The 1970 Movie That Unintentionally Mirrored a Michigan Murder
Did you ever see the 1970 Peter Boyle movie “Joe”?
It was about a blue-collar worker who hated the hippie counterculture. He meets up with another guy named Bill in a bar, whose daughter has left home to live with her boyfriend in a hippie commune. Bill confesses he had earlier killed his daughter’s boyfriend.
Joe and his new friend have more drinks and Joe tells Bill he wishes he could kill some hippies, too.
To make a long story short, Joe and Bill end up driving to a hippie commune. Their intent was to kill, and that’s what they end up doing; taking their shotguns and proceeding to kill all the hippies in the house.
The clincher comes when Bill sees a hippie girl running out the door and takes aim, shooting her in the back. As she lay there dead, he realizes – too late – that he has mistakenly killed his own daughter.
This movie mirrors something that happened in Michigan in 1970, the same year the movie came out.
Sandy Garland was the 17-year-old daughter of Arville Garland, a 45-year-old railroad employee. The Garlands lived at 5755 Otis Street in Detroit. Sandy had left home to live with her boyfriend Scott Kabran in a commune called “Stonehead Manor” at 4330 Lincoln Street in Detroit.
It was around 2am on May 8, 1970, when Arville and his wife arrived at Stonehead Manor with two pistols. He walked into a bedroom and saw his daughter in bed with Scott, both nude. Another roommate, Greg Walls, was lying on a cot, also nude. Still another roommate, Tony, was in an adjoining bedroom, also naked.
Arville pulled out his pistol and whacked Scott in the head…when he did, it discharged the gun, accidently shooting his daughter. After his wife screamed at him, Arville went nuts and proceeded to pump more bullets into his daughter and then the three roommates. All were killed.
Afterward, Arville told his wife to go home, and he drove himself to the police station and turned himself in.
This event happened in May 1970 – the movie “Joe” came out two months later. The film was NOT based on this murder – it was purely coincidental. The jurors during Arville's trial were not allowed to see the movie until after the trial was over.
See a 1970 article from the Detroit Free Press about this story HERE.
POST SCRIPT: Arville was once quoted as saying, “Children have no freedom. They are property just like a book. She’s my property and I can do whatever I want with her”.