Evansville Cop Committed Heinous Murder in Early Nineties [The Underbelly of Evansville]
I knew Patrick Bradford for many years before he joined the Evansville Police Department. He went to Harrison High School and I went to Bosse. I ran with a lot of Harrison kids, and Patrick was one of them. I always thought he was a nice guy; I even appeared with him in a TV commercial for Ray Wall Insurance in the late Eighties. I would never dream that this guy I knew pretty well would become a convicted murderer.
The Tragic Story
Officer Patrick Bradford was having an affair with 24-year-old Tamara Lohr, a corrections officer at the Vanderburgh County Jail. It seems that this was not short-term affair as Bradford had been cheating on his wife Dawn with Lohr for at least six years. In the early Nineties, there were no cell phones and the wide-spread usage of texting and emailing didn't come until many years later. It seemed that Tamara Lohr didn't want to share her boyfriend with his wife, and had sent numerous anonymous letters in the mail to Dawn Bradford, dropping clues that her husband was having an affair. This led to several confrontations between Patrick, his wife, and his girlfriend.
The snapping point came when Tamara Lohr sent letters to Bradford claiming to have sent photos of her and Bradford together to his wife. What went from a carefree affair morphed into murder.
Bradford worked the third shift patrol for EPD. Several people saw him the night of August 1st,1992, shortly after 10 p.m. He stopped to get gas just before 11 p.m, and was seen driving by a local restaurant shortly thereafter. During the course of the evening, Bradford made several bogus calls to police dispatch in an attempt to hide his true whereabouts. He claimed he saw a wanted felon walking the streets and called in in. The person in question had an alibi of being at his brother's house. He also responded to dispatch that he was on his way to a hit-and-run. The officers at the scene said they never saw him. Lies upon more lies.
Towards the end of Bradford's shift, around 6:35 a.m, Bradford called dispatch to report a fire at a house on Boeke Ave., oddly enough right across the street from where my cousin lives. According to prosecutor's allegations, Bradford had been at Tamara Lohr's house about an hour before he put in the call about the fire. It's the prosecution's theory that during that hour, Bradford entered Lohr's home and stabbed her 20 times times along her back, face, chest, and shoulders. Within the stab wounds, Tammy's heart, both lungs, and her carotid artery had been pierced. It was a super violent, super personal crime. It's alleged that Bradford also stabbed Lohr's dog to death before setting the fire to her home.
An empty gas can was found in the house. Remember, only a short time before, Officer Bradford was seen at a gas station. Bradford also staged the scene to look as if it were a robbery, cutting a hole in Lohr's screen door and ransacking her home.
What seems like an open and shut case wasn't as easy to prosecute as it appeared. Prosecutors established the motive: that Lohr was doing what she could to end Bradford's marriage and he didn't want to lose his family. This, coupled with the fact that a neighbor saw a marked patrol car outside the Lohr home around the time this all went down, was pretty damning evidence...
Patrick Bradford was arrested shortly thereafter based on circumstantial evidence, and was sentenced in 1993 to an 80-year prison term. Many attempts by Bradford's lawyers have been made to overturn the decision; all have failed.
There are a lot of people who also believe Bradford did not commit this heinous act. Many believe that it was the jealous rage another spurned lover; a co-worker of Lohr's who fell under suspicion. Noting came of that theory and Bradford sits in the gray bar inn until 2029.
Bradford's family insists on his innocence as you can see on their website here.