HE JUST NEEDED A JOB!
Detective Joseph P. Geesey after the verdict in Joy O’Shea
Joseph P. Geesey was 22 and unemployed, with a wife and family to support, when he first walked into the Lancaster city police station looking for work.
There was no message from God, I just needed a job, he said. Plain and simple.”
The police hired him, trained him and put him in uniform.
But police work soon became more than just a job to Geesey.
It turned into a career in law enforcement and criminal investigation that he said still fascinates, excites and challenges him today – 50 years after he was sworn in on July 1, 1958.
The opening paragraphs from Janet Kelley’s July 5, 2008 New Era article, “Case Closed? Not for this Guy,” available in the newspaper archives.
The day the New Era printed this story – I published and it was true – that I received an email from my webhost that morning reminding me that my domain name, LancasterLynching.com, was due to expire. I renewed it and the site remains up.
I chuckle every time I read this. I wonder what would have happened if a black man had walked into the police department looking for work in 1958? I know what happened to a black man, Robert L. Henderson, Jr., in 1981 after he took Detective Geesey into Federal Court for violation of his civil rights. I know Detective Geesey tried to have him killed in a most horrific way.
I know the Lancaster Detectives never solved his attempted murder nor another one several months later committed by the same three men.
I know that Detective Geesey has been the lead detective on two infamous, long ago unsolved murders of two young women, Lindy Sue Biechler and Christy Mirack.
Someone recently sent a comment to this site saying I had “cooked-up” the story of the Lancaster Lynching and Detective Geesey. Not quite. As a 27-year-old journalist I stumbled onto this story and took a photograph. A photograph that has haunted me ever since.
I tried everything I knew for almost two years to get someone to act on the story, until fear and friends made me put it away. I put it in a box. I stopped writing.
I found the box – and opened it – when I went looking for old letters from a boyfriend relating to the incest story.
In September of 2001, I published a special eight page paper edition of the Lancaster Independent Press entirely about the Lancaster Lynching story. I distributed it in Lancaster two days before 9/11. It was the second story to go on this site, after the incest story, in the fall of 2004. I gave the story its own website in September of 2007. This story is far from over.
Whenever I see Detective Geesey’s name involved with a case, I sense trouble, deception and lies. And so it is with the prosecution of Joy O’Shea Woomer six years after Brent Weaver’s death.
He told me in person outside the courtroom as the closing arguments were about to begin, “They want me in there.” And so 74 year-old Detective Joseph Geesey, looking like a kindly grandfather, sat by the prosecution’s table.
Please check back tomorrow…