16 things to know about the brutal 1984 murder of a West End couple

Posted at 2:51 PM, Aug 05, 2015

HENRICO, Va. -- Thirty-one years ago in August, two people were found brutally murdered in the Henrico woods which once sprawled out along Patterson Avenue, now known as the suburban Kings Crossing division.

Police need your tips to help solve the brutal murder of Donna Hall and Mike Margaret.

Police need your tips to help solve the brutal murder of Donna Hall and Mike Margaret.

Family, friends and investigators have been frustrated for years, wondering who murdered Donna Hall, an 18-year-old Freeman High School graduate and Mike Margaret, a 21-year-old graduate of Tucker High School.

The couple, together approximately four years, was last seen alive on August 17, 1984.

Below is a list containing points that law enforcement believes are some of the most crucial details among the evidence – and speculation – of what happened that dreadful night.


  1. Police can track the couple’s whereabouts every hour from around 4 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. on Friday, August 17, 1984. The last time the couple was seen alive was at an intimate get together with friends – not quite a “party." Detective Thomas Holsinger said those friends have always been extremely cooperative.
  2. The couple went somewhere else afterward, and police want to hear from people who may know where they went.  This is when police believe it went south for the couple.
  3. Donna was found without shoes at the crime scene. They could have been left at the unknown place where they were before their death, or the shoes could have been taken from the crime scene.
  4. Police do believe that the couple was murdered at the scene. As Holsinger pointed out, in the crime scene photos Donna can be seen clutching pine needles.
  5. Holsinger said that if such a crime occurred present day, it “probably would have been solved within a week.” Advances in DNA, cellphone tracking and forensics would have all been on the detectives' side. Also, a torrential downpour fell just hours after the bloody crime and washed away “vital evidence.”
  6. The Medical Examiner believes the time of death was around 1- 2 a.m. Saturday morning, August 18. They were found on August 21 in the early evening.
  7. They were stabbed to death and their throats cut. It was “overkill.”
  8. Many have speculated that Mike and Donna's bodies were arranged in what is called “motorcycle calling card.” Holsinger denied that possibility. He did in an interview use the word “posed” to address how the couple was found.
  9. But Holsinger attributed the way they were laying to the Demerol, a narcotic sedative found in their systems. Neither one tried to flee. Donna had an “extreme amount” of Demerol in her system. He would not comment as to how it was ingested.
  10. Mike fought back against the attacker. It is likely the attacker was wounded in the fight and may have had face or hand wounds. Holsinger would not comment if police believe the killer was right-handed or left-handed.
  11. An important part of the case is who was using, stealing and/or dealing Demerol at the time. “Maybe someone will say, ‘I remember this guy – he used to break into pharmacies,’” Holsinger said.
  12. A third blood type was found inside the Jeep. The last DNA test they did was in 2006, before that 1987. This evidence will be resubmitted.
  13. All evidence is being reexamined and much of it will go to state lab, soon.
  14. Investigators have said the couple had a large sum of money. Holsinger said they believe the couple wanted to purchase enough quantity of drugs to sell.
  15. People named as suspects before by many people have been questioned and cleared.
  16. Tips are beginning to get very detailed, Holsinger said, and they may begin to close ranks on the investigation.

Detective Holsinger, who works within the Henrico Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit, said they have been getting a lot of tips since a special report by CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade aired July 22. He said they have collected more information now than detectives had three decades ago.

People have moved on from previous friendships and bonds that may have kept them from talking to police at the time, Holsinger said. He also said that people have kids now, a new emotional factor that helps prompt more tips.

Police need your tips to help solve the brutal murder of Donna Hall and Mike Margaret.

Police need your tips to help solve the brutal murder of Donna Hall and Mike Margaret.

“[It] would be great to have a call where they said ‘I saw this, it’s eating my conscience alive,’ this is what I want to tell you,” Holsinger said.“The other thing that would be great is to get a hit when we send out physical evidence, a name that can be connected to everything we have been told."

A Facebook group created by friends, former classmates, and those seeking justice for the murders is very active right now, with multiple posts about the murder.

That group has organized an event celebrating the lives of Donna Hall and Mike Margaret, to be held on Friday, August 14 at Bar Louie Short Pump. It starts at 6 p.m. – until finished. They hope to bring awareness and closure to the crime.
Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call Detective Thomas Holsinger at (804) 501-5276.



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