Tag Archives: CrimeTime

Crime Time ~ Frenemies, “The Snitch”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Frenemies,  Season 1, Episode 11, “The Snitch”

Fort Worth, Texas, December 7, 2000

Murder in of itself is incomprehensible enough, but when a murder is committed by a family member or friend, it’s even more disturbing and unfathomable.

“The Snitch” is about two best friends Misti Mayo and Christine Smith, who were inseparable, as close as sisters. The two small-town girls began going to nearby Fort Worth to party and ended up connecting with some rather shady people. Misti and Christine eventually moved to Fort Worth and got an apartment together. By this time, Misti had given birth to a baby boy and she wanted to leave the wild life behind. Christine continued to hang out with the criminal element and often had her seedy friends over to the apartment. One evening, Christine and three others robbed a tire store. They brought the tires to the apartment to hide them. Misti was furious. She was worried she’d get blamed and go to jail, leaving her young son behind.

Shortly after the robbery, the cops came around asking questions and Misti told them who had committed the robbery. Christine and her cohorts learned that Misti snitched on them. One evening, they invited her to go out with them. Misti agreed, thinking they were going to dinner. The group drove her to a secluded area and began attacking her, stabbing, bludgeoning and basically torturing her—all with her son in the car. Misti begged Christine to stop them, but Christine participated. When Misti realized she was going to die, she requested that she be allowed to hold her baby one more time. They granted her wish, then took the baby away and headed to Shreveport. On the way, they wrapped Misti’s head in packaging tape to stifle her screams. She died en route. Oil was poured on her body, presumably to cover fingerprints, then Misti’s body was dumped. The group abandoned the baby in a van outside a Dallas restaurant, then went on with their evening. Ravenous, they went out to eat after the murder.

After Misti was reported missing, Christine at first told police that she had been raped in an alley and disappeared with her 4-month-old son, but she recanted her story and confessed. The episode included an interview with Christine and one of the other offenders. Christine didn’t appear remorseful in the least. She almost seemed to expect kudos for not murdering the baby as well.

Despicable…sick and twisted. I just don’t understand how the incident went so far. How do you progress from anger at your friend to savagely, painfully slaughtering her? Putting aside morals and conscience and basic human emotions, one thing that always baffles me about these types of cases is the thought process of the killers. You are afraid of getting in trouble for stealing tires, so you MURDER someone? Do they really think they’re not going to get caught? Sure, some do get by with their crimes, but the likelihood is very small.

All four of the perpetrators were found guilty, Christine and the two males were sentenced to life in prison, while the other female was sentence to 30 years in prison. Misti’s baby was given to a foster family. I was surprised there weren’t family members who would take the baby. Misti was only eighteen years old. What an all-around tragedy.

[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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]


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Crime Time ~ True Crime with Aphrodite Jones ~ Skylar Deleon

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean


True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, Season 1, Episode 9 – Skylar Deleon  

Newport Beach, California, November, 2004

Tom and Jackie Hawks, a loving retired couple, decided to sell their yacht, the Well-Deserved, so they could move to Arizona and be near their grandchild. They lived on the yacht and loved boating, but being near their grandchild was more important.

One day in November, 2004, their sons realize they have not heard from Tom or Jackie in several days and begin trying to reach them, to no avail. They learn the boat is not in its usual spot. They contact police who begin investigating. A woman contacts authorities to say that she and her husband bought the boat 10 days earlier but haven’t seen the Hawkses since then. She said, “If you hear from them, please have Tom call. My husband needs to talk to him about changing the fuel tanks.”

Days pass and still no word from the Hawkses. On November 26, 2004, police receive word that an attempt was made in New Mexico to access the Hawkses’ bank account. Skylar Deleon is arrested. He claims he bought the boat and provides a bill of sale. He says he planned to use it to launder money. Police are suspicious he was involved in the murders but do not have enough evidence. They arrest him on money laundering charges while trying to gather the evidence they need to charge him with the Hawkses’ murder.

