The Deadly Cougar? | The Jimmie Sue Finger Story | The Real Case Behind The TV Movie ''Stay The Night'' | Part Two

(Jimmie Sue Finger Gambrel. Picture credit:

Continued from part one...

According to Michael and the evidence to suggest the case, Jimmie Sue and Michael planned to have Terry killed. When a hit man failed to do the job (he just took the money as Michael paid him up front), Michael took matters into his own hands but his plan was just to scare Terry.

On the night of February 22nd, 1986, Michael arranged to meet a 16 year old female friend (called Elizabeth Rizzi) at McDonald's. Elizabeth knew about the whole situation and agreed to be part of the plan but she was under the knowledge that this was all being done to just scare Terry. 

When Michael arrived at the McDonald's, he changed into dark clothing in the men's bathroom and told Elizabeth to drive him to a nearby school where he removed the licence plates from her car. They then drove to Terry and Jimmie Sue's house, Elizabeth dropped Michael off a little bit away from the house and she carried on until she was right outside the door. 

Elizabeth went to the door and Terry answered, she told him that her car had broken down. Terry said he would come outside and take a look at it and went to get some jumper cables. When Terry came outside and walked towards the car, Michael walked towards him with the gun pointed right at him. Terry shouted ''Please, God, no, don't''  but Michael fired five or six shots until there was nothing left in the gun. With Terry laying on the ground he jumped in the car and he and Elizabeth drove off.

Michael told Elizabeth to drive with the lights off for a few blocks before putting them back on and they carried on driving to a lake where they stopped. Elizabeth was panicking but Michael told her that everything was fine, Jimmie Sue was in on the whole thing and that she was now financially secure and free of Terry. He put the licence plates back on and threw the gun in the lake. They both drove back to McDonald's where Michael changed his clothes again.

Michael was stopped the next day by the police and Elizabeth was questioned. It was no secret in the town that Michael and Jimmie Sue were having an affair so Michael was the prime suspect. He told the police that he hated Terry and that whatever punishment he got for the killing would be just what he deserved.

In the beginning, Michael claimed that Jimmie Sue had nothing to do with Terry's murder and that it had all been his idea. There was nothing the cops could do if he was unwilling to tell them about her part. Michael was found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. He still maintained his love for Jimmie Sue. 

Blanche was heartbroken and determined to get to the truth, she felt that Jimmie Sue was more involved than she was letting on, even the cops believed that. 

Seeing Michael (who had not long graduated and had his whole life in front of him) behind bars was traumatic for Blanche and together with her family they had to witness Jimmie Sue carry on with her life, getting married to another man and spending Terry's life insurance money whilst Michael sat behind bars.

Jimmie Sue was said to have visited Michael in prison just a few times ''to keep the flame alive'' , in other words, keep him quiet and he was so loyal to her even though he faced a very long time behind bars, he was so willing to protect her.

Blanche came up with a plan which some people, even the cops found crazy, she was going to try and get close to Jimmie Sue. Blanche hoped that one day, Jimmie Sue would slip up and say something that would reveal her part in Terry's death.

So Blanche and Jimmie Sue started spending time together whilst Michael was in prison, the more Blanche got to know Jimmie Sue, the more she could see what she was doing, trying to keep Michael sweet with endless promises that came to nothing, running around town without a care in the world when her son's life was in tatters. 

Blanche tried to get through to Michael and tell him what was happening but he didn't want to know at first, it took a long time before it started to sink in that he had been used and finding out about Jimmie Sue marrying another man really got to him. Jimmie Sue stopped coming to see him, didn't write to him as much. It was like she had forgotten him and was out there living her life. 

Blanche managed to persuade Jimmie Sue to come with her to visit Michael, she told Jimmie Sue that Michael was getting nervous and thinking about talking to the cops again so of course Jimmie Sue went to the prison, unknown to her, she was being recorded. Michael asked her questions about the night Terry was killed and she answered in a way that told the cops she knew and was part of the plan. She didn't pull the trigger but she knew it was going to happen and Michael claimed that she harassed him into doing it.

Jimmie Sue was arrested and found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder. She spent the rest of her life behind bars and died at the age of 61 in 2011, reportedly due to complications from heart surgery. She was due to have a parole hearing in 2013. 

Michael ended up serving 7 years in prison and was released in 1993. He went on to marry and had a child.

