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When Marty Met Michelle
When Frank Martin Theer, known to friends and family as Marty, was introduced to Michelle Forcier during high school, some thought it was a perfect match. Marty and Michelle were both Army brats. They were both ambitious. Her outgoing personality perfectly balanced Marty’s quieter, more reserved demeanor.
After graduation, they each pursued their own career choices: Marty enlisted in the Air Force, and Michelle joined the Air Force Reserves. For the next four years, the couple held tight to a long-distance relationship, but after Michelle’s company activated for service in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Marty decided they’d been apart long enough, and he proposed to his high school sweetheart.
Life as a Military Couple
Over the next six years, the couple would bounce from base to base. Life as members of the military isn’t easy, and the Theers’ relationship was no different. When Marty was home, which wasn’t often enough, he and Michelle often spent their time bickering.
Deep depression consumed a woman who undoubtedly suffered abandonment issues after her parents divorced and she was left to help her father raise her siblings. Michelle was lonely, and something had to give.
That “something” turned out to be an Army Staff Sergeant named John Mikael Diamond.
In 2000, Marty was stationed at Pope Air Force Base outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Pope AFB is part of Fort Bragg, an Army installation that has earned a reputation among military members as an undesirable transfer, partly in thanks to people like Dr. Jeffrey McDonald and Tim Hennis. Soldiers and their families frequently refer to Fayetteville, the host city to Fort Bragg, as Fayette-Hell, Fayettenam, and Fatalville.
The Theers had managed to keep their marriage together, although barely, as long as Michelle was in school, but once she earned her psychology degree and went to work, she felt the void of Marty’s absence even more. A lonely Michelle began turning to the internet to fill the silent hours, and it was there, in a Yahoo! chat room, that she met John Diamond.
About John Diamond
John had graduated high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army the same month Marty and Michelle had exchanged their vows. By 1998, when he and Michelle met in a virtual world, John was on his second marriage, and it was already showing signs of collapse due to John’s frequent bouts of infidelity.
Just like the Theers, John had been born an Army brat. He’d come from a long line of military men; his grandfather had been a prisoner of war in World War II, and his father was a Vietnam veteran.
Michelle and John had a lot to talk about, but they were mostly interested in flirting—a little romance in their otherwise boring lives. After spending months exchanging seductive messages, they finally agreed to meet.
When the couple met at a Fayetteville coffee shop, they hit it off right away. John would later say it was love at first sight; Michelle proclaimed John was “very, very charming.” Pretty strong words to describe a couple of people who were married, but not to each other.
Just a Swingin'
Whether it was love or just a strong connection, John and Michelle began spending every spare moment together. They frequented Fayetteville’s many night clubs and soon began attending swingers parties as a couple.
Swingers parties have become a popular means for many couples to keep boredom at bay inside their marriages. Typically hosted in a participating couple's home, partygoers attend for the sole purpose of being to swap sex partners. These discreet parties are attended by as few as two or three couples and as many as 20 or 30. Extravagant parties host even more!
John and Michelle, already cheating on their spouses with one another, were enjoying this “broadening” of their experiences. They both enjoyed it immensely, and their relationship was growing more intense.
Then Marty came home.
Marty had been away for six weeks attending a flight training course in Little Rock, Arkansas. When he returned to Fayetteville, he knew his marriage was in trouble. So Marty and Michelle began attending marriage counseling—an appropriate effort by a psychologist.
To their therapist, Marty complained that he wanted Michelle to be a better housekeeper; Michelle declared Marty to be obsessive-compulsive. Michelle argued that she wanted to go out more; Marty, frequently away from home, preferred to stay in. And on and on it went.
In the summer of 2000, Michelle moved out of the Theer home. During this time, she lived with John in an off-base apartment. During a vacation she and John took to Netherlands Antilles, she and John talked about living there. She even applied to the Saba University School of Medicine, where she listed John on the application as her “fiance.”
Somewhere along the way, Michelle found herself in a dead-end relationship with John. It was no better than her marriage. Michelle returned home to Marty, but Michelle and John continued their relationship, now an on-again-off-again affair.
John sent emails and private messages declaring his love for Michelle, asking her how she could be with a man she said she no longer loved and who made her miserable.
On December 17, 2000, Michelle’s romantic quandary would come to end.
The Murder of Marty
On this night, Michelle and Marty had attended a Christmas party hosted by Dr. Thomas Harbin, a fellow psychologist who shared office space with Michelle. On the way home, Michelle asked Marty to stop by her office so that she could get some books she had forgotten to bring home earlier that day.
Marty stayed behind in the couples’ 1999 Ford Explorer as Michelle went into the upper floor office. After several minutes had passed, Marty grew impatient and went to see what was keeping his wife. As he climbed the outdoor stairway, Marty was shot four times by a gunman in the shadows. When his body tumbled to the bottom of the stairway, the gunman fired a fifth bullet into his body. It was this bullet that was fatal, according to medical examiners.
Michelle would later tell police that she ran from the office screaming Marty’s name. Rushing to her husband’s side, she believed him to still be breathing. In her rush to exit the office, she had inadvertently locked her keys inside—and so, despite the area’s dense population, she ran two miles to a video store to call 911.
Extreme Fugitive Makeover
It didn’t take long for investigators to zero in on John Diamond. His affair with Michelle was known by many, and his name had come up several times.
When Lourdes Diamond told police that she was at home with her husband watching a movie, police were disappointed. Then she told them that around 9:00 p.m. that evening, he got a call and suddenly left the residence. Lourdes told police that he changed his clothes, bundled up in winter outerwear, and said he was going to the barracks.
Lourdes had told police the call came in on John’s cell phone, and records confirmed that he had, in fact, received a call—from Michelle. During questioning on December 20, Michelle denied that she made such a call.