While Skylar is in jail, police question Alonso Machain. He tells them that Skylar offered him a million dollars to help him steal a boat and told him that they might have to kill a few people, but they were bad people. Tom and Jackie agree to take Skylar for a ride on the boat. Skylar is joined by Alonso and another man named John Fitzgerald Kennedy. A few hours after they depart, when they are well out to sea, the three men attack Tom and Jackie and tie them up. They promise they will let them go if they sign over the deed for the boat. They are bound, with duct tape over their eyes. Instead of setting them free, the men tied the couple together, handcuffed them to an anchor, and pushed them overboard.  Their bodies were never recovered. Later, it was discovered that Jackie, most likely in an attempt to tip off someone who would review the documents once they were killed, purposely left the ‘s’ off of her last name. An ‘s’ was filled in, but it was obvious it was added later, and not part of her signature.

Police learned that the only reason the Hawkses trusted Skylar was because he brought his pregnant wife and child aboard the boat when they first met, presenting himself as a family man and gaining the trust of the couple. Skylar told Tom and Jackie he would pay cash for the boat. He said he was a child actor and had saved back a lot of cash. As it turns out, he did have a bit part in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers show, but he was hardly a child ‘star,’ and he was now flat broke.

Skylar’s wife, Jennifer, was involved as well. She was charged, along with the three men. Each of them received a life sentence without parole, with the exception of Machain, who received twenty years in a deal for cooperating with the authorities. I have to wonder, how the hell did they think they were going to get by with stealing the boat and claiming they’d paid for it??? Geez.

Such a disturbing story. The Hawkses were great people who loved their family and tried to live a good life. The thought of how they died, the cruel heartlessness of their killers is beyond comprehension. As the reenactment was shown, along with images of the deep, dark water, and the details were revealed about the victims’ last moments, I found myself having difficulty breathing. Can you imagine? Going into the ocean like that, alive, helpless and taped and tied up, your spouse and soul mate right there with you, yet you are both helpless to save one another, let alone avoid the inevitability of your own death?

The couple’s sons, who were actually Tom’s from a previous marriage, adored their dad and stepmother. Here is a pic of Ryan, the younger son. Is he gorgeous, or what? The entire family was beautiful.



[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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]


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Crime Time ~ Forbidden: Dying For Love ~ The Shame of the Father

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Forbidden: Dying for Love, Season 1, Episode 1 – The Shame of the Father  

Irving, Texas, 2005.

Amina Said met Joseph Moreno at a Taekwondo class when they were 15, and they soon fell in love. Amina’s father was from Egypt, and he was very strict. He wouldn’t allow Amina or her sister Sarah to go to the mall, wear makeup, and especially date. Her father planned to take the girls to Egypt after they graduated and marry them off to Egyptian men. Oddly, Yaser’s wife, Amina’s mother, was an American woman. But she bowed to Yaser’s wishes, even allowing him to abuse their daughters.  Because of Yaser’s strictness and violent temper, it was too dangerous for the young teens to communicate via cell phone, so they used notebooks to express their love to one another. Amina always left her notebook at school, to keep her father from finding it. The teenagers talked of getting married, and even chose names for their children.

Joseph’s mother and Amina’s great aunt were interviewed on the show and provided details of how the events unfolded.

One day, Amina accidentally brought the notebook home and her father found it in her backpack. He read the notebook and became enraged. She told him that she was writing about an imaginary boyfriend, that it was just her daydreams, and he wasn’t real. He said if he found out he was real, the consequences would be dire. In their culture, girls who behaved against the family rules were killed. He planted a listening device in her car and overheard her talking to her sister about how she couldn’t believe she was dumb enough to take the notebook home, she’d been so careful to keep in in her locker. She came home from school that day and her father had all of her notes and items from her locker spread out on the table. Amina was terrified. She knew her father would kill her. He played the tape he’d gotten from bugging her car.

Joseph stopped hearing from Amina. Weeks, then months went by. He could not reach her by phone. There was no sign of her anywhere. A few months later, Joseph received an email from her. She told him that he’d gone ballistic that night. He beat her up and demanded to know how to find Joseph. She made it clear that her dad was on the hunt for him. Joseph’s mother found the email and, concerned for her son’s life, she didn’t tell him.