(Stay The Night, the TV movie based on the case. Picture credit:

Jimmie Sue maintained her innocence and said that her affair with Michael only lasted 3 months. She claims she had no knowledge of what he was going to do that night. She said that she felt guilty for having the affair and that it had ended a year before Terry's death. 

Terry Finger apparently confessed to the sexual abuse of one of his daughters and was a violent man according to family members.

Whilst I was doing my research on Jimmie Sue I was surprised to see the outpouring of grief at her death. A memorial to her has been set up online and I've read comments where people have mentioned how supportive she was to them in prison and even people who claim to be relatives saying that nobody knows the full story. 

At the end of the day she didn't pull the trigger but there was evidence that she was in an abusive marriage. I wish there was more information online about this case and her side of the story. The TV movie ''Stay The Night'' was based on the case, Barbara Hershey (one of my favourite actresses) played the role of Jimmie Sue and Blanche said that the TV movie was 99% accurate. I'm sure the relatives of Jimmie Sue may disagree on a few things.

It's clear from her memorial that she was a well loved mother and grandmother so she could have made a change in prison, was she ever 100% guilty? I would have been interested to hear more of what she had to say. I do feel sympathy for the abuse she and her daughter suffered in her marriage. 

With Michael, I felt sorry for him being sentenced to life at a young age but he only served 7 years after testifying against Jimmie Sue. Looking back, the TV movie ''Stay The Night'' (I don't know why they chose that title of all titles) was one sided and Blanche seemed to be happy with the outcome but could that be a mother just wanting to show her son in the best light? He did fire the gun five or six times that night and didn't seem to be that shaken up after the murder. 

It's a tricky case, you could have sympathy on both sides, some people may think that Michael is 100% guilty, some might think that Jimmie Sue is to blame for all of it. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below or elsewhere on social media.

Blanche was only 65 when she passed away in 2005. 

I'm surprised that there's no blogs about this case, maybe because it happened in the 1980s and ''Stay The Night'' came on TV in 1992. I tried to track down a copy of the movie (I watched it years ago and it was really good) but it's really difficult for me to get hold of it in the UK.

Do I think that Jimmie Sue should have been released? To be honest, yes. From what I have read, the fact that she remarried and her children and grandchildren as well as friends saw her as an inspiration and thought a lot of her showed me that it's quite possible she transformed whilst she was in prison or she could have been like that before?It's difficult to tell with the lack of information but by the tributes left, you could see that she was a well liked and well loved person.

I hope you found this case interesting and don't forget to let me know your thoughts, was Jimmie Sue guilty or was she innocent all along?

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Check out some of the true crime cases I have covered previously:

The Story of Ed Gein (3 Part Series)

Infamous Murderers On Death Row, Their Last Words & Last Meals

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What Happened To The Petit Family?

The Most Evil Cult Leader In History? | Roch Theriault

The Truck Stop Serial Killer 

Deadly Lust: The Pamela Smart Story 

The Dark & Haunting History of Overtoun Bridge 

The Stuff Of Nightmares | The Toy Box Killer: David Parker Ray

Beyond Evil: The Murder of Jessica Lunsford 

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part One

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part Two

Death Row Scot: The kenny Richey Story: Part Three

Don't Talk, Just Listen...The Weepy Voiced Killer

Amityville | The DeFeo Murders

What Really Happened To Mavis Bran? 

Nowhere To Run: The Marilyn McKenna Story | Part One

 Unsolved : Part Three: The Highway Of Tears & The Disappearance Of Maddy Scott 

Unsolved: Part Two | What Happened To Melanie Melanson? 

- Unsolved: Part One | Molly Bish & Holly Piirainen 

The Dark Side of The Internet: The Amanda Todd Story 

The Story of Bible John

1 comment:

  1. Well parts one and two as always very well Research and written as always. This case is very difficult to see who the main guilty party is. Yes Michael was the one that fired the gun but if I remember rightly in part one. Jimmie sue would use sex to get Michael to do what she wanted. I agree with you I feel sorry for the abuse that jimmie sue and her daughter was going through at the time. Like you said she did not fire the gun. I think she should of done max time in side about 15 years. as for Michael he should of confess jimmie part in it sooner. But he only did 7 years and found love and got married it is a hard case to work out as there is not much out there about the case. You are Such an amazing and talented writer and Author when your book comes out. I am looking forward to reading it when it is out in the shops. 🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️🌹❤️