Tag Archives: Diabolical

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 Alfred 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.)

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