Through continued emails from Amina, Joseph’s mother learned that Amina’s father had put her under house arrest. He watched her every move. Joseph’s mother chose to keep the information from him, trying to protect her son. But, but after a while, she could see the life force draining from him. If he couldn’t be with Amina, he was barely surviving. She arranged for them to get together. Joseph bought Amina a pink cape and said that was her coat of armor. Anytime she was afraid, she could put the cape on and know that he was with her, and that they would be together forever.

In 2007, Amina got an acceptance letter from UT. Her father said her husband would decide if she went to college. She said “I don’t have a husband.” Her father said, “You will soon. It’s all been arranged.” He’d found a 47 year old man in Egypt for her to marry. Amina said she wouldn’t do it, she was an American and she would not marry him. Her father grabbed a gun and threatened her with it, while her mother and sister watched in horror. Amina told him to go ahead and kill her, she would rather die than marry the man he’d chosen for her. Her mother and sister begged him to stop, and he finally put the gun down. He told them that if they wanted to be American, that was fine. He gave them money and told his wife, Patricia, to take them to the convenience store and buy them anything they wanted to eat. He said it’s what Americans call the last meal that they give to prisoners on death row.

In the car, Amina begged her mother not to take her back, she said he would kill her. Patricia called her aunt who lived in another state and told her they were coming there, that she was leaving Yaser. Amina texted Joseph and said they were going to Kansas, they were getting away from her father and she and Joseph could finally be together. Patricia and the girls arrived at her aunt’s house, and Amina was thrilled to finally be free of her father. The plan was that Joseph and his mother would come to Kansas and get a place.

That very night, Patricia announced that they were going back to Texas. She said it was the anniversary of her mother’s death and she wanted to go put flowers on her grave. Amina and Sarah begged her not to make them go, but she insisted. She promised they’d come right back. The aunt felt bad that she let them walk out of her house that day, but she didn’t believe it would end the way it did.

Even though Patricia promised they wouldn’t go near the house, she pulled into the neighborhood and told the girls that they were going home to talk to their father. She said that he had forgiven them and everything would be fine. Amina begged her not to. She said, “He’ll kill me.” Her mother made her go. At that point, Amina gave up. She knew her fate was sealed. Joseph and his mother were waiting to hear from Amina, letting them know she was ready for them to join them in Kansas. When Joseph got the call, Amina told him they were back in Texas, that they were going back home. Joseph begged her not to go back. She said, “No, it’s over. I can’t fight him anymore. There’s no way out.” Joseph begged her over and over, but she said she had to go. She said that she wished her father could be in her shoes for one day and see the love they shared. She hung up the phone, with him crying and pleading with her. Then, she went into the house.

On New Year’s Day, 2008, a 9-1-1 call came in:

“Irving 911. What is your emergency?”

“Help, help! My dad shot me, my sister, I’m dying, I’m dying!”

The girl screaming on the phone was Sarah Said. By the time the police found the taxi where the sisters had been shot by their father, they were both dead, and Yaser had fled.

Articles about the case gave a slightly different account. They stated that Patricia and the girls moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma and set up an apartment. And that they chose to go back so the girls could finish school, and to put flowers on Patricia’s mother’s grave. The father offered to take the girls to get them something to eat, then shot them to death. The articles also state that in addition to the physical and mental abuse, he sexually abused his daughter.

Police were unable to find him. He’s still at large and was on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list for a time.

How disgusting is it that a depraved, evil, coward like that is free after what he did to his beautiful, innocent daughters? Some people think Patricia should have been charged as an accomplice, and I agree. What do you think? Patricia’s aunt claims their mother knew their father was going to kill them. Authorities found no proof of that, but even so, as their mother, it was her duty to protect them, not force them back into the monster’s lair.



[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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]


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Crime Time ~ Web of Lies ~ Farmville Horror

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

Web of Lies, Season 1, Episode 6 – Farmville Horror

In Farmville, Virginia, sixteen-year-old Emma Niederbrock develops an obsession with horrorcore music—a subgenre of hip hop that focuses on dark, violent, sometimes supernatural themes. Emma becomes online friends with her favorite performer, Razakel. Razakel introduces Emma to another horrorcore fan, Melanie Wells. The girls hit it off instantly and become close friends. Emma also connects with a guy in California, Sam McCroskey. Sam is an aspiring rapper who calls himself ‘Syko Sam’ and is also part of the horrorcore culture. He and Emma spend a great deal of time communicating online and soon begin confessing their love for one another.

