Tag Archives: Crime Time

#CrimeTime ~ American Monster ~ “Have You Seen This Woman?” – #AHAgrp #Blog #CrimeTime

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. (this is a 20/20 episode, rather than an Investigation Discovery episode)

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $1.99 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

American Monster, Season 5, Episode 7, “Have you Seen this Woman?”

Calera, Oklahoma. January 10, 2009

I’m always surprised and intrigued when I begin watching an ID show and learn the murder took place in Oklahoma, as happened with this episode of American Monster. I’ll have to say, the first half of the show was a bit slow. As American Monster often does, much of the episode focused on the family’s past and showed several home videos before it got to the murders.

Vivian Pierce grew up in a home where her father, when drinking, was abusive to her mother. She met and married Kevin and they had two children together. Their marriage didn’t work out, and they divorced. Vivian began seeing Damon Butler, who had two children of his own. They moved in together and all seemed to be going well. Vivian’s family liked Damon and was glad Vivian had found someone who treated her so well. (Damon appeared in several of the home videos.) One night in January, Vivian went out with her friends. She told her best friend that she and Damon were having trouble and she was planning to leave him and getting back with her husband.

Vivian’s sister, Kimberly and her husband Dustin kept Vivian’s kids overnight while she went out. When Vivian failed to pick the kids up the next morning, they tried to reach her but couldn’t. They called Rebecca, Vivian’s mother, and asked her to check on Vivian. Rebecca arrived at the house and Damon told her that Vivian and he had argued and she took off walking. The two of them got into Damon’s truck and went looking for Vivian.

Later that day, the employees of the steakhouse where Vivian worked were concerned because she hadn’t shown up for her shift. They called her friend, who went to Vivian’s house to check on her. There, they found a horrific sight. Vivian was in the bathtub with her throat cut. In another room was another body, but they didn’t know who it was.

Police arrived and were working the scene when Kimberly and Dustin showed up. Dustin was asked to identify the victims. He ID’d the second body as that of his mother-in-law, Rebecca Pierce. Both women had been stabbed and severely beaten. A baseball bat and knife were found at the scene. Vivian’s neck wound was so deep, she was nearly decapitated.

The Chief of Police, Don Hyde, called in the OSBI to help with the case. Their first priority was to find Damon. They didn’t know if he was a suspect or another victim. The next day, they received a report of a man walking along the side of the road. Chief Hyde approached him and discovered it was Damon. He took him into custody. On the show, the police chief was interviewed. He said he was actually afraid while he was driving Butler to the station. I found that a little odd, that a police chief would be frightened of a hand-cuffed suspect.

Photos were found at the scene that showed Damon dressed in drag. He’d shaved his goatee and put on make up and women’s jewelry. The photos were strange and creepy. At first, Damon claimed that he didn’t kill the women. He claimed that two men broke in and murdered them, making him watch, but he was able to escape. Later, Damon called and said he wanted to confess. He killed Vivian because she was leaving him. Then,  after he and Rebecca had gone looking for Vivian and Rebecca returned to the house with him, he attacked and murdered her, most likely afraid that she would find Vivian.  

He worked out a plea deal to avoid the death penalty and was given two consecutive life sentences. Vivian’s sister, Kimberly, asked the DA if she could speak to Damon. He agreed to talk with her. She had two questions for him, one – Did their mother see Vivian? He told her that she had not, which brought a measure of comfort. Then she asked him why he did it. He told her that he didn’t want to lose Vivian. I’m always flabbergasted at the mindset of killers. He didn’t want to lose her so he savagely murdered her??

Ironically and sadly, in 2015, Kimberly’s sister Amanda lost her life to domestic violence. Her death was ruled a suicide, but Kimberly and others are certain she was murdered by her abusive boyfriend at the time, an illegal immigrant who disappeared while she was still on life support. “Amanda that night called a friend and said he’s going to kill me if I’m not gone. She had her bags packed; she had a ride,” Mullens said.

Amanda Pierce

Their father died in 2000 and their brother in 2007. What a series of tragedies poor Kimberly has had to endure.

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#CrimeTime ~ 20/20 ~ “The Accused” – #AHAgrp #Blog #CrimeTime

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts. (this is a 20/20 episode, rather than an Investigation Discovery episode)

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $1.99 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

20/20, “The Accused”

Wilmington, Illinois – June 6, 2004

On the weekend of June 6, 2004, Melissa Fox and a group of friends participated in the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer in Chicago, where she stayed for two nights. Her husband, Kevin, stayed home with her son, Tyler and her three-year-old daughter, Riley.  Riley was a beautiful, happy, cherished toddler, who was especially close to her daddy.

Early Sunday morning, Tyler woke up Kevin to tell him that Riley was missing. Thinking she had to be somewhere nearby, Kevin searched the house and yard. After 30 to 40 minutes, Kevin called the non-emergency number for police. He reported finding his front door open and Riley’s yellow blanket still on the couch, where she had been sleeping.

Melissa called in to check on the kids, and Kevin told her Riley was missing.

“He sounded so startled. I knew immediately something was wrong,” Melissa said. “He just said, ‘Riley’s gone,’ and I immediately hit the ground and the phone fell out of my hand.”

Melissa hurried back home. Word of Riley’s disappearance had spread and multiple search parties were out looking for her.

After several hours, the police separated Melissa and Kevin into two different police cars. Melissa had no idea what was going on. What she didn’t know, what neither of them knew, was that volunteers had found little Riley’s body in Forked Creek.

The baby was lying face down in the water wearing only a shirt. Duct tape covered her mouth and there was duct tape residue on her wrists, indicating she’d been bound. An autopsy later determined she’d been drowned and sexually assaulted.

From that moment forward, Melissa never stepped foot in the house where Riley had disappeared from again.

A pair of adult tennis shoes were found in the water nearby. On the tongue were three letters, EBY. Police never followed up on those shoes. Additionally, there was a break-in reported at the house next to the Foxes’. That was also never followed up on nor connected.

At Riley’s funeral a few days later, attendees wore pink, the little girl’s favorite color. Nearly 6,000 people attended.

Police focused their investigation on Kevin as Riley’s killer.  After the funeral, police came to Melissa’s house and asked her if she thought Kevin was capable of doing this. She immediately said, “No.”

Almost three weeks after Riley’s murder, the detectives asked to speak to Riley’s brother, six-year-old Tyler. Melissa and Kevin agreed.

For over an hour, a forensic interviewer questioned Tyler about Riley’s disappearance. On a videotaped recording, Tyler was seen crouching into his chair, covering his face and crying while the interviewer questioned him. He told the interviewer 168 times that his father had nothing to do with the disappearance of his little sister. When Melissa saw the recording later date, she was distressed. She only allowed her son to be questioned because she trusted the detectives. She had no idea he’d be treated in such a manner.

Months went by with nothing happening on the case. On Oct. 26, 2004, Melissa and Kevin received a call from the sheriff’s office asking them to come in as there were new developments in the case.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is it. They found the person,” Melissa said. “We were just grinning from ear to ear like we’re finally going to know what happened.”

But when they arrived, they were separated and Kevin was taken to a backroom for questioning. Something didn’t feel right to Melissa.   She’d been telling police for months to stop looking at her husband. He had nothing to do with Riley’s murder but it sounded like he was their main suspect.

About eight hours into Kevin’s interrogation, police told Melissa Kevin had agreed to take a polygraph exam and that he had failed. Melissa said she then spoke to her husband. She said the sergeant overseeing the investigation pulled her out of the room, yelled obscenities in her face and insisted to her that Kevin had murdered their child. The Will County Sheriff’s Office has denied these claims.

At approximately 8 a.m., Will County detectives said Kevin had confessed to killing his daughter. He had been questioned by police for 14 hours and hadn’t slept in more than 24.

According to the detectives, Kevin confessed that he had accidentally killed Riley when he opened the bathroom door and struck her in the head early Sunday morning and that he then staged her death to look like an abduction and murder. Police said that he sexually assaulted Riley as part of the cover-up and dumped her body in the creek.

Melissa still stood by him. She was certain his confession had been coerced.

I have never really understood how people end up confessing to something they didn’t do, even with the grueling interrogation by police. To me, they should just ask for an attorney and the interview would stop. But I guess people don’t always think about doing that. I’ve heard that only the guilty think of asking for an attorney to prevent an interrogation. I guess I think of it because of all the murder shows I’ve watched.  But it’s disconcerting to know I think like a criminal. 😊

Kevin’s brother, Chad, contacted famed attorney, Kathleen Zellner, one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country, who had helped exonerate nearly two dozen innocent people.

