would have known showing up for jury duty would lead down the path we were on. I still have a hard time believing anyone could commit such an act.
    The evidence in this case was overwhelming on many levels. We as jurors came to a consensus much faster than I was expecting considering the type of evidence in this case. I wasn’t sure if the others on the jury were as convinced of Marks guilt as I was. It became evident rather quickly once we were able to talk to each other about the case that we were all on the same page. Condemning a man to life in prison was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, but it was the right thing to do. The evidence showed us the truth and we did our job. None of us could buy the story that he just happened to stumble across the dead body of the girl he had sex with a few nights before. Then ask his 6 month pregnant 16 year old girlfriend to cover up his role in the discovery. What a dip-s#!t. You don’t need to catch Mark or his accomplice with the rock in his hand to know he was part of snuffing the life from these 2 girls.

    To Mark Merila,
    Is there internet in prison? Hope you get to read this somehow. Maybe somebody going to visit him will give him a copy for me. Please for your souls sake spill the beans on this ordeal. If you can do one good thing in your life now’s the time. These people need this. You ripped a giant hole in the lives of countless people. You enjoyed a 24 year won-ton crime spree before we brought you to justice for murdering these kids. Is it asking too much to come clean just this once. Your life on the outside is over now. Raping and killing little girls is off your To-Do list. Please do just one selfless act and bring closure to this case and any other unsolved acts you left in the wake of your life. Help you help yourself find peace from the demon inside you.

    Juror #15

  144. I sit here tonight thinking I always knew that this person would be caught and justice would be served just as someday i knew it would
    There is no way I can fully express how wonderful and how sad I feel right now
    I feel wonderful because of the way I feel about Kelly something truly wonderful happened when I met her and we had a time together that will be with me until I take my last breath here on earth and can finally see her again
    I feel wonderful because I can still hear the music we were listening to
    I feel wonderful because I can still hear her voice as we rode my motorcycle through the desert to fountain hills I can still feel her arms holding me tight and still smell the air and remember the starlight night just in time to see the last rise of the fountain that night. After getting back we just wanted to get away from the crowd so we jumped in my 84 vett and went for a drive it felt so good with her there by my side as the music played and the sound of the engine roared the feeling of the car hugging the curves but most of all the smile that was on her face as I looked over who could ask for anything more
    We laughed and we talked we touched each others soles that night and before we realized we were enjoying the first rays of a golden morning light
    I can still feel her lips on mine as we kissed good by
    I feel wonderful because I can still see her looking at me as she turned and walked inside
    I can still feel my heart beat as I drove away.
    I feel wonderful because I can still remember how amazing reading the notes she left me made me feel
    I feel wonderful because I know it was love that we shared.

  145. I would just like to say, I am thrilled they finally caught, tried and successfully convicted this c##ksucker. Many times, over the last 24 years, I have thought about Kelly and Ermie. If only they had made the trek down Stapely Dr on the 23rd or 25th of August 1984, instead of that fateful night, oh how I missed their free spirits and friendship, what it must have been like for Arlene, Marie, Linda, JC etc.. to endure the heartache of these colossal losses without any closure. I still remember vividly, the last time I saw Kelly and Ermie. It was about a week before they passed, they came over to my apartment (Greenwood Apartments), incidentally, the same complex that Ermie, Marie and Arlene lived when i first met them in 1979. Anyway, It was a pleasent surprise, I hadn’t seen them for awile, and I remember thinking to myself, man, Ermie has really grown into a beautiful young lady, I remember when she was a 9 or 10 year old hellion that used to drive Marie and I crazy. Well, we snuck a couple of my dads beers out of the refrigerator, smoked a little mother nature, and just talked about life. In a million years, I never would have thought that this would be the last time I would ever see them again. Looking back at it, I can only wonder, if in some strange sort of cosmic way, they were saying goodbye without really saying goodbye. I miss and love them dearly.