When Emma learns that a horrorcore concert, Strictly for the Wicked Festival, is coming to Detroit, she begs her parents to let her go. Although her parents, Debra Kelley and Mark Niederbrock, are recently divorced, they have a good relationship and want what’s best for Emma. Their daughter has been struggling with the divorce, and they want to make her happy, so they agree, but on the condition that they drive her and her friends. Her online California boyfriend will fly to Virginia, then ride the 9 hours to Detroit with the parents and the two girls. After the concert, they’ll drive back and Sam will stay with Emma at her mother’s house for a week, at which time, he’ll fly back to California.

Emma, Melanie and Razakel

When the day arrives to pick Sam up at the airport, Emma is nervous, yet anxious to meet him. When she does, she is disappointed. He’s not the cool, attractive guy she expected. But, she’s stuck with him. On September 10, 2009, they head out for the drive to Detroit. During the September 12th concert, Emma pretty much ignores Sam. Then, she suffers the tense, 9 hour drive back, having to dread the week-long stay with this guy she doesn’t like, but who is obsessed with her.

They arrive back in Virginia on September 13th. The dad drops them off and heads to his house. Melanie calls her mom to let her know she had a great time at the concert, but she’s tired and is going to bed, and she’ll call her tomorrow.

The next day, Melanie’s mom doesn’t hear from her. She calls and calls, but gets no answer. On the evening of the 15th, Melanie’s mom calls the home phone and Sam answers. He tells her the girls went out for dinner and had car trouble and are waiting for Triple A.

A few days later, when Melanie’s mom still hasn’t heard from her daughter, she calls Emma’s dad and asks him to go the house and check. He agrees. That night, after not hearing from Mark, Melanie’s mother calls police and they go to the house. Sam answers the door and says the girls are at the movies. The officer leaves.

In the wee hours, Sam calls police to say he hears something in the basement. Police arrive and check the basement, which they find covered in animal feces. They leave.

In the meantime, horrorcore singer, Razakel, is worried sick. She and her boyfriend, who ironically, is known as ‘Sick’, are checking with the horrorcore fan base to see if anyone knows anything. A friend of Sam’s tells her that Sam said he murdered them. She calls police. Melanie’s mother has also called the police again. Officers go to the house and discover the bodies of Debra Kelley, Emma Niederbrock, Melanie Wells, and Mark Niederbrock. Sam is not there.

Police learn that the murders of the women took place not long after they arrived home from Detroit. The females went to bed, but Sam stays awake, stewing about Emma’s rejection of him. He is drinking, smoking week, and taking pills. His rage builds and he goes to the shed and grabs a sledgehammer. He murders Melanie first, then Debra, then Emma. No defensive wounds are found, which indicate he killed them while they slept. He stays in the house with the dead bodies. When Mark comes to check on them, he murders him as well.

The authorities find Sam at the airport, asleep, waiting for his flight. They arrest him without incident.

He was facing the death penalty, but took a deal and was given life in prison. The families agreed to the deal, in order to be spared a trial.

This is such a tragedy, but could have been easily avoided. While the parents showed they were protective by taking the kids to the concert themselves, what were they thinking, letting a stranger their daughter had met online, who gave off a creepy vibe, stay at their house? And, it’s also baffling to me that it took several days for the murders to be discovered, that everyone believed Sam, and that police came to the house twice without finding the bodies.

[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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.]

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Crime Time ~ Breaking Homicide ~ Little Girl Lost

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.

Have you seen the Investigation Discovery show, Breaking Homicide? I normally don’t care for shows where the case is not solved, but I enjoy Breaking Homicide. The hosts are Derrick Levasseur, a former detective, and forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie. They investigate unsolved murders right before your eyes.

In the first episode, Little Girl Lost, they look into a murder that happened in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where Derrick grew up and worked as a detective.

