American Monster Premiered ‘Stages of Grief’ on Investigation Discovery: Dennis Dawley & Brandita Taliano Murdered Joan Dawley for Cash (July 8, 2018)


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 (Investigation Discovery)

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.

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.


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 (Season 5, Episode 2)


Preview: Brandita Taliano of Los Angeles, California wanted to live the high life. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery


Seeking freedom from his controlling wife, Joan, Dennis Hawley begins seeing drug-addicted prostitute Brandita Taliano and supporting her financially. -Female Killers (Deadly Women)


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’. -Deadly Women, Investigation Discovery

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, ID)
They Killed His Wife Then Decided To Go On A Las Vegas Holiday | Deadly Women
Second Best | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (Season 8, Episode 10)
Brandita Taliano Documentary | Female Killers (Deadly Women)
Stages of Grief | American Monster | Investigation Discovery (Season 3, Episode 1)
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)

48 Hours Premiered ‘Who Killed Fabio?’ on CBS: Monica Sementilli & Army Veteran Robert Baker Charged with Capital Murder of Fabio Sementilli (March 10, 2018)

Artist Stories: Fabio Sementilli | American Salon

48 Hours | CBS:

Fabio Sementilli, 49, was found dead around 5 p.m. Monday at his home on Queen Victoria Road. -CBS Los Angeles

Monica Sementilli is accused of killing her husband, hairstylist Fabio Sementilli. -CBS Los Angeles

Police have arrested the wife of hairdresser Fabio Sementilli for his murder. Sementilli was stabbed and killed in his Woodland Hills home in January. -CBS Los Angeles

The wife of the late hairdresser Fabio Sementilli has been arrested in connection with his murder. A second person has also been detained, police said Friday. -CBS Los Angeles

Police said the woman and her lover conspired to kill Sementilli for his insurance money. -CBS Los Angeles

Fabio Sementilli was a beloved hairstylist and beauty company executive living the good life in Los Angeles. That all ended when he was brutally murdered while relaxing near his pool. Why would anyone want to kill him? -CBS News

A well-known Los Angeles hairdresser is stabbed to death by the pool at his home in the Hollywood Hills. “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Michelle Miller joined CBSN to discuss “Who Killed Fabio?” -CBS News

Police have discovered an unexpected twist in the murder of well-known beauty executive Fabio Sementilli. His killers were thought to be part of a notorious group of home invaders targeting Hollywood celebrities but there is evidence that has transformed the case. -CBS This Morning

This week’s “48 Hours” investigates a famed Los Angeles hairstylist murdered in his backyard. Was it a robbery gone wrong or the result of a twisted plot? Michelle Miller investigates. -CBS Evening News

It’s a story right out of a prime time drama — only it’s for real. -CBS New York

A famed Los Angeles hairstylist is killed in his backyard — was it a robbery gone wrong by thugs called the knock-knock burglars or a twisted plot no one could believe? -Who Killed Fabio?, 48 Hours

Fabio Sementilli was not just a beloved hairdresser and beauty executive, he was also father to Luigi Sementilli and his two younger stepsisters. Watch as Luigi fondly remembers his charismatic dad. -Who Killed Fabio?, 48 Hours

Whenever he had the chance, Fabio Sementilli loved to record videos called Fabstyle Fridays for his YouTube channel. Fueled by his larger-than-life personality, he discussed different topics, providing advice and motivation for people working in the beauty industry. -Who Killed Fabio?, 48 Hours

Crime Watch Daily:

Monica Sonia Sementilli and her boyfriend Robert Baker were charged with the murder of stylist Fabio Sementilli, Monica’s husband. He devoted his life to mentoring thousands of aspiring hair stylists and is remembered as a loving family man. Crime Watch Daily’s Pat LaLama has the story on the beloved stylist’s tragic ending. (March 2, 2018)