  146. I just want to say that I am so glad that justice is finally happening in this case. Of course, I cannot find any news stories yet on this, but when I do, I will make a real update post. For all of you that were friends with these girls, thank you so much for coming here and sharing your thoughts, feelings and experiences. It truly personalizes this for me. If anyone wants to share their courtroom experience for me to post, now that the trial is over, let me know. I would be honored to post it.

  147. Here’s a link to one of the articles about the conviction

  148. Well I can tell you this…..sitting through the trial was a different kind of pain. It was much, much harder than first losing the girls. Although the pain was unbareable at the time, we had to endure more. We not only had to sit through testimony after testimony, look at pictures of that horrific scene, see pictures and hear very descriptive details of the first and second atopsy, learn just how badly these little girls were abused and what they actually endured and to top all this off had to see and face the EVIL one who took part in this. He and another stole the lives of these beautiful girls and deprived the whole community of such innocence. There will never be closure for me….it was almost a daily thoughts for me. What happened, who did it, knowing they went through such pain and NEVER to know why. Even if we knew why, would it help? NO! I am happy with the verdict and we are one step closer to catching up with the other evil one, and I believe with everything in me, and my faith will always be strong in believing he will be brought to justice as well. For those of you who have lost someone like this, DON’T GIVE UP! Fight for those souls and memories! NEVER FORGOTTEN and FOR EVER REMEMBERED!
    The evil ones may have taken you from us but they sure can’t take our memories. RIP my friends, Ermelinda and Kelly. We miss you and love you very much!
    To the Jury – Thank you for having an open heart and mind to hear the will of GOD! Thank you for the RIGHT verdict! GUILTY!
    XOXOX – Friends Forever and Ever

  149. Bonnie Says:
    PARENTS need to be PARENTS and know where you kids are. It is not your job to be their friend, so you fail to keep tabs on them or want to know their every move.

    I know I may be a day late on this, but I happen to KNOW for a FACT that Arlene and JC and Mr. Iannuzzi we ALL AMAZING parents to Ermie and Marie! I know this because I spent pretty much most of 1978-1980 with them as Marie was one of my best friends! I did not know Kelly tho she and I went to MHS together for our sophomore year.
    I have no pity for Mr. Merila, I wish that we could take him out in the desert and bash him in the head with a rock, like he did to these girls.
    What I feel for the Cooper and Iannuzzi families can’t be defined as pity either.
    YOU–I PITY because when justice is served, you can only focus on the poor poor man who committed these heinous crimes.

  150. My heart goes out to all the family and friends of Kelly and Ermie. Mark Merila was guilty. All of the evidence presented by the state made it VERY easy to settle this case with a guilty verdict. I agree with what juror #15 wrote this family needs to have justice for what has been done. There is still a second killer out there that needs to be found. Please if anyone knows of whom this might be, yes even you Mark, please come forward now is the time!! Any leads at all, will help the detectives find this second accomplice!! There is still someone out there that could be still doing horrible things and doesn’t deserve to be free. It’s been far too many years this has gone on. Putting one killer, Mark away is bringing this halfway to a closure for this family. If you know of anything that will help, please do the right thing, give that person’s name, or any information you might have to the detectives. No matter how small the information might be, this might be able to help bring justice for this family. My prayer’s go out to the families and friends. Both Kelly and Ermie will be in my thoughts and Prayers.

  151. PS>..Bonnie, that was really cold to say those things. If you sat through the trial you would have figured out this could have happened to anyone. It’s not the parents fault this monster decided to do unheard of evil acts on these girls. Bonnie, I think this family has already felt abused enough, have you no soul?

  152. Jurors on this trial….I commend you for sticking with the case and bringing in a just verdict. I was part of the pool but would not have been able to handle the case as it is too close to what my family has been going through. Thank you for doing what I wanted to do.

  153. To all of the jurors I want to thank you. I was at the trial everyday reliving the nightmare that this piece if s&*t put everyone through. hearing the terror my two best friends must have gone that night sickens me!!! I missed them by one hour, I always carried guilt with me thinking that some how if I was there they may still be alive today. Kellys mother will never get to experiance the joys of being a grandmother, and watching her only daughter become a mother. What gives you the right Merila to take the lives of these two beautyful girls. Merlia I know you have no soul it wasn’t in your eyes when you looked over at my friend and I in court. You need to come through and rat on your partner in crime so all these girls can rest in peace and the families and friends can have some closure. Again thankyou to all of the jurrors for your verdict you helped linda get some sort of closure for the death of her daughter, also for Arlene and the Iannuzzi family.

