It all started on this date in 1996.
Mary Jo Pesho, a 46-year old North Royalton nurse was returning Christmas gifts with her teen aged children at suburban Parmatown mall on Jan. 2, 1996. When they were about to leave the mall, Pesho told her children to wait near the mall's entrance while she went to retrieve the brand new family van from the parking lot.
That's the last time her family saw her alive.
Amazingly, Pesho stepped into the van and was accosted by two teens without anyone in the lot noticing. The teens, Mark DiMarco and Shannon Kidd, both 17 held her at gunpoint and forced her to drive away from the mall. Over the next several hours, DiMarco and Kidd repeatedly raped and taunted Pesho, eventually burning her with the vehicle's cigarette lighter. She was found dead at a rapid station, the victim of a gunshot wound.
The two young men were eventually sought out and arrested for the crime. They both were found guilty in 1998. DiMarco, the apparent shooter was sentenced to 94 years to life in prison.
DiMarco seemed on the verge of winning an appeal for a new trial in late '98, and by the early weeks of 1999 was said to be in good spirits while locked up. But on February 4, 1999, he "supposedly" committed suicide in his cell while leaving behind a cryptic note hailing himself as a soldier while labelling police as "crooked."
In the fall of 2001, DiMarco's mother Joyce Stewart, who served 90 days in jail for trying to block her son's prosecution was found murdered. Her dismembered body had been stuffed in five trash bags by her husband, William Stewart who was pulled over while driving erratically. Police noticed an arm protruding from one of the bags, to which Mr. Stewart responded, "that's my wife."
What a nut job.
When Stewart was arrested, he was placed in a cell and on suicide watch. It didn't matter. He was found hanging by a bed sheet but barely alive. He died a few weeks later.
This entire horrific saga was more chilling than any Hollywood film could ever be. It was all real life and no doubt took root in DiMarco's childhood if not long before that. With today being the 13th anniversary of the crime that started it all, I want to extend my sympathies to Pesho's children as well as her husband Raymond, who had initially been a suspect in her murder. I spoke with him not long after the murder of his wife, and again after DiMarco's suicide. By then, he had remarried and seemed happy.
Here's hoping that all of us can overcome such a tragedy the way he did, and avoid nut jobs like the DiMarcos and Stewarts.
Shannon Kidd actually seems normal in all of this.