Related Links:
Wife of slain hairdresser charged with capital murder along with her boyfriend
Wife, her alleged lover plead not guilty to hairdresser’s murder in Woodland Hills
Famed Hairdresser’s Wife, Lover Plead Not Guilty In His Murder
Stylist’s Wife Will Be Exonerated In His Murder, Attorney Claims
‘They seemed very happy’: Wife of famed hairdresser arrested for his brutal murder, allegedly so her and lover could collect huge insurance payout
Alleged murder conspirators seen in photos at crime scene
Wife, lover charged with murder of beloved California stylist Fabio Sementilli
‘She’s a liar, she’s a manipulator, she’s a cheater’: Wife of murdered famed hair guru ‘Big Daddy’ partied with her lover in Las Vegas ‘after getting him to kill her partner for his $1.6million insurance policy’
Sex-packed indictment ordered unsealed
Arrests in murder of L.A. beauty exec “like a twist in a nightmare”
Artist Stories: Fabio Sementilli
Hairstylist Found Dead In Upscale Woodland Hills Home
Wife Arrested In Valley Murder Case
Wife Arrested In Prominent Hair Stylist’s Murder
Police Say Wife Of Icon Hairstylist Fabio Sementilli Behind Bars For His Murder
LAPD: Second Person Detained In Hairstylist’s Murder Case
Wife Of Slain Stylist Charged in His Murder – Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen
“48 Hours” investigates the murder of a larger-than-life hairstylist
“48 Hours” investigates who killed famous Los Angeles hairdresser Fabio Sementilli
New evidence in murder of famed hairdresser Fabio Semintilli
“48 Hours” preview: Who killed Fabio?
48 Hours: Who Killed Fabio? | CBS New York
Sneak peek: Who Killed Fabio? | 48 Hours
Fabio Sementilli remembered as a “cool dad” | 48 Hours
Fabio Sementilli remembered as a “cool dad” | CBS Sunday Morning
Video: Fabio Sementilli’s Fabstyle Fridays | 48 Hours

International Men’s Day: FIVE Female Killers who Murdered Male Soldiers and Veterans (November 19, 2017)

Full Episode: Dark Secrets are the stock-in-trade of Deadly Women -Dark Secrets, Deadly Women (S2, E4)

‘Black Widow’ Judy Buenoano Executed by the State of Florida for Three Homicides; First Woman to Die by Death Penalty in Florida Since 1848 (March 30, 1998)

Full Episode: For these women, one good man wasn’t enough. An army wife didn’t want a soldier but a squad. These Deadly Women married for the money, honey. -For the Money Honey, Deadly Women (S8, E11)

Army Veteran Doug Gissendaner Murdered for the Marital Home & Life Insurance, Wife Kelly Sentenced to Death for First Degree Murder & Executed in Georgia (1997)

Full Episode: An Army Major lay lifeless in his bed, shot twice at close range while sleeping next to his wife. Investigators would soon uncover an intricately planned murder plot involving sex parties, adultery and coercion. -Behind the Picket Fence, Scorned: Love Kills (S1, E1)

Army Major David Shannon Murdered by Wife Joan & her Daughter Elizabeth for the Life Insurance; Joan Shannon Sentenced to Life, No Parole (2002)

Full Episode: Marriage is a lifelong commitment of love, and wedding vows. ‘To have and to hold; for better, for worse; until death do us part’. But for these monstrous wives, it was only the vow of ‘death do us part’ they upheld. -To Love and To Murder, Deadly Women (S5, E5)

Maryland Army National Guardsman Charles ‘CJ’ Lewis Murdered Before Deployment to Iraq for Life Insurance; Teresa Lewis Sentenced to Death (2002)

Full Episode: These women burn madly with anger so deep they’ll kill to satisfy it. What makes them turn on the ones they love? Find out as we explore for a lover’s revenge. -Lover’s Revenge, Deadly Women (S5, E17)

Army Veteran Gregg Whitmore and Girlfriend Karen Cummings Stabbed to Death in Home; Ex-Wife Shana Parkinson Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison (2004)

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.

Army Doctor Col. Dennis Taylor Attempted to Kill Wife Carol in an Effort to Escape Domestic Abuse and Threats to Commander After Asking for Divorce

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Army Col. Dennis Taylor was court martialed at Fort Carson, Colorado and found guilty by a jury of ten off his peers for the attempted murder of his wife Carol. (Photo credit: Investigation Discovery)

Lt Joe Kenda of Homicide Hunter featured another case where he was tasked with investigating what hospital officials suspected was an attempted murder. Upon arrival at the hospital, he was bombarded by the press because they heard the call for service over the scanner. The hospital was secure and police officers were on the scene. Upon an initial briefing, Lt Kenda discovered that a nurse suspected that someone had tampered with one of their patient’s IVs. Lt Kenda then interviewed Carol Taylor, the wife of an Army officer also present at the hospital with their two children.

