On the afternoon of May 11, 1970, David Sloan and his girlfriend Sheryl Benham’s bodies were found. They were just twenty-one and nineteen years old.
The last time that David and Sheryl are known to have been alive is when they were seen leaving a party at David’s frat house in Norman around 11:30 pm on May 9th. When Sheryl didn’t return home by 2am on May 10th, her parents reported her missing. Eventually, searching family and friends would turn up David’s car parked on a popular road for a lover’s lane in Norman’s 10 mile flats area.
Responding officers to the car would find blood smeared in areas of the car, a broken pool cue in the front seat, and items belonging to David and Sheryl scattered about the outside and inside of the vehicle. Worse yet, the officers saw several bullet holes in the vehicle and the scent of death emanating from the trunk. Both David and Sheryl had been shoved inside the trunk and locked inside after being shot multiple times. Sheryl had been stripped naked and beaten severely about her head before being shot fourteen times. It’s possible she had been sexually assaulted, but the medical examiner could never definitely say whether or not this occurred. David was fully clothed, minus his shoes which were missing, and had been shot eleven times. There was very little physical evidence from the get go. David’s shoes, keys and wallet were all missing. There were upwards of thirty .22 caliber shell casings scattered around the vehicle, but any footprints or tire tracks had seemingly been erased by the killer. A partial palm print was found, but finger prints from almost every other surface, including the pool cue that David kept in the car for self defense had been wiped clean.
Almost immediately one suspect rose above all others- a Norman police officer named Frank Gilley. Gilley had been responsible for patrolling the 10 mile flats area, including the area where David and Sheryl were found and he had been on duty the night they went missing. While Filley passed two polygraph tests, his behavior would ensure he remained the lead suspect. Gilley was from the Amarillo, Texas area, and had been a sheriff’s deputy there until he had been arrested in 1968 for assaulting a prison inmate. He was hired as a police officer in Norman in March 1970 without so much as a background check, and he resigned a mere four days after David and Sheryl’s bodies had been found. After resigning it appears he stuck around in the area until sometime in 1971, because in January 1971 it came to light that Gilley had been impersonating a police officer on multiple lovers lane roads in Cleveland County and harassing couples parked at the locations.
Eventually an indictment for Gilley in the murders of David and Sheryl would happen in 1991. He would face trial in October of the same year, however due to multiple factors he ended up being acquitted of all charges. The biggest of those factors was the fact that almost all evidence save for one shell casing had gone missing, never to be found. Frank Gilley died in a Texas nursing home in 2002 and officially the murders of David Sloan and Sheryl Benham remain unsolved.