Investigators later learned that John had borrowed a Smith & Wesson Model 5906 from a friend just a couple of days before the murder. It was the same kind of weapon used to gun down Marty Theer. In February 2001, John reported a break-in of his car during which he claimed his friend’s gun was stolen. It would turn out to be a major mistake for John Diamond.
On March 15, 2001, Army officials charged him with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. The Army had no jurisdiction over civilians, but it strongly encouraged civilian police to press charges against Michelle.
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In August 2001, John’s Court Martial began. While on the witness stand, Michelle, on the advice of her attorney, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights with every question. A six-panel military jury convicted John Diamond on all counts.
Fayetteville police continued to build a strong case against Michelle. But she wasn’t waiting around and moved to New Orleans. By the time a grand jury handed down an indictment of first-degree murder against Michelle in May 2002, she had fled her Louisiana residence and was now a wanted fugitive.
Michelle had learned how to recreate herself with books such as Reborn in the U.S. of A., Secrets for Getting a New Identity, and How to Disappear in America. She began by changing her brunette locks to bleach blonde. She used a computer software program to prepare official-looking documents, including fake birth and baptismal certificates. Then she took the most drastic step: She underwent plastic surgery to straighten her nose and add a chin implant, and she had laser surgery to remove acne scars and other blemishes.
In Florida, where she’d had the surgery done, she rented an apartment under the name of Lisa Pendragon. The Florida driver’s license she obtained was issued to Alexandra Solomon.
Fayetteville investigators turned to U.S. Marshals for help in locating Michelle. They soon learned that, as was expected for Michelle, she already had a boyfriend. The boyfriend was put under surveillance; in no time, he had led them to the killer’s new lair. On August 5, 2002, Michelle was arrested for the murder of her husband.
Where Is Michelle Today?
Although it took two years for her case to go to trial, it only took jurors six hours to return a verdict of guilty on December 3, 2004—just six days before her 34th birthday. She was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. She is currently incarcerated at the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women in Raleigh, North Carolina.
With the help of her mother and sister, Michelle continued to proclaim her innocence at her blog at www.michelletheer.org; that is, until it mysteriously and without warning shut down in early 2012.
Michelle has been punished for several infractions since her incarceration, but the most serious occurred in May 2010 when Michelle was charged with criminal escape (although she never actually left the prison) after prison officials confiscated maps of the area surrounding the prison mailed to Michelle by an unnamed person. She was given 45 days in solitary confinement for this infraction.
In April 2011, a federal appeals court denied her request for a new trial.
Where Is John Today?
John Diamond is currently behind bars at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. For a short while, he attempted to maintain his own blog, which he named Free John Diamond, with the aid of his sister. Apparently he gave up, as it has not been updated since November 2007.
His most recent appeal, filed on the basis of a conflict of interest, was denied by a federal court.
Books and Movies about Michelle Theer and John Diamond
Two books have been written about this case, but only one is worthy of recommendation: The Officer's Wife by Michael Fleeman. It's an excellent read about the murder of Marty Theer and the insanity of the adulterous relationship between John and Michelle following the homicidal aftermath.
Michelle and John have also been the subject of numerous television documentaries, including Oxygen's Snapped: Killer Couples (Season 8, Episode 5), available for streaming on YouTube.
References and Further Reading
- The murder of Capt. Marty Theer > Office of Special Investigations
Capt. Frank “Marty” Theer and his wife Michelle were high school sweethearts who had been married since Marty’s 1991 graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
- Wife Sought for Husband's Slaying Alters Face
Questions & Answers
Question: What was the website John Diamond and Michelle Theer met on?
Answer: John and Michelle met on the now defunct Yahoo chat.
© 2016 Kim Bryan
Jacques Yves on August 10, 2018:
The killers are lucky they did not get what they dished out and deserve. They deprived their victim his meals and memories. Heaven forbid they are ever paroled. There should be no forgiveness for such a heinous act.
Michael Scott on January 09, 2018:
There is a condition that manifests people that are professional counselors. I worked in Law Enforcement and am now a Victim's Advocate where I learned about this syndrome. Its coincidental that I also was in Diamond's regiment where I began my degree work with psychology courses at FSU. I had an affair I am not proud of with a woman looking just like Michele for a little over a year. I suggested divorce while she was hung up on finances. I made the mistake again by telling her that she herself had deep seated issues by having the most talent I had known in a woman but with a child's mind.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 22, 2017:
What a waste, her husband would have been better off had she stayed with the phony diamond.
Why kill the poor schnook? They are where they belong to think about what they have done.
Mteeone on May 02, 2017:
It's tragic that couples who find their relationship in jeopardy just don't do the smart thing and just walk away or divorce each other. Instead they turn to infidelity or even worse as in this case murder. People don't realize that like everything in life, relationships take work to keep them alive. Instead of confronting her husband about her unhappiness she turns to infidelity and ends up destroying not only her life but her husband's and her lover. So sad to see how our society continues to crumble.
Ced Yong from Asia on September 05, 2016:
What chills is that both Michelle and John are reasonably educated people, with Michelle a clinical professional. The way they succumbed to their most barbaric instincts, and even tried to worm their way out, truly unnerves.
Suzie from Carson City on April 28, 2016:
Quite ironic that this woman counseled couples with marital issues. She was one cold person with serious personality problems. It's always dangerous & usually futile to keep looking for more & different. Michele discovered, you don't always improve your life, but in fact the opposite.
There's very very few relationships that survive the swingers route. It's a twisted, lonely way to behave.
No doubt these guilty people are exactly where they should be. They can think about their sins and crimes for the rest of their lives. Lives that are now useless.