Tag Archives: Murders

TAKE THE OJ SIMPSON MURDER SCENE TOUR

OJ Simpson is the world’s most famous criminal who got away with murder. On June 12, 1994, NFL Superstar Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson slashed and stabbed his estranged wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson and her acquaintance Ron Goldman, leaving them to die in pools of blood outside Nicole’s home in the West Los Angeles community of Brentwood. OJ fled. He was eventually taken down after a slow-speed chase in a white Ford Bronco shown live on national TV.

The white Bronco show opened a much larger act when OJ Simpson was tried live on international TV. It was the first of its kind — possibly the catalyst to reality shows. People were mesmerized by plastic theatrics played throughout eleven long months where a host of larger-than-life characters mocked jurisprudence. OJ got off. But the file never closed. Today, the OJ Simpson case stays open in the court of public fascination.

And today, when you’re in Brentwood, California, you can take the OJ Simpson murder scene tour with guide Adam Papagan. Adam is a wealth of knowledge about the OJ case, the characters and the locations from where the trial of the century played out. Adam takes you from Nicole’s condo, where blood soaked the walk, to the Mezzaluna Restaraunt where she ate her last meal. He’ll guide you through moments before OJ’s frenzied attack and many hours till the famous freeway fallout. And Adam will tell you things left lingering behind the scenes that let OJ Simpson get away with murder.

The only thing Adam Papagan doesn’t have is a white Ford Bronco. But he’s working on it. Adam not only has a tour company website, Facebook page, Twitter account and great TripAdvisor stars, he’s currently crowdfunding capital to buy a white Ford Bronco to make your OJ crime scene tour complete.

I invited guide Adam Papagan over to the DyingWords shack for a talk about the OJ Simpson case and what to expect when you take his OJ Simpson murder scene tour. Adam’s fun and he knows his stuff. Here’s how our chat went down.

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Hi Adam! Welcome to DyingWords. I think you’ve got a real cool crime-scene tourist business going and a hell of an idea about using a white Bronco as a tour vehicle and mobile OJ museum. How’d you come up with it?

Hi Garry, thanks. I grew up near Brentwood so I’ve been obsessed with this whole thing since I was a kid. In high school, I was talking to a friend about OJ and she told me in the 90s her father, a guy by the name of Stu Krieger, came up with The OJ Tour. After months of lobbying, Stu agreed to take me on the tour and it was amazing. He gave me his blessing to keep the tour going and I gave it informally for ten years after that. Word started to get out to the point that strangers started hitting me up on Facebook wanting to go on the tour. That’s when I realized it could be a thing.

We don’t have a regular tour vehicle, but a Bronco would be perfect since that’s the vehicle everyone associates with OJ. There’s so much OJ memorabilia from the trial and his football career, so I figure we can turn the extra space in the back of the truck into a museum.

It’s been 23 years since the tragic and brutal Nicole Brown Simpson — Ronald Goldman murders. Why are people still so interested in this case?

There’s still debate over whether he did it is probably the biggest reason. There’s some unresolved business there that’s very intriguing. It also has a lot of glamorous aspects which I think people are fascinated by. A lot of it is nostalgia too. The case was a huge part of the 90’s. It’s so of its time.

There’s been gobs written and reported on the OJ case. Like in so many high-profile murders, I suspect a lot is misinformed or outright BS. Give us a Cliff’s Notes tour of the events leading up to the murders.

I wasn’t there, but what I believe happened is OJ got pissed when Nicole didn’t invite him to have dinner with the family after their daughter’s dance recital. He went home and for the next couple hours got madder and madder. Before his flight to Chicago, he went to Nicole’s house. Maybe just to spy on her, he did that, or maybe with the intention of killing her. Either way, Ron was there and got caught in the middle. I think OJ did it and more than likely he planned it out in advance.

Looking back, how solid was the evidence against OJ?

Not very solid. He had a motive and an opportunity, but there were no witnesses and the police didn’t do a very good job with the investigation. But this case isn’t about evidence. The Not Guilty verdict was inevitable.

What do you think happened to the murder weapon? The knife?

OJ probably ditched it at the airport before his flight. A skycap said he saw it happen but they were never able to prove it. Maybe he threw it out the window of the limo. We’ll never know.

