If you read any of the articles on the Millers Paranormal website then you know of two of the suspects in the Showman murder. One was a John Smitherton or Smithson or Smith who was passing through on his way to Kanopolis looking for work in the salt mine there. The other was Charles Marzyck, ex husband of Minnie Vopat (Pauline Showman’s sister) and one time wheat thief and forger. Marzyck was the only suspect ever put on trial for the Showman murders and in short was acquitted of the crime. The Ellsworth County Independent published an article about the Showman murders in July of 2008. It is a good rundown of the motive Marzyck may have had for killing the Showman family. The article’s author, Lisa Lindsley has kindly written up a summery of Marzyck’s trial which I will post soon. Marzyck is an intriguing character and I have actually been researching him for a while. There are a couple things we know about Marzyck that makes him a least an interesting suspect. First he lived in Colorado at one time and was reported (indeed it was his alibi) to be living in Colorado in 1911. His brother lived in Denver and it is quite likely Charles lived with his brother and when he and Minnie were married they lived in Colorado where Charles had written some bad checks and forged some other checks. Second, Marzyck had been heard by several witnesses to make threats against those who had helped send him to prison for the wheat theft. Pauline had testified along with her sister in that trial. So he can be placed within a train ride of Colorado Springs in 1911 and made threats of violent retribution towards (in a general way) Pauline Showman. Minnie Vopat also believed Marzyck had relatives in Monmouth, Illinois but that might have been a fib.
Ellsworth County Courthouse - 1908
Was the Showman family massacred out of revenge? Was it a crime of passion incited by the unrequited love of Pauline Showman? The descendents and relatives of both Marzyck and the Showmans don’t like to talk about the crime. Those on the Showman side generally believe Marzyck was a killer regardless of the verdict of the trial. I’ll discuss a bit more about Charles Marzyck and my own opinion after I post Lisa’s trial summery.