The Will County State’s Attorney filed first-degree murder charges against Kevin Fox and announced they were planning to seek the death penalty against him for the murder of his daughter. Kevin vehemently denied killing Riley, claiming the detectives threatened and coerced him into giving a false confession. The investigators have denied threatening Kevin and coercing him to confess.

Zellner and her PIs began to investigate. They went to Wilmington where they reenacted the crime.  The DNA results from the state crime lab were initially inconclusive but Fox’s attorney sent it in for more sophisticated technology, which determined the DNA was not a match.

She quickly began poking holes in the Will County Sheriff’s Office investigation and Kevin’s confession. For example, she alleged that the current of the creek wasn’t strong enough at the spot where Kevin said he’d placed Riley’s body to move her to the location where she was found. As she stated, a confession is not a slam dunk. It is only one piece of evidence and it has to be investigated and corroborated. However, to most jurors, a confession alone is enough for a conviction.

When DNA results came back, they excluded Kevin, but did not identify the real killer. He was released from jail the next day and the charges against him were dropped. He had spent eight months in jail wrongfully accused of his daughter’s murder.

I can’t imagine how traumatic this must have been for a family grieving the horrific murder of their child and then to have the father jailed for nearly a year.

Upon Kevin’s arrest, Zellner filed a civil rights lawsuit against Will County, the Will County Sheriff’s Office, multiple sheriff’s detectives who investigated the case, the former Will County State’s Attorney, the polygraph examiner and the forensic interviewer who spoke with Tyler, and others.

Zellner’s claims for Kevin Fox included violations of due process, false arrest, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and conspiracy. For Melissa Fox, claims included conspiracy, loss of consortium, and a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against one detective.

“This was not about incompetence. This was a case where we had to show that there was some malicious intent,” Zellner said.

Just before the trial, the former state’s attorney who filed charges against Kevin negotiated a resolution with the Fox family without admitting wrongdoing. They ended up awarding the family 15.5 million but it was later reduced to 8 million.

The attorneys for the detectives had said one of the reasons they suspected Kevin was that they found no sign of forced entry into the Fox home and that he didn’t immediately call police. Melissa and Kevin said the lock on their back door had been broken and wouldn’t lock.

After the civil trial, the Fox family turned its attention to finding Riley’s real killer.

In 2009, the FBI took over the case. A woman came forward and said that they needed to look at her boyfriend at the time. He was living with her and he acted strangely when Riley was murdered. They were walking past a memorial and she said, “So sad about that little girl.” And he replied, “Yeah, what a shame.” But it was said in a cold manner.

The FBI followed up and learned the boyfriend, Scott Eby, was serving time for a sexual assault against a relative. They went to see him in prison. He was cooperative but denied any involvement. When they were leaving, they shook hands. The female FBI agent remarked to her partner, “That’s the clammiest handshake I’ve ever felt.”

Eby placed a call to his mother after the agents left. The call was recorded. He told her to drop whatever she was doing and come see him. He said it would be the last chance he had to hug and kiss her. She asked if he’d done something bad and he said he did something really really really bad.

FBI agents spoke to him again and, at first, he asked for an attorney. So, they had to end the questioning. They left him alone in the interview room. After about 75 seconds, he looked up at the camera and said, “I changed my mind. I’ll talk to you.”

They went back in, and he confessed everything. He told them in detail about how he’d taken Riley from her couch and stuck her in his trunk. He’d just broken into the house next door and went in to the Foxes’ house with the intent of robbing them also. He found nothing of value but spotted the sleeping child, and something compelled him to snatch her. He took her to the park into a restroom where he assaulted her. At one point, the bandana he wore slipped from his face, so he knew he had to kill her. He said one of the last things she said was, “I want my daddy.” He drowned her in the creek and tossed his shoes, because he was afraid his footprints would be matched to them. He said that, right after he’d done it, he realized how stupid it was. He expected any moment to be arrested. So, the shoes found near her body with ‘EBY’ written on the tongue belonged to him, and literally had his name on them. It was also learned that Eby attempted suicide the day Riley went missing. He was living in the same neighborhood and police came out after being called about his suicide. He asked them about the missing girl. He vomited while talking to them. And they never investigated him.  Additionally, a red Chevy Beretta was seen Saturday night driving through the neighborhood. That was not investigated, but it turned out that it was the car Eby drove.

Eby pleaded guilty in 2010 and Melissa finally faced her daughter’s killer in court. She described him as “pathetic.” Speaking directly to Eby in a victim impact statement, Melissa called him a monster, a coward and a “disappointment to his mother, family and society.” She requested that he not be given the death penalty so that he had to spend the rest of his life thinking about what he’d done.

I can’t say that I agree. Monsters like that likely don’t have a conscience and won’t suffer over what they’ve done.

Eby was sentenced to life in prison without parole. For Melissa, justice was bittersweet.

Years after Riley’s murder, Melissa and Kevin had another child — a daughter — but their marriage couldn’t survive the trauma their family had endured. They moved, got divorced and are both now remarried with new families.

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#CrimeTime ~ On the Case with Paula Zahn ~ “Little Lamb” – #AHAgrp #Blog

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

 

On the Case with Paula Zahn, Season 20, Episode 5,  “Little Lamb”

Port Arthur, Texas, May 2010

On the night of May 4, 2010, in Port Arthur, Texas, a couple found the SUV belonging to their neighbor, Allison Clark, on the side of the highway with its hazard lights flashing. They approached and found her slumped over the wheel, covered in blood. They were horrified to discover her three-year-old daughter, Cadence, asleep in her car seat in the back seat. They picked up the child and called police.

The child was uninjured. Police found a bullet hole in the driver’s side window. The twenty-four year old mother of two was shot once in the chest. The bullet was found lodged in the driver’s seat, and investigators concluded it was fired from a Glock.

They determined robbery was not the likely motive. Her purse was found in the floorboard and, next to it, was a ten dollar bill with a drop of blood on it. Her cell phone was on the floor as well. It seemed clear she was trying to call for help while she was dying.   

They found no DNA or fingerprints at the scene, very little evidence at all. 

It appeared she was driving when she was shot. She was able to stop, park and put on hazard lights, most likely for the sake of her child. Even while she was dying, she had the mindset to protect her child. The police were especially affected by the tragedy of this young mother’s death and were determined to find her killer.

Her family said she was a wonderful mom. Her three and one year old children were her world. She planned to go back to school to be a teacher. And she and her husband wanted another child.   

In the examination of her body, stippling was found on her shoulder. That indicated the shooting was from up close, which ruled out their theory that she was shot by a stray bullet from someone target practicing. It left investigators with one conclusion—Allison was the target. A vehicle had to have pulled up close to her window and shot her.

Police turn their attention to her husband, Josh Clark. His demeanor raised their suspicions. He was emotionally detached. He told them his wife was headed to the store and that she only took the oldest child. When asked if someone could verify his whereabouts, Josh said he was at home and his brother was there. But the brother stated he was in the room watching a movie with the volume up so he couldn’t know whether Josh left the house.

On the night of the murder, it took a while to reach Josh. He didn’t answer any of the calls her family made to him. He claimed he had logged onto a computer game and had headphones on. He saw a call from his brother-in-law but ignored it. When another call came in, he decided to answer. That was when he learned Allison has been murdered. About forty minutes elapsed that he couldn’t account for.

They brought him in for questioning. A detective asked if he was right or left handed. He replied, “I’m right handed but I shoot a gun left handed.” This struck the investigators because no one had mentioned a gun.

The detective asked if Josh had killed Allison, what would he have done with the murder weapon. He said, “On the way back to the house, I would have thrown it in the canal.” They found this odd. Most people wouldn’t answer like that, they would just emphatically deny they’d killed their wife.

They asked him to take a polygraph and he agreed. It was inconclusive. He showed deception on one question, “Do you know who killed Allison?”

Josh was interviewed on the show. He said the detective told him, “I think you did it. You’re the one who did it.” They were firing questions at him, such as, “Where do you think would be a good place to drop weapon?” He told them probably the canal. The police dragged the canal but came up empty. 

Josh’s explanation for the issue on the polygraph was that the exact question they asked was “Do you know who killed her?” He was thinking that gang members did it, but all he could answer was yes or no. He couldn’t tell them what he was thinking. They gave a second poly and changed the question to “Did you kill Allison?” This time, he passed and they were able to clear him.

