Metro-East News

Brother publishes book on brutal Mascoutah prom murders from 50 years ago

Brother recalls brutal murder of star athlete and his girlfriend 50 years ago

The murder of two Mascoutah High School students after prom in 1969 still haunts Southern Illinois residents. In this video from January of 2019, Eddie Morrison, brother of victim Mike Morrison, recalls what happened.
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The murder of two Mascoutah High School students after prom in 1969 still haunts Southern Illinois residents. In this video from January of 2019, Eddie Morrison, brother of victim Mike Morrison, recalls what happened.

A much-anticipated book on the 50-year-old case of the Mascoutah prom murders is now available online.

“Bad Moon Rising” was self-published by Eddie Morrison, brother of Mike Morrison, the 18-year-old Mascoutah High School sports star who was killed on May 4, 1969, in the early-morning hours after prom night. He was shot three times in the back of the head at point-blank range on Peabody strip-mining property between Mascoutah and Freeburg.

About 75 feet away, police found the nude and bruised body of Mike’s girlfriend, Debbie Means, 15. Her hands and feet were bound behind her back with clothesline. She had been gagged with her underwear, raped and strangled.

“There are some tough chapters,” said Eddie, 67, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, a semi-retired financial planner who was a year younger than his brother.

Eddie saved many of the original newspaper clippings from the case. In the past 15 months, he has conducted additional research with his wife, Mindy, the book’s co-author. They reviewed police reports and court documents and interviewed investigators, friends and other key people who are still alive.

The couple even delved into the life of the late Marshall Wayne Stauffer, a nomadic mobile-home repairman who authorities believe committed the murders. He served time in prison for a Clinton County rape and armed robbery, but charges in the Mascoutah case were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Book cover (fitted).jpeg
“Bad Moon Rising” was self-published by Eddie Morrison, brother of Mike Morrison, an 18-year-old star athlete who was murdered after prom in 1969. The book can be ordered online. Provided

A book-signing event with Eddie and Mindy will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 3 in the Mascoutah High School auditorium.

“That is the same weekend as Mascoutah’s homecoming, and it’s huge,” Eddie said. “In Mascoutah, everybody who has a class reunion, they have it that weekend.”

The book-signing event will start with a question-and-answer session moderated by Marian Albers, director of Mascoutah Public Library. She expects interest from the community to be high.

Albers, 64, was in eighth grade at the time of the murders, living in Albers.

“I remember when this happened,” she said. “It was big news. It touched a lot of people, thinking that their sons or daughters could go to prom and be attacked and not come home.”

Prom photo (fitted).jpeg
Senior Mike Morrison, 18, and sophomore Debbie Means, 15, are shown in their Mascoutah High School prom photo from May 3, 1969. Hours later, they were dead. Provided

“Bad Moon Rising” can be ordered through Archway Publishing at www.archwaypublishing.com. It has 298 pages and more than 40 photographs. The cost is $37.95 for hardback or $18.99 for softback.

The book will be available later this year at local stores.

Proceeds will go to the Morrison/Means Memorial Scholarship, established in 1969. It’s awarded to one male and one female graduating senior at Mascoutah High School each year. Eddie was the first recipient. Since that time, the amount has increased from $500 to $1,000.

The book’s title comes from the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, which Mike listened to in his room before leaving for prom.

Eddie sees the lyrics as something of an omen, with phrases such as “I know the end is coming soon” and “I hope you are quite prepared to die.”

“Don’t go around tonight,” the chorus warns. “It’s bound to take your life. There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

Ed and Mindy.JPG
Mindy Morrison helped persuade her husband, Eddie, to write a book about the 1969 murders of his brother, Mike, and Mike’s girlfriend, Debbie Means. Teri Maddox

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Teri Maddox has been a reporter for 35 years, joining the Belleville News-Democrat in 1990. She also teaches journalism at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. She holds degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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