Fear Thy Neighbor: 21 Veteran Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery (November 5, 2018)

Preview: In North Carolina, a retired Vietnam veteran sells off a piece of his land to a young family. No one can predict the modern day Hatfield McCoy neighbor feud that will ensue and the midnight shootout that will end it. -Lies, Lawns & Murder, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E1)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Lies, Lawns & Murder’ on Investigation Discovery: Roland Younce was Fatally Shot by Cops After Wounding Four People (April 14, 2014)

ID Go: The Phillips’ family moves to a quiet seafront town in Maine to escape a crime wave in Indiana. But their dream home comes with a not so dreamy ex-military neighbor. A barrage of gunfire between the houses one night shatters both families forever. -Red Picket Fences, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E2)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Red Picket Fences’ on Investigation Discovery: Richard Uffelman & 2 Children Executed The Phillips in Small Town Maine (April 21, 2014)

ID Go: In Miami, a young mother has no choice but to shut the door on her warring neighbors as a three-year feud over a patch of land and differing moral standards reaches a bloody and tragic conclusion. -Home’s Where the Hearse Is, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E5)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Home’s Where the Hearse Is’ on Investigation Discovery: Baldomero Fernandez Ended a Property Dispute with Fatal Violence (May 12, 2014)

ID Go: An elite California Lakeside Community is rocked to its core when two well-to-do gentlemen go to war over an 18-inch property line discrepancy. One neighbor takes the dispute to new levels when he hires a hitman to permanently solve the problem. -Welcome to Murder Street, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E6)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Welcome to Murder Street’ on Investigation Discovery: Bill Weissman Busted in Undercover Murder-for-Hire Sting Operation (May 19, 2014)

Preview: An older man obsessed with his property lines soon learns that his neighbor’s dock is actually on his property, and wants it moved immediately. His neighbors aren’t going to go down without a fight. -Lake of Madness, Fear Thy Neighbors (S2, E2)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Lake of Madness’ on Investigation Discovery: Paul Crawford Executed Family Next Door, Then Killed Himself (April 20, 2015)

Preview: Neighbors go to war when an older man obssesses over the boundary lines of his property and wont let his neighbors anywhere near it. -Driveway of Death, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E3)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Driveway of Death’ on Investigation Discovery: John Kenney Fatally Shot The Grimes Over Shared Driveway Dispute (April 27, 2015)

ID Go: Instead of a brand new start, a man’s move to Canyon Country, California, finds him locked in a bizarre and increasingly acrimonious eight year feud with his neighbor –that is finally resolved with blasts from a shotgun. -Good Fences Make Dead Neighbors, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E4)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Good Fences Make Dead Neighbors’ on Investigation Discovery: Paul Tracey Created a Kill Zone & Fatally Shot Anthony Davis (May 4, 2015)

ID Go: Two families in Elyria, Ohio live beside each other in friendship and peace for decades, but as time goes on things deteriorate into acrimony, mutual accusation, violence, and finally a shocking and bloody shoot out. -There Bleeds the Neighborhood, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E5)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘There Bleeds the Neighborhood’ on Investigation Discovery: Paul Hashman Shot Darrell Hoskins 7 Times with Intent to Kill (May 11, 2015)

ID Go: When a freewheeling family moves from California to the buttoned down enclave of Leesburg, Virginia, they quickly get on the wrong side of their neighbour across the way. The conflict escalates until bullets fly and blood flows in the street. -Kill-De-Sac, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E8)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Kill-De-Sac’ on Investigation Discovery: Robert Lorenz Shoots Duren Eldridge, Claims Self-Defense, Acquitted of Murder (June 1, 2015)

ID Go: A couple settles in Josephine County, Oregon, where they learn their new neighbor has a deadly past. Now, as relations sour and tempers flare, blood will be spilled on this land…. -Homeowner Hell, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E11)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Homeowner Hell’ on Investigation Discovery: Donald Easley Killed 2 Property Owners, Kenneth Vaughn & Laron Estes (June 29, 2015)