A witness came forward who saw someone in a gray pick up fifteen minutes before Allison was shot and about four miles away. The person was firing a gun out the vehicle window. The officers went to a nearby gas station and saw a gray F150 in the video surveillance. They were unable to make out the license plate.

They put out an alert and made traffic stops but there were 450 Gray Ford F150s in that county alone. The investigation stalled. While it disappeared from the media, the detective said it never disappeared for them.

Six years later, an informant heard two individuals talking about the West Port Arthur murder. The two men, Sabino Orlando Martinez and Ozzie Nelson Ibarra were known to police. In Ozzie Ibarra’s rap sheet, they found a possible connection to Allison’s murder.  He’d been arrested for robbery a month after the killing and he drove a gray truck. They were able to track down the truck. It had been sold, and the new owner allowed them to search it. The owner’s wife made an offhand remark that caught their attention. She said that her husband had cleaned the truck when they bought it. He found a shell casing and had kept it. They were able to match the shell casing to the bullet that killed Allison.

Police learned that Ibarra and Martinez had been terrorizing and robbing women for years. They targeted women who were along and referred to them as ‘little lambs.’

All the police had was circumstantial evidence and it was not enough for an arrest. Then, investigators got an unexpected break when Ibarra’s girlfriend Jessica Bellas was arrested on an unrelated charge.

She told police she had been behind the wheel on a dark Friday night. She said, “Pino was in the passenger seat. I’m driving, I hear pow, and the window is down. I remember seeing a young girl. A young female. Pino shot that girl on West Port Arthur Road.” After the shot was fired, she was told to turn around. She pulled behind the SUV which had drifted to a stop with hazard lights on. They looked inside the window. Then walked around to passenger side of car. She said Pino said something about a baby in the back.

She gave other critical details only someone involved could know. She told how they pulled up to the vehicle, side by side. And were close when Pino shot the woman. They interviewed Ibarra, who claimed they didn’t plan to kill her. They wanted to scare her so she would pull over and they could rob her. He said when he found out there was a baby in the car, he was furious with Martinez.

The prosecutor was worried the testimony wouldn’t be enough, so she offered them a deal. Ibarra took the deal and was sentenced to thirty-five years. Martinez sent word that he wouldn’t accept anything with a ‘three’ in front. So they went to trial.

Assistant attorney Leslie Woods found a unique path to justice. She discovered a law that allowed her to combine Allison’s murder with the other robberies .

During the trial, Martinez labeled Jessica a snitch. They ended up using that against him. The prosecutor said, “Would you agree that only guilty people have snitches?” He said yes and then realized he’d made a huge mistake. But it was too late to take it back.

He never showed any remorse. He was sentenced to eighty years in prison. I am sure he now wishes he’d accepted something with a ‘three’ in front of it. 😊

The prosecutor said she cried for two hours. She said she’s never taken a case that personally.

Allison’s husband, Josh, is raising their two girls and keeping their mother’s memory alive. He holds no grudges against law enforcement for suspecting him. He knows they were just doing their job, trying to find his wife’s killer. 

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#CrimeTime ~ See No Evil ~ “A Date with Dalene” – #AHAgrp #Blog

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

 

See No Evil, Season 4, Episode 8,  “A Date with Dalene”

Stockton, California,  August, 2011

In July of 2011, twenty-three year old Dalene Carlson moved from Idaho to Stockton, California to live with her aunt and to attend school. On August 7, 2011, she and her cousin, Cecily, were supposed to go out to Finnegan’s, a bar they frequented. Cecily wasn’t feeling well, so Dalene went out alone. When she wasn’t home by 3:30 a.m., at the time her aunt was expecting her, the aunt called the police, but Dalene hadn’t been missing long enough for a report to be filed. Her cousin put out social media posts asking if anyone had seen her, and a volunteer search party was formed to look for her.

Something about the situation struck a chord with Detective Brad Burrell  and he opened a missing persons case. Dalene’s cousin gave the detectives a photo she’d taken the evening that Dalene went out. In it, she was wearing ripped jeans and a brown and white striped top. The detectives headed to Finnegan’s. The bartender stated he saw her go outside at around midnight. They reviewed video surveillance and, recognizing her by her clothing, spotted her outside. They checked the feed in a hallway by the bathrooms and saw a man with a goatee put his arm around her. The took a photo of the guy and showed it to Dalene’s friends, who identified the man as Jason Gilley. Detectives went to the house where Jason lived with his grandmother and spoke to him. Gilley said he was supposed to give Dalene a ride, but he had to go because his son was sick.  Jason said they should talk to Jacob, who she’d been dating. Dalene and Jacob had gotten into an explosive fight outside Jason’s house a few days earlier.

The police watch more of the video and see Dalene talking to man who they learn is Jacob. She seems angry and is gesturing, then she walks away. They bring Jacob in and he says that Dalene broke up with him that night. He didn’t want it to end, but she ended it. They learn that she sent a text to Jacob saying she wanted to keep partying. Since she would need booze to do that, they check video at nearby stores. They find her at a Food4Less with a man. They recognize him as Jason Gilley.

Detectives bring Gilley back in. On the show, the actual interview video was shown.  The detective asks him again what time he got home.

Jason: “1:15 to 1:30.”

Detective: “We don’t expect you to know what you were doing at exactly every minute, that’s not reasonable.”

Jason: “Yeah. It’s not reasonable.”

Detective: “But we were able to view video cameras.” He placed his hand on Jason’s arm in a sympathetic gesture. “You didn’t make any stops at all?”

Jason: “Wait, wait… I went to Food4 less with Dalene and bought a bottle of Jager. I asked her if she wanted to come crash on the couch.” He said they had sex and partied some more. He pauses and gets choked up. Then he says that she wanted to go home and he was taking her home but they argued and she jumped out of the car. He said, “I don’t know. She just got out of the car. I think I even got some gas out there.”

The detectives are sure he’s hiding something. They press him. “What else has slipped your mind?”

Jason says no, no… The detectives ask, “Where are we going to find the body? Help us bring her home. She has a family. They deserve is, she deserves it. Come on, Jason, don’t do this.” Jason is quiet for moment then asks for a lawyer, so they have to end the interview. What they have so far isn’t enough to arrest him for murder. While the detectives don’t believe it to be true, Dalene could still be alive.

Since Jason said he’d gotten gas out where he left Dalene, detectives decide to search for video at gas stations in the area, though they feel it’s a long shot. At a gas station on the south edge of Stockton, they scan six hours’ worth of footage, covering the possible time Jason could have stopped for gas. At a little after 11 a.m. a silver car pulls up. They check inside footage and spot Jason at the register. His clothing is dirty, and he is seen brushing something off his shoulder. Jason gets back into the car but it doesn’t move. After 20 seconds, he opens the passenger door and slams it shut. Detectives believe that in Dalene’s haste to get out, she hadn’t closed the door properly, so he was closing it.

In mid-October, there is a break in case. In a field 20 miles south of Stockton, a farmer discovers a body. Police secure the scene and quickly establish that the body is that of a young woman. They process the scene with the greatest attention to detail. The victim has gunshots to the torso and head. They find scattered 22 caliber casings. They confirm the body is Dalene.

An informant comes forward and says Jason owns a 22 caliber gun. They confiscate it and a ballistics report shows it’s a match. They arrest him. Jason refuses to confess, but was convicted by a jury on October 3, 2013 of First Degree Murder with the special circumstance of kidnapping, and the use of a firearm. He was later sentenced to life. No motive was ever given but it was assumed that Dalene was upset that she and Gilley had had sex. There is a question as to whether it was consensual, but authorities couldn’t prove it wasn’t, so Gilley wasn’t charged with rape. Apparently, her reaction incited him to rage and he murdered her. It’s mind boggling to me that people can so easily be pushed to murder.

While in jail, Gilley was attacked. His mother, Debbie Cooke said her son was removed from protective custody and was beaten up that evening amid the general inmate population.

“I’ve heard it’s one of Dalene Carlson’s cousins in jail that assaulted my son last night,” Cooke said. “I’m very upset my son was assaulted when he should be somewhere where he is protected at this point.”

I’m afraid I can’t feel any sympathy for her son. There was no one around to protect poor Dalene from him, why should he be protected?

