Jimmy Michael“I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul rememb’ring my good friends.” ~ William Shakespeare

Today is National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. I remember my high school classmate Jimmy Michael who was murdered by his wife Michelle Michael in November 2005, in his own home in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Watch the 48 Hours Mystery episode: Death Without Mercy.

In November 2005, I was living in Denver, Colorado and nursing my son who was just a few months old. Each morning I would go online and read news from my hometown back east. I scanned the obituaries and was shocked when James Michael’s name appeared. It seems he died in a house fire. I was in denial. I couldn’t believe a healthy guy of 33 could just die in a house fire. Why hadn’t he tried to escape? He was alone. It’s not like he was trying to save someone. I was sick to my stomach to think his family and friends had to spend the holiday season mourning his loss. I held my son tighter and mourned with them. It just seemed too incredible to believe.

Months passed and I soon learned that his wife (his wife!) was arrested for his murder. Honestly, I did not want to believe the news. I didn’t want to believe that someone could murder their own husband, someone they vowed to love and honor and cherish for life. But 6 years ago, I was not aware that 4% of our population consists of sociopaths, people who lack a conscience, people who can not empathize with others, people who will lie, cheat, manipulate and fool good people every chance they get.

Six years ago I didn’t know what I know now. I didn’t know that there are people walking among us wearing masks. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.  I had no idea that sociopaths were so good at hiding among us, waiting to pounce on anyone who proved to be an obstacle. Jimmy Michael was an obstacle that his wife needed eliminated. Remorseless. Still denying her involvement (just like Scott Peterson). Still crying crocodile tears and begging for an appeal.

This story can not die until Michelle Michael is dead. She is eligible for parole when she is 55 years old. Being paroled at that age would give her far too many “good” years to be free among the rest of us. I don’t want to ever see her free. She took away the life of someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, someone’s friend. I am unable to forgive her. I think of my own son. I think of how I would feel as a mother. It’s in her God’s hands to forgive her, but she needs to confess first, right?

Please keep Jimmy and his family in your thoughts today and every day. In 2010, along with the help of my high school graduating class, I established the James Michael Memorial Scholarship and fund at Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland. Each year, a deserving college-bound, graduating senior is selected as the recipient of a $1000 scholarship in Jimmy’s name. Please consider contributing to this fund:

Make a tax-deductible contribution by mailing a check payable to:

Fort Hill Scholarship Fund
c/o Fort Hill High School
500 Greenway Avenue
Cumberland, Maryalnd 21502

Be certain to write “James Michael Memorial Scholarship Fund” on the memo line of the check.


abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Health, Mental Health, Narcissist, Psychopaths, Relationships, Sociopaths
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Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. I just finished reading “Playing With Fire” by John Glatt. My thoughts are with his family & friends. Such a very terrible, sad situation. I can’t even imagine what the family is still going through. RIP Jimmy

  2. This type of evil, will get out and do this again…mercy for sociopaths often lead to death for other innocents…if you do not believe me, try watching ‘Dear Zachary’ a documentary about another sleazy, sociopath that another innocent human being had the misfortune of coming into contact with! I hope you will have a box of tissues at the ready, because it’s a sad commentary on a justice system showing mercy to sociopaths and psychopaths!! My heart and love for the Michael family!

  3. Based on the facts of this case, I am appalled that Michelle Michael has ANY chance of being a free woman again. Perhaps there is some ridiculous legal reason why her sentence allows for the possibility of parole after 25 years. But hearing how her husband must have suffered before his death and the complete lack of remorse by this sorry excuse for a human being, she is very fortunate she hasn’t received a lethal injection by now ending her miserable life. Given what she did to her husband, that would have been a very fitting way, indeed to send her to Hell.

  4. I am typing this as I’m watching the show on ID (Dutch version). I’m from the Netherlands, I’m so very sorry that evil b**** did what she did. She robbed a mother of her son, innocent children of their father, she believed she could actually get away with it. She should be sent to the electric chair for what she did.

