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Women Charged In ‘Mickey Finn’ Death

February 26, 1986

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) _ Two women are being held on involuntary manslaughter charges in the ″Mickey Finn″ death of a man who was drugged and then robbed, authorities said.

Tarrant County sheriff’s deputies expected to bring Sharon Denise Black, 27, and Michelle Eileen Bell, 21, to Arlington today to face charges in the death of John Edmund Knopp, whose body was found Feb. 17 in a hotel room near Dallas.

The two, held in lieu of $100,000 bond each, were arrested Monday on warrants issued in Arlington in Knopp’s death.

Knopp, 28, had been robbed of a Rolex watch, a diamond, gold-nugget ring and a gold chain necklace.

Mickey Finn robberies began in the Dallas area about 15 months ago, and at least 50 cases have been reported to police.

Typically, a free-spending victim flashing cash and expensive jewelry picks up one or two women in a bar, takes them to a hotel or apartment and is slipped a powerful tranquilizer in a drink, police say.

Several Mickey Finn victims have been hospitalized in critical condition from the powerful combination of alcohol and the drug.

The charges against the women could be increased to capital murder depending on results of toxicology tests to determine if Knopp died as a result of the drugging, said Jim Willet, an Arlington police spokesman.

Authorities recovered clothes matching the description of those worn by the women at the time of Knopp’s death and pills from the Amarillo hotel where the women were staying, Willett said.

Authorities also seized a 1977 Cadillac, matching a car spotted at Knopp’s hotel at the time of his death. Inside, officers found a matchbook belonging to the Arlington hotel, police said.

Charges also were filed against Ezell Walton, 31, who was arrested Monday as he tried to bail Ms. Black out of jail, Willett said.

Walton, who police said was wearing jewelry resembling pieces stolen from Knopp, was being held without bond Tuesday in Potter County Jail on a possession of stolen property charge and a separate charge of bail-jumping.

Ms. Black and Ms. Bell were indicted Feb. 12 on charges of robbery in a so- called Mickey Finn incident in Dallas. Both were released on $10,000 bond in that case.

Meanwhile, police said two Dallas men reported they were drugged and robbed this week after meeting women at Studebaker’s Club in north Dallas in separate incidents.

One man told police he met a woman at the club early Tuesday. He said they drove to a nearby restaurant for breakfast and after he left the table briefly he returned to find she had poured cream in his coffee.

The 39-year-old man told officers the last thing he remembered was driving from the restaurant to his apartment.

When he awoke about eight hours later, the man said, he discovered his car and property valued at more than $500 were missing.

In the second case, a 29-year-old man told police he met a woman Monday night at Studebaker’s who suggested they go to his apartment.

The man told officers he remembered drinking some wine with the woman. He woke up several hours later and discovered his watch and wallet missing.

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