I just re-read the autopsy reports. It shows Nicole was stabbed 5 times and Ron Goldman was knifed 30 times. That’s a lot of overkill. What made OJ snap?

OJ was a jealous guy. It drove him crazy that she was playing him with a young boy toy. OJ probably recognized Ron from the neighborhood. I saw some 20/20 or Dateline or something where a forensics expert said some of Ron’s wounds were extra deep as if the assailant were accenting a point with the knife, like “So, you think you can kiss MY wife?”. That sounds like a movie, though.

What do you make of OJ’s headspace after the murders? What was he trying to do?

I think he compartmentalized it like he did a lot of his personality. His whole life people loved him and he could get away with anything. I think he was genuinely baffled when the hammer came down as hard as it did.

There’ll never be another live action scene like the slow-speed chase. Take us through the white Bronco ride.

The Dream Team negotiated with the LAPD to let OJ turn himself in on the morning of June 17th, five days after the murder. OJ had his lawyers stall so he could make a getaway attempt. The plan was to have his best friend Al Cowlings drive him to Mexico. On the way, they stopped at Nicole’s grave in Orange County. By this time the news had gotten out that the Juice was Loose and they were spotted. At this point, they had to turn around and head back to Brentwood. OJ had thousands of dollars in cash and a disguise with him. No charges were ever filed in connection with the case because they thought it would distract from the murder trial.

What happened to the original white Bronco? Any chance of buying that thing?

OJ’s former agent Mike Gilbert has it in his garage in Central California. He’s been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years but won’t part with it. I don’t think there’s any chance I’ll get it, that’s a lot of $80 tours.

What’s your take on the police investigation? Was it as screwed up as the trial indicated?

Definitely. They mishandled evidence and failed to secure the crime scene. Cases get dismissed for that kind of thing all the time. On the other hand, the LAPD has a long history embellishing evidence to help their case. I think it’s very possible they’ve framed an innocent man. (Not OJ, though. He was totally guilty.)

What are some important pieces of evidence that never came out at trial?

There was a woman who almost got in a car accident with OJ few blocks from the murder scene. She sold her story to the tabloids so she never got to testify. There were also the shoe prints from OJ’s “ugly ass shoes” that didn’t come into play until the civil trial. But like I said, evidence wasn’t a factor in this case.

Okay, let’s talk about the trial of the century and the dream-team defense. How’d that circus get so crazy?

People have misconceptions about the judicial system. It’s not about right or wrong it’s about which side plays the game better. The defense had a better strategy and scored more points so they won. The media play helped the defense plant doubt about OJ’s guilt too. OJ was a veteran entertainer and they were able to use that to their advantage. It’s not unlike the 2016 election.

Give us some gossip about the trial characters.

Let’s see… Marcia Clark took Scientology classes and had a poster of Jim Morrison in her office. Fred Goldman works at a department store in Phoenix. Kato ordered a grilled chicken sandwich at McDonalds minutes before the murder.

Marcia Clark, the main prosecutor. Was she in over her head or did she get a bad shake?

Both. The defense was a lot more polished and used to being on TV, plus they had more resources. But she was also the victim of sexism.

What are your thoughts about how the jury demographics and change of venue affected the verdict?

The defense strategically stacked the jury with people who would be sympathetic to OJ. Apparently, after jury selection, OJ remarked, “If this jury convicts me, then maybe I DID do it”.

Judge Ito? What was that guy all about? I read he did off-the-wall stuff like offering to take the jury up for an entertaining mid-trial Goodyear Blimp ride, took a personal vacation during final summations and even did a bizarre product placement for “Broccoli Wockly” on his desk so the cameras could promote it. Is that shit true?

I think he was a little star struck and got taken for a ride, like a lot of people who have a brush with fame in Hollywood. I’ve never heard the Broccoli Wockly thing but those hour glasses he kept on his desk were pretty weird. The jury went on all sorts of outings so I wouldn’t be surprised about the blimp. Ito was the only one smart enough to not write a book, so it’s hard to say.

Okay, I gotta ask you about the glove fitting in court. WTF happened there?

