Iris Fennell, also known as Iris Fennell Belcher, is a Pennsylvania mother who was found dead in her home 20 years ago. Her case will be the first one featured in tonight’s new Investigation Discovery series The Coroner: I Speak For The Dead, formerly titled Speaking For The Dead. The eight-part series will tell a new story of murder each week, using the expertise of renown Dauphin County coroner Graham Hetrick. Hetrick, who has more than 25 years as a coroner will use his forensic and practical knowledge to reconstruct what possibly happened to the victims.
The stories will be told through recreations of the crime, through interviews with police and commentary by Graham Hetrick. At first glance, the show already has appeal. Not only does Hetrick’s distinguished look make him especially appealing to female ID viewers, he will bring a legal and forensic based slant to the show. Here is what Hetrick had to say, according to an interview with PennLive.
“It’s a bit of a different perspective than that of the police and the prosecutor. This is a medical legal death investigation. The Title 16 code, which authorizes me to look into the cause and manner of death, says that I am the one who views evidence about the body… my perspective is on the body and what happens to the body, and I coordinate that with what is found on the scene.”
The Coroner: I Speak For The Dead— Episode 1: ‘Rigor Mortis’ Based On Death Of Iris Fennell Belcher
The first episode, “Rigor Mortis,” will document the controversial and tragic murder of Iris Fennell Belcher, a single mother of a 4-year-old little girl who was found dead in the bedroom of her home in December 1996, just five days before Christmas.
When detectives arrived at Iris Fennell Belcher’s home at 1941 McCleaster Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they found her dead body in her bedroom. The autopsy performed on Belcher determined that she had been badly beaten, raped, and shot. Immediately, detectives honed in on her jealous ex-boyfriend, Tyshaunt Love, whom Iris had just recently kicked out of her home.
Those who knew Iris Fennell Belcher stated that she made some bad decisions regarding the company she kept at times, and being involved with Tyshaunt Love, who was said to be a drug dealer, was not a wise decision.
Authorities believed that Tyshaunt Love wanted revenge, prompting him to kill the Allison Hill neighborhood woman. Something else that made police zero in on Tyshaunt Love right away was the testimony of a teen witness who told detectives that she saw Love dragging Iris Fennell Belcher inside the house, where shots rang out shortly after. She later recanted her statement out of fear. The case dragged on for years since there was not enough evidence to convict Love in Belcher’s death. Here is a brief overview.
- 1996–Tyshaunt Love is arrested and held for 14 months before the case is dropped due to lack of evidence.
- 2001–Love is re-charged for the crime.
- 2005–Trial begins in Pennsylvania for 30-year-old Tyshaunt Love. But the bombshell witness will not testify and is a no-show. However, statements from the witness three years prior are used at trial. Tyshaunt Love, originally from New York City, is found guilty and sentenced 15 to 30 years in prison.
But the case doesn’t stop there. Tyshaunt Love, who is now legally blind, according to SFBayView, has always maintained his innocence and has many supporters who believe he did not commit this crime.
Just before Iris Fennell Belcher was murdered she gave the police evidence that aided in the arrest of another criminal named Laquan “Kazar” Williams. Williams found out about the tip and threatened to kill Iris. Her blood was also found on his boots, according to PennLive. Supporters of Tyshaunt Jermain Love say this evidence was overlooked because the police were convinced that the killer was Tyshaunt Love, not Kazar Williams.
*You can view an old picture of Iris Fennell Belcher here.
Tune into Investigation Discovery‘s riveting new TV series, The Coroner: I Speak For The Dead, and watch Graham Hetrick in action tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central.
The show reminds one of HBO’s Autopsy.
[Image via Graham Hetrick/Facebook]