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#CrimeTime ~ Fear Thy Neighbor ~ “Daddy’s Got a Gun”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

Fear Thy Neighbor,  Season 3, Episode 7, Daddy’s Got a Gun

Seaside New Jersey, April 2002

The idyllic neighborhood in Seaside Heights was a place where neighbors treated one another like family and gathered regularly for barbecues and other events. One neighbor, police officer Ed Lutes, was a single father raising his daughter, Sarah. The others living on the block felt safe having a police officer in their midst. Little did they know their safety would soon be shattered.

Dominick and Gail Galliano watched Sarah during the week before school, since her father had to report to work early in the morning. It was a perfect arrangement. The Gallianos adored having Sarah there and Ed trusted them implicitly.

When Ed started dating Cindy Mansuy and moved her and her three children into the home, it was a huge adjustment for the children, especially Sarah, who was used to having her daddy all to herself. One day, Sarah’s stepsister found her crying. When she asked what was wrong, Sarah admitted that their neighbor, Dominick Galliano, had exposed himself to her. The stepsister insisted that she tell her dad. When she did, Ed went nuts. He stormed across the street and threatened Dominick and told him to stay away from his daughter. Sexual assault charges were filed against Dominick. The neighbors initially all sided with Ed. But neighbors Gary and Tina Williams noticed that Sarah seemed totally unaffected. And, they knew Dom and couldn’t see him doing something like that. Cindy, Ed’s girlfriend, confessed to the Williams that she didn’t believe Dom was guilty. She thought Sarah had made the accusation to get her dad’s attention after the changes in the household. The Williams went to Dom and apologized and said they believed him. They also testified as character witnesses. Ed was furious, claiming that they were ‘all against him’. At the trial, Dominick was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Ed asked Cindy to marry him, and she agreed, now taking his side, although it was believed she secretly still felt Sarah had lied. One day, when Cindy was picking up her wedding dress, she was involved in a car accident and killed instantly. This seemed to push Ed over the edge. He drank and gambled and became more threatening and violent. The neighborhood became tension-filled. The Williams and Gallianos were the victims of various acts of vandalism. They were certain Ed was behind them but the police claimed there was no proof, so nothing was done about it. Ed posted flyers all over the neighborhood with a photo of Dom and the words: ‘Pedophile’ above and ‘Every Dad has his Day’ below. One night, the neighbors noticed a bright light coming from Ed’s house and saw that he was projecting the words onto his house: Every Dad has his Day. It was obvious Ed was spiraling completely out of control.

On April 9, 2002, Ed Lutes took his police issued MP5 machine gun and burst into the Williams’ front door. Tina was sitting on the sofa. Ed opened fire, then stalked into the dining room where he shot Gary. Their daughter was away for a quick fifteen-minute trip but their son was in the bedroom and heard the shots. He came out and saw Ed, then ran back into the room and managed to escape out the window. His sister was arriving home. He flagged her down and told her what had happened. Police arrived and the Williams’ daughter noticed the Gallianos’ door was wide open. She told the officers to check the house, that they would find more victims. Inside the Galliano home, police found the bodies of Dominick, his wife Gail and their twenty-five-year-old son, Christopher, all riddled with bullets.

Police found the below voicemail messages on Ed’s machine. They began a manhunt that ended twelve hours later, when they found Ed in his vehicle, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. Ed had also driven to the police chief’s home—angry at being overlooked for a promotion—and shot him as well. The chief managed to escape with only minor injuries.

Voicemails from Ed Lutes:

It’s an emergency hu[sic]. Well guess what, I finally got pushed over the edge. Had to do what I had to do. And you know what, I’m continuing on and I’m doing it more. You don’t know where I’m at, but I’m doing it more. There’s gonna be a lot of dead *** bodies all over the *** place. Everybody had it coming to em, no they’re gonna *** get it. Good-bye. You know what Ruth Ann. I always loved you. Tell my daughter I’m very sorry, but I did this  to protect her. Cause something had to be done. I snapped. I couldn’t do it anymore. But it had to be done. I couldn’t deal with my daughter being violated and this *** scumbag, criminal justice system did not work in the way it’s supposed to work and my daughter got the bad end of the stick. Do you know what, I did this for my daughter. So [S.], I love you honey. I did it for you baby. Please don’t ever think bad of daddy. Daddy done it for you. Daddy took away these bad *** people for you. I love you baby. Please grow up to be a good girl. You’re not gonna see daddy again cause daddy can’t go to jail. Cops don’t go to jail. You’re not gonna see daddy again, so please grow up to be a good girl. And listen to your mommy and please. Please be with Ruth Ann and, you know, do what she tells you. And try to do the best you can baby. I love you so much but I had to do this honey. I had to do it. I’m gonna miss you so much. Daddy will see you up, up in heaven and you’ll know why I did it for you. I love you, bye baby.  

* * *

Yeah it’s an emergency. You can answer the phone right now. (inaudible). (inaudible) go out and killed already, but you know what, it’s not gonna stop yet. Until I’m not done. It’s gonna be “suicide by cop”. I’m gonna be killed by a *** cop, one of my own, you believe it. I’m gonna be killed by a cop, one of my own. But you know what, all this boils down to what happened to [S.] I *** snapped, you made me snap, you took my *** final snapping point, and you made me snap. And guess what, I snapped on the right people and I killed the right people. Everybody that needed to be dead (inaudible) is dead right now. And guess what, I don’t give two ***. Okay so at least you could do is pick up the phone. Tell [S.] my love, [S.] baby, my love daddy done it for you. You know, daddy would never let anybody hurt you. Somebody hurt you, guess what, daddy had to pay back. He had to pay back in a bad way. He had to pay back in a way that you’ll probably never see me again. But he had to pay back. He had to pay it back. Cause it couldn’t go untouched. It couldn’t go untouched. It had to be done baby. It had to be done baby girl. You know that as well as I do. People can’t just touch you and get away with it. They’re all gonna know or they’re not gonna know because they’re dead. But you know what, you live a nice life with your mom and Ruth Ann, please. You’re not gonna see daddy again. But I want you to grow up to be a big girl. I want you to grow up to be  (inaudible) little girl and I want you to stay with Ruth Ann and mommy. You know, they’ll teach you the right thing. Daddy had to do this honey. I can’t let anybody hurt you. There were people hurt you and the justice system failed us, it failed us. And I finally just had enough and I had to do what I had to do. And there gotta be paybacks. You know that daddy pays back everything. And there gotta be paybacks. You know that daddy pays back everything.  

A lawsuit was filed against the Borough of Seaside Heights where the three surviving children of the Williams family received $2.3 million and relatives of the Gallianos received $3.4 million.

This story is shocking, tragic and heartbreaking. It’s unfathomable that anyone, especially an officer of the law, could go to such lengths and commit such heinous crimes. I don’t know if Sarah was lying or if she was telling the truth about the molestation. Either way, that’s a huge burden to bear, knowing that a story you told—especially if it is untrue—resulted in the murder of five people and your own father’s suicide. The contents of his voicemail would only make her feel that much more guilt, I would think. He literally told her he murdered for her. How awful would it be to have to live with something like that?

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#CrimeTime ~ Evil Lives Here ~ “Evil Undercover”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

Evil Lives Here, Season 5, Episode 3, Evil Undercover

Westminster, Colorado, August 2003

Lori McLeod and her first husband divorced when their daughter, Kaysi, was four years old. Lori was not looking for a relationship when she met Scott Kimball at casino in Blackhawk, Colorado. His mom was in a wheelchair, and he moved furniture so she could sit and play and Lori was impressed, thinking that it showed what a kind, caring person he was. They struck up a conversation. Scott had two young sons, but he only had them part time. He told her he worked for the FBI. She thought, if the FBI trusts him, why couldn’t she?

She was reluctant to allow someone in, but they got close quickly and she trusted him, even though she found him a bit secretive. They would stay at her house, and he would leave in the middle of the night. He told her he was working undercover and went on to say, even though it was breaking the rules, he would tell her details. He said he was working a case where a girl named Jennifer was killed by drug dealers. He said that, for her own safety, he couldn’t tell her exactly where he was going and what he was doing.

 

Lori McLeod

The first time Lori went to Scott’s house, she was a bit taken aback. Based on the feminine décor, she could tell it had been decorated by a woman.  She asked if he’d decorated it or if he had a wife. He explained that the house belonged to his friend, Jennifer, and he was leasing it while she was away. She asked if it was the missing girl in the case he was working. He said no, they just have the same name. There were no female personal items to make her think someone was living there, so she wasn’t all that suspicious.