Lt Kenda learned that Carol had broken her leg and had developed some blood clots. She was simply visiting with her husband and children when all of a sudden the alarm on the IV infusion machine went off. And somehow the IV had been pulled from her arm. Lt Kenda immediately began to suspect that someone was trying to kill her because it looked like someone had either tampered with or inserted something into the IV line. Because the crime lab was not proficient in the hospital’s medical equipment, they called in a hospital employee who was considered an expert. This person determined that someone had injected something into the line. The only other people in the room were her husband and children.

Lt Kenda started his next line of questioning with the husband. He learned that Lt Col Dennis Taylor served in the US Army for 27 years and was currently working as the Chief of Oral Surgery at the Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. Lt Kenda observed that the doctor was unusually calm and appeared to be minimizing the event and brushing it off as a mistake. So then Lt Kenda went back to the wife and asked her if she thought that maybe her husband did this. The wife claimed she was fine and that everyone was making a big deal out of it and she just wanted it to go away. She claimed that they had a great marriage and life. Lt Joe Kenda had a hard time believing that her marriage was as perfect as she made it out to be and moved forward with the investigation because there was in fact liquid in the IV pump that was not supposed to be there.

Kenda reached out to a family friend who worked alongside the doctor over the years. He learned from Stan that the doctor had confided in him that Carol was verbally abusive, demeaning him, telling him he is pathetic, and even punched him. She also was upset about his drinking and knew that he had been having extra-marital affairs. Stan told Kenda that the doctor wanted to leave Carol but she had threatened to go to his commander and report him for the drinking and adultery (both considered UCMJ infractions and punishable under military law) if he left her. Carol enjoyed the privileges of being a military wife too much to lose them to divorce. He felt trapped in his current abusive marriage and was drinking more and having affairs as a way to cope with his current situation. In the civilian world, Carol would not be able to get away with threatening her husband because it is not illegal to drink and have affairs.

As it turns out, the results of the pump came back and they found Diazinon, which is a poison used to kill ants, spiders, cockroaches, etc. She would have been dead in a matter of minutes and would have been in excruciating pain, as the poison would have burned her from the inside out. As a result, Kenda arrested the doctor for attempted murder. During the arrest he found a plunged hypodermic in his pocket. The doctor told him he didn’t need an attorney and admitted his guilt. He told Kenda that earlier that morning while he was out shopping, the idea came to him that this was the only way out. Because he is a doctor, he knew how to do it. He inserted the poison and the alarm went off so he pulled the IV out of her arm for fear of arrest.

Instead of the civilians pressing forward with a case, the Army decided that they were going to court martial the doctor. They claimed they wanted to make an example of the disgraced colonel in front of a jury of his peers. He was sentenced to 18 months hard labor and he and his family were stripped of all Army privileges. And this may be why Carol Taylor protected her husband despite the fact that he just tried to kill her. Why would the Army doctor rather kill his wife then report the domestic violence to the commander? Why would the doctor feel that going to the commander was not an option and his only way out of this abusive situation was to murder his wife? Why was the doctor so intimidated by the threat of his wife reporting what would be considered minor infractions, even under UCMJ standards?

We need to evaluate why the doctor felt that he was not able to report the abuse and threatening to the Commander. Would he automatically be in trouble with military leadership if he admitted that he had been drinking and having affairs? Was he concerned about losing his career, his retirement, or facing disciplinary action? Why did he feel that he had to choose murder over reporting the threats and abuse to his commander? These are all things that we must ponder. We are seeing a pattern over and over. Our military men do not feel that reporting to the commander is an option when they are the victim of a crime. If that is the case, how can we help our military men, who find themselves the victim of threats, domestic violence, or sexual assault, report to a safe place? Right now, some would rather resort to murder then report the crimes to their commander. There must be a better way.