Which time? When OJ tried on the glove from the crime scene that supposedly didn’t fit it had shrunken some, plus OJ stopped taking his arthritis medication so his hands would swell up, plus it kind of did fit. What most people don’t know is that the next week they had him try on a brand new pair of the same gloves and they fit perfectly.

Was having cameras in the courtroom the fatal flaw?

They certainly helped the defense, and it was definitely good for the people. If it weren’t on TV it wouldn’t have gotten nearly as big.

Vincent Bugliosi’s book “Outrage — 5 Reasons Why OJ Simpson Got Away With Murder”. I’m sure you read it. What’s your thoughts on it?

It’s at the thrift store a lot, I’ve skimmed it. Bugliosi doesn’t really have anything to do with the OJ trial and his Helter Skelter book is kind of boring. Mark Furhman’s book is the best, so I kind of stopped after that one.

I understand OJ is still in jail on an unrelated robbery conviction. What’s eventually going to become of him?

He’s up for parole this year but I don’t think he’ll get it. It’d be in his best interest to stay quiet and continue to fade into legend.

Take us for a ride on your tour.

I use some proprietary tour information so I can’t tell you everything, but we go to the murder scene, obviously, Rockingham, the restaurant, and a few more. I use a lot of my first-hand knowledge of what Brentwood was like at the time of the trial.

When you visit these scenes, how do the neighbors respond?

No one has ever said anything. One time while giving the tour I ran into Pablo Fenejves, Nicole’s neighbor who testified at the trial and later went on to ghostwrite OJ’s book “If I Did It”. He was walking a dog, which is the same thing he was doing at the time of the murders. That was surreal.

What’s the craziest question you’ve been asked?

I had one guy who was a lawyer who wanted to explore the case from the perspective of Jason Simpson being the murderer so he paid me extra to take him to the restaurant where Jason worked and approach it from that perspective. He wrote me some months later to tell me, after careful investigation, he thinks OJ did it.

Tell us about your plans to acquire a white Bronco and how people can help you out with crowdfunding.

Broncos are fairly common but because of their iconic status they are a little pricey. Doing the tour in the Bronco will be pretty conspicuous, so getting it will trigger me having to get a bunch of tourism licenses and insurance. I don’t really make any money on the tour as it is, so I’m asking people to chip in to help cover all the additional overhead.

Where can people get involved and what’s in it for them?

We have an IndieGoGo page. Also the ojtour.com We have prizes like stickers and t-shirts as well as the option to book a tour. We’ll also send out a link so you can do a virtual ride along. The campaign runs until June 17th, the anniversary of the Bronco chase.

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Adam Papagan is an artist, comedian, and talk show host from Los Angeles, California. His past projects include immersive video installations, collaborations with outsider musician David Liebe Hart, and the podcast Juicing the People v. O.J. Simpson. He also hosts There’s a Place: The ASMR Talk Show on Dromebox.com and Inside Outside on KCHUNG Radio. He began his career at age 15 on public access television.

Help support Adam’s crowdfund goal through IndieGoGo and get that white Ford Bronco chasing slow through the crime scenes in Brentwood. Check out Adam’s OJ Tour Website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter. And please share Adam’s white Bronco campaign — it ends on June 17th — 23 years to the day since OJ fled in his white Bronco after viscously murdering Nicole and Ron.

FIFTEEN FAMOUS AX-MURDER CASES

Attic Image 4There’s something terrifying—absolutely horrific—about being axed to death. Hollywood’s made a killing off movies like The Shining, American Psycho, and So I Married An Ax-Murderer, not to mention Lord Of The Rings where Gimley, the ginger-bearded psycho-dwarf, double-blades dozens of ornery Orks. But movies aren’t real—not real life, that is. In reality, ax-murder victims don’t get up to act another day. I’ve investigated a few real-life ax-murders in my time, including one gruesome and grotesque axing scene that tops anything Hollywood has yet to script.

In fact, I’m just about finished the manuscript for In The Attic. It’s based on a true double ax-murder story and I’ll tell you what happened in that bedroom… eight feet below the attic. But first, let’s look at some other famous ax-murders that compete with my case.

