Melvin David Rees

I was searching for serial killers by state because I was going to another state related post, like I did with the one for Florida. While searching though I came across a serial killer from my own state of Maryland. I couldn’t pass this one up.

Rees was a serial killer in the 50’s. He was around during the times of Harvey Glatman and Ed Gein. It was June of 1957. A woman by the name of Margaret Harold and her boyfriend were parked on a “Lover’s Lane” near Annapolis when a green Chrysler pulled up next to them. A tall man walked out of the vehicle and claimed to be the owner of the property. The man drew a gun and climbed into the backseat of the couple’s car and demanded money. When Margaret refused she was shot in the back of the head. Her boyfriend managed to escape the car and ran to a house to call for help. Police found the vehicle with the dead girl inside. She had been raped. Police started to search the area and came across a shack. It’s walls were covered with pornographic pictures, pictures from morgues and a year book photo of a 1955 University of Maryland graduate.

About a year and a half later in 1959, a family of four were out for a drive when another car ran them off the road. This happened near Apple Grove, Virginia. The driver of the other car forced the family into his truck. Two months later the body of Carrol Jackson, the father, was found in a roadside ditch. He was laying onto of his in fact daughter who died from being smothered by the weight of her dead father.

The mother, Mildred, and the five year old daughter, Susan, were later found in the wood by local hunters. Both of the victims had been raped and beaten to death. Evidence suggested that Mrs. Jackson had been tortured.

The investigations into the two cases had ran cold when the police received a letter. The letter was received in May and claimed that the man behind these crimes was Melvin Rees, a young jazz musician. The letter stated that while high on a drug, Rees made some comments about the Jackson murders. Police looked into his background and found out that he had once dated the girl who’s yearbook picture was found in the old shack. FBI agents searched his home and instead a saxophone case found plenty of evidence. This evidence included a letter describing the murders of the Jackson family.

Rees was linked to the unsolved murders and rapes of 4 girls in the state of Maryland. He was sentenced to death but it was later commuted and he died of natural causes in prison.


~ by B on August 8, 2006.

33 Responses to “Melvin David Rees”

  1. Oh man.

  2. Why was the death sentence commuted? And, I agree with Fab–oh man!

  3. I am a musician and went to jam session with Dave Rees, as we called him

  4. I briefly knew this cat

  5. This worhtles piece of scum deserved the chair.I believe he was responsible for more homicides,very possible the 4 teenagers who were found near the University of Maryland.There is an intereting account of his trials in Md. and Va. in the early 60’s posted on if memory erves.The Md. judge was an incompetent who allowed a media circus to set up hop in hi courtroom.The Va. justice was handled the way it should have been but he still beat the death sentence.This perp had no conscience or soul,he’s where he needs to be now.

  6. Yeah, natural causes in prison? Don’t drop the soap!

  7. The reason why he was not executed is because his case went to the supreme court and he was found to have schizoprenia..(sp) so therefore he could not be executed.

  8. I was almost a victim of Rees. My mother, grandmother and i were coming back from a funeral in PA. My mom was driving on rt7 between Leesburg and Falls Church VA when she noticed a car go by us really slow and she saw his face , he was staring into her drivers window ( she was not driving very fast back then and it was night) as he went by us in the opposite direction. She thought nothing more of it, until she noticed the car behind us was driving with its lights off except when another car approached in the on coming direction. She got suspicious and sped up and the car sped up too. She probably hit about 100mph at times. He finally stopped as we approached the city of Falls Church, VA

  9. I am a relative of the family. Mildred Jackson was my father’s cousin. I was 9 years old when this happened and I remember how it was at our home that day; like it just happened. My parents were in the search party and this had such a great impact on the entire family. A few years ago my father and I were out and we drove by the home where the Jacksons had lived and then he had me take him to the spot where they were run off the road and kidnapped. Then we visited Mildred’s mother. It was good that he wasn’t put to death in the long run, because he wanted to die. With the life sentences, he HAD to live with what he had done and he wanted to die so bad. One reason he wasn’t executed is because the death sentence was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court during that time. There is still debate as to whether he was insane.