In 1988, seven-year-old Michelle Norris was taken from a local playground where she was playing with her brothers. Her brothers left her there alone. Her grandma called her in for dinner, but she didn’t come. (Michelle’s mother, Julie, was ill and the grandmother was taking care of the kids) When her grandmother went to look for her, she wasn’t there. Two days later, Memorial Day, her body is found. She’d been sexually assaulted. She was found naked in a secluded, bramble-covered, seldom visited area. Her clothes were laying nearby, neatly folded. In the autopsy, it was determined that dirt had been sucked up in her airways, which indicated her face was being shoved into the ground as she was assaulted. Her brothers were five and ten at the time. The oldest still carries guilt for leaving her alone at the playground.


The suspects:

William Norris: Michelle’s father, who was divorced from her mother. Her mother had custody because he’s an alcoholic. Michelle’s mother, Julie, said she didn’t think he had anything to do with it. But, the day she went missing, her brother saw her get in the car and leave with him. The father wrote a letter about what happened that day. He said he picked her up and took her to get candy, which wasn’t unusual. He picked her up weekly. He said he dropped her off at her grandmother’s and told her to go in and let her know she was there, but she wasn’t paying attention. She was looking across the street where her friend was standing on the porch with a man he didn’t know.

Joseph Pelland: A neighbor and the stepfather of Michelle’s best friend, Tammy.

Derrick and Kris visit Marie, the mother of Michelle’s friend. Marie tells them that the day Michelle went missing, her husband at the time, Joe Pelland, suddenly decided to move the family away from the neighborhood. They found out immediately after, that Michelle was missing. She tells them that Joe was abusive. He had perverted sexual proclivities. He had a lot of fantasies he forced Marie to participate in. He had to hurt her in order to enjoy it.  He wanted her to struggle so that he could fantasize about raping her. Marie found out, after she divorced him, that he had been molesting her daughter. He was prosecuted but took a plea bargain and never served time. Michelle played at the house a lot, while Joe was home watching the children, since he didn’t work. He was home alone the day Michelle went missing.

Derrick and Kris then visit Tammy, Michelle’s best friend and Marie’s daughter. She told them that Joe began molesting her when she was five and continued until her mother divorced him. He would hold the back of her neck and stuff her face into the carpet while he assaulted her. He told her that if she told anyone, he would kill her whole family. When Michelle would come over to play, Tammy noticed him rubbing her back and stroking her hair, which was the same thing he would do to Tammy before assaulting her. She would go sit by Michelle to protect her.

Tammy said that she was the one standing on the porch when Michelle’s dad dropped her off. She said the only man who would be standing with her would be Joe, and William knew Joe. So, it’s odd that William said it was a man she didn’t know. Derrick and Kris believe that, since Michelle’s father DID know Joe, yet he claimed in the letter the man standing with Tammy was someone he didn’t know, that he was trying to point the police toward Joe, but didn’t want to name him by name, because Joe Pelland was a dangerous man. So, he was more concerned about saving his own skin than bringing his daughter’s murderer to justice.

Tammy also said that Joe took her to the same place where Michelle’s body was found, and that he assaulted her there as well.

Kris and Derrick learn that Joe has a brother, John, who is in prison and the brother is willing to talk to them. They visit him in prison, and John tells them that Joe told him that he sexually assaulted a little girl named Michelle and murdered her. Joe told him he was assaulting her and he got so excited that he shoved her face into the ground and ended up killing her. John said if it goes to trial, he is willing to testify.

A bounty hunter friend of theirs tracks down Joe. Derrick approaches Joe and lets him know he’s investigating Michelle Norris’ murder. Joe claimed he was not in town when Michelle went missing. He said that he didn’t even know Michelle’s dad, William, which Derrick knows is untrue. He claimed that he didn’t molest Tammy, but he took a deal because he didn’t have the money to fight it. He also claimed he never watched the kids alone, again, a blatant lie. Derrick asked him point blank if he had anything to do with the murder. He said, “Wouldn’t I be in jail if I’d done it?” Derrick told him that he didn’t believe him. Joe said, “What do you have on me?” Derrick said, “I just want you to know, you might be seeing me again.” When Derrick returns to the vehicle where Kris is waiting, he tells him that, as soon as he told Joe that he was looking into the Michelle Norris case, all the color dropped out of his face.

