Criminal Justice

Body of Murdered Ex-GOP Official, a Yale Law Grad, Is Found in Del. Landfill

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Updated: A former military officer who served in three Republican presidential administrations was found murdered in a Delaware landfill on New Year’s Eve after a worker spotted his body falling off a dump truck.

John Wheeler III, 66, was a graduate of Yale Law School who lived in New Castle, reports the Wilmington News Journal.

Authorities were able to identify him quickly due to identification discovered on his body. He was last seen getting off an Amtrak train from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington on Tuesday, and around 10th and Orange streets on Thursday. Authorities haven’t publicly identified any suspect or possible motive.

“This is just not the kind of guy who gets murdered,” attorney Bayard Marin, who represented him in a housing dispute, tells the newspaper. “This is not the kind of guy you find in a landfill.”

The newspaper says Wheeler and his wife, Katherine Klyce, were involved in litigation over the planned construction of a home that would have blocked their view.

Wheeler was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the Vietnam War. He was a chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in the early 1980s and is credited with helping to see that the then-controversial memorial now known as “the Wall” was constructed in Washington, D.C., the New York Daily News noted.

He worked as a consultant for the Mitre Corporation, a nonprofit which operates federally funded research centers, reports the Associated Press.

After retiring from the Army in the early 1970s, Wheeler served as an aide to President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush and was a special assistant to the secretary of the Air Force during the administration of President George W. Bush.

James Fallows, who is national correspondent for the Atlantic, wrote a first person story about Wheeler, who was a friend.

Additional coverage: “Police Search for Clues, Seek Public’s Help, in Slaying of Ex-GOP Official and Yale Law Grad”

Last updated on Jan. 4 to include information from and link to subsequent post.

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