  5. She killed him and no mercy should be given to her. She gave him no mercy.

  6. just finished reading a book about this case..may god grant peace to the family who lost their son, brother and father in such a horrible way.. greed, vanity and lust ….the roots of all evil

  7. Reading some of these comments make me very sad, all the facts are never given.
    I wish these shows were never shown, I don’t think they care that there are children, or should I say young adults, who are hurt by the way their parents are portrayed. They sensationalize the facts and make the victims look ridiculous. With the grace of God I have forgiven her, does that mean I want her out of prison, no, she has to pay the consequences for her actions.

  8. She is a ruthless slut who should die the same way

  9. Shelley Michael’s should die the same way Jimmy did. He did not deserve to die like that. But he did cheat on his first wife Stephanie with that whore Shelley and then left his family for her. Then he had the gaul to sue for sole custody of his children. As for as I am concerned he should have gotten no custody at all. I am glad he did not get sole custody. He lost all to rights to to be a father once he cheated and left Stephanie for Shelly. If I had been Stephanie I would have turned my children against their father and made them hate him. I also would have had his paternal rights terminated. As for Shelly, She should have had her maternal rights terminated. If I were her ex husband I would have turned my children against their mother and made them hate her.

    • Michelle,

      I do not know all of Jimmy and his ex-wife’s personal or legal history. But knowing stories of others who have found themselves aligned with sociopaths, I have a stinking suspicion that Shelly was behind Jimmy’s decision to seek full custody. I’m not saying or even trying to insinuate that Jimmy was without fault, but people like Shelly have a very uncanny way of making good people do bad things all in the name of “if you REALLY loved me, you will do X, Y and Z.”

      I also don’t think you really mean what you wrote about alienating the children from one of their parents. That’s what we want to do when we’re deceived and threatened by these types of tactics. It’s a normal, anger-filled reaction. But when it comes down to it, our children deserve the opportunity to know each parent and to draw their own conclusions about loving them. It’s not up to the scorned and abused ex partner or spouse to control what the children believe. They’re their own persons, and they have the capacity to see and learn for themselves.

      Thank you for commenting. Many people visit this page but don’t leave a word. I wish more people would feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.


    • The grass could appear to be greener on the other side but when you walk on it the field is full of snakes! Sorry he found out the hard way and by the way I’m not sure of what constitutes beauty, googled this woman’s picture she looks like a horses arse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • When the mask slips, it’s hard to hide the ugliness that was always inside. :)

    • Geeves ive never heard such utter bullshit out of someone,i mean come on Michelle really?I was with every thing you were saying till you started talking about alienating the kids from there dad an turning them agianst him…maybe you have been burned as have alot of people ,but to suggest its ok to turn kids agianst either of there patents even if there was infidelity involved is COLD HEARTED! !I hope you dont have kids or wont until you mature enough to realize the impact you will put on them..An dont think just cause you can turn your kids agianst there Dad that you’ve won cause alot of times when the kids get older an see the bullshit you pulled they will hate you for it! Peace…

    • The threat of terminatiion of a parents rights due to infidelity is only made by small, self absorbed people. In love things happen but children love both their parents and should not be used to punish someone for not wanting you.

  10. First time I have seen this, the only people in Morgantown who think she is innocent is h er family and I know one who knows she is guilty, but wouldn’t go against the family.

    Ruth Michael

  11. Thank you so much for posting! I never bought the defence’s story at all!!!!! Can see straight through a narcassit!!! (Sorry, my spellings awful!)

  12. Just saw this story on ID — I’m not sure if I am more upset that someone could be cold enough to actually do this to another human being, much less their spouse — OR that a jury came to the conclusion that they should show mercy in sentencing !!!!!
    My heart and prayers go out in full to this man’s children, parents, family and friends.
    And my comment to the State of West Virginia — where in God’s name — WHAT WORLD — are you living in ??? You gave this dark souled creature the chance to this yet again …. only she has lots of time to plan now.