  10. I am also a relative of Margaret Harold, a victim of Rees. My family was devistated. My father was only 10 years old when this happened. The family never talked about this ever. Even today when brought up my father tries but it hurts him too much and he is now 62. He was also too young to remember detail. If there is any one out there knowledgable of this event and willing to talk about this pleases let me know. I’m looking for as much info as possible. I would also love to talk to the Jackson Family.

  11. Carroll Vernon Jackson was my father’s first cousin and they had grown up together. This was a very devastating event for the family especially since Carroll Vernon was an only child. My father had saved clippings from newspapers from that time and they were recently given back to the Jackson descendants by my mother. Unfortunately my father is no longer living.

    • Do you remember the date of the article and or the name of the reporter who interviewed Rees and claimed he confessed to killing two girls named Venable and Fellers from Beltsville in 1956. The reporter worked for the Richmond News Leader and the story ran in 1985. Richmond News Leader is no longer. The article I saw had no date, but had Springfield, MO in the opening. I think he was in prison there. email info to Thanks

  12. The sorrowful fiftieth anniversary of the Jackson family deaths is coming up. I am researching the crimes committed by Rees in the areas of Virginia and Maryland. I would appreciate establishing contact with anyone who was acquainted with or related to the victims, or has knowledge of their backgrounds. Also, I would like to hear from anyone who knows details about Rees through acquaintance. I was a small child living in the area where some of his crimes were committed, and experienced the terror of having to course the roads Rees ravaged.
    My deepest condolences to the friends and families of the victims. They will not be forgotten.

  13. Melvin was my geography teachers piano teacher.

  14. Do you have more info about Rees?

  15. I grew up as neighbors of the Jackson family and my father and i farmed the Jackson land as well as the Harris farm. Yhe hose where the family lived was across the road Route 522 from the Jackson’s parents home. The mother never knoe thank god. They are buried all together in front og the home place now owned by the Taylor family whom i knew very well. This murder by this monster ruined this community and families for decades. I will never forget it and i am not that old. Rees is burning in hell now.

  16. Melvin David Rees played piano in my fathers jazz band in the mid to late 50’s. At the time he was living in Ocean View, VA and traveled in our station wagon with my Mother, father, and brother along with their instruments ( sax, clarinet, vibraphone and a cock-tail base drum, sock symbol, tom tom and cow bell that my Mother played. We traveled though out the east coast to most of the military bases. I guess our family was fortunate not to have suffered the fate of so many others.

  17. Clarification:On another blog dedicated to this creep,MD Rees,one of his grandchildren offered up some valuble info.Most likely it is commong knowledge as I type but for anyone who hasn’t heard,Ress admitted killing 2 of the Md. teenagers to a Richmond reporter during a 1985 interview approx. 10 years before he died.Shelby Venable and Mary Fellers were picked up hitchhiking by Rees and later found in tributaries of the Potomac in June 1956.They had been strangled Tbut their bodies had been in the water several days and there was no way to tell if they had been sexually assaulted.The 2 Md. teenagers killed the summer before near DC had been shot to death,one 11 times but that case has been solved in the past 10 years and it was one or two teeneage brothers who murdered Nancy Shomette and Michael Ryan.One of them confessed to his wife on his deathbed in Fl.and she claimed that he had even taken her to the crime site,a public park in the early 70’s and given an account of how it all went down back in 1955.So Rees is cleared on those murders.It definitely was not his MO but it’s understandable how he would’ve been a suspect back in the day.The good thing is that Rees was captured and locked away until he died.

    • I m looking for information on the name of the person who conducted and reported that inerview. Please respond with information to schipperke1999

      • Rees admitteded to an unnamed Richmond reporter that the first murders he committed were Shelby Jean Venable and Mary Elizabeth Fellers in June 1956.He picked them up as they waited for a bus.If you care to Google the article,it was from The Fredricksburg,Va. Free Lance Star Febr. 25,1985.

  18. I took jazz piano lessons from David Rees in 1959 in West Memphis, Arkansas. I was 15 at the time. I could hardly believe it when David was arrested because he had never at any time displayed anything other than professional interest in my musical abilities. He was an excellent jazz pianist, and I learned a lot from him. Goes to show how some people can be real chameleons, doesn’t it?