ID Go: A young couple finds their paradise in a Vancouver, Washington housing development with strict codes of community conduct. But someone forgot to tell their neighbour the rules, and he will resist them at all costs. -Landlord, Death Lord, Fear Thy Neighbor (S2, E12)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Landlord, Death Lord’ on Investigation Discovery: John Kendall Shot at Erich & Abigail Mounce 17 Times With an AK-47 (July 6, 2015)

ID Go: The promise of peaceful life in Tamarac, Florida is broken when the son of a newly arrived family befriends the neighborhood’s most unruly kids. Bad blood between the neighbors boils over until things come to a horrifically violent end on Halloween. -Nail in the Coffin, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E1)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Nail in the Coffin’ on Investigation Discovery: Richard Day Used Truck as Murder Weapon, Killed Robert Campbell in Florida (March 30, 2016)

ID Go: In peaceful Alden, New York, siblings who live in neighboring houses get into a conflict when their prodigal brother returns home. Soon, the family is at each other’s throats until their war finally comes to a shocking, fiery end. -Burn Neighbor, Burn, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E6)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Burn Neighbor, Burn’ on Investigation Discovery: In Retaliation, Andrew Sindriewicz Burned Down Two Family Homes (May 4, 2016)

ID Go: An argument about access to a disputed road puts two Lompico, California men at each other’s throats. Things progress from intimidation and property damage to a backhoe attack and, finally, one of the most shocking murders the area has ever seen. -Bonfire of Blood, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E9)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Bonfire of Blood’ on Investigation Discovery: Escalating Property Dispute Between Walter Stephens & Bob Hall Turns Deadly (May 25, 2016)

ID Go: Two young couples in an Idaho apartment building walk on eggshells around a neighbor who can’t stand the one couple’s music and the other’s dog. Tensions keep rising between all parties until finally hell breaks loose and a violent rampage erupts. -Night of the Machete, Fear Thy Neighbor (S3, E10)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Night of the Machete’ on Investigation Discovery: Veteran Twain Thomas Flipped Out on Camera After VA Cut Off Monthly Benefits (June 7, 2016)

ID Go: A couple who tragically lost their son are thrilled when a family with two boys moves in across the street. But the relationship soon sours, engulfing all of them in conflict, accusation, and finally a deadly shooting. -Hysteria Lane, Fear Thy Neighbor (S4, E3)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Hysteria Lane’ on Investigation Discovery: Ronald Ragland Harassed, Gaslighted & Executed Army Vet Robert Mitchell (April 20, 2017)

Preview: A man finds himself living between hostile neighbors on both sides, including a former marine with severe PTSD. Their campaign of intimidation ramps up to the point of no return, ending with a deadly confrontation on the street outside their homes. -Monkey in the Middle, Fear Thy Neighbor (S4, E8)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Monkey in the Middle’ on Investigation Discovery: Spencer Newcomer Found Not Guilty of Murder, Claimed Self-Defense (May 25, 2017)

ID Go: Two neighboring bachelors start out as friends. Harmless banter turns into threats eventually igniting an escalating war. The violence ends with a murder so shocking it is almost beyond belief. -Head in the Oven, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E3)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Head in the Oven’ on Investigation Discovery: Ex-Marine William Perry Stopped Taking Meds, Unraveled & Murdered Brett Smith (June 16, 2018)

ID Go: Two women living next to each other since childhood descend into bitter conflict when the ex husband of one starts seeing the other. Add property issues to this toxic mix and the result is an act of shocking violence that engulfs all. -Mistress of Death, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E6)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Mistress of Death’ on Investigation Discovery: Linda Cowan Convinced Son Vinson Thomas-Ward Cowan to Kill Woman Next Door (July 7, 2018)

ID Go: A couple from Michigan realizes a long held dream when they relocate to Florida, but their life in the sun is destroyed when they get into a fatal conflict with their neighbor. -This Bullet’s for You, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E7)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘This Bullet’s For You’ on Investigation Discovery: Bruce Schunk Entered Keith Lewandowski’s Florida Home & Executed Him (July 14, 2018)

ID Go: A man who is meticulous about his lawn runs into conflict with a new neighbor who doesn’t have the same priorities. The feud between the two men viciously escalates, ultimately ending in an episode of shocking violence. -Dead Men Tell No Tales, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E9)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ on Investigation Discovery: Mark Tatum Ambushed Neighbor David Allen in Louisville, Kentucky Home (July 28, 2018)

