‘Heritage Hill Bride’ — Film explores 1970 Shelley Mills killing

Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 22:44:04-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's a gruesome murder that has gone unsolved in Grand Rapids for 46 years.

Shelley Mills was stabbed 32 times and found dead in her Heritage Hill home just weeks after her wedding day.  Decades later, a West Michigan filmmaker is putting the case back in the spotlight.

David Schock's film "Heritage Hill Bride: The Murder of Shelley Speet Mills" premiered at the Wealthy Street Theatre Wednesday.   Before Mills' mother passed away, she approached him and asked him to make a movie about her daughter.

"It's true that I've intended the film to be of interest to a wide audience, but I am really trying to reach the one or two people who have information that would help the police prosecute this case successfully," Schock said.  "Somebody out there knows something, and I am trying to reach those few people."

Mills was just 19 when she moved into her Heritage Hill home from Holland in the fall of 1970.   She was the first in a string of murders in the Heritage Hill area from 1970 to 1980.   Seven young women were brutally attacked and killed during that period.

It wasn't until 2008 that DNA evidence helped convict Lamont Marshall for one of the killings.  Detectives looked into him for Mills' murder and several others but never found enough concrete evidence to bring charges.

The film digs into Shelley's past, her husband's and brothers' perspectives and the many suspects the police had on their list.  It also shows the frustration her family felt as well as the detectives struggling to find awareness.

Shelly's husband and brothers didn't attend the premiere because it's too painful for them to relive in front of others.  However, her brother Tom Speet did watch it before the premiere.

"I don't know if you ever really get closure on something like this, but you always wonder who did it because you never know," Speet said.