15. The Axman of New Orleans

A13Between May, 1918 and October, 1919 six men and six women were attacked in their Lower Ward homes and hacked to death with an ax. The MO was consistent. The killer knew when the victims were vulnerable. Entry was made through the back door. There were no sexual overtones, no evidence of robbery, and a common denominator was that all victims were Caucasian and mostly from Italian-American heritage. The series of killings stopped as abruptly as they started and no viable suspect was ever developed.

14. The Servant Girl Annihilator

A series of eight ax-murders occurred in Austin, Texas in 1885 where the victims were young ladies who worked as servants to wealthy employers. All were chopped in their sleep in their detached quarters. Six victims were black. Two were white. No one was arrested in the cases and they also ended abruptly. In 2014, an investigative report for PBS identified a strong suspect as Nathan Elgin, a 19-year-old African-American cook who was known to many victims. Elgin was shot by police after attacking a similar servant girl with an ax. No other Austin ax-murders took place in this string after his death.

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13. Frances Stewart Silver

“Frankie” Silver was hanged in 1833 for the ax-murder of her husband, Charles Silver. His dismembered body was found distributed around the family’s North Carolina farm. Frankie never confessed and, despite weak evidence, a jury convicted her. No motive was established. Prior to her execution, she was sprung from jail through a well-planned break and was disguised as a man. She was caught attempting to flee the state and returned to the gallows.

12. The Crazed Captain

A18William Stewart was the skipper of the Mary Russell, a trading boat returning to England from Barbados. He suffered paranoid delusions and accused seven crew members of conspiring to mutiny. One by one, he lured the innocent men to the ship’s salon and enlisted three other young crew members to overpower the innocent men, binding them hand and foot then pinioning them to the floor. Once all seven were restrained, Captain Stewart took the ship’s fire-ax and systematically split their skulls. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The Mary Russell became known as the ship of seven murders.

11. Karl Denke

By day, this guy was an organ player at a church in the Kingdom of Prussia. By night, he chopped people up with his ax and stored their flesh in huge vats of pickling salt. He was caught axing a man to death at Christmas in 1924. When police searched Denke’s home, they found his business ledger documenting 42 other humans Denke killed and commercially processed. He was selling the meat at the market labeled as salt-pork. Two days after his arrest, Dehke hung himself in jail.

10. The Tokoloshe

Elifasi Msomi was called The Ax Killer in his village in South Africa. He started an 18-month killing spree in 1953 where he raped and murdered six children by hacking them apart and disposing of their parts in a valley. When caught, he claimed to be possessed by an evil spirit called the Tokoloshe. Superstitious Zulu elders bought his claim and freed Msomi after exorcising the entity. When Msomi went back to business, higher authorities stepped in and re-arrested him. A psychological assessment found Msomi to be of very high intelligence, near brilliant, however derived sexual pleasure from inflicting pain and death upon young children. He got hung.

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9. The Greenough Family Massacre

This took place in Greenough, Western Australia. In 1993, Karen MacKenzie and her three children Daniel (16), Amara (7), and Katrina (5) were so savagely ax-murdered on their remote rural farm that the trial judge ordered the details of the killings sealed, stating they were too gruesome for public knowledge. Bill Mitchell, their 24-year-old farmhand, was convicted in the murders as well as for performing sexual assaults on the dead bodies. He’s serving life sentences and was recently eligible for parole. It was denied.

8. The Hexing Axer

A20Jake Bird, also known as the Tacoma Ax-Killer, was convicted in the 1947 murders of a mother and daughter in Tacoma, Washington. He got caught fleeing the scene, barefoot, after police were called to reports of horrific screams coming from the house. Bird had the victims’ blood and brain matter on his hands, feet, and clothes as well as his bloody fingerprints on the ax found by the bodies.

At his sentencing to hang, Bird stated to the courtroom, “I’m putting the Jake Bird hex on all of you who had anything to do with my being punished. Mark my words, you will die before I do.”

A21Allegedly, six of these people died before Bird was hung in 1949; the judge, the officer who interrogated Bird’s primary confession, the officer who interrogated a secondary confession to other murders, the court clerk, an attending guard, and Bird’s own defense lawyer. Bird progressively confessed to 46 other murders, saying he liked to use an ax because it did the job very well.