  154. I went to school with Ermie and back in 1984 I was shocked at what happened as I was 14 yrs old also. I am so glad science caught up with this guy and the courts served justice. All these years I never forgot Ermie. As i remember she liked to party but that is not a reason to be murdered. As far as Merila, what in the hell is a 24 yr old doing with such young girls? Seems like a pedophile on a drug induced course was free all these yrs and is finally of the streets. My prayers go out to the families on both sides of this.

  155. Hello, this is for anybody whose life has been altered and damaged by this Jerk whom stole our friends lives from us… We are able to write a letter to the judge informing him of the negative effects these senseless murders had and continue to have on our lives. The letters should be in before Dec.5 so the judge can read them.Please send them to Judge Christopher Whitten Court room 804, 201 W Jefferson Phx Az, 85003. In the upper right hand corner of your letter please write State vs. Mark Merila case #CA 2006027329-1. Also DO NOT put a return address on the envelope. Thankyou everyone for all of your support it is very appreciated. It is important that we get these letters written and in to the Judge.

  156. Chandra,

    Thank you for leaving the message about the verdict. My cell phone reception was absolute garbage. Something about being camped right next to the HUGE power lines. Anyway, I just got back about 30 minutes ago. I will call you after I shower off a week of forest dirt, have some lunch and go thru my mail…talk to you soon.

  157. I was honored to be able to serve on this jury to help bring justice to the family and friends of Kelly and Ermelinda. I hope and pray that the other suspect can be caught as well. I was also wondering if anyone knows who this Mitch Riehl is, the guy that was mentioned in the trial? Was he a friend of Kelly’s? I wish I was a detective, so I could go pursue the other suspect personally. Maybe this can air on America’s Most Wanted, just a thought. Let’s catch this other guy too. My prayers are with all the family and friends as well and it was nice that I got to meet you after the trial was over. Juror 12

  158. It was very nice to meet you too, thankyou for your time and patience during the trial. I know Linda got on the other site and posted a thankyou to all of the jurors. You are all appreciated. I did know Mitch he was a very nice guy back then and would NEVER hurt Kelly or anybody for that matter. He played ia local band that we used to go and watch. Kelly may have had a crush on him but thats about it. I believe Linda tried to get the attention of AMW and they said it wasn’t worth there time, or something to that effect. I pray that they find the other individual as soon as possible. Again thankyou to all of the jurrors.

  159. Hi everyone ther is a change in where we send the letters. They do not go to judge Whitten they go to the probation dept. We are able to fax and e-mail our letters if that is easier for any of you. Please send to Kathy Lyman Adult Probation office same addy put RE: Mark Stepehn Merila and use the cr # if you want to fax that # is 602-506-8080
    or to e-mail Thankyou to everyone who has or will write it is greatly appreciated

  160. chandra, i lost my phone and all my phone numbers. can you call me?

  161. AAAHHHHHH finally, NO justice has not been served but the dirty murderin piece of trash got 25 years for each murder and 21 years for each kidnapping. Does that bring my friends back???? NO but that puke will not be out on the streets to harm anybody else’s family member!!!!!! THANKYOU GOD!!!!!! It was nice to see old friends, and very sweet that a few of the jurrors stopped in to support the family and friends so thankyou ladies for that….

  162. Linda says,

    Thanks to everyone for your support through these trying times and for sticking through all this for the girls and their families. Love all of you.

  163. I just want to say. If it wasn’t for Linda NEVER giving up . Making flyer , Bumber stickers calling detective to make sure no one would forget Kelly Cooper and Ermelinda Iannuzzi case . I think they would have not caught that monster. Thank you Linda for helping make sure they go this monster off the streets . Kelly and her family will forever be in my heart . There part of my family . Because of Mark It’s hard for me to trust anyone . The day Mark took Kelly and Ermelinda away from us it changed all our lives . Family & Friends . I hope he rots in hell !