Derrick and Kris talk to Michelle’s mother, to let her know what they’d learned. They assure her they will take all the information they gathered to the police department. Derrick cried when he told the mother details of how the abrasions on her body were from her struggling to breathe and to get away as he sexually assaulted her. Heartbreaking. Hopefully, with this new interest in the murder, an arrest will be made soon and the evil monster (whoever he is), will finally pay for his crimes.

Some viewers criticized them for sharing such horrific details with the victim’s mother. However, they promised her they would share everything they learned. And, for me, I feel that, as a parent, if my child had to actually suffer through something so tragic and horrific, the least I can do is hear about it. Not sure that makes sense, but when I’ve seen shows where the parents wouldn’t sit in the courtroom during testimony about what happened to their child, I’ve had that thought. I know it must be torturous and devastating, but as parents, we’re supposed to take on the pain and suffering of our children. If we can’t be there to protect them, then we should at least suffer learning about what they went through, what their last moments were like. Maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?


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Crime Time ~ Diabolical ~ Family or Foe

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.

Today’s post is from Diabolical, Season 1, Episode 7: Family or Foe:

Diabolical, Season 1, Episode 7

In 1992, when a young couple take their six-month-old baby boy to Creek Park in La Mirada, California, tragedy strikes. The seventeen-year-old mother, Vicki Gonhim, is shot to death as she sits in the passenger seat of the car, her baby strapped in his car seat in the back, her husband heading around to climb into the driver’s seat.

The husband, Morrad Ghonim, who was nineteen at the time, claimed they encountered a group of gang members, who began saying inappropriate things to his wife. She mouthed back at them, then the couple headed back to the car. Just as she got inside, and he was going around to the driver’s side, shots rang out, and he realized his wife had been hit. The husband sped off with her bleeding in the front seat. He was stopped by police and stated he was rushing his wife to the hospital. By this time, she was dead. Authorities brought him in for questioning. Although, he claimed to be taking her to the hospital, there was a hospital seven miles from the park where she was shot, and the husband had driven farther away from that location.

Police were suspicious, but there was no evidence to charge him. The case eventually went cold.

Fourteen years, later, after receiving a grant for DNA testing, the case is re-opened. Clothing found at the crime scene has been in evidence all these years. The clothing contains DNA, which is tested. The DNA is a match to a man named Leon Martinez, who is currently incarcerated. An additional DNA sample is taken from Martinez for confirmation, and it’s a hit.

As part of the investigation, police take the husband, Morrad, back out to the crime scene and ask him again what happened. The interaction is videotaped and it is obvious the guy is nervous, confused, and lying. He stutters and stumbles over his words and can’t form a complete sentence. When he was first interviewed, he stated they’d left the windows up when they exited the car. When they returned and were rushing to get back in, he claims he was going around the car to the driver’s side and was not yet in and hadn’t yet started the car when the shots were fired. However, the windows were down when she was shot, and they were automatic windows, so since he hadn’t yet had the key in the ignition, he could not have yet rolled down the windows.  Very suspicious. (I love how police keep having suspects tell their version of what happened. If they are lying, they will almost always trip themselves up)

Martinez, the shooter, finally decides to tell the policed what happened. He says Morrad had bought coke from him, then a few days later, contacted him about killing his wife and offered him five-hundred dollars. (he ends up making other statements about different amounts he was paid and when questioned about the inconsistencies says he doesn’t remember all the details. Since he was doing so many drugs, that’s not surprising). Leon said Ghonim wanted him to make it look like a botched robbery.  He shot her through the window, and she pleaded with him not to hurt her baby. Martinez shot her again and again, eventually shooting her in the eyes. As her body slumped over, Ghonim handed him an envelope of cash, reaching over his wife’s body.

A few years after the murder, Morrad married again. His second wife later told police that she learned he had cheated on her, so she told him she planned to return to Texas. He said, “It’s fine if you move, but if you ever think of getting a divorce, I’ll hurt you … It cost me $500 then, it won’t cost me much now,” and, “If you divorce me, I will throw some acid on you that makes sure you never get married in your life again.”

By the time of his eventual arrest, he had relocated to Antigua and married his third wife, a beauty queen.

Police decide there is enough evidence to arrest him, and he is charged with his wife’s murder. In December, 2016, twenty-four years after his wife’s murder (which is more years than she was even alive), he is convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The shooter, Martinez, is given 28 years to life in exchange for his testimony against Ghonim.

