Murders didn’t usually happen in Tin Can Hollow in Hurley, Missouri, but on the chilly morning of November 29, 2006, 53-year-old David Dulin called 911 asking for help after he had been fatally wounded. The information he was able to provide while in such a dire state helped lead authorities to his murderers, but not without years of confusion and false arrests. David was a quiet, smart man who kept to himself, but he had secrets.
On his 911 call, David said “two white men came and shot me twice in the head” with a .22 gun. He said the men were in their 20s and 30s. David told the dispatcher that he had fought over the gun with his attackers.
David was found lying in a puddle of blood in his living room when police arrived 25 minutes later. Items in the rooms were in disarray and David’s partial denture had come out of his mouth.
A big tip he gave was that one of the guys was “the Eby girl’s boyfriend.” There were three women with the last name Eby in the area, so that helped them narrow down where to look: Paula, Christy, and Candy. Paula, the mother, may have been romantically involved with David at one point. She was currently dating a man named Mark Myers, so he became an initial suspect.
Paula and Mark were questioned and claimed to not know anything about David’s murder. Paula’s daughter Candy was married to a man named Tim Seaman, and Christy was dating a man named Leo Connelly, who had some fights and DUIs on his record.
When questioned, Leo claimed he had nothing to hide. He said he and Christy had watched TV and went to bed the night David died. Christy and Candy’s half-brother Zack Stewart had also been staying the night at Christy and Leo’s residence that night.
A few months into the investigation of David’s murder, Leo Connelly and Zack Stewart were arrested and charged with David’s murder because Leo Connelly’s cousin Alicia Kemberling claimed she saw them covered in blood the night of the murder. She said she saw them in a white car with a gun. She said that they had admitted to her directly, but claimed when she asked Leo he told her he had “handled his business.”
Leo was eventually set free because of a complete lack of forensic evidence tying him with the murder, but Zack was tried and charged with David’s murder. Leo’s family had paid for a lawyer, but Zack was left with a public defender, which may have impacted why he went to trial but Leo did not. His cellmate Victor Parker claimed that Zack had admitted that he had shot David Dulin 2-3 times in the head with a .22, which were the exact details David gave on his 911 call. 18-year-old Zach Stewart still claimed innocence.
A hat unraveled the murder
A bloody hat found at the scene of David’s death became the key to the true murders. It was brought out as evidence during Zack’s trial. David’s sister objected at the trial because David had never worn a ballcap. He had often worn a fedora instead. Davids sisters wrote a note to the prosecutor, and they stopped the trial.
Before the trial, the hat had not been DNA tested. None of Zack’s DNA was on the hat, but Zack was still convicted of the murder and sentenced to life without parole in March 2008. Candy’s husband Tim Seaman’s DNA, however, was found on the hat.
Eventually, another man’s DNA was found on the teeth found at the scene. The DNA tested positively for Tim Seaman’s best friend John Mills.
Eventually, thanks to the campaigning of Zack’s family and friends, Zack’s murder conviction was overturned and he was given a new trial. Alicia Kimberling and Victor Parker, the witnesses who helped convict Zack Stewart, did not receive charges for false testimony.
John Mills was offered immunity and seven years in prison for his testimony against Tim Seamon, and his story helped convict Tim Seaman. According to John, Tim and John had gone to David Dulin’s house in an attempt to steal his valuables, guitars, and guns so they could go buy some meth. They got into a fight that ended in David’s fatal shooting. In 2010 Tim was sentenced to 21 1/2 years in prison, but John is now out of prison.
Below is the statement John Mills gave about David’s murder:
The night of David Dulin’s murder started out with Tim Seamon (sic) and myself drinking vodka at Ritchy and Amanda’s house. After Ritchy and Amanda went to sleep Tim and I sat up talking tying to figure out how to get some meth. Tim stated he could get some meth in California if we could get the gas money to go. I stated why don’t we just rob somebody. I told him I could get a gun and that we should just shoot someone in the head and take their money. So we decided to go to my dad’s house to get a gun. We drove to my dads in my ford tarous (sic) and I went in to get a gun. My dad woke up to let me in and then he went to use the restroom. While he was in the restroom I went in his bedroom and got a 22 caliber pistol out from under his pillow and stuck it in my waistband. I told my dad I was going to stay the night at Ritchy’s and I left. When we were going back toward Ritchy’s, Tim navigated on which way for me to go. We wound up goin to David Dulins and pulling in the drive by his SUV. We got out of the car and I stuck the gun in between my left arm and ribcage. Tim walked in front of me and David Dulin met us at the front door and invited us in. We came in and sat on his couch & Tim started talking with him. Tim was talking something about death and dying then he gestured to me to give him the gun. He was in between me and Dulin – I let the gun slide down from between my arm and ribs and slid it to him on the couch. After that Tim stood up and said everybody’s gotta die sometime and pointed the pistol at David while he was in his chair and shot him in the head. David got up with another 22 pistol and Tim dropped my dads pistol and they spun around and they wound up in the floor with Tim on top. About four shots went off from Davids gun. I picked up my dads gun off the floor and shot David in the side of the head and in his stomach. After that Tim got up and said lets get out of here. We ran out and got in my car and headed back to Ritchy and Amandas. When we got there Tim said we need to burn our clothes so we did. Then we washed our hands with bleach. Later on we was sitting in the bedroom and I seen Tim had taken Davids pistol with a laser light on it. Then next morning we hid the guns in the woods but I had to take my dads back because he was gonna report it stolen.
Zack Stewart went on a downward spiral after being wrongfully convicted of murder, and eventually killed himself by hanging.