Linda Jill Velzy
18 Years Old

April 15, 1959 to December 9, 1977

Linda was a unique person in many ways. From her early life it was clear that she was very sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. She was eager to rectify any wrongs and to provide care and help to many. Having been tested to have superior abilities in many academic areas, she was able to succeed in any future endeavor. One of her main goals was to help people and teach them to care for others.

Linda's family consisted of dad (Howard) and mom (Carol) plus an older brother, Richard, and a younger brother, James. The three were close in age and enjoyed many friendships and social times together. In high school, she was active in church youth group, chorus, a band which traveled to perform in the Netherlands, etc. In her spare time, she wrote poetry and thoughts, rode a bike, and spent time with her family and friends. After high school graduation, she attended S.U.N.Y. at Oneonta, N.Y.

She was a delight to all who knew her and is sorely missed.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Linda was downtown Oneonta Christmas shopping on December 9, 1977, when she was picked up, raped, and murdered by Ricky Knapp, a man who had a long history of sexual crimes and was out on bail at the time. Linda was missing for three weeks before Ricky Knapp was found moving her frozen, dead body to a permanent burial spot in the woods. He was caught as the result of an extensive search and extraordinary investigation carried out by the B.C.I. (State Bureau of Investigation) and local authorities precipitated by a massive publicity campaign and "60 Minutes" Special T.V. program initiated by family and a State Senator.

Although Knapp confessed three times and was convicted, he was later released because of the Miranda rule. He was retried and convicted again and is presently serving 25 years to life because of the persistent felon offender's rule. He has served approximately 21 years and will shortly be eligible for parole.

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