  164. Rest in Peace Linda! You will sadly be missed, just as Kelly and Ermie…..although I am kinda jelous, you get to be with them in heaven! Give them lots of love and kisses for us!

    A short update on Merila – the monster has a new home now – Florence Prison!

  165. Thank You Chandra for being there when the many others who knew the girls could not be there or even knew this man had been caught….indeed I and my sister Cindy and my mom never have forgot all these years about what happened….when my mom told me they had caught this guy and convicted him it made my heart rejoice…I think God knew this weighed very heavy on many people all these years…

  166. Thankyou Robin, it has been twenty six years ago today since the girls bodies were found. I miss them as much today as I did twenty six years ago. I was blessed to be with linda the day she passed, and I missed rick he passed on the same day his mother did. They are altogether in heaven I am glad they are all at peace..

  167. I used to live across the street from Linda and Rich in the late 80’s. She was a wonderful neighbor and a good friend. We lost touch over the years as I moved away. I will never forget the love she showed for her daughter and her determination to find the killer. I am so saddened to hear of her passing…but so glad that she lived to see the monster caught. I hope and pray that the other person is caught as well. My sister went to Mesa Jr. High with both of the girls, although she didn’t know them very well.
    I recently read a court website that shows that Merila has filed for an appeal and requested a new attorney. I think that is standard practice but has anyone else heard anything about this?

  168. I didn’t know Kelly that well, but I went to school with Ermie at Longefellow and Mesa Jr. Ermie and I’d been very good friends at one time and their deaths affected me greatly; thank you to those who made sure they were never forgotten and fought for them all of these years. I’ve often thought of them both and am glad to see a conviction in the case. Justice will never be properly served here, but I hope those closest to Ermie and Kelly are able to find some measure of peace. And hopefully the other killer will be found.

  169. Kelly , Linda and Rick are very missed . I also want to thank Rich for all he has done for Kelly , Linda and Rick . What a great man ….He always was there for his family . He was always there for all of them . What a great Dad and Husband , son inlaw and Friend . I just want you all to know he was always there for all of them .

  170. Wow!! I had know idea this was going on. But, i never forgot those 2 girls who i met at reed park a longtime ago. I actually dated ermie for a couple weeks back then. I remember kelly vaguely. I think her brother was in adobe mtn or something. Robin and Cindy hawkins rings a bell too. Chandra i’m not sure about. I hope you guys are still following this blog and get my message.

  171. Hi Kenny – I vaguely remember you. Ermie was one of my best friends. It was a rough trial to sit through and find out the details that happended that night to the girls. It was worth sitting through it to see Merila sentenced to life. He is currently in Florence, where he belongs.

  172. Hi christine. I’m hoping Mark will do the right thing and reveal who the other killer was. It makes no sense to keep it secret if he indeed was involved in the slayings. Afterall he’s never getting out anyways. Also, that picture of ermie at the top of the blog looks very familiar. I think i seen it before back in the 84. Before she was killed. I hope Ermie’s older sister is doing okay. I know it had to be hard on her. Because after the murders she just kind of disappeared. I was still hanging around reed park long after that. But, i don’t think i even saw her again.

  173. It’s 2 am and I was just sitting here. I couldn’t sleep and found myself thinking of Kelly. I just found this out, after all these years. I am so happy that at least one of them was caught. I was friends with Kelly but barely knew Ermie. I moved out of state for a few months and when I moved back, I was given the news. That was the single most devastating news I believe I ever received.
    I’m impressed that so many people fought so many years to help find these girls, their killers and justice.
    Thank you to all of you, who did so much.
    Lisa Martin (Latham)