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:
A Grown Man Putting Children in Harm’s Way? | Fear Thy Neighbor (Preview)
Lies, Lawns & Murder | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)
Red Picket Fences | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E2)
Home’s Where the Hearse Is | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E5)
Welcome to Murder Street | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E6)
Get Your Dock off my Property | Fear Thy Neighbor (Preview)
Lake of Madness | Fear Thy Neighbors | Investigation Discovery (S2, E2)
Boundary Wars | Fear Thy Neighbor (Preview)
Driveway of Death | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E3)
Good Fences Make Dead Neighbors | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E4)
There Bleeds the Neighborhood | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E5)
Kill-De-Sac | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E8)
Homeowner Hell | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E11)
Landlord, Death Lord | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S2, E12)
Nail in the Coffin | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)
Burn Neighbor, Burn | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E6)
Bonfire of Blood | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E9)
Night of the Machete | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S3, E10)
Hysteria Lane | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S4, E3)
Monkey In the Middle | Fear Thy Neighbor (Preview)
Monkey in the Middle | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S4, E8)
Head in the Oven | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E3)
Mistress of Death | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E6)
This Bullet’s for You | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E7)
Dead Men Tell No Tales | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E9)

Marine Veteran Laura Anne Buckingham Charged with Attempted 1st Degree Murder of Ex-Boyfriend; Released on Bail Due to Pregnancy (2016)

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 8.37.23 AM

Laura Anne Buckingham, USMC Veteran

Marine veteran Laura Anne Buckingham of Tennessee was arrested for an alleged plot to kill her ex-boyfriend, who is also the father of their child. Buckingham was charged with attempted first degree murder and she pleaded not guilty. She was released on bail due to a pregnancy and the trial has been postponed.

Related Links:
Chef Hires Man to Murder Ex, Allegedly
Ex-cafe owner charged with attempted murder
Authorities: Ex-sniper thwarts girlfriend’s plot to kill her ex
Marine sniper foils alleged murder-for-hire plot
Former Marine accused of murder-for-hire plot
Celebrity Baker Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot to Kill Ex-Boyfriend
Marine veteran foils girlfriend’s murder-for-hire plot
Cops: Celebrity Baker and Former Marine Tried to Hire Hit Man to Kill Her Ex Over Child Visitation
Former Marine Behind Bars for Alleged Murder-for-Hire Plot
How notorious Marine who urinated on Taliban corpses turned his veteran girlfriend in for trying to hire him to kill her ex
Ex-Boyfriend Faked His Death to Catch Marine Beauty in Murder Plot
Celebrity Chief Hires Hitman
Baker Arrested for Hiring Marine Sniper to Kill Ex-Boyfriend
Woman indicted in murder for hire
Roane County woman indicted, charged for murder-for-hire plot
Woman in murder-for-hire plot has case bound over; is free after posting bond
New Details in Chef’s Alleged Murder-for-Hire Case
Motion Filed to Delay Trial of Murder for Hire Case
Trial delay granted in murder for hire plot
Former Marine accused of murder-for-hire plot released on bail


Laura Buckingham, a celebrity baker and former U.S. marine, is accused of hiring a hit man to have her ex-boyfriend killed. She is facing an attempted first-degree murder charge, but has been released on $150,000 bond because she is pregnant. -HLN

Navy Seaman Elizabeth Shelton and Unborn Baby Survive Murder-For-Hire Plot, Husband and Two Acquaintances Guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Murder for the Life Insurance (2015)

US Navy

Navy seaman Elizabeth Shelton, 19, stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia survived a brutal assault in her home on August 22, 2015. Police got a call for a suspected home invasion and found Shelton unconscious, lying in a pool of blood. She suffered extensive facial injuries and was having difficulty breathing; she was rushed to the hospital. Shelton’s husband Anthony Johnson was also hurt during the home invasion. He reported that one of them tried to choke him to death while he lay in his bed. Johnson also reported that some of his friends stole his car. This led police to Tristan Reeder who told them that Johnson hired him and two others to kill his wife in exchange for the life insurance. Reeder said Johnson promised to give him $40,000 and Robert Burnette $70,000. Reeder also told police he pretended to choke Johnson unconscious while Burnette actually choked Shelton. Burnette then threw her off the bed and stomped on her head a half dozen times. They took off in Johnson’s car after they saw blood.

