As some of you know, I’m currently working on a feature length Drama spec script titled “Things People Do”.
In a nut shell, the story is about a love triangle that spirals dangerously out of control forcing all three lovers to suffer the consequences of their actions. Outside that nutshell, the story is an example of how, given the right circumstances, everyday-people can suddenly find themselves willing to commit great immoral and sometimes horrific acts of cruelty and violence to get what they want and to keep what they have.
Of course, what I write is totally fiction, but as one intrigued by Criminal Psychology, I always keep in mind that these things I write for “fun”, to “entertain” others, are things that actually happen in reality. Part of why I write is to illuminate that fact in the hopes of making people aware, to help people recognize the signs of trouble, so that we all can take steps to prevent these tragic events from ever happening; or at least, lessen the frequency in which they do occur.
So, I’ve decided to highlight stories of such events on my blog, but not wanting to look only at destruction and loss of life, I also want to look at real life stories of great acts of kindness, rescue, and lives saved to further promote what we should be doing to help each other. The title of my new blog category is “Real Things People Do”, and below is the first real life story I’m brining to you. The reason why I chose this story, is because it reminds me so much of my spec script “Things People Do”. I first heard about Marcelle Elliott just after I finished my scripts first draft last year.
Here a brief account of Marcelle Elliott’s story.
Around midnight on July 22, 2010, 21 year old college student Marcelle Elliott drove 50 miles from her parent’s home, in Kennesaw, to a house in Carrollton, GA. She went to meet up with her friend, 29 year old Farrah Strength, about borrowing/returning some books. Upon reaching her destination, Marcelle called her father to let him know she was alright and that she’d gotten there safely.
That was the last time David Elliot spoke to his daughter.
Marcelle never returned home that night. Ultimately, Authorities would be led five miles from where she was last seen, into a swamp, where her body was callously dumped. Farrah Strength, Marcelle’s friend, would be the person leading the Police.
Before this tragic event, Marcelle Elliott, Marcy as she was called, was a student at the University of West Georgia. She was known to wear dark clothing and makeup, even sported a tattoo and piercings, but despite her Goth sense of fashion, she was said to have had a “sunny dissipation”.
Friends of Marcelle said she was:
“sweet, funny, and down to earth. She was doing well in school and was into writing and reading.”
Emily Woodcock, another of Marcy’s friends, said:
“She was a character you wanted to know more about.”
Farrah Strength seemed to lead a drastically different life in comparison to Marcelle. It’s reported that as a child, she came from an abusive home ruled by her father, who her mother, Christine Strength, shot and killed in 2003.
As an adult woman, Farrah’s neighbor, C.J. Critten, said that:
“She would talk and act strangely, she said she often spoke to demons, and even admitted that she killed before and would have no problems doing it again.”
Critten said that he made sure he kept his children away from her.
Apparently, Marcelle and Farrah met in college and the two become very close friends for a while, even to the extent that they both dressed in Goth. At some point in time, a little more than tw0 year ago now, the two friends had a falling out. It has yet to be revealed what happened between them, but ultimately, they went their separate ways.
After Marcelle went missing, her father, David, called Farrah for assistance and said that she was actually very helpful in trying to find his daughter, all the while, hiding the fact that she was directly responsible for Marcelle’s disappearance.
Police checked Marcelle’s cell phone records and discovered that Farrah was one of the last people she talked to. With that information, Police questioned Farrah and ultimately acquired a confession of guilt.
It would seem that Farrah lured Marcelle out to meet her at an apartment complex in Carrollton, where Marcelle was last seen getting out of her car and walking around to the back of a building. With the help of her boyfriend, 31 year old Josh Clay, Farrah kidnapped Marcelle from the apartment complex, took her back to Farrah’s own residence, a small home with an old hearse parked outside, strangled Marcelle, and finally dumped her body in a swamp by a bridge.
A motive has yet to be released for the horrific events of that night. Outside of the three individuals involved, no one knows why Farrah decided to call Marcy a year after their fallout. No one knows what triggered Farrah to commit murder.
Farrah Strength has been sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years. Josh Clay is still awaiting sentencing for his involvement.
At Farrah’s sentencing, David Elliott made a Victim Impact statement to the court:
“Your honor, when Marcy was killed, it not only ended her life but it changed our family’s life forever. We’re just now, eight months later, still dealing with the effects and probably always will. As her parents, we lost a precious child that we brought into the world 21 years ago. But we also lost the joy of watching her complete her goals in life and achieving her dreams. No college graduation. No wedding. No children. … What we received instead was a black box of ashes that we had to place in a cold cemetery mausoleum. Dreams turned to ashes.”
A teary eyed Farrah Strength had this to say:
“I am truly 100 percent sorry for this. I would give anything in the world to take it back and go back. She was a very wonderful person, a very beautiful girl and I am deeply, deeply sorry that this has happened. Only God can forgive me for this and I hope maybe one day you can. I am so sorry. I apologize to my friends and family and my community for being such a disappointment.”
It is a mystery what caused Marcelle and Farrah to part ways. It is an even bigger mystery what caused their friendship to ultimately end in murder.
In a way, I’m not surprised by what people are cable of doing, the human race has a very rich history of hurting and terrorizing each other in ways that are not found in animal kingdom. It’s a shame that the worst parts of “US” seem to be uniquely human in nature.
Hopefully one day we’ll rise above such things.