Mansfield to be in spotlight in film depicting Reformatory murders

MANSFIELD - Filmmakers are headed to Mansfield later this month to begin making a film about a local author's book on the notorious 1948 murders of an Ohio State Reformatory farm superintendent, his wife and daughter.

Jennifer Dawn, also known as Jennifer Dawn Anderson, is the owner/executive producer/founder/director of Forbidden Tears Productions of Waldron, Arkansas. Forbidden Tears Productions is producing the film, which details the deaths and manhunt that made national headlines. Executive producer is Bruce Nahin.

Two former OSR inmates — Robert Daniels and John West — entered the John and Nolena Niebel house with loaded guns looking for a guard named Red Harris, who lived nearby. The pair claimed Harris had mistreated them while they were inmates in the Mansfield prison.

Although they were at the wrong house, the parolees took Niebel, his wife and their 21-year-old daughter Phyllis and drove them to a cornfield just off Fleming Falls Road. Daniels and West instructed the Niebels to remove their clothing and then Daniels shot each of them in the head.

The movie will be based on a book by Scott Fields, 68, of Mansfield. He wrote "The Mansfield Killings: A Novel Based on True Events," published in 2012.

Wednesday, Fields said the project is "a lifelong dream come true."

Filmmakers have signed contracts with Fields on two other of his books, "The Killing Road" and "Summer Heat," to be made into films in the future, Fields said.

The current project is to be filmed in Ohio and Arkansas in 2018. This month, filmmakers will film some segments for a paranormal prelude to the opening of "The Mansfield Killings" film and do some location scouting.

Dawn said while here, her production company hopes to film the paranormal prelude at the Ohio State Reformatory with paranormal investigator Dr. Michael Lynch. and paranormal researcher and filmmaker Eric Vanlier along with his producer Rob Hernandez..

Mary Kennard, deputy director at the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, said she is talking with Dawn, but no contract has been signed yet.

Fields, who was born and raised in LaRue, said he spent 25 years working as a Kmart manager in Detroit, but always loved writing. He graduated from Ohio University with a major in English literature. He also worked as a manager of Pep Boys locally for five years.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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