Their relationship became more serious, and he found a farmhouse for them to live in. Their kids met one another and got along well. One day, Scott asked Lori to deposit a check for him. In the memo line was the name ‘Jennifer’ and she thought it must be related to the case he was working on.

One night, they’d been to casino and they were walking to the car when several police cars converged on them and arrested Scott. He was home the next day and explained that it was just part of what he was doing for the FBI.

After they moved in together, Lori started to see a more hateful side of him. He seemed to enjoy killing prairie dogs that roamed around the area. As he focused on one, he’d say ‘this is my mom,’ then he would kill it with a pellet gun, then say ‘this is my brother,’ and ‘your turn, Dad.’ One day, she said, “Please tell me one of those prairie dogs doesn’t have my face on it,” and he said, “I wouldn’t shoot you. No, I’d do something really special for you.” She wasn’t sure if he was kidding

He appeared to be a great father but, as she got to know him, she saw that he could be cruel. He was out with his boys one day and the younger one ran into the house yelling for her to call 911. He said his brother was hurt. Scott came running toward them with his son in his arms. He explained that a storm grate had fallen on him. While she was on the phone with 911, she saw Scott’s truck heading out and knew that he was taking his son to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, the child was covered in blood. She was confused, because the doctor said the injuries were from a fall. She said “No, a storm grate fell on him.” Scott explained that, on the way to the hospital, the boy was getting sick and he tried to open the window but accidentally opened the door and fell out. The little boy almost died and was in a medically induced coma. When he was able to speak, the first thing he said was, “Why did Dad do this to me? I don’t know why he pushed me.” Lori was stunned and horrified The neuro surgeon said the child had a brain injury and didn’t know what he was saying. Lori was worried but believed the doctor. Why would Scott be taking him to the hospital if he wanted to hurt him?

One day, Scott’s Uncle Terry came to live with them. Lori didn’t like it. The man gave her the creeps, but she tolerated his presence. She arrived home one night to find that the furniture had been moved around and their white sofa was outside by pool. She asked what happened and Scott told her that Terry’s dog got sick on the sofa. He explained that Terry had hit won a lottery and took off with his stripper girlfriend. Lori found the story hard to believe, but she didn’t question it because she was glad he was out of her house.

After Lori’s daughter, Kaysi, graduated from high school, she moved out of the home. Her new roommate introduced her to crystal meth. She struggled with her addiction for a while but finally got clean, found a job, and moved back home. Things seemed to be going well until the day Scott showed Lori a vial of drugs and said he’d found it in the house. Lori knew that neither she nor Scott did drugs, so they had to belong to Kaysi. Brokenhearted, not wanting to see her child die from drug use, Lori confronted her. Kaysi swore they weren’t hers and pleaded with her mother to believe her. Lori was certain she was lying. Lori planned to take Kaysi to the police station and asked Scott to watch her while she grabbed some things.  When she got downstairs, Scott said, “She’s waiting it the car.” But, they got outside and Kaysi was nowhere to be found.  Days went by and Lori didn’t hear from her daughter—nor had anyone else. Lori searched but couldn’t find her. She tried to file a missing persons report but the police wouldn’t file it since Kaysi was over 18 and it was ‘her right to be missing.’ Scott reassured Lori, telling her to calm down, just let her do her thing, she’ll come back.

Lori married Scott the same month Kaysi disappeared.

Not long after Kaysi went missing, her boyfriend, CB, called and told Lori that he and Kaysi had been staying at a motel and Scott had been paying for it and taking Kaysi to work. Lori didn’t believe it at first, but CB said that the day she disappeared from Lori’s house, Scott gave her money and put her on her bike, and she took off. The last day Kaysi was seen, Scott had taken her to work, and she never came back. Lori confronted Scott and he denied it and said CB was a liar and a drug addict. He said, “If I pass a polygraph, can we just never talk about it again?” She agreed and Scott seemed surprised. She believes he expected her to think that, if he was willing to take the test, he must be telling the truth. He took the polygraph and passed every question except “Do you know where Kaysi is?” He explained that it was probably because he was the last one to see her (at their house that day Lori was going to take her to the police) and knew where she’d disappeared from. Lori believed him.

Kaysi McLeod

One day, Scott told Lori that he went into Kaysi’s room and found that her make up case gone and her necklace that CB had given her was hanging on her doorknob. Scott suggested she’d left it there as a clear message that she wanted it given back to CB because she was done with him. He said, “She doesn’t want you to call the police on her. She’ll come around when she’s ready.” Lori was relieved. It meant her daughter was okay. She left money on the bed in case she came back to the house. But Kaysi never took the money.

A year after Kaysi went missing, Scott didn’t come home one night. A detective knocked on Lori’s door and asked where he was. Lori said, “He’s on a case working for you. I’m sure your office can track him down.” He said, “Scott doesn’t work for us, he’s an informant. He’s a convicted felon for writing bad checks. But now he’s on the run.” The detective went on to explain that he was linked to a missing person and was the last one to have seen her. He showed her a photo of a girl, Jennifer Marcum and said he was trying to solve her murder. He also showed Lori a photo of Leann Emery, who was also missing and linked to Scott. The detective asked if she knew of any other missing people surrounding Scott. She mentioned Kaysi.

When Lori confronted Scott, he claimed the police were setting him up. It was easier for Lori to believe that, because it meant her daughter could still be okay. She wanted him to convince her that he was telling the truth.

One day in 2007, the FBI called Lori and said she and her ex-husband, Kaysi’s father, needed to come talk to them. The FBI told the parents that hunters had found human remains and they needed DNA to identify them. Lori gave them Kaysi’s baby teeth. They used them to confirm that the victim was Kaysi.

The police searched Scott and Lori’s house. They found blood under carpet that was matched to Scott’s uncle. Lori learned that the townhouse Scott was living in—the one he said he was leasing from a friend–belonged to Jennifer Markham. He’d moved into her home after killing her.

One thing that Scott had told Lori was true. He was an FBI informant. He’d been released from jail in 2002 when he told the FBI his cellmate Steve Ennis, had asked him to kill a witness in a drug case. Once released, Scott himself killed Ennis’s girlfriend, Jennifer Marcum. Scott was given a 70 year sentence for the murders of Kaysi McLeod, Jennifer Marcum, Leann Emory and Terry Kimball.

Lori had to live with the guilt of her daughter’s death. “There are days I think I’ve forgiven myself but when I take time to think about it, I am the one who brought him into our lives. I’m the one responsible for her being gone.”

Many people agree that she was naïve and stupid and should have seen what the psycho was capable of. I have mixed feelings. She did seem very naïve, but I am sure she never dreamed Scott would murder her child.

In 2015, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer and given 6 months to 2 years to live. After the shock wore off, she was excited. “I get to leave sooner and be with my kiddo. When I pass, my plan is to be cremated and they will open Kaysi’s casket and my cremains will be placed there. We’ll be together in heaven.”

In December, 2019, several months after the episode aired, Lori passed away.

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Crime Time ~ JonBenet Ramsey ~ Who do you think is guilty?

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

(This is not based on a particular ID episode…it’s about a case that is all too familiar to us all)

A sweet, innocent child, murdered. A vicious killer unpunished

Boulder, Colorado, December 26th, 1996

Some of these things are what I’ve heard/read in reports and articles. They may not all be accurate, but enough of them are to make this a very troubling case.  

