LOUISA, Ky. — Two men convicted of the brutal murders of a Taylorville woman and her father will become eligible for parole in May, and the victims’ family is working to ensure the killers remain behind bars.
Mirtle Taylor Evans had lived in Taylorville most of her life, where she owned and operated Evans Sunoco with her husband, Harlan Evans. The couple had nine children. They divorced in 1970, when Mirtle moved to Louisa.
Mirtle Evans and her father, Roosevelt Murray, were killed in May, 1986, in Louisa, Ky. Roosevelt’s body was found tied to a chair at the home he shared with his daughter. Records show he died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Evans’ body was found 24 hours later in the Rockhouse section of Brushy Creek near Blaine, Ky., at an illegal dump site. Both victims had been dead at least a week when their bodies were found.
Both Evans’ car and the house she shared with her father were set on fire in attempt to destroy evidence of the crime. The fire at the house extinguished itself.
Donald Gussler, who was 20 at the time of the murders, had been arrested for a robbery unrelated to the murders. While they were in custody, authorities were able to link Gussler and his brother Monty, who was 17 at the time, to the murders of Evans and Murray. Kentucky State Police used the information from Donald Gussler to find Evans’ body.
Both were found guilty of two counts of murder, kidnapping, arson, robbery and assault. They were to life without the possibility of parole for 25 years.
The younger brother, Montie, has already been denied parole, he will not be eligible for a parole hearing until 2020. However, Donald will face a parole board in May.
Toni Curry, Mirtle’s daughter, wants that parole denied. Curry is one of nine children who she says miss their mother every day.
“Has my mother’s family been set free?” Toni asked. “We serve time every day.”
She and her family have plans to circulate a petition in the Louisa area asking the brothers remain in prison. They hope to launch the campaign locally, especially in the Delbarton area, where Mirtle was a well known member of the community.
The Daily News spoke to several people in the community who knew Mirtle.
“She was a nice, kind person,” Ann Dean of Varney said. “She helped people whenever she could. I don’t think they should be release, absolutely not. They took those people’s life, they don’t deserve a good life themselves.”
Joan Evans, also of Varney, said she realizes she cannot relate to the grief felt by Mirtle’s family.
“It is a cruel thing they did,” Evans said. “Mirtle was a good citizen. I’m not sure what would cause someone to do something like that. But these were not my family members who were killed. I may be able to have compassion, if they had corrected their livestyle, but the family should be considered.”
Curry said in addition to the grief brought to her family by the crime, she is alarmed by the possibility the Gussler brothers will harm someone else.
“Why take a chance on the possibility they will do this again,” she asked. “Someone should be held responsible if they are released.”