Ralph C. Nuss, murderer of two teen-age boys, climbs into a Sheriff’s Department car for the trip to the Ionia Hospital for the Criminally Insane. With him are Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Stanton L. Bordine (back to camera) and Detective Chester A. Wilson. Bordine and Wilson arrested Nuss after a month-long investigation last November.
Ralph Nuss Transferred From Jail to Hospital
A story of perversion, lust and murder which started on an obscure Augusta Township road last fall ended this morning at the front door of the Ionia Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Ralph C. Nuss, former supervisor at the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan, was taken from the cell in the Washtenaw County Jail, which he has occupied for seven months, by the same two detectives who tracked him down last November.
Nuss, a confessed murderer and homosexual, was arrested last Nov. 14 by Sheriff's Detective Lt. Stanton L. Bordine and Detective Chester A. Wilson for the strangulation murder of 17-year-old Arland Withrow of Ypsilanti Township. Bordine and Wilson had been three days without sleep when the jigsaw pieces which led to Ralph Nuss finally fell into place.
The Withrow boy’s nude, trussed body was found in a shallow ditch on a lonely St. Clair County road 14 miles west| of Port Huron on Oct. 18.
From that date until the night of Nov. 14, when Bordine and Wilson pulled Nuss’ car over and arrested him, the two officers staged an investigation in which they questioned scores of teen-age boys and checked out more than 200 tips.
A key point in theirinvestigation was matching the name "Ken Nichols” with Nuss and the search for a car which "Nichols” used when he picked up teen-age Ypsilanti area boys. Nuss admitted using the Ken Nichols name when he was out ’hustling” young boys for homosexual activities in his Augusta Township apartment.
Bordine and Wilson finally matched the names and faces, and then found the car they sought parked outside Nuss’s rooming house at 18355 Tuttle Hill in Augusta Township.
Moments after the two officers brought Nuss to the County Jail and after an FBI agent Nuss knew had arrived, the prison official was giving details of 'the Withrow murder. He then startled the officers by telling them of a second murder in which he had shot to death 19-year-old Thomas Brown of Windsor, Ont. Nuss led the policemen to a creek near Hartland in Livingston County where they found Brown’s nude body. The murder had not been discovered when Nuss was arrested for the Withrow killing.
After months of court maneuvering by defense attorneys, Nuss appeared last March before Circuit Court Judge William F. Ager Jr. for a hearing to establish his status under Michigan’s criminal sexual psychopath law. Five psychiatrists testified Nuss got ". . . sexual satisfaction from the killings . . .” and killed Brown to “. . . duplicate the feeling he received when he murdered Withrow.”
Judge Ager after hearing testimony from Nuss’ family and clerics said he had no alternative but to commit the defendant. However both Ager and Prosecuting Attorney William F. Delhey criticized the law which permitted Nuss to be hospitalized rather than imprisoned.
Since the commitment order last March, Nuss has been waiting in his County Jail cell for an opening at the Ionia hospital. That vacancy came yesterday, and this morning his personal effects were placed in a brown envelope, and Bordine and Wilson snapped handcuffs on his wrists for the trip.
The question of whether Nuss will ever appear again charged with murder still is unanswered. His hearing last March was connected with a warrant for the murder of Thomas Brown. But the charge in the Withrow killing was dropped by federal authorities who at first believed Nuss’s contention he had killed the Ypsilanti youth at the federal prison.
Prosecutor Delhey has never filed a state charge of murder against Nuss in the Withrow case. It is understood Delhey will file this charge when and if Nuss is released from the Ionia hospital and pronounced cured by state psychiatrists.
His commitment at the hospital is indeterminate.
Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department
Washtenaw County Junior Deputy League
Washtenaw County Jail
Washtenaw Circuit Court
Ralph Charles Nuss Murders
Michigan Department of Mental Health
Ionia State Hospital
Milan Federal Correctional Institute
Crime & Criminals
Ann Arbor News
William F. Delhey
William F. Ager Jr
Stanton L. Bordine
Ralph Charles Nuss
Chester A. Wilson
Arland R. Withrow
508 Pearl St
1197 Hunter Ave
18355 Tuttle Hill Rd Augusta Township