  174. My name is Michael McKim. On August 26, 1984 I was arrested in Flagstaff on my way back to Mesa from my aunts house in Cerro, New Mexico, and charged with Kelly and Ermie’s deaths. I was aquitted, naturally, because I had nothing to do with it. I wasn’t even in Arizona at the time. but I did know the girls, and loved them both dearly. I haven’t exactly lived a saints life, but I’d never hurt anyone. I was released from prison in Arkansas in September of ’06, and was visited by a Maricopa County Homicide Detective prior to my release. He had many questions about Mr. Merila, and showed me a picture of him from 1984. he looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t quite place him. A lot of time has passed since ’84. I will never forget Kelly and Ermie’s faces, though. I don’t know if this guy had anything to do with their murders, but my gut instinct is that he did. I only hope that the truth comes out, and Justice is served. After all this time both Marie and her parents deserve some kind of relief, closure. Honestly, I hope they fry the sons of bitches. They should be killed the same way they killed those two beautiful young ladies, in my opinion.

  175. found this blog yesterday and read it all, made me stop and think bout it all again. made me miss kelly again. you girls are great for caring.

  176. My name is Viki. I was an friend of Linda Wimmer in 1984. She worked at Gladys Compton Audiology. My children (babies then) are deaf and they were helping us. I have left Arizona 22 years ago, and winter here now.

    Today quite by accident I found information on Merila. What a shock. Thank God for DNA. I remember so clearly 28 years ago Aug 27 on a Monday, Linda was going to help us with ear molds and there was a scribbled note on the door from her saying she had an emergency. In the months that followed Linda spoke with me about her feelings. Around the same time another girl was murdered in Tempe. There was huge public outrage over it, and I especially remember her telling me that she felt somewhat deserted because there was no public outrage for her daughter. Those feelings she described burned in my mind, and came up several times in my life in different ways. I never forgot Linda or the girls and have prayed for them a thousand times over the years.

    Chandra, Christine, Melisa and all the kids from Mesa, I can never thank you enough. Firstly, finding this blog let me know that Linda did in the end realize the many people deeply affected by her loss. I agree with the earlier post that said it must have been at least a 100. People she never imagined were praying and pulling for her and Ermie’s family. It was such a relief to me that she saw the blog. I sobbed when I saw her words and learned of her fate. But there was relief. Thank you for standing up for the girls, I think of them as babies, sweet and lively, smart and sure. Thank you for following through, for having that blog for me and others to find. I’m so sorry for your pain, you were all so young. Thank you for taking the pain and standing up the killer.
    I’ve used those lessons so many times in raising my children, and even in my work and community. I saw on this blog the person who criticized the families and was horrified. It WAS a different time. I had been a ‘wild-child’ in the 70s and embraced it. I laughed when you spoke of zipping jeans with pliers; going to Skateland; and desert parties. We had enjoyed those same pleasures. No one should have stolen those innocent times, but they did. There is a certain amount of risk you take with kids as they blossom. Its scary business and all moms live in fear. Linda and the family of Ermie did a wonderful job. It is nobody’s fault except those evil people.

    I will continue my internet searches in case I can dig up anything on the other killer, however unlikely that is. And now I will never forget you ‘kids’. The innocent kids of Mesa in the 80s.
    All my love

  177. So glad this man was caught! I believe it was 2004 when I met Mark. My sister, 15 and I, 14 at the time went to my dads apartment to celebrate his birthday and spend the night. Mark Merila was there with several other people. Mark made my sister and I feel extremely uncomfortable. We ended up calling my mom to come pick us up. I am so thankful we did. God was definitely with us that night. A few months after meeting him he was arrested along with my father for a methamphetamine lab.

  178. For so many years I have wondered if they had ever convicted anyone for Kelly Lynn and Ernie’s murders. You see I knew them both. Kelly not so much only because she was Ernie’s friend but Ermelinda was like a little sister to me. She was the sweetest, kindest most generous person you would ever want to know! I moved away after her death but never forgot about them. Thank you God for bringing some closure to their families and thank you God for having Blessed my life with their friendship all those many years ago. My life was a better place for having shared it with Ermelinda. Her picture still hangs on my bulletin board even after all these years. I lived her so much…..still do! They will forever be in my heart and always in my prayers.

  179. Was anyone else recently contacted by Lion TV about this?

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