  19. Rees was from Louisa Virginia, just west of Richmond…he went to college in Maryland.

  20. Can someone give me some information on th childrn and grandchildren of melvin Davis Rees. I believe I know someone who is his daughter.

  21. The jackson family were my family and I’m so hurt that the people who own the land where their graves are you can’t get in there to visit them .I truly believe if you buy land where there is a family plot you have to keep it mowed so family can visit .Marie Not a day goes by that they are not thought about in my life.I loved them so much .Please let me know if anyone agree with me please .

  22. Given that the crimes were relatively recent, the confusion and uncertainty regarding Rees’ fate was very surprising. I would have much preferred that he be executed, but we now know that he died in prison of natural causes some 20 years ago. A bit reminiscent of Penny Bjorkland. Why is there so much mystery surrounding her? Why so few years in prison? When exactly was she released? And why secretly? To avoid a public outcry? Her fate…unknown.

  23. Did David Rees ever work at the Curtis Bay Recreation Center in Curtis Bay, MD? I used to go to the Rec center after school and remember hearing that the director had killed a family. We were shocked cause we really liked the man.

  24. There’s a show called Ghost of Shepherdstown on the Destination America channel on cable tonight. They’re talking about the two murdered girls, Mary Elizabeth Fellers and Shelby Jean Venable. The show is about how many of the residents of Shepherdstown, Md, are seeing ghosts of long deceased individuals, and the police are investigating the many paranormal themed calls that they’re getting. Apparently, a young woman from this town saw the ghost body of one of the 2 girls floating in the water where Rees had left there bodies back in 1956. I started researching the girls names while watching this program. I had never heard of Melvin Rees or the murders he committed. My condolences to all the family and friends of his victims who have shared their stories here.

  25. My family attended the Opening of the new outside mall in Wheaton, Md, The Wheaton Plaza in February 1960. We were photographed as an ordinary family of 5 out enjoying the festivities,,,,,,,my mom, dad, sister, 8, myself 5, my brother 4 years of age. It was posted in the Evening Star with our names and our address. Some months later, my mom had a visit from the FBI at our home, showing us a picture of Rees,,,,,,and if we knew him.
    Of course we did not. My parents were told, that he had just been caught and arrested for the murder of various families. In his wallet, was found, that picture from the Wheaton Plaza opening of us,,,,,marked sadistically as to how he was going to murder each one of us😱,
    Chilling,,,,we were on his radar to be next. I never knew until later, but I remember my mom had big spotlights put up in our yard after that!!!
    When she told us about it years later it was unbelievable!!! My dad worked the night shift at the State Dept., and both sets of grandparents, lived in Virginia, where we traveled too often, on rural roads at the time!
    I remember when he died in prison cuz it was in the newspaper. It was a very eerie feeling knowing we escaped by the skin of our teeth that year so long ago,,,,,and that none of my family would exsist today!!!
    God bless all the victims and victims families.

    • What an extraordinary tale. If I may recommend, you should write a more detailed version for publication. Perhaps you can get hold of Rees’ marked-up copy of the photo. Unpleasant for you, I know, but it would help sell the article, which would remind people of this strangely forgotten monster. It’s possible that it’s still in the police or FBI files. If you identify yourself, they might be willing to give it up. After all, Rees is dead and buried — the case is closed — which of course means that the file is long defunct and now useless to law enforcement.

  26. Margaret was my grandmother. I never had a chance with her. Dad was very young and my aunt only a few years older. my family went completely silent and Margaret’s family lived in different states it was hard to ask questions. I’m gathering as much info as i can because i do plan on writing on behalf of my grandmother and with permission mention of the other families. this is extremely touchy and I know both families wish for privacy to a point. I simply want to know my grandmother. Its funny because there are hardly pictures of her and no good info that says who she was as a person. Like I said , at this point if someone is to talk, families of the victims need to be the ones to do it or at least be involved. It was a very hurtful time and loss for many of us. He stole my time with her.

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