  • Those who believe it was an intruder mention the unidentified DNA, but any DNA found, such as on her panties, is suspect because of the way the crime scene was decimated.
  • Burke never seemed upset about his sister’s murder. Not as a child during the police interviews nor as an adult in the Dr. Phil interviews, where he had this creepy weird smile on his face the entire time. He said he was lying in bed, wondering if something had happened to JonBenet. Why would he wonder that?
  • Dr. Phil said to Burke in the interview: There still are people who believe that you killed your sister. What do you say about that?
  • Burke replied, Look at the evidence or the lack thereof. (Isn’t this a strange response? Almost sounds like, ‘they can’t prove it, can they?’)
  • Handwriting was similar to Patsy’s and so was some of the phrasing? From a Christmas note from the Ramseys: Had there been no birth of Christ, there would be no hope of eternal life, and hence, no hope of ever being with our loved ones again. From the ransom note: If we monitor you getting the money early we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence an earlier pickup of your daughter.
  • How come John and Patsy never paid attention to the time and/or noted that the deadline for kidnappers to call had passed?
  • If an intruder was in the house for hours, there would have been some kind of DNA/evidence of his/their presence?
  • If the intruder wrote the note before the murder, what did he do with it during the murder? He didn’t put it on the stairs right away, because the Ramseys would have seen it earlier. He didn’t have it folded in a pocket. The sheets were laid out straight with no ‘wear’ on them.  What are the logistics of his movements? Let himself into the home while they are gone. Wait til all are asleep. Grabbed JonBenet. Took her down to basement and killed her. At what point during this did he go back  upstairs and write and leave the note? There was no reason for an intruder to leave a note, period. He never called to collect any money. If that was his intent, he would have taken her body with him. What was the purpose of the note from an intruder’s perspective? From the Ramseys perspective, a note makes perfect sense, since they would want to steer the blame to a stranger.
  • If there was an intruder, he passed a handful of exits he could have used to leave the house with JonBenet, why carry her down to the basement where he’d be trapped if anyone in the house got out of bed?
  • In the 911 call, Patsy was hyperventilating but not crying. Her word choices were weird and distant. Most of us would shout, My daughter’s missing. Please help. Or something like that. She said: ‘We have a kidnapping’ and ‘she’s 6 years old and blonde’ – Also, why hang up instead of staying on the phone to make sure they were coming?
  • It’s odd to refer to the following year as 1997, which Patsy did in her Christmas letter of 1996 and the writer of the note did. Why not say, ‘If you want her to see tomorrow or a new day or next year’ – 1997 was almost a week away. The kidnappers surely didn’t plan to keep her that long (had they had her at all, which they didn’t)
  • John Ramsey went down into the basement on his own a short time before he was asked to search the house.
  • Most families of murder victims constantly call the police to see if they’ve made any progress. The Ramseys did not.
  • Patsy seems very clinical in interviews. Her excuse of ‘I have to compartmentalize and treat it clinically’ doesn’t make sense. What loving, innocent mother would or could force herself to be so calm and emotionless. She says ‘the case’ and ‘the crime’ etc. Very detached language.
  • The marks on JonBenet’s body that some claimed were from a stun gun also matched the piece of toy train track that belonged to Burke.
  • The Ramseys did not stay together and comfort one another. Each hung out with friends. John went through his mail. He claims he as looking for something from kidnapper, but if she’d been kidnapped that morning, how would he have time to get something in the mail?
  • Why would the writer of the ransom note refer to themselves as a small foreign faction, which is vague and odd and doesn’t make them seem very powerful or threatening? And this line: We do respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country that it serves. Why compliment John’s company?
  • The Ramseys immediately called the police, even though the note said their child would be beheaded if they did.
  • They immediately called their friends to come over. Odd.
  • They sent Burke away, rather than keeping him close. If one child had just been brutally murdered by a stranger and someone who they felt had it out for John, why wouldn’t they keep Burke close to protect him and keep an eye on him? Some say they would have kept him close if guilty because of being afraid he’d talk. But the police were at their house. That is the place where they’d most NOT want him talking.
  • Though Patsy and John were in separate rooms, when confronted about the ransom note, they both said that perhaps the ransom note was written by a woman. A strange conclusion for both of them to draw on their own, suggesting they had discussed what they would say to investigators. Even more chilling in Burke’s interview, to some questions he responds, “not that I recall”. This was the exact same phrase Patsy used in her interviews, suggesting to investigators that Burke had been coached by Patsy.
  • Why did the Ramseys tell friends not to talk to police? You’d think they would want everyone to talk to the police in the hopes they might learn something that could lead to their daughter’s killer.
  • Why didn’t Patsy rush in the room when John brought JonBenet’s body up? It’s my understanding that she waited a few minutes before going into the room.
  • Why leave the note spread out on the stairs? Why take a practice run? Why use a pad and pen that was in a drawer of the home? If you plan to kidnap someone, you would likely write the note ahead of time, not hang around the house for hours and write a 3 page note while in the home, risking someone getting up and finding you.
  • Why would the kidnappers/killers refer to themselves as a small foreign faction, which is vague and odd and doesn’t make them seem very powerful or threatening? Why compliment John’s company?
  • Why was Patsy wearing the same clothes from the night before if she’d been asleep all night? She said when she woke up, she got dressed and went downstairs. At that time, she supposedly didn’t know anything was wrong, so it’s not like she was so upset, she just threw on her previous night’s clothes without thinking. She was a classy, wealthy woman and it makes zero sense she’d get up and put on the previous night’s party clothes.
  • Why would a kidnapper hang out so long and write such a lengthy, rambling ransom note rather than getting to the point of his/her demands? It might not make sense for Patsy to write such a note either, but if she wrote it, she was no doubt out of her mind with grief and fear and confusion, and she wouldn’t be making much sense.
  • Why would a kidnapper not bring anything with him and use things found in the home?
  • Why would an intruder snatch, kill, assault JonBenet while in the home and leave her body in the home instead of taking it with them? They increased their risk of being caught every moment they were in the house. The note was left on the back staircase, which wasn’t obvious. Patsy came down that way, but the kidnapper would have no way of knowing that and would most likely leave it in the kitchen or the front staircase.

So….what are your thoughts?

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Crime Time ~ Sins & Secrets ~ “Lexington”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

Sins & Secrets, Season 2, Episode 1,  “Lexington”

Lexington, Kentucky, July 17, 1994

A group of University of Kentucky students were hanging out, celebrating the twenty-first birthday of Trent DiGiuro, a well-liked student at the university. Trent was a football player but, at 6’2 and 260 lbs., he was told he was too small and too slow to play. But, he went out and tried anyway, giving it all he could and holding his own with the other, bigger players. He was thrilled when he made it on the team.

At around 12:30, when the party was starting to wind down, a shot rang out. Shawn, one of the friends, asked Trent DiGiuro if he’d heard it. It was in that moment, he realized Trent had been shot. A friend held a shirt on Trent’s head as they waited for an ambulance.  The shirt was immediately soaked in blood. Although Trent was rushed to the hospital, he died—the coroner stated that he died within seconds of being shot.

All of the partygoers were interrogated and tested for gun residue. They told of some guys who drove up in a pickup and wanted to crash the party and were told it was a private party. That ended up leading nowhere. It was determined that the shot, which was directly into Trent’s ear, came from a distance, most likely from a spot above where Trent was located. People wondered if UK football players were being targeted.

For two years, the investigation went unsolved. Then, authorities received a call that they should check out a student named David Cante. They went to David’s house and were shocked at what they found. It was clear that Cante had an unhealthy interest in Trent DiGiuro. They not only found a cache of weapons; they found a rifle that was similar to the one that killed Trent. They also found several paper plates with creepy messages written on them, including one that said he and Trent were twins. He seemed to be obsessed with the victim, which raised a red flag. But, when they dug deeper, they found no connection between Cante and Trent’s murder.

Three more years passed without a break in the case. The story was featured on America’s Most Wanted, which brought in a ton of leads. None of them resulted in anything worthwhile. Then, in January 2000, an attorney called police and told them he had some information from someone who wished to remain anonymous. The attorney gave them the name of Shane Ragland. They learned that Shane was another student at the university. The anonymous source said the motive was Shane being blackballed from a fraternity. Police spoke to a friend of Trent’s who said he was pledging with Shane and Trent was there. On the wall was a calendar of college girls. Shane pointed to one and said he’d slept with her. She was a friend of Trent’s and the girlfriend of the president. Later, the president confronted Shane and he was blackballed from the fraternity. Shane blamed Matt and went after him, attacking him in a bar. When Trent learned of the attack, he called Shane and told him that Trent was the one who told the president. He said if he had a problem, he should take it up with him. Unfortunately, those words sealed Trent’s fate.

Even though this seemed like a minor conflict and shouldn’t have led to murder, it was the only thing police had. Police thought Ragland sounded like a solid suspect but couldn’t go anywhere without knowing the identity of the source. They convinced the attorney, who gave them her name–Aimee Lloyd, a former girlfriend of Shane. She told them she and Shane were out drinking one night and they played the game, “What’s the worst thing you’ve done?” When it was Shane’s turn, he said he’d shot someone. He told her he killed Trent. He even showed her the rifle he’d used. And made her promise she’d never tell anyone. For five years, she kept the promise, Then, one day she read an article about the anniversary of Trent’s death. All she could think about was what his family was going through and knew she had to do something.

