Air Force Retiree Dennis Dawley & Mistress Brandita Taliano Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole for the 1991 Bludgeoning Death of Joan Dawley in California (April 15, 1997)

Full Episode: Seeking freedom from his controlling wife, Dennis Hawley begins seeing drug-addicted prostitute Brandita Taliano and supporting her financially. In 1993, when Joan receives an inheritance and makes plans to divorce, Dennis, fearing financial ruin, enlists his lover to help murder his wife. -Second Best, Deadly Women (S8, E10)

Air Force retiree Dennis Dawley, 61, with the help of prostitute and mistress, Brandita Taliano, bludgeoned to death his wife Joan Dawley of 35 years for financial gain in Van Nuys, California. Joan wanted a divorce and Dennis and Brandita wanted her inheritance money. The 1991 case went cold for years until DNA technology under Joan’s fingernails yielded a match to Brandita Taliano. Both Dennis and Brandita were charged with murder, conspiracy & solicitation and faced the death penalty. On April 15, 1997, a California jury sentenced Dawley and Taliano to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The pair were spared the death penalty because they didn’t have any prior violent felony records and the jury heard the emotional pleas from Dawley’s daughters.

Investigation Discovery:

Full Episode: There’s an old saying that a burden shared is a burden halved. But when people team up to commit murder, the weight of their guilt remains just as heavy. Investigators must rely on forensic science to capture partners in crime. -Partners in Crime, New Detectives (S5, E2)

Preview: Brandita Taliano of Los Angeles, California wanted to live the high life. -Second Best, Deadly Women (S8, E10)

ID Go: Being the ‘other woman’ is a lonely life. Some turn rejection into rage. A call girl craved the high life, a teen mom eradicated her rival, and a lesbian love affair ripped a family apart. These Deadly Women refused to play ‘Second Best’. -Second Best, Deadly Women (S8, E10)

ID Go: In suburban California, an intruder brutally attacks and kills Joan Dawley. As the Dawley family grieves, it’s up to LAPD detectives to crack the case. Secret home movies uncover a shocking tale of deceit, and a monster lurking behind the scenes. -Stages of Grief, American Monster (S3, E1)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Murder Suspects’ Trip Tipped Off Police : Slaying: Widower visited Las Vegas with mistress two days after his wife’s death. The pair are now charged in the killing. (1997)
American Monster: Meet Dennis Dawley – Air Force Vet, Golf Pro & Brutal Wife Killer
Man, 61, Testifies in Wife’s 1991 Slaying (1997)
Husband, Former Mistress Get Life in Wife’s Slaying (1997)
BRANDITA TALIANO, Plaintiff, v. D. L. JOHNSON, et al., Defendant. | United States District Court, E.D. California. | May 14, 2014
The New Detectives: Season 5 – Ep 2 “Partners in Crime”
Mistress Kills Her Lover’s Wife to Escape | Deadly Women (S8, E10)
They Killed His Wife Then Decided To Go On A Las Vegas Holiday | Deadly Women
Second Best | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S8, E10)
Brandita Taliano Documentary | Female Killers (Deadly Women)
Stages of Grief | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)
American Monster Premiered ‘Stages of Grief’ on Investigation Discovery: Dennis Dawley & Brandita Taliano Murdered Joan Dawley for Cash (July 8, 2018)
Psycho For Love: Dennis Dawley and his mistress, Brandita Taliano, killed his wife, Joan Dawley for the money
Monstresses: Katie Belflower & Brandita Taliano (Season 1: Ep. 2) (2013)
Killer Call Girl: The True Story of Brandita Taliano by Greta Harris (book)

AWOL Army Pvt. Dannie Boy Edwards’ Bones Found Near Ohio Cemetery on April 13, 1997; Ed Edwards Guilty of Murder for SGLI; Sentenced to Death (1996)

On this day, the bones of AWOL Army soldier Dannie Boy Edwards, 25, were found in a cemetery near his home in Burton, Ohio on April 13, 1997. Hunters discovered the human remains in a field next to the cemetery in Troy Township. Edward W. Edwards, 77, and his wife, Kay Edwards, took Dannie Boy into their Ohio home in the mid-1990s. Ed and Dannie were so close that he legally changed his name from Dannie Law Gloeckner to Dannie Boy Edwards. Authorities confirmed the bones belonged to Dannie Boy and deemed the case a homicide. Ed appeared to be terribly distraught after learning Dannie Boy was murdered and obsessed about solving the case for years.

