Local News

Mitch Harper Statement Regarding the Hollandsburg Murders

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Former State Representative Mitch Harper, now a Fort Wayne City Councilman, issued the following statement on the death of convicted murderer Roger Drollinger:


It was my privilege to work closely with Betty Jane Spencer on legislative issues extending the rights of victims of violent crime.


Most notably, I authored and championed the bill containing the language establishing Indiana’s Crime Victim’s Notification Act to assure each victim of a violent crime is notified when the person convicted escapes or is released from prison.


Betty Jane Spencer was the sole survivor of the brutal attack by Roger Drollinger and his accomplices in her Hollandsburg home.  This attack stole the lives of Betty Jane Spencer’s sons and she was left for dead.


I listened to her privately many times recount that horrible St. Valentine’s Day in 1977.  And, courageously, she traveled again and again to the Statehouse where she told and retold the story before House and Senate Committees and in numerous meetings with legislators. She, then, advocated for victims’ rights across the nation.


Standing with her in a House Committee room, I remember when she first referred to the legislation as “My Bill”.


She told of the brief escape of one of the Hollandsburg murderers, and though inconceivable today, she had not been notified of the escape from custody.


She was tireless in her advocacy. She worked with others here in Indiana, notably Ros Stovall with Protect the Innocent , and she worked with many across the United States.  Later, in a ceremony at the White House, Betty Jane Spencer was recognized by President Ronald Reagan for her efforts .


This day of Mr. Drollinger’s death should be marked by a remembrance of Betty Jane Spencer, who though seared by tragedy, made lives better for crime victims across our state and nation.  Hers was the just and honorable life.

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