7. The Police Corruption Ax-Murder

Daniel Morgan was a private investigator who was digging into allegations of drug-related police corruption in the southeast section of London. In 1987, Morgan was found dead in a park with a massive ax-wound to the back of his head. This opened up a massive investigation into police corruption that resulted in five public inquiries. A number of officers have been charged with many offenses such as drug trafficking, extortion, conspiracy, and cover-ups, but who axed Daniel Morgan remains a secret. The investigation is ongoing.

6. Joseph Ntshongwana

Here’s another South African who was good with an ax. He was also good at sports, being a professional rugby player. But something wasn’t playing right in Joseph’s head. He convinced himself that four men gang-raped his daughter and gave her an HIV infection. He hunted and hacked the men, holding their heads as hostages. At his arraignment, Joe spoke in tongues and called to deities. The court called it faking insanity and declared him fit to stand trial. Joseph Ntshongwana’s now serving life… in maximum security.

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5. Victor Licata

A23This guy did-in five members of his own family back in 1933. The Tampa, Flordia man was 21 when he went on a psychotic rampage and axed his way around the house. His mother, father, two brothers, a sister, and the family dog were slaughtered in their sleep. When arrested, Licata was dressed in clean clothes while his body underneath was covered with dried blood. Prior to the murders, his parents were trying to have him committed to a mental institute. They were too late. Licata eventually hung himself in a hospital for the criminally insane.

4. The Black Widow Ax-Murderer

A24Eva Dugan was convicted of killing her fifth husband, Charlie, in Arizona back in the 1920’s. She, like others in this article, used an ax. Eva dismembered Charlie, then buried him in the desert. She was caught—I’m not sure how—and sentenced to hang. Eva became more famous in death because the hangman miscalculated and she was decapitated. They said Eva’s head came to a rolling stop in front of the witnesses, some of which fainted. The error led to Arizona adopting the gas chamber. The noose used to kill Eva Dugan is now on display at the Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence, Arizona.

3. Lizzie Borden

A25As the song goes, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”  This occurred in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. Lizzie Borden was acquitted of her parents’ murders, though history gives every indication she was dirty as a tree root. The motive appeared financial and Lizzie was perfectly sane. The house where the Borden murders took place is now a Bed & Breakfast / Museum and even has a giftshop where you can buy a Lizzie Borden Bobble Head doll. It’s blood-spattered and holding an ax. Now how cool is that? Click Here to visit or book a night.

2. The Villisca Ax-Murders

A5Probably the most famous ax-murder case… still unsolved… was in June of 1912. Six Moore family members and two child guests were savagely axed in a house in Villisca, Iowa. Evidence showed the killer hid in the attic and crept down while they slept, dispatching them one… by… one… a number of suspects… were identified… no one charged…. let alone convicted… motive unknown… crimes unsolved… the house is also a museum…

1. In The Attic

Now it’s my turn. I’m writing my next novel titled In The Attic. It’s based on the true double-ax-murders I investigated when I was a cop. Maria Dersch, the complainant/victim, came to my police office seeking protection from her ex-boyfriend, Billy Ray Shaughnessy. He’d just raped Maria at knife point, promised to kill her if caught with another man, then snuck back and sliced-up Maria’s clothes.

I’m the poor bastard who got handed the file.

AtticSo, I took an audio-recorded statement from Maria. It opened “I’m so terrified that psycho’s going to kill me.” I went to Maria’s house to find Billy Ray. To arrest Billy Ray. To photo Maria’s clothes as evidence. He was nowhere to be found. I took this serious. I arranged for others to stay with Maria until Billy Ray could be caught… even arranged for the locks to be changed on Maria’s doors.

Two and a half days later, Maria and a male friend—Earl Barker, who stayed to protect Maria—were savagely slaughtered in their sleep. Billy Ray climbed down from the attic at 3 am with an ax. The scene looked like a bomb blasted a barrel of blood. He’d been in the attic… the whole fucking time… while I photographed the clothes… changed the locks… protected Maria…

In The Attic’s point of view tells in first-person with me, the nameless detective, narrating the investigation. Uniquely, it’s also told from Billy Ray’s perspective—his thoughts told to me about lurking above. In The Attic is nearly complete and I’m looking for potential victims who’d like ARC’s, Advance Reading Copies in exchange for reviews. In The Attic is available about mid-June in ePub, Mobi/Kindle, and PDF if anyone wants dibs.