It wasn’t until years later, Ed Edwards’ daughter came forward after connecting the dots between the cold case homicides dubbed the ‘Sweetheart Murders’ in Wisconsin and her father. Ed Edwards was eventually confronted by authorities and confessed to five murders in an attempt to get the death penalty: William ‘Billy’ Lovaco (1977), Judith Straub (1977), Timothy Hack (1980), Kelly Drew (1980), and Dannie Boy Edwards (1996). Ed Edwards admitted to luring Dannie Boy to a secluded cemetery near their home in June 1996 and shooting him twice in the chest with a 20-gauge shotgun. He buried the body in a shallow grave in a field nearby. His motive was the $250,000 life insurance pay-out.

Ed Edwards persuaded Dannie Boy to join the Army because it would be good for his character. Dannie Boy joined and after training was supposed to get stationed in Korea. But at some point during training, Dannie Boy was injured so the Army was going to medically discharge him instead. Ed Edwards convinced Dannie Boy to sign up for the maximum amount of coverage offered by the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) benefit. Dannie Boy signed up for $250,000 dollars worth of life insurance coverage and Ed was the sole beneficiary. Ed Edwards knew if Dannie Boy was let out on a medical discharge, he would no longer be eligible for the benefit.

Ed Edwards talked Dannie Boy into going Absent Without Leave (AWOL) two days before his discharge. Ed told investigators that he killed Dannie Boy because he wore out his welcome by stealing credit cards and other belongings from his children. But the truth is he stood to make $250,000 dollars in life insurance benefits if Dannie Boy died and he wanted to collect on it. Ed Edwards set up the insurance fraud scheme and took advantage of an opportunity before it expired. In August 2010, Ed Edwards was sentenced to death. Ed Edwards was already in poor health when arrested and as a result died of natural causes in 2011, one month before his execution date.

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If you have information pertaining to additional crimes related to Edward Wayne Edwards, please call 800-FBI-TIPS.

Related Links:
Edward Wayne Edwards | Timeline
Edwards linked to Ohio slaying
Jefferson County / Suspect in 1980 double homicide linked to Ohio slaying
Interest in 1996 Geauga murder of Dannie Boy Edwards reawakened by Wis. slaying case
Edwards confesses to killing man he considered foster son
Edwards confesses to AP to killing his foster son; GCSO continues investigation
Ed Edwards indicted in murder of foster son
Edward Edwards pleads guilty to Dannie Boy Edwards murder
Man convicted of killing 4 says he killed 1 more
Ky. man convicted of killing 4 in Wis., Ohio, confesses to killing 1 more
Edward Edwards, convicted in Hack-Drew killings, sentenced to death
Serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards sentenced to death in Geauga County slaying
State of Ohio vs. Edward W. Edwards (2011)
Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards dies in prison, avoiding execution
Edward Wayne Edwards on Dannie Boy Edwards murder (Part 1)
Edward Wayne Edwards on Dannie Boy Edwards murder (Part 2)
This Incredible “Making A Murderer” Theory Is Too Good To Be True
Did an Infamous Serial Killer Murder Teresa Halbach and Frame Steven Avery?
Making A Murderer: Cold case investigator believes infamous serial killer was guilty, not Steven Avery
Sweetheart Murders by Edward W. Edwards and Zodiac Killer theory examined on Cold Case Files
10 serial killer cases with Montana connections
A Family Man’s Dark Side Before His Daughter Helped Unmask Him as a Serial Killer | People
Raised by a Serial Killer: Edward Edwards’ Daughter Shares Guilt and Shame After Turning Him In | People
Raised by a Serial Killer: Edward Edwards’ Daughter Shares Guilt and Shame After Turning Him In | MSN.com
‘My dad was a horrible, horrible person’: Serial killer’s daughter reveals how she turned her father into police after connecting him to a cold-case double murder
Crimes of the Centuries: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History [3 volumes]: Notorious Crimes, Criminals, and Criminal Trials in American History
My Father, The Serial Killer | People Magazine Investigates (ID)


Horror strikes a small Wisconsin town in 1980 after a young couple disappears and is later discovered in a field. Dubbed the Sweetheart Murders, it’s almost 40 years before a woman comes forward saying her family holds the key to unlocking the case. -People Magazine Investigates