Criminal histories

Author Stoner’s book
explores murders in Indiana

‘Notorious 92’ explores
the issues behind the crimes

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(June 2008) – Andrew Stoner was raised in Elkhart County, Ind., the location of a particularly famous murder case of the time. In 1972, Shirley Rock killed her husband with rat poison because she did not believe in divorce.
“It was a very notorious case growing up,” Stoner said. “The name would cause a reaction.”

Notorious 92 Book Cover

“Notorious 92”

With Stoner’s experience as a reporter and his brother’s career as a police officer, “I’ve been around quite a few crimes,” he said.
His experiences led to writing and publishing the book “Notorious 92: Indiana’s Most Heinous Murders in all 92 Counties.” The book was released June 30, 2007.
Each of the 92 counties in Indiana is represented at least once by a famous or memorable murder case featured in the book.
For Jefferson County, Ind., Stoner included the 1992 murder of Shanda Sharer.
“All over the state, people mention that case frequently,” he said. “People still don’t understand why.”
Sharer was tortured and burned alive by four teenage girls.
“Some people are curious about why I would write something like this,” Stoner said, especially after his first book, a biography on former Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon, he added.
“These cases are a part of our history we don’t look at very much,” Stoner said. “We’ve never dealt with the issues underneath these crimes.”
Melanie Maxwell, the tourism director of Greensburg-Decatur County and a fan of “Notorious 92,” agreed. “Some of the things are important to history,” she said.
Maxwell said she found the book interesting and cited her enjoyment of the television show “Law & Order.”
“People are always fascinated by true stories, what people think, how they react,” Maxwell said. “They do some pretty bizarre things.”
After his stint as a reporter, Stoner became deputy press secretary for O’Bannon from 2001 to 2003. In 1996, Stoner published “Legacy of a Governor: The Life of Indiana’s Frank O’Bannon,” a biography on the former governor.
Stoner began the research for this book while he was waiting for the biography to be published.“I had all this energy,” he said.

Andrew Stoner

Photo by Don Ward

Andrew Stoner speaks to a group
in Madison about the construction
of a Honda Manufacturing of
Indiana LLC auto plant in Greensburg.
But he is also an author.

The researching and writing took about a year. Stoner decided to use newspaper accounts of the murders as his primary sources rather than interview the people involved. He did speak with police, courts and state and county historians to get tips on which cases he should include in his book.
“Smaller counties had few to choose from, which is a good thing to have unless you’re writing a book,” Stoner said.
One of the most interesting parts of the writing process for Stoner was not one case in particular, but rather the effect all the cases had on him, he said.
“I found myself getting blue and depressed,” he said. “I had to take some breaks. It’s a very heavy topic.”
Stoner is now a press liaison for the new Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC plant under construction in Greensburg, Ind.
His book is available at Borders and Barnes & Nobles in sections containing books about Indiana. Online booksellers such as Amazon.com also offer the “Notorious 92” for sale.

• For more information about Andrew Stoner and his book “Notorious 92: Indiana’s Most Heinous Murders in all 92 Counties,” visit his website at http://notorious92.com/.

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