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Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

One day in 1984, the Poling story ended and Cliver began, then both faded away, until now

Posted Friday, October 2, 2009, at 5:39 PM

The Colts were on their way to Indianapolis and the L&M Braves basketball team just kept on winning.

Those sports stories were making bright headlines early in 1984, but a couple of other front page stories had Greene County readers on edge at the same time.

Late in March of that year, the front page of the Bloomfield Evening World screamed news of two big criminal cases -- Michael Poling was sentenced to 60 years and the manhunt was on for Jerry Cliver.

The murder of 15-year-old Cindy Lou Mason of Linton had jolted all of Greene County in July 1983.

She disappeared on July 2 after she had been seen with two 17-year-old men, both from the Jasonville area, at the carnival in Linton. Her body was found on July 3 behind an abandoned building northeast of Linton. She was reportedly raped, stabbed several times and shot three times in the head.

A manhunt began for the two suspects, Christopher D. Deckard and Michael Poling.

They were apprehended in a parking garage in San Francisco, brought back to Indiana to face charges and the story continued on into 1984.

It was one of the coldest winters on record. Temperatures in January were well below zero with plenty of snow on the ground. The Greene County Sheriff's Department reported a record number of 42 accidents that month, many due to the harsh weather. There were two fatalities.

The case against Deckard went to trial in Daviess County and in late January, a jury found him not guilty.

In three separate incidents, three homes in Worthington burned in January. Another one burned in February.

In late February, the case against Poling went to trial in Daviess County and a jury found him guilty of Mason's rape and murder. That same day, a resident of Mineral was able to ski to work in Bloomfield atop heavy snow. His picture made the front page.

The L&M Braves won the sectional championship that year after an unbeaten season. That year's dream came to an end when they were defeated in regional competition.

In mid-March, a tornado hit Greene County and caused widespread damage particularly around the Prairie Chapel area.

On Monday, March 26, Poling was sentenced to 60 years in prison. The standard sentence for murder at that time was 40 years to which 20 years could be added for aggravating circumstances. The judge did add the extra 20 and called the crime heinous.

As that day's Evening World, and other newspapers in the area, gave readers some closure to the Mason murder case, that same Monday front page also announced that on Friday night, two people had been shot in a home near Dugger and another manhunt was on for the suspect -- an Indiana State Police trooper named Jerry Cliver.

The story said Cliver's ex-wife had undergone emergency surgery in a Terre Haute hospital for gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen and that her companion, Donald Clayton, 38, of Linton, had been shot and killed.

Cliver had fled and was reported to be armed and dangerous. He was thought to be driving a 1974 Chevrolet Malibu with a black vinyl top and red driver's door.

That day's paper marked the end of the Poling story but it was just the beginning of the Cliver story.

In other news around Greene County reported by the Evening World that winter, Public Service Indiana announced they were going to scrap the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Plant Project.

Pigeons were a big problem around the Courthouse Square.

The sheriff told the Greene County Commissioners the jail had security problems and the video cameras were not working and needed repair.

The Worthington Town Council was grappling with major problems with their 62-year-old sewer system.

A Linton man was charged with the attempted murder of his brother after a stabbing during a family quarrel.

An open house was held to honor a 100-year-old man who had been a member of the viaduct construction crew.

Eleven rail cars derailed on the south side of Bloomfield spilling a large amount of coal and county residents were complaining that coal trucks were ruining county roads.

The Linton school board had put in a new computer lab in the elementary school with 18 Apple computers. Two were mobile and could be taken directly into a classroom.

At the end of March, papers across the state announced the Colts were on their way to Indy.

It's been a little over 25 years since the day the Poling story and the Cliver story intersected on the front page of area newspapers. Since then, the stories became a part of history and faded away.

But this year the cases are both back in the news and making headlines once again.

Both Cliver and Poling were found guilty, sentenced, sent to prison and have served their time.

Cliver was released from prison in September. Poling was set to be released early in October.

Anna is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by email to indianarose@fastmail.us

Showing comments in chronological order
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Thank you for such an interesting read. I have only been in Indiana for 5 years and Greene County for 3 of those.

-- Posted by newtogreene on Fri, Oct 2, 2009, at 6:22 PM

I believe you are describing L&M's 1985 basketball success.

-- Posted by Question? on Fri, Oct 2, 2009, at 6:33 PM

Poland was sentenced to 60 years - it's been 25!

Am I doing the math wrong or what ??

Why is he being released so early?

And does anyone know where he plans to make his home?

I don't think it's fair for the Mason family to have to "bump" into him at Walmart - Cindy was our newspaper delivery girl - she was so sweet - Poling should not be allowed his freedom so early - much less walk on Indiana soil - and the same goes for Cliver - they are both murderer's.

-- Posted by cruella on Fri, Oct 2, 2009, at 7:58 PM

I agree with you, willow. I don't find it comforting to know that due to "good time" being served, this man will be walking the streets. Nor do I enjoy the fact that he was able to earn a bachelor's degree while incarcerated. That's a privilege some people (who have never so much as harmed a flea) never have. Cindy Mason was never given a chance to earn a degree, or even finish high school. It's just not fair...

-- Posted by just_a_girl on Sun, Oct 4, 2009, at 9:35 AM


-- Posted by CONCERNED FRIEND on Tue, Oct 6, 2009, at 10:26 AM

I do not think that he should be getting out of prison. He should have gotten more time than what the judge gave him. Eye for an Eye. He should loose his life like Cindy did.

We were good friends we were the same age and we lived in the same neighborhood.

I still miss her to this day.

-- Posted by Tburkett66 on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 12:04 AM

I have found out that he is living in Carsle Indiana.

-- Posted by Tburkett66 on Tue, Apr 5, 2011, at 1:09 AM

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Anna Rochelle is editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached on Facebook or by sending an email to indianarose@fastmail.us.