She agreed to work with police on a sting operation. They set up a ruse that Aimee would email Shane to establish contact. She did, and they began to communicate frequently. Shane suggested they meet get together some time, and Aimee agreed. She told him she would have a layover in Lexington if he wanted to meet with her. Aimee met with Shane in a lounge at the airport. Some of the other patrons were undercover cops, and Aimee was wired. Police had gone in the night before and set up the bar so they could record audio.

At first, they talked about old times, then Aimee began to cry. She said, “Something has been bother me, something you told me a long time ago, and I wish you never had. I need to know how you feel about it, so I can find out what kind of person you are before we go further.” He told her that he regretted it. She asked if he was ever going to do anything about it and asked if he could live with himself. He told her he didn’t have a choice. Then, he said, “You’re not setting me up, are you?” Aimee nervously laughed off the question, then said goodbye and headed to her flight, a nervous wreck.

The confession was enough to get a search warrant and they found a rifle that was the same caliber as the one that killed Trent. They arrested Shane. When he they interrogated him, he refused to admit he killed Trent.

Shane’s wealthy father posted his 500,000-dollar bond and hired the best attorney. Aimee took the stand at the trial and Shane’s attorney cautioned the jury to be careful believing her. They had Aimee’s diary and read extremely personal, explicit entries she’d written about hers and Shane’s sex life. Shane’s defense claimed that a person with behavior that racy couldn’t be trusted as a witness. Ugh, that’s outrageous. I’m shocked the judge allowed it. They had his freaking OWN words saying he regretted killing Trent, yet they put forth a defense like that?

The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to thirty years. However, a motion was filed by Shane’s attorneys, claiming that one of the ballistics experts gave false testimony. His guilty verdict was overturned. After discussing the option with Trent’s family, prosecutors offered Shane a deal. He plead guilty to manslaughter. With time served, he walked out a free man. So disgusting. His family wasn’t thrilled with the plan but said they didn’t have much choice. I’m not sure why they didn’t. It seems to me that they had a pretty solid case and should have tried it again. Although, they did get the satisfaction of having Shane admit he killed their son.

Aimee Lloyd was so terrified Shane would seek revenge that she went underground. She had to change her identity and completely disappear.

Not wanting Shane to live a life of luxury and enjoy his daddy’s millions, the DiGiuro family sued Ragland, and in 2008, the family was awarded $63.3 million, including $3.3 million in lost wages. It was the largest amount awarded in Fayette County and the second largest ever in Kentucky.

In 2012, Ragland sustained a spinal cord injury in a traffic accident where he was driving too fast on wet roads and not wearing a seatbelt. He has been confined to a wheelchair since. I guess Karma is indeed a bitch. However, it doesn’t seem he’s learned his lesson. In 2015, he was in Court on charges of domestic abuse for beating his girlfriend and her children. His only consequence was that he was ordered not to be around the children, although the woman stayed with him. Sometimes, the things people do amaze me.

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ American Monster ~ “The Last Valentine”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

American Monster, Season 3, Episode 7,  “The Last Valentine”

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – February 14, 2001

On Valentine’s Day in 2001, a frantic 911 call came in to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Affluent OKC gynecologist, John Hamilton, was calling to report that he’d found his wife, Susan, dead on the bathroom floor:

Operator: 911.

John Hamilton: Please, please, send police, please send an ambulance, please.

Operator: What’s the problem?

John Hamilton: My wife’s, my wife, my wife I think my wife is dead. Please, please.

Operator: Sir, sir.

John Hamilton: Please, please.

He told the operator he was trying CPR.

911 call:

John Hamilton: Listen, I’m a doctor, I’ve been trying CPR. Please send somebody quick.

EMSA: OK. Is she not breathing?

John Hamilton: No, she’s not breathing, I don’t get a pulse. Please, hurry.

EMSA: OK, you’re doing CPR?

John Hamilton: Yes, I’m trying. Yeah, I’m going to hang up so I can continue. Please.

EMSA: Alright. We’ll be right there.

John Hamilton: OK.

John and Susan married in 1987 and everyone who knew them felt they were a perfectly happy couple. Susan worked for Dr. Hamilton a few days a week, running his clinic. Seemingly the only dark cloud over their happiness was the conflict concerning the abortions Dr. Hamilton performed. Pro-Life advocates held several protests at his clinic and the couple received numerous threats.

February 14th, 2001, would have been their fifteenth Valentine’s Day together. But, it was also the day Dr. Hamilton returned home from his second surgery of the morning to find his wife dead—lying in a pool of blood. She’d been bludgeoned and strangled.

Investigators explored various theories—

~Robbery – The couple was wealthy and would certainly draw the attention of robbers.

~ Revenge for the abortions the doctor performed – Just the week before Susan was murdered, a wanted poster had been left for Dr. Hamilton that read, “A reward in heaven will be bestowed on anyone contributing to bringing this murderer to justice.” And both John and Susan had received threatening phone calls that week.

~ And, of course, the spouse – The morning of the murder, John went home after an early morning surgery to exchange cards with his wife. The hospital paged him at 9 a.m. to get back for another surgery. By 9:30, he was scrubbing up for the operation — a complicated removal of a tumor. The procedure came off without a hitch, and later none of the other doctors reported anything at all unusual in his behavior.

By 10:45, he was on his way home again, which is when he says he discovered Susan in a pool of blood. The timeline was extremely tight for the doctor to even be considered as a suspect. He’d have to have committed the violent murder in that narrow window between his two surgeries. His former medical partner, for one, doesn’t think that was possible. She didn’t believe he could do a surgery, go commit a violent crime, then come back and do another surgery, so calmly and without a hitch.

But investigators weren’t so sure, especially after finding a few clues that indicated the doctor might have been the killer. A card from his wife was found inside his Jaguar that read: “Obviously, I bought this before last Monday, so I guess now it doesn’t seem as appropriate. I do still love you though. Have a good day. Susan”

As is turns out, Susan suspected John of having an affair with a stripper—who was one of his patients–after finding numerous calls he’d made to the woman. But John explained to his wife that the woman had been having severe issues and had threatened suicide. He was only trying to help her.

In addition to the not so romantic card, investigators were suspicious of John because there were no bloody footprints leading away from the crime scene, and Susan’s blood and tissue were found in his Jaguar—which he explained away by saying he’d gotten in the car to move it while waiting on the ambulance after realizing they would need the parking space. However, his hands were shaking too badly to start the car.

The doctor’s strange behavior didn’t help ease their suspicions.  Hamilton had told the 911 operator he was performing CPR. But when the first responder arrived on the scene, he thought there was something odd about the way the doctor was performing chest compressions. He had one hand on her chest and one hand on her abdomen, rather than interlocking his hands with the palm in the center of the chest. There were no signs that the doctor had attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

When investigators placed John in the back of a police cruiser, his behavior became more bizarre. He scraped his knuckles on the mesh screen in the police car and banged his head into it. Police took him to the station where they confiscated his clothing for evidence and placed him in an interview room. They kept him there for hours and taped him on the surveillance camera. Hamilton seemed to be checking out his shoulder area. Police wondered if he was checking for injuries and if his actions in the cruiser were so he’d have an excuse for any abrasions they might find. On the show, they played a video of Dr. Hamilton in the interview room. He was definitely acting strange.

And as the detectives looked more closely into the doctor’s timeline that morning, they saw a hole — not a big one but maybe enough time to kill and get back. They’d learned that second surgery, originally scheduled for 9 am, hadn’t actually gotten underway until 9:40 because Hamilton was late. The surgical team was about to get started when they realized the doctor was not there. They had the patient under anesthesia, but no doctor, which is pretty much unheard of.

That same afternoon, police arrested Doctor Hamilton for his wife’s murder, and he was thrown in jail immediately and denied bail. As they worked to build their case against him, the prosecution was amazed at the support the doctor had. A crowd lined up to attend the proceedings — loyal patients, former employees, and fellow physicians — all standing behind the doctor.

But the prosecution contended he was guilty. The case they presented was that the doctor knew Susan was considering divorce. They argued and he snapped. He choked her and grabbed a nearby object and beat her to death. He now had to cover up his frenzy by going back to perform his second surgery as though nothing had happened. He had to have left the house by 9:20 to make it back to the hospital by 9:30, when he was seen scrubbing up for surgery. Susan, as it turns out, should also have left by 9:20, because she had a 9:30 meeting at a friend’s house ten minutes away. However, it appears she never had much of a chance to get ready — when she was discovered, she was still undressed, her hair still wet. Which means if he didn’t do it, whoever did had to have come in immediately upon his departure.