Vicky’s family is close to Vicky and Morrad’s son, who is now twenty-six, and does not believe his father killed his mother. Can you imagine what it must be like, for all of them? They love their nephew but he loves and believes in the man who murdered their precious sister. And the nephew loves the family who raised him, yet they believe the father that he loves and believes in, is guilty of murder. What a difficult situation, I feel for the entire family.


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Crime Time ~ Diabolical ~ Accident Waiting to Happen

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean

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) 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. Let me know if you’ve seen the episode and, if so, what you thought about it.

Today’s post is from Diabolical, Season 1, Episode 8: Accident Waiting to Happen:

Summary:  Single Mom Rainey Morin has six children and has been divorced four times. She meets Robert Kowalski and falls for him, moving him in with her and her children into her Montana ranch home. At first, he seems great, and is wonderful with her boys. Then, his violent, possessive temper starts to emerge. Even though she is a tough, strong, independent woman, she ignores the signs and stays with him. One night, she goes out with a friend for drinks. The friend takes her home, and Rainey knows she’s in trouble. Her friend offers to go in with her, but Rainey declines the offer, saying she’ll be fine.

The next morning, a call comes in to 911 from a friend of Robert Kowalski. He tells them that his friend, Robert, claims he shot his girlfriend. The police arrive at Rainey’s home and find her dead from a gunshot wound through her mouth. She also has a bruise/cut in the imprint of a gun muzzle on her forehead.

They learn that Robert is holed up in a cabin and when they arrive, he threatens to shoot himself. After a 31-hour standoff, they toss in tear gas and Kowalski comes out, hands up, coughing and weeping and yelling, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.” (Hmmm…for someone who was planning to kill himself, he certainly suddenly values his own life)

When police question him, he claims the shooting was an accident. He says they argued and she kicked him out of the house and he refused to go. He held a gun to her head and it accidentally went off. (Ridiculous story, right? I mean, if you hold a gun to someone’s head, you obviously have no regard for their life and if you end up pulling the trigger, that’s NOT an accident…)

Well, as it turns out, the jury ONLY convicted him on mitigated murder, because they couldn’t prove he intended to kill her. (OMG…seriously, I’m going to hold a gun to your head, and if it goes off, then uh oh….that was an accident!)

They let him enter an Alford Plea, which means he still maintains he’s innocent, but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence for him to be sentenced.  They gave him 50 years, with 10 suspended. I felt soooo sorry for her kids. They were interviewed and spoke of how devastated they were, what a great mom she was, and how much they miss her.

After his conviction, law enforcement discovers that, ten years earlier, Kowalski had another girlfriend who he ‘accidentally’ shot. They were at a lodge in Alaska and the owners let them borrow a shotgun in case they had a problem with bears. His story was that, one night they were in bed and he hears what he thought was a bear. He grabs the shotgun and goes to the window to check it out. He is walking across the room and trips over a cord and shoots her in the face. At the time, it was ruled an accident. Now, they reopen the case. They check the statement of people who were staying next door, who stated that they heard loud arguing, then a gunshot. And…here’s the kicker…this girlfriend, Sandy Perry, ALSO had the imprint of the muzzle on her forehead. AND HE WAS NOT CHARGED. Had he been charged and convicted, Rainey Morin would never have been killed, at least not by him.

In his second trial, the jury was unable to determine that he killed his first girlfriend on purpose (WHAT????). They convicted him of second degree murder. Even though there’s nothing ‘funny’ about the tragedy, I had to chuckle a little over something her son said when they interviewed him. He said he didn’t believe it was an accident, he knew the truth. He said, “They argued, and she was being a bitch and he killed her.” – I just thought it was amusing that he worded it that way.

Robert Kowalski was given another 40 year sentences, to be served back to back. (He’ll return to Alaska to serve his second sentence after he serves his first). So…yeah, no picnic for Bobby, and he’ll probably never get out. I am just flabbergasted that they could rule both of these ‘accidental.’

Sooo, what do you think? (I realize there are certain circumstances that must be present when juries are considering a verdict, but the word ‘accident’ should never have been brought up in this case.)


Filed under Crime Time