Widow of Lawyer Whose Body Was Found in Landfill Waits for Answers to Unsolved Crime


In 1995, a sister of Katherine Klyce was murdered in her home by a drug dealer. It took a decade to find the slayer and still that didn’t bring closure to the crime as far as Klyce was concerned.

So she knows from experience that her husband’s death late last year will reverberate through the rest of her life. “It never ends,” she tells Slate, explaining that she not only testified concerning the sentencing of her sister’s killer but eventually attended parole hearings.

Authorities are apparently still trying to figure out exactly what happened to John Wheeler, a prominent lawyer who worked in both Bush administrations and is known for his championship of the Vietnam Memorial. He died of blunt force trauma in what was determined to be a homicide.

However, early speculation that he was disoriented and acting strangely, perhaps due to a stroke or a concussion, in the days before his body was spotted being dumped at a Delaware landfill may not be true, according to Klyce.

A man who didn’t focus on mundane details of attire and had trouble reading faces, Wheeler took lithium for a bipolar condition and might very well have been carrying one of his shoes in one hand on an ordinary day, she says. “Jack was oblivious. Nothing sartorially peculiar about Jack is out of the ordinary.”

As she adjusts to the fact that the sun continues to come up every morning even though her husband is gone, Klyce has put her New York-based textile business to one side as she focuses on winding up his affairs, planning an April service at Arlington National Cemetery and trying to figure out what happened. A $25,000 reward offered near the end of January has gotten no takers.

“The way they disposed of his body, it’s a miracle anybody ever found it,” she says. “That just sounds like a pro to me.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-GOP Aide Sought to Borrow Train Fare at Law Firm Hours Before His Body Was Found at Landfill”

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-GOP Aide, a Yale Law Grad, Died of Blunt Force Trauma; Reward Offered in Case”

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