Related Links:
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado
Only Way Out: Army Wife Threatens to Report Doctor to Commander if He Leaves Her


When the lifeless body of Willie McCarty is found at the base of a staircase, neighbors direct Kenda to a mysterious truck spotted fleeing the scene. Then… Kenda must solve a bizarre case of poisoning at a busy downtown hospital. -Investigation Discovery

Deadly Women Premiered ‘Cash In’ on Investigation Discovery: Susan Russo Conspired to Have Navy Husband David Russo Murdered for the Life Insurance (September 30, 2016)

Preview: Susan Russo was a Navy wife who ran a tight ship. But she had a secret life, and devised a way to profit off her husband’s substantial military life insurance. -Cash In, Deadly Women (S10, E6)

Deadly Women on Investigation Discovery featured yet another military spouse who murdered because they were motivated by greed, selfishness, and sociopathic tendencies. While Navy sailor David Russo was at work at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in California, his wife was getting high on meth with her secret lover. Susan Russo didn’t like that David controlled the purse strings because he might find out that she was blowing their cash on drugs. Then one day a military advisor stopped by the house to advise them of their financial affairs and Susan learned that her husband David was worth more dead then he was alive. He had a grand total of 1 million dollars worth of Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance and other insurance policies on himself. Susan saw her way out of domestic boredom and hatched up a plan with two of her drug addicted buddies, Jason Andrews and Bobby Morris. She offered them $100 to kill her husband and promised them more later after she got her hands on the life insurance payout.

Susan Russo

Susan Russo, US Navy Spouse

On July 14, 1994, the trio striked. While David lay sleeping in his bed, the two men entered the marital home with Susan’s assistance, walked into David’s bedroom, and shot him one time in the back of the head. They then drove the body to a remote location so they could torch David and the car in an effort to destroy evidence. This plan would never come to fruition because they ran out of gas and then didn’t have enough gas to torch the car. When military personnel stopped by David’s home to see why he hadn’t showed up to work, Susan told them she didn’t know where he was and asked if she would still get his paycheck that week. Eventually David’s car and body was discovered by a local farmer. Of course investigators looked to the spouse first to determine what may have happened to David. Susan told investigators during the interview that they would find no evidence of wrong doing which of course intrigued them to probe further.

Susan Russo was a self proclaimed clean freak and cleaner by trade and was confident she had covered her tracks. But she did not account for the microscopic blood spatter on the headboard of the bed or the spent bullet casing located in the bedroom. Police charged Susan Russo and her two friends with the murder of her husband David Russo. Jason Andrews and Bobby Morris were both convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life. In 1996, Susan Russo was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Investigators described Susan as an evil, psychopathic person who manipulated her two drug addicted friends with the promises of money for more drugs. She didn’t care about David whatsoever, she only saw David as a way to cash in.

Source: Deadly Women ‘Cash In’

ID Go: The stakes are high and the chips are down when these Deadly Women decide to “Cash In.” -Cash In, Deadly Women (S10, E6)

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:
Susan Russo | The Injustice System
Killer sentenced “to slow death” gets life for murder of her husband
The PEOPLE v. Susan Lee RUSSO, Defendant and Appellant (2000)
People of California v. Susan Russo (2001)
Prison Inmates to Receive Prestigious Peacemaker Award
Woman convicted of husband’s murder has sentence reduced by Gov. Brown, could get parole
Sisters demand mom stay in prison after pardon from orchestrating husband’s 1994 murder
Parole Board Grants Parole to Murderer Susan Lee Russo | County of Fresno
Fresno County killer gets parole after more than 20 years
Fresno County killer, sentenced to life without parole, granted parole
Woman convicted of murdering her husband is granted parole
‘Black widow’ granted parole. She arranged the murder-for-hire of her Navy husband
Drop LWOP! | Newsletter of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners
Jerry Brown Getting Ready to Release Psychopath Killer from Prison
Vidak and Other Legislators Urge Governor Brown NOT to Release Convicted Murderer Susan Lee Russo
Gov. Jerry Brown decides against parole for woman dubbed a ‘black widow’
California governor won’t parole woman dubbed ‘black widow’
California governor won’t parole woman dubbed ‘black widow
California governor won’t parole woman dubbed ‘black widow’
California governor won’t parole woman dubbed ‘black widow’
California governor won’t parole woman dubbed ‘black widow’
Governor denies parole for California husband killer
Navy Spouse Susan Russo Hired Drug Addicted Hitmen for $100 to Murder Husband David Russo for the Life Insurance; Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 14, 1994)
Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder
Navy Wife and Mom With Secret Life Devises Plan To Have Husband Killed For Insurance Money | Investigation Discovery
Perfect Wife Plots To Have Husband Killed For Money | Investigation Discovery
Cash In | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S10, E6)
Petition: Keep Susan Russo Behind Bars