Three men were indicted on charges for trying to kill Anthony Johnson’s pregnant wife in a murder-for-hire plot: Robert Burnette, 19; Tristan Reeder, 21; and Joseph Apodaca, 21. They were charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and conspiracy to maliciously wound Elizabeth Shelton. Anthony Johnson, 21, was charged with three felonies connected with hiring the men to kill his wife. Court documents revealed that Johnson promised Burnette and Reeder more than $100,000 after he cashed in Shelton’s $400,000 life insurance pay-out. Reed, Burnette, and Johnson were held in Norfolk City Jail while they awaited trial. Johnson claimed he was framed and Elizabeth initially believed that he was innocent. She thought the men broke into the apartment because they were mad after they kicked them out the day before.

“He [Anthony Johnson] called my mother from jail and told her it wasn’t true,” Elizabeth Johnson said. “She told me he’s innocent. I didn’t have to ask him, I believed him.” -WAVY

In May 2o16, Anthony Johnson was found guilty of plotting to kill his pregnant wife in exchange for money from her life insurance policy. Joseph Apodaca testified in court that Johnson had been pressuring all three of them to kill his wife and make it look like a break-in. Initially Apodaca agreed but then when it came time to execute the plan, he backed out. A civilian jury sentenced Johnson to 35 years: 25 years for attempted capital murder, 5 years for conspiracy to commit capital murder, and 5 years for malicious wounding. Robert Burnette was found guilty of attempted capital murder and sentenced to 27 years in prison with 15 years suspended. Tristan Reeder pleaded guilty to attempted capital murder for hire and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Apodaca was charged with failure to report a felony and sentenced to 12 months in jail. Elizabeth Shelton recovered and gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Related Links:
3 men charged in plot to kill acquaintance’s wife
Police: Man hired trio to kill pregnant wife
Man accused of hiring hit men: I didn’t try to kill my wife
Husband charged with murder-for-hire claims he was framed
Man accused of plotting pregnant wife’s murder says he’s innocent
Judge certifies murder-for-hire charge against Anthony Johnson
Charge against husband in Norfolk murder-for-hire plot certified to grand jury
Court documents map out timeline of Norfolk murder-for-hire case
Suspect in murder-for-hire plot testifies against victim’s husband
Man found guilty in Norfolk murder-for-hire plot of pregnant wife
Jury finds Norfolk man guilty in murder-for-hire case
Virginia man convicted of hiring hit men to kill wife for life insurance
Man sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder-for-hire plot
One of three men in Norfolk murder-for-hire sentenced to 12 years in prison
Man sentenced in husband’s murder-for-hire plot against pregnant wife
Hearing continued for suspect in Norfolk murder-for-hire
Guilty plea in murder-for-hire plot
Vancouver, Wash. Native Serves with Naval Beach Group TWO (NBG 2)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Welcome to Murder Street’ on Investigation Discovery: Bill Weissman Busted in Undercover Murder-for-Hire Sting Operation (May 19, 2014)

ID Go: An elite California Lakeside Community is rocked to its core when two well-to-do gentlemen go to war over an 18-inch property line discrepancy. One neighbor takes the dispute to new levels when he hires a hitman to permanently solve the problem. -Welcome to Murder Street, Fear Thy Neighbor (S1, E6)

Year: 2003
Murder-for-Hire Victim: Tom Wess, Jr.
Offender: William Weismann, Navy veteran, Retiree, 66 (assault charge on record, restraining orders, lost court case, someone trashed property, revenge)
Location: Lake of the Pines, Nevada County, California
Circumstances: Escalating property line dispute, attempted murder-for-hire
Disposition: Plea deal, 2 counts of solicitation to commit murder, sentenced to 5 years in prison (2004)

Related Links:
Hitman-hire suspect offers plea
Murder-for-hire jail time up in air
Plea reached in murder-for-hire
Murder-for-hire informant sