Navy Veteran Victor Saucedo Shot and Killed in Home by Ex-Girlfriend; Navy Veteran Vegas Bray Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison (2012)

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Victor Saucedo, US Navy Veteran

Never have sex with a crazy ex. -Profiler Candice DeLong, Deadly Women

Victor Saucedo served as a damage controlman in the US Navy and was stationed at Naval Base San Diego in California. The ambitious Victor left the Navy in 2012 and began working on a college degree in law enforcement. He wanted to do well so he could provide for his four year old son. He had lots of friends, a loving family, and was an all around great guy. Victor met Vegas Bray, who was also in the Navy, at the Naval Base in San Diego; they remained friends even after she was discharged. Victor reconnected with the popular, well liked twenty-two year old Vegas at the gym; they both liked to work out. Victor was smitten initially and the two began a serious relationship in March 2011. Victor and Vegas spent a lot of time together.

Then Vegas realized she had to share Victor with his child, an ex-girlfriend, and all his friends. Vegas was especially jealous of the mother of his child because she had to be the only person in Victor’s life. Her jealousy was brewing because of her immature personality and stunted emotional development. Vegas Bray was both abandoned and abused, and as a result had a difficult time with men. Vegas tried to use sex to control Victor. If Victor went out with his friends, Vegas would show up and ask him to leave. This behavior embarrassed Victor and he may have lost his friends but he was never going to give up on his son. Vegas accused Victor of spending all his time with his son. Victor didn’t hide the fact that his boy came first and broke up with Vegas in March 2012. Although they still hooked up even after the break-up.

Vegas had a rough childhood. Her mother abandoned her when she was twelve; she didn’t know who her father was. But she was pretty, smart, and well liked. She was described as nice by those who grew up with her. She grew up in the heavily populated military community in San Diego and as a result was inspired to join the enlisted ranks in the Navy after high school graduation in 2007. She worked as a Machinist at Naval Base San Diego. But Vegas didn’t like it. She was not adjusting well to the rules and regulations and applied for an early discharge. The discharge application was approved and she was administratively discharged from the Navy in 2010. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do so she began working as a cocktail waitress. She met Victor in 2011 and he broke up with her in 2012.

Instead of moving on, Vegas started pulling childish pranks. She sat outside his home, followed him, threw eggs at his car, keyed his car, punctured his tires, threw paint at his door, and threatened to kill him. Victor moved to a new apartment within the complex to escape the escalating abuse. He even considered moving back to Chicago, Illinois but didn’t want to leave his son behind. He had a feeling Vegas would kill him. After she found out where he lived, Vegas broke a window at the new place. Victor didn’t want any confrontations with her. And even after all this, he still wanted to be friends. He went to the police once to report the stalking behavior and the threats to his life but he didn’t feel like he was taken seriously. He also chased Vegas down after she threw a bottle through his car window. He then called the police but declined to press charges hoping the warning would do the trick.

Vegas told Victor she was going to move into the same apartment complex as him and Victor agreed to be a co-signer on the new apartment. Vegas went to Victor’s place on October 15, 2012 to talk about the co-signing arrangement. Vegas and Victor drank and talked all evening; they had a good time and ended up sleeping together. The next morning, Vegas wanted to go to breakfast but Victor did not. Vegas felt used and taken advantage of; she was angry. What Victor thought was a casual night with an ex meant something completely different to Vegas. This night made her feel closer to Victor, more possessive, and got her hopes up that something would rekindle. Once Victor realized his mistake, it was too late. Because of her abandonment issues, she felt rejected. She was truly devastated by this experience and her rage kicked into overdrive.

Vegas was obsessed with Victor and wanted to know why he broke up with her. On October 16, 2012, Vegas went to Victor’s home in Imperial Beach and confronted him. He reiterated that it was over. She shot him six times at close range. Then when he was down, she coldly pointed the gun at his head and fired rapidly three more times. Police would learn that she left him a message on his answering machine begging him not to leave her. She went to his apartment with a plan after he didn’t call her back, she murdered him in cold blood. Once he was dead, she called the police to report that she found Victor dead with his gun lying next to him. Vegas implied that Victor committed suicide.

After detectives observed the crime scene, they found Victor lying in the hallway with a gun at his side. He had been shot multiple times in the face, head, and upper body; a suicide was not possible. The police felt that referring to Victor’s death as a suicide was preposterous; they quickly deduced this was a homicide. But Vegas’ child-like mind failed to see the absurdity of the statement. Vegas voluntarily went to the police station and told investigators that she couldn’t remember what happened because she blacked out. During the interview, Vegas told investigators that Victor broke up with her on the phone and unfriended her Facebook. Although she had other plans, she turned around on the highway and went to Victor’s home to confront him, what the hell?

Vegas Bray said she didn’t plan on going back to Victor’s house. She said she didn’t remember anything and blacked out but remembered her ears were ringing. She also admitted that the black outs began in childhood. She said she was sexually abused as a child and when she reported it to her mother, she wasn’t believed. She did see a psychiatrist to work on her depression and her disability, post traumatic stress disorder. She also admitted that the 38 caliber revolver was hers. Others described Vegas as unstable; she had quick temper and flew off at the handle. Witnesses confirmed she was jealous of the ex-girlfriend and would often cause scenes. They said one time she even held a gun to Victor’s face and this is when he left her. He didn’t want anymore drama unfortunately leaving her only heightened the drama.

Vegas Bray was arrested later that day and charged with the murder of Victor Saucedo. It took two years to declare Vegas mentally fit to stand trial. The jury would learn that Victor was shot nine times with hollow point bullets meant to do maximum damage. And they learned that a 38 caliber revolver only held six bullets so Vegas had to reload the gun before shooting Victor three more times. This fact also matched testimony by witnesses who said they heard 5-6 gunshots, silence, then three more shots. The defense brought up Vegas’ difficult upbringing with her abusive, neglectful mother but the jury decided it didn’t excuse taking a life. In 2016, Vegas Bray was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to fifty years to life in prison. Vegas Bray was an unstable, jealous ex with a gun who killed Victor Saucedo because she couldn’t control him.

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Vegas Bray (Hellbeasts)
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Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Woman accused in fatal shooting of ex-boyfriend appears in court
Woman accused of killing ex-lover in court: Vegas Bray suspected in death of Victor Saucedo
Mental competency hearing set for woman accused of murder
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Snapped: Vegas Bray | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Calls 911 | Oxygen
Snapped: Vegas Bray Interrogation | Oxygen
Snapped: Stalking is Dangerous
Ex-Lover Jealousy Turns Lethal: The Vegas Bray Story
Deadly Women: Cling ‘Til Death (Investigation Discovery)


These Deadly Women won’t let their men go… they “Cling ‘Til Death.” -Discovery ID

Shannon O’Roark Killed Estranged Air Force Husband’s Mistress Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Dr. Irina Puscariu; Col. Roscoe Griffin Made Affair Official on Facebook (2012)

On January 13, 2012, Shannon O’Roark of Texas drove 250 miles to Missouri to kill her estranged husband’s mistress fourty-six year old Dr. Irina Puscariu. Shannon O’Roark Griffin was an aeronautical engineer who worked for NASA training astronauts until she experienced a seizure that put her on definite sick leave. Shannon’s husband was a Colonel in the Air Force who decided he wasn’t ready to retire. Shannon and Col. Roscoe Griffin had been living separately for quite some time and discussed divorce but it appeared Shannon did not want a divorce after twenty years of marriage. Meanwhile, Col. Griffin lost a fellow service member to suicide and it devastated him. He began seeing Dr. Irina Puscariu, a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, for help. The professional relationship evolved into a romantic relationship, which is strictly forbidden in the world of psychiatry. Dr. Puscariu put her own career at risk when she chose to date Col. Griffin. Shannon found out thru social media that her husband was seeing Dr. Puscariu when he posted a picture with Irina on Facebook. Col. Griffin also changed his relationship status to “it’s complicated” which to Shannon was rejection, and rejection was the trigger. Col. Roscoe Griffin had no idea what was in store for him when someone is dumped and dangerous.

Shannon may have felt like the post meant the last twenty years were horrible and now I am going to replace you. Shannon asked Col. Griffin to go to a counseling appointment with her one last time in an effort to save the relationship. It would be here she would learn her husband of twenty years loved Dr. Puscariu and wanted to continue to see her. After this counseling session is when Shannon decided to go to Missouri and kill Dr. Puscariu. She wanted to protect what was hers at all costs. She wanted to obliterate Dr. Puscariu from her life so the problem would go away. She drove 250 miles to Irina’ home in Missouri and shot and killed her four times in front of her own mother, the last shot was to her face. Shannon then fled the scene back to Texas and was held in custody until she could be extradited back to Missouri for a murder charge. Shannon plead guilty to second degree murder to avoid a trial. She was sentenced to twenty years for second degree murder and twenty years for armed criminal action. Investigators noted that before this incident Shannon had zero criminal history or violent behavior, she didn’t even have a speeding ticket. But when she got rejected by her husband Col. Roscoe Griffin, it would be jealousy and revenge that would drive her to murder the woman who stole her life.

Related Links:
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Videos:
Deadly Women: “Dumped and Dangerous”
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Woman Charged In Gladstone Slaying To Return To Missouri
Ex-NASA employee charged with killing husband’s mistress
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Accused scorned wife in court as psychiatrist’s patients mourn


Deadly Women: “Dumped and Dangerous” (Investigation Discovery)

Navy Reservist Paul Berkley Murdered by Wife Monique in North Carolina while Home on Leave from Middle East, SGLI was the Motive (2005)

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Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve

Paul Berkley, US Navy Reserve, was murdered by his wife, Monique Wallace Berkley, her teenage lover, and his friend on December 18, 2005. Paul was home for Christmas on leave from a deployment in the Middle East. Monique, Andrew Deshawn Canty, and Latwon Darrell Johnson were all charged with first degree murder. The motive was the $400,000 Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance payout. Monique pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. The state announced it was going to seek the death penalty if Berkley had gone to trial. Andrew Canty pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Latwon Darrell Johnson pleaded guilty to second degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Johnson appealed his sentence claiming that it was too harsh given his role in the slaying and his cooperation with police and prosecutors.

Paul Berkley survived his deployment in the Middle East without any injury, but he couldn’t survive one week with his wife Monique. -Profiler Candice DeLong

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Snapped “Monique Berkley” (Oxygen Media)
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The young and wild Monique Wallace is married to 40-year-old Paul Berkley, a navy reservist and father of two in suburban North Carolina. But with Paul leaving on a mission overseas, temptation and lust will lead them all down a dark path to murder. -Discovery ID

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

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Gregg Whitmore & Karen Cummings (photo courtesy of http://gregg-whitmore.memory-of.com)

Shana Parkinson Whitmore, 38, was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison in 2005 for the the stabbing deaths of her ex-husband Gregg Whitmore, 38, and his girlfriend, Karen Cummings, 29, while they slept at Gregg’s home in Rigby, Idaho on February 1, 2004. Shana Parkinson is not eligible for parole until 2031.

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Deadly Women: Lover’s Revenge

Army Soldier Gary Prokop Murdered by Wife Tyshee Manik & Childhood Friends for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (1998)

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Gary Prokop, US Army

Tyshee Prokop and her childhood friends from Killeen, Texas murdered Gary Prokop, an Army soldier stationed at Fort Hood in 1998. Tyshee married Gary shortly after meeting him and they had a child together. But Tyshee wasn’t ready for family life. About a year and a half after they were married, they filed for divorce. Gary was going to get out of the Army and move back home. Tyshee conspired with her friends to have Gary murdered before he got out of the Army so she could collect medical benefits and the $100,000 dollar life insurance policy. He was murdered on June 25th with a single gunshot wound to the head while he was sleeping. One of the co-conspirators, Rodney Barfield, felt remorse about his involvement with the crime. He confessed his full involvement in the murder and detailed everyone’s roles. In 2002, Tyshee Prokop and her friends were arrested and charged with the murder of Gary Prokop. They were sentenced as follows:

Tyshee Manik Prokop – pled guilty, sentenced to life in prison
Charles Edward Turnbull III – convicted, sentenced to life in prison
Rodney Barfield – pled guilty, sentenced to 25 years
Reuben James Salgado – pled guilty (tampering with evidence charge)
Jacob Luther Harris – pled guilty (to a conspiracy charge)

Learn more: Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder

Related Links:
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Army wife charged in husband’s killing
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Deadly Women: She Had Her Gang Boyfriend Kill Her Husband In His Sleep
Tyshee Prokop had her husband, Spec Gary Thomas Prokop, killed for his military benefits and insurance
Deadly Women: To Have and to Kill

When some brides vowed to love and honor their husbands, they lied. These Deadly Women made a mockery of marital commitment. They only promised “To Have and To Kill”. -Discovery ID

Army Spouse Jennifer Reali Shot and Killed Dianne Hood; Husband Brian Hood Conspired, Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison; Reali Sentenced to Life (1990)

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Brian Hood and US Army Spouse Jennifer Reali

Lt. Joe Kenda, a homicide detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department, was angry when he found out about this murder. Whoever did it gunned down a housewife and mother and he vowed to catch them. On September 12, 1990, a Lupus support meeting was held in a recreational area in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of the participants was Dianne Hood, who just 18 months earlier after her third child was born, was diagnosed with Lupus. But Dianne was a fighter and was in remission. After the meeting let up, she walked outside with a fellow Lupus support group member, Karen Johnson, and was robbed and shot twice. Karen went flying back into the building and informed the others that Dianne had been shot. Another support group member Sarah was a registered nurse so she ran outside to help. Sarah found Dianne laying in a pool of blood and observed her gasping for breath as she began compressions. EMTs arrived on the scene and took over for Sarah. Dianne had two bullet wounds, one in the shoulder and the other in her chest area. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. This crime sent a shockwave through the community.

After Lt. Kenda arrived on the scene, he found blood on the ground and a couple shocked witnesses. It was assumed initially that this was a robbery gone bad. Kenda interviewed Karen Johnson first because she was the best witness he had. Karen reported that she and Dianne were walking to their cars when they heard footsteps from behind. The person was wearing dark clothes and a ski mask. Dianne gave up her purse to the robber and began to run. The shooter first fired at her shoulder and that put her down and then this person fired a fatal shot at her chest. Everything did in fact look like a robbery gone bad. Unfortunately, Karen didn’t know much about the shooter aside from they were shorter they she was. Kenda and fellow police officers began canvassing the area to see if they could find any additional evidence. Criminals usually have a planned exit so Kenda used a K9 unit to comb the area looking for the scent of the shooter. About about a mile, the dog locked onto a scent. The dog led officers to a garbage can and then sat down. This is dog’s alert system. Inside the garbage can the police found an olive drab field jacket, a pair of gloves, a black ski mask, and some camouflage pants.

The items in the garbage can matched the witnesses description of the shooter at the scene. They also found brown hair in the ski mask and evidence of gun residue on the gloves upon testing at the forensic’s lab. The K-9 dog eventually lost the scent of the shooter because this person most likely got in a car and drove away. The only promising lead just hit a dead end. Kenda didn’t have a suspect, he had a masked maniac so he decided to look into Dianne Elaine Hood’s life; he wanted to know everything about her to find out who in her life wanted her dead. With no other substantial leads, police started canvassing the neighborhood, knocking on every door, to see if anyone saw anything. They encountered a woman who indicated David Burns could have had something to do with it. Kenda learned the locals gave Burns the nickname Homicidal Dave. Kenda wanted to know who this guy was because he wore camouflage similar to that of the shooter. Kenda learned Burns was a veteran of the first Gulf War, spoke loudly and obnoxiously to others, and the community felt he was dangerous. Upon further investigation, David Burns was cleared because he alibi checked out on the night of the murder. With no suspect or person of interest to investigate further, Kenda needed to expand the investigation.

Expanding the investigation meant combing through all the evidence to find new clues. After reading through Karen Johnson’s testimony again, Kenda deduced that someone wanted to make this look like a robbery. Kenda believed Dianne Hood was targeted and that this was an assassination. During the autopsy, two bullets were recovered from Dianne Hood’s body so they were sent to ballistics. Kenda received a call the next day informing him he was looking for very rare and valuable gun, a Colt Peacemaker patent 1872 single action Army revolver, a cowboy gun. This was a huge limiting factor because this rare gun was worth thousands, maybe this person was a gun collector. During a homicide investigation, the police look at everything. Dianne’s life didn’t raise any red flags; she was a devoted mother of three and housewife. Kenda turned to Dianne’s husband Brian Hood and after bringing him to the station, Brian’s life appeared to be just as idyllic as Dianne’s was. Brian Hood was extremely well liked by his neighbors and co-workers. He used to play football and Dianne was a cheerleader; that’s how they met. Brian’s physical stature eliminated him as the shooter.

During the interview, Brian admitted that he was addicted to working out and went to the gym almost every day to keep up his physique. So Kenda went to the gym, spoke with a couple employees, and learned that Brian spends a lot of time with a girl named Jennifer, who worked at a flower shop. Joe went to the flower shop and learned her full name was Jennifer Reali. She was married to Benjamin Reali who was a Captain in the Army and an intelligence officer. The shop owner shared that he liked Ben because they both collected antique guns. This was a solid lead for Kenda. Does Ben own the same antique gun used in the shooting? Did Ben shoot Dianne Hood because of the relationship Brian had with Jennifer at the gym? Did Jennifer shoot Dianne? Ben worked at Fort Carson as a criminal investigator for the US Army so he knew as a soldier, he is an expert in killing and as an investigator, he knew how to get away with it. The clothing recovered in the garbage can was military clothing. Was this his clothing? Ben’s stature did match that described by the shooter. Kenda surprised Ben at work and he immediately went on the defensive. Ben admitted to owning several antique guns and one of them was a Colt 45 Peacemaker (patent 1872).

Kenda wanted the antique gun so it could be analyzed. Ben appeared to be confused and concerned but he handed over the gun. The police couldn’t recover any fingerprints on it. Kenda then invited Ben to go to the police station so they could interview him. The police put Ben on their turf so he wouldn’t be in his normal comfortable setting. Ben was seated and Kenda laid out the clothing they found in the garbage can. Without even looking, Ben said he didn’t recognize the clothing. Kenda said, Ben you need to look at these clothes and examine them. Kenda then threatened to call his military Commander and ruin his career overnight or at a maximum arrest him for murder. Ben admitted the clothing were his and the ballistics office confirmed his gun matched the one they were looking for. Ben claimed he last saw the clothing in his closet at his house but he hadn’t been living there for about 3 weeks; he was staying on post. Ben then told Kenda his wife asked him to hold the gun that morning and a couple weeks ago, she wanted to shoot it so he took her to the gun range to practice. Ben went from a person of interest to a witness. Kenda remembered the witness telling him the shooter put the purse over their shoulder like a woman would do.

Ben Reali was eliminated as a suspect because Kenda knew they were looking for a woman. Forty-eight hours after Dianne was murdered, Kenda was on the hunt for twenty-eight year old Jennifer Reali. He needed to find out more about his prime suspect. He learned she was a college graduate and a mother of two daughters. From outward appearances, she didn’t fit the modus operandi of a killer. Kenda brought Jennifer to the station in the hopes that she would break after he pressed her. While at the station Kenda realized Ben was not a co-conspirator but was struggling with the fact that his wife might be a murderer. The clothing was Ben Reali’s and the bullet casings matched the same gun owned by Ben Reali; as a result Jennifer was arrested for first degree murder and Ben had a hard time with it. After the arrest, Kenda turned all his attention to Jennifer Reali. She denied any knowledge of anything so Kenda presented the evidence to her and backed her into a corner. He could tell she was used to being in control and didn’t like being cornered. Jennifer tried to say the gun must have been stolen but that was ludicrous, as if someone would return the gun after stealing it. Jennifer finally broke and admitted that she did it; Kenda got his confession.

Jennifer Reali admitted to killing Dianne Wood and that she did try to make it look like a robbery. She also shared that someone else was involved in the plot to kill Dianne; she claimed it wasn’t her idea. Jennifer disclosed that she killed Dianne for Brian Hood. She admitted to having an affair with him for the past eight months. She met him at the gym and they became close; this is how the personal and romantic relationship started. Their innocent flirtation eventually turned into a full-blown affair, she says they were in love. She brought Brian to her house when Ben was out of town. Jennifer was very specific about all the details with her affair with Brian. Brian told Jennifer that killing Dianne would help end her suffering with Lupus, a disease he said was going to kill her. He also had an insurance policy on her for $100,000 and if she was murdered, it would double the pay out to $200,000. For a period of months, Brian brainstormed various ways to kill his wife as if he was her mercenary. In the end, Brian decided a staged robbery in a parking lot would do.

Brian told Jennifer they already committed the sin of adultery and the sin of murder was no worse. He claimed that Jennifer was his whole life and he used passages from the Bible to let her know it was okay to kill Dianne as long as she repented. Brian also believed the police were stupid and would assume this was an armed robbery. This was his final plan to convince her they would get away with it. Brian pressured Jennifer for three months to kill his wife and then on September 12th, she went through with it. Jennifer was held in the El Paso County jail for first degree murder but the architect of the plot was still at large. The police hunted down and arrested Brian for conspiracy to commit first degree murder, solicitation to commit first degree murder, and first degree murder. In the meantime, one of Brian’s friends came forward with damning information after reading about his arrest in the paper. He told the witness that he wanted his wife dead. Police learned Brian’s friends were afraid of him because they wondered if he was capable of killing them too. Brian Hood pressured his friends until he found one that would do his bidding; he used his wife’s disease as an excuse to justify murder.

Brian maintained his innoncene throughout the investigation and trial. But the family doctor testified at trial that he told Dianne and Brian that she had the mildest form of Lupus and it could be easily managed; she was not going to die. Brian told his friends he wanted Dianne dead because she was going to die anyways; he knew that wasn’t true. A year after Dianne Hood was shot and killed on December 23, 1991, Brian Hood was found guilty of two counts of criminal solicitation, one count of conspiracy to murder his wife, however on the charge of first degree murder, he was found not guilty. Instead of life in prison, he was sentenced to 37 years. The police felt like he got away with murder. Jennifer Reali plead insanity claiming she had been brainwashed by Brian Hood. The jury didn’t buy it and she was found guilty of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Jennifer Reali was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole at the Colorado State Penitentiary. The police got justice for Dianne when she couldn’t do it for herself but this murder was devastating to the Hood and Reali families. They couldn’t help but ask: Why would Brian do this? Why not get a divorce? Why kill her? Kenda explained that this was human nature at its worse.

What does a murderer look like? As it turns out they look like the cute mom next door. -Lt Joe Kenda, Retired Homicide Detective

Related Links:
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Convicted kIller Jennifer Reali decribes her crime
The case a lawyer wouldn’t give up on
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“Fatal Attraction” killer Reali denied parole in 1990 love-triangle slaying
‘Fatal attraction killer’ moved into halfway house
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Colorado Springs’ ‘fatal attraction killer’ denied full parole
Colorado Springs’ ‘fatal attraction killer’ denied full parole
‘Fatal attraction killer’ Jennifer Reali one step closer to parole
Between the Lines: The next step for convicted killer Jennifer Reali
Jennifer Reali wants to help others stay out of prison
Reali reaction
Female Domestic Violence Killings In Colorado — 1990-1995
Facing Evil: Love Before Life (Investigation Discovery)
Facing Evil Podcast: Jennifer Reali
Deadly Women: Under His Control (Investigation Discovery)
Jennifer Reali interview released


Mother of three Dianne Hood is shot to death by a masked gunman on her way home from a Lupus support meeting. Police initially assume it’s a robbery, but Lt. Joe Kenda uncovers a sordid web of lust and greed, revealing a killer no one ever expected. -Investigation Discovery

Army Veteran Sylvia Seegrist Went on Shooting Spree at Shopping Mall Killing Recife Cosmen, Ernest Trout and Augusto Ferrara; Sentenced to Life in Prison (1985)

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Sylvia Seegrist, US Army Veteran

On October 30, 1985, Sylvia Seegrist, 25, dressed in Army fatigues and black boots, parked her car in front of the Springfield Mall in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, stepped out, and started shooting. She killed three people and injured seven more in the mass shooting before she was stopped by an on-looker in the mall who didn’t realize she was not in a Halloween costume. Killed in the incident was a young child and two men: Recife Cosmen, 2, Dr. Ernest Trout, 67, and Augusto Ferrara, 64. As a result, Seegrist was arrested and indicted for three first degree murders. Investigators would learn that Sylvia Seegrist was discharged from the military after a year of serving because she wasn’t “right in the head” according to Army officials. Sylvia’s mother shared that she tried to get help for her daughter and tried to get her to take medication, but no one would hear her pleas for help. Prior to and after her trial in 1986, Seegrist was held at a Pennsylvania State Hospital.

Sylvia downward spiraled after her discharge from the Army and used the military training she learned to kill innocent civilians. After Sylvia was found guilty of three first degree murders and given three life sentences, she was transferred to the women’s Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution where she still resides. The 1985 incident highlighted the fine line between an individual’s rights and the state’s authority to commit potentially dangerous people. Seegrist interviewed in 1991 said, “daily doses of anti-psychotic medication had curtailed her delusions, paranoia and explosive anger.” Why wasn’t the mental illness picked up by recruiting and instead only recognized after she joined the military? Sylvia Seegrist had paranoid schizophrenia which is a serious mental illness that requires the use of medication to manage symptomology. Sylvia Seegrist needed follow on treatment after her discharge from the Army in an effort to prevent a predictable downward spiral.

Related Links:
Wikipedia: Sylvia Seegrist
2 Killed in Shopping Mall as Woman Fired on Crowd
Cousins Huddled to Protect Each Other as Woman Opened Fire
Shooting suspect said to be abusive
Sylvia Seegrist, the fatigue-clad woman who shot 10 people…
She’s sorry she killed, but victims’ kin don’t want her freed Medicine curbs psychotic urges of woman who went on rampage
Middletown native, Springfield mall hero named as Coatesville police chief
Springfield Mall’s 1985 Shooter: Where is She Now?
Sylvia Seegrist went psycho and killed three innocent people at the Springfield, Pa., mall
Decades After Sylvia Seegrist, Mentally Ill People Are Still Murdering Innocents
The Anomaly of a Female Mass Shooter: San Bernardino Wife Joins Small Group of Shooters
Many factors make San Bernardino rare among mass shootings
‘Why is it men who commit mass shootings?’
Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder
Miss Rambo: The True Story of Spree Killer Sylvia Seegrist
Deadly Women | Twisted Minds | Sylvia Seegrist


In a rage driven by years of untreated schizophrenia, 25-year-old Sylvia Seegrist opened fire on innocent shoppers in a Philadelphia-area mall in 1985. -Deadly Women

Eric Witte Manipulated by Mother Hilma to Murder Abusive Father at Age Fifteen; Joined Navy to Prevent Grandmother Elaine Witte from Dying (1981)

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Eric Witte, US Navy

Eric Witte was 15 years old when he shot and killed his father Paul Witte while he lay sleeping on the couch. His mother Hilma had been poisoning him for years but her plan was not working so she elicited the help of her oldest son Eric to kill him. Although Eric has good memories of his father, he also has scars from the regular physical abuse he received if he made the slightest mistake. It wasn’t hard to convince Eric to kill his father so he could make the physical abuse stop. Eric and his mother Hilma were able to convince the police that it was an accident and they all went about their lives. Then Eric noticed that Hilma was poisoning his grandmother Elaine Witt as well.

Eric wanted no part in her murderous plans so he joined the US Navy to escape his mother’s relentless pressure to kill. Eric thought that if he left, she would have no one to kill Elaine. But Hilma pressured her youngest son John to kill Elaine instead. John shot her with a crossbow and then they dismembered her body and put it in a refrigerator. Elaine and John then asked Eric to come home from the Navy to help them deal with the body. Eric wanted no part in his mother’s plan and left to go back to San Diego, California where he was stationed. Unbeknownst to him, his mother put his grandmother’s dismembered body in his vehicle and he didn’t notice until it was too late. He panicked and brought the body to California and put it in a storage locker.

It wasn’t long before other’s demanded to know where Elaine was. Hilma panicked and drove from Indiana to California to seek out Eric’s help. Eric left with his family and went Absent Without Leave (AWOL) so they could figure it out together. Eric was taught as a child to always protect his family and it was natural for him to do it again. In a bizarre twist, Hilma was arrested for forging Elaine’s signature on a social security check she stole from her. It was this arrest and investigation that led to the stories behind both murders. John and Eric admitted to investigators that their mother manipulated and pressured them to kill their father and grandmother. Hilma Witte was convicted and sentenced to 90 years in prison for murder. John and Eric Witte were given 20 and five year sentences for their roles and were released in 1996.

Related Links:
Double Murder: A Family Affair?
Woman Charged in Crossbow Death Appears in Shooting Case
Family Plot Police Say Wife Had Sons Kill Husband, Mom-in-law
Mother Told Me To Murder Grandmother, Boy Tells Jury
Hilma Witte v State of Indiana (1987)
Hilma Witte v State of Indiana (1990)
Woman convicted for role in murders seeks early release
Murder conspirator to remain in prison
Witte Denied Modified Sentence
A teenage boy murders his father
This Day in History: Paul Witte murder 9/1/1981 Michigan City, IN
‘Deadly Woman’: Mother Manipulated Sons Into Killing Their Family Members
Hilma Marie Witte Documentary (YouTube)
Deadly Women ‘Mommy’s Little Helpers’ (YouTube)


“As a boy, Eric Witte’s father taught him to protect his family. But as his father grows increasingly violent, Eric realizes that he is the evil his family needs protection from.” -Investigation Discovery