Murder in the Heartland is examing the death of Willana “Anita” Dunn, who was strangled to death by her landlord Todd Greathouse at her home in Joplin, Missouri, in 2016.
On May 30, 2016, landlord Greathouse reported to the police that his tenant, Dunn, had gone missing. Something about his story made the cops very suspicious of him, and they soon began to believe he had harmed Dunn.
Greathouse initially denied any involvement in the 61-year-old’s disappearance, but after he confessed to his wife and his sister that he killed Dunn, he was arrested. His sister was the one to inform the police.
Dunn’s remains were discovered a couple of days after she disappeared in a mineshaft to the west of Joplin. Greathouse then admitted killing Dunn but claimed it had been an accident.
The killer told detectives that he had been having an affair with Dunn and had gone to his tenant’s house in the hope of having sex. However, he claimed he had been unable to perform sexually, so they had conversed instead and soon began arguing.
Greathouse said that Dunn had threatened to tell his wife about their affair. He said she placed a firearm on the table, which he took as a threat, so he panicked and attacked her. He strangled Dunn with the electrical cord of a desk lamp.
Dunn’s family has argued that she was not having an affair with Greathouse; her sister, Mona Caylor, told the court at Greathouse’s trial: “There was no affair. There was no room in her life for a man.”
The murderous landlord said he never intended to kill her; he had just meant to render her unconscious. The prosecutors argued that Greathouse had deliberately concealed the murder and should therefore be convicted of first-degree murder. The defense lawyers hoped for involuntary manslaughter.
The jury ultimately sided with the prosecutors and convicted Greathouse of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Greathouse had been convicted of second-degree murder in 1983 for a crime committed in Shelby County, Tennessee. At the time, he was sentenced to 50 years, but he was paroled eight years before Dunn’s murder.
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murders committed in America’s heartland.
Randy Bode got chatting to Nicole Berte in a bar in Kossuth County, Iowa. Unfortunately, when Berte kindly offered Bode a ride home, he repaid that kindness by raping and killing her.
Allen Wooten from Camden, Arkansas, claimed he was having an affair with coworker Ruiz Stone and even said she had threatened his family. However, all we know for sure is Wooten beat Stone to death with a pipe and then dumped her remains under some sticks. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Murder in the Heartland airs Monday at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.