    • Even when faced with heinous crimes like this one, those of us who haven’t experienced this type of person first-hand tend to hold out hope that the perpetrator isn’t all bad and can learn from her mistakes. It’s our conscience and our empathy we project onto those incapable of being accountable that fool us in the end. It’s just too hard to accept that this woman is unworthy of mercy even though she granted none to Jimmy. Just makes me very sad.

    • At least someone (I believe it was James Michael’s brother) said after the program, that he will attend all of Michelle’s parole hearings, and speak out and against any release.
      I understand Paula, what you are saying ….. and indeed, it is truly sad that the victim’s family and friends did not receive the justice they deserved. I am being presumptive, but I am almost sure they know in their hearts that God most definitely WILL deal with this perp in His own time.
      Also, I hesitated in commenting here, because this happened (6 ?) years ago. I was not sure if you, as a friend of the victim, would appreciate a complete stranger kicking up dust of this painful time. But when I saw that you had accepted and replied to others in similar circumstance (after seeing this on TV), I decided it might be ok to do so.
      Thank you for not only replying, but for leaving your forum page open to all of us, a product and result of today’s television/internet/ communications. As I am sure you well know, it brings the world closer (it seems) to our homes.
      Many thanks, and God Bless.

    • I’m very glad you chose to comment. Many, many find this post after watching the ID or Dateline shows. I always know when one of them has aired on any particular day because this post gets more activity and hits. Few of the hundreds who visit the post, however, comment. I just hope some are reaching out and donating to the scholarship and helping to keep his memory alive. His brother Steve is surely not the only family member and friend with those same plans. Jimmy should be alive today to watch his children grow up and have families of their own. He should have gotten the opportunity to grow old like the rest of us. I could say it’s not fair but, as you mention, God will bestow the final justice. I am hopeful. :)

  13. I still can not believe how monstrous the wife is, how could she ever think of murdering the man who truly loves her. She is pure evil and I know she doesn’t deserve to be in parole. My prayers and thoughts will be to the family of Jimmy Michael.

  14. She does not deserve parole

  15. Just saw the story on the ID channel, tragic story, sending my condolences to his family and friends.

  16. watched the oxygen episode today and googled shelly michael. dunno why. im glad i came across this site. lots of positive people here choosing to support each other rather than wasting time on “her” as i was. was.

  17. […] of the millions of sociopaths in the world today. (Think Jodi Arias, Drew Peterson, Scott Peterson, Michelle Michael and Josh Powell; all excellent examples of how society has been fooled by sociopaths who toss our […]

  18. Rest in peace

  19. There are still many people in Morgantown that believes she is innocent.

    • Yes, Anonymous. It’s too hard for many to believe in evil on earth. I understand why they choose that position. It’s a safe position to take; there is no chance that they would feel guilt themselves if she were truly innocent. Who wants to believe another human being is capable of such a merciless act? I don’t gleefully accuse her. This is probably one of the most painful posts I have written. Thanks for commenting.

  20. […] James Andrew “Jimmy” Michael Death without mercy. We will never forget you Jimmy Michael! Opening Statements Made in Michael Murder Trial Jury gets Michael murder-arson case Michael guilty […]

  21. We are watching the show as i type, and I feel horrible. That Michelle should stay in jail. I am sorry for your loss. I know it’s been almost 8 years:(

  22. I didnt even know Jimmy, but feel sorrow that he died, and in the way he died.
    And yes-sociopaths are not rare! I believe a lot of these folks don’t even know they themselves are socioaths- and just rather mimic the actions and feelings of those around them, unaware of what the disconnect in their lack of empathies means. Which makes one even more difficult to identify.
    Rest in peace Jimmy Michael, rest in peace.

  23. sorry, more tragic when it hits close to home, a lesson for all to be conscious of negative behaviors, if it don’t feel right in your gut, then something isn’t right.

  24. i’m so very sorry, it’s chilling. xo

    • This crime was so monstrous in so many ways. Jimmy would be proud of your efforts to keep his memory alive. I hope Shelly suffers daily and lives a long & painful existence.

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