Please leave a comment or email me at garry.rodgers@shaw.ca and I’ll ship you a copy of…

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5 MOST MEMORABLE MURDERS

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to investigate a real murder case?

Bones 3You probably have. At least the popularity of TV shows like CSI, Bones & Hawaii 5-0 suggests that there’s a huge public interest in what goes on behind the homicide scenes.

I never kept track of how many homicides I was involved in. Lots.

There’s different degrees of murders. First degree is when it’s planned and deliberate. Second degree is deliberate, but spontaneous. Manslaughter is when it’s not intentional, but the actions are so reckless that it results in death. Then there’s the various angles of criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing death, and assisting suicide.

One thing I learned is that there’s never two cases the same. People find some vicious and creative ways to do others in. Here’s five cases that really stand out.

Pork chops5. The Pork-Chop Murder

There was this real low-life named Gerry who had a cult following that did all his dirty work – drug dealing, break-ins, strong-arming, and shoplifting. He thought one of his minions double-crossed him so he ordered the other drones to kidnap the young guy and bring him before a ‘tribunal’. They kicked the shit out of this youth who refused to confess (because he was actually innocent). Failing to get anywhere, he ordered them to finish the kid off. One of the disciples went to the freezer, got a bag of frozen pork chops, and proceeded to cave the youth’s head in with it, causing a massive subdural hematoma resulting in death. They took the body out, dumped it in an alley, then put the pork chops back in the freezer. It wasn’t difficult to solve. The trail of blood led back in the house and straight to the murder weapon in the freezer.

Winchester4. Bing

“Bing’ was a nasty bastard who’s pastime was beating his wife. One night Bing came home, pissed as usual, thumped her half-senseless in front of their kids, then passed out. The wife finally had enough so she took a .308 Winchester, put a round it, and shot Bing in the head. Problem was that she only blew his jaw off and woke him up. Terrified, she scrambled for more ammo while Bing was ki-yiing around. Her son came up with some 30/30 shells so she switched guns and finished Bing off. The jury acquitted her on the grounds of provocation and self-defense.

Roto tiller3. Wolfgang’s Roto-Tiller

Wolfgang was a mailman with a bad temper. He got in a fight with his wife and she fell back against the fireplace, struck her head, and died. Panicking, Wolfgang took her outside and built a huge bonfire to dispose of the body. This caused his neighbors to call the fire department who came screaming in and hosed-down the flames. They warned Ol’ Wolfie not to burn without a permit and left him with a half-finished job. Panicking again, Wolfgang chopped-up the charred remains and roto-tilled them into his garden. After a few weeks, relatives became suspicious that the wife was missing and went to police. Eventually Wolfgang confessed. A forensic excavation found hundreds of bits of charred bone and she was identified by her wedding ring.

handgun2. The Gun Store

Mr. & Mrs. ‘L’ owned a mom & pop shooting-sports supply business. Michael Katz and Austin Peer escaped from jail and went on a bank robbery spree which required them to get more guns. They cased-out the store, then hit it right at closing time, forcing Mr. & Mrs. to lay on the floor, then executed them by shooting them in the back of the head. Katz & Peer loaded up dozens of handguns and assault rifles, along with hundreds of rounds of ammo, and fled back east where they were captured after a massive gunfight with Toronto PD. I never experienced such a cold-blooded, despicable act. The judge summed it up well at sentencing – “The law in Canada only allows me to give you life imprisonment with no parole for twenty-five years. If I had my way, I’d send you both out to the courtyard and hang you by the neck until dead.”

axe1. The Attic

Billy-Ray was a true psychopath who stalked his ex-girlfriend. He broke into her house and hid in the attic for two and a half days while she went about her business underneath. Sure enough, she came home with her new boyfriend. They made out, then went to sleep. Around 3 am, Billy-Ray climbed down with a brush-axe and chopped both their heads off. He then did some kinky things to her blood-bathed body and fled, leaving a trail of evidence behind that even a blind rookie could follow. The last I heard of Billy-Ray was that he’d raped his case-worker inside prison.