Nothing had been stolen, but a friend of Susan’s found expensive jewelry hidden in Susan’s underwear drawer, leading the prosecution to believe John had hidden it there to make her attack look like a robbery. Maybe he planned to go back and remove it, but he was arrested before he could do that.

The final nail in his coffin, though, was the blood spatter. Defense attorneys called a blood stain expert to testify that most of the spatter on John’s clothes and shoes could be explained by his attempts to perform CPR. Before he left the stand, prosecutor Wes Lane asked if there was any information about the spatter they were missing. After a brief hesitation, he stated: In my examination, I found additional blood that was not talked about anywhere, on the inside of the right cuff.

He went on to say that the only way he could see that it could have gotten there was when he was beating her with that blunt instrument that was driving the blood up inside his shirt. And this was a witness the defense had called—and paid.

Dr. Hamilton was sentenced to, and is serving, a life sentence without the possibility of parole. As a side note, he was also ordered to pay $11,104 for the cost of his stay in the Oklahoma County jail. It was the first such order in Oklahoma County. Talk about adding insult to injury. 😊

While I am usually one to think everyone is guilty, and it certainly looks as though this guy is guilty, one question nags at me. Logistically, I don’t understand how the doctor had on bloody clothes at the time he called 911 and emergency personnel and police arrived. Apparently the morning played out something like this…

7:00 a.m. – Dr. Hamilton leaves the house to head to the hospital where he performs a surgery. He is, I assume, wearing street clothes although he changes into scrubs at the hospital.

Appx 8:40 a.m.– In those same clothes, Dr. Hamilton returns home to exchange cards with his wife (he lives very close to the hospital) and it is then that he kills her. He attempts to clean up the mess. I would assume he changed out of bloody clothes. At around 9:20, he heads to the hospital to perform another surgery, wearing fresh clothes. Because, I am going to guess that he doesn’t arrive at the hospital for his next surgery wearing blood-soaked clothes, so yes, he changed. We’ll call the first outfit of the day, Outfit 1, which he was wearing when he killed his wife. The clothes he changed into will be called Outfit 2.

Appx 10:45 – Dr. Hamilton returns home wearing Outfit 2. He finds his wife on the floor, which he knew she would be because he killed her there. He performs CPR, so that it looks like he tried to revive her. He calls 911. He’s still wearing Outfit 2. Emergency personnel arrive, she’s dead. He’s covered in blood, in Outfit 2, because of trying to perform CPR.

Police investigate, they take Outfit 2 and it ends up being the blood evidence that hangs him, because of the spatter found inside his sleeve, of what I assume is Outfit 2. If all he did in Outfit 2 was pretend to do CPR, how did it get the spatter that eventually convicted him? I can understand that they would find that in Outfit 1, his ‘killing clothes’ -which I assume were never found – I find it unlikely that, at some point, he would change back into Outfit 1 after returning home in Outfit 2.

Am I making sense? What am I missing?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ Handsome Devils ~ “Hurricane Love”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Handsome Devils, Season 1, Episode 2,  “Hurricane Love”

New Orleans, Louisiana, October 2006

This has to be one of the most bizarre murder cases I’ve come across.

In October 2006, Police were called to the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel after a report that a man’s body was on the roof of the parking garage. Police arrived and found the dead man. His body was severely mangled, and it was obvious he’d fallen or had been pushed and died on impact. Looking for an ID, investigators searched the man’s pocket and found a note. Below is a brief excerpt from the note:

This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took.

If you send a patrol to 826 N. Rampart you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge along with full documentation on the both of us and a full signed confession from myself…

Zack Bowen.”

Authorities rushed to the location–a small apartment above the Voodoo Spiritual Temple. When they entered, they encountered a horrific scene straight from a horror movie.

The apartment was cold. The air had been set down to 60. On the walls were painted messages such as “I’m a failure,” along with a request to call Zack’s ex-wife and the mother of his children and tell her he loved her.

Some of the messages were arrows pointing to specific areas of the apartment, stating “Look here” or “look inside.” On the stove, they found a pot containing a human head, burned beyond recognition. In another pot they found hands and feet. Inside the oven, in a large roasting pan, were arms and legs, also burnt. There appeared to be seasoning on the limbs. Next to the stove on the counter were cut-up potatoes and carrots. Inside the refrigerator, in a large plastic bag, they found the torso.  They would soon learn that the murder victim was Addie Hall, Zach Bowen’s girlfriend.

Friends of Zach and Addie were shocked. They knew the couple had a tumultuous relationship and had argued frequently but never dreamed it would end in such a gruesome manner.

The two had worked together at a bar in the French Quarter. Zach was known as a charmer and Addie a free-spirit. When Hurricane Katrina was coming, Addie let Zach stay with her and, rather than evacuate, the two chose to ride out the storm. After Katrina, they gained media attention and were featured in The New Yorker because of their ‘party’ lifestyle and upbeat attitudes even with all the devastation around them. They had no power, no water, but they hung out in the streets and served drinks to passersby. They treated it as though they were camping out and thrived amidst all the destruction.

Once the power was restored and real life encroached—including jobs and bills–the relationship began falling apart. They fought constantly, it was rumored they cheated on one another, and increased their drug use to a dangerous level.

A lady Addie worked for was interviewed on the show, along with Zach’s mother. (Can you imagine your son doing something like this, dying like this?). Addie’s boss thought of Addie as a daughter. She said Zach was extremely jealous and would say that if he couldn’t have her, no one could She called it ‘graveyard love’ which is a pretty accurate description of the way things turned out.

Both Zach and Addie had issues. She’d been molested as a child and grew up to become involved in several abusive relationships.  Zach had been a military police officer in Kosovo and Iraq — including time at Abu Ghraib. One experience in particular that friends said “messed him up” the most was when a girl he had befriended in Iraq was killed — along with her whole family — when her family’s shop was bombed. He returned home depressed and suffering from PTSD. He was discovered with 27 burns on his body and stated in the journal that he burned himself with a cigarette for every year of his life as punishment for his failures.

The beginning of the end started when Addie went to the landlord to try to have Zach taken off the lease because she wanted to kick him out after learning he’d cheated. Zach was furious. Apparently, this led to an explosive, physical altercation. He went nuts and choked her to death.

Zach’s version of the events was relayed in an 8-page confession he wrote in Addie’s journal. The letter read, in part:

“I killed her at 1 a.m. Thursday 5 October,” he wrote. “I very calmly strangled her. It was very quick.”

After killing her, he sexually violated her corpse several times before passing out next to it. The next morning, he got up and went to work. When he returned, he moved Hall’s corpse to the bathtub, where he dismembered it using a hacksaw and a knife. Afterward, he meticulously cleaned the bathroom.

It took him four days to decide what to do with Hall’s remains. During that time, he went on about his life as normal — friends who met with him during the two weeks between the murder and his suicide said he seemed to be in good spirits, and even spoke of going on a vacation. In fact, his confession letter stated that he wanted to enjoy his last days on earth to the fullest, indulging in “good food, good drugs, good strippers.”

Apparently, he decided to cook Hall’s remains only in order to make them easier to dispose of. Despite the crime scene and the rumors that circulated, no human remains were found in his system during the autopsy.

He went on to say in the journal, “I scared myself not only by the action of calmly strangling the woman I’ve loved for one and a half years, but by my entire lack of remorse. I’ve known forever how horrible a person I am (ask anyone).”

The security cameras at the Omni Royal Orleans captured Bowen approaching the terrace and looking over it several times. Finally, he downed a final drink, then threw himself to his death.

There is one more bizarre twist to the case. Director Rob Florence decided to make a documentary called Zach and Addie about the case after meeting Margaret Sanchez, a friend of the couple. The film took 8 years to make and Sanchez is featured frequently discussing the tragedy. During the time it took to make the documentary, Sanchez ending up in the middle of her own horrific dismemberment case. Only this time, she was accused and eventually confessed to the murder. The victim was Jaren Lockhart, a dancer and mother in New Orleans. Sanchez and her boyfriend stabbed and dismembered Lockhart after luring her into their trap by claiming they wanted to hire her for a private dance.

Some speculate that this is just too coincidental and perhaps Margaret was involved in Addie’s death as well. If so, Zach has taken that knowledge to the grave with him. Margaret was not mentioned in his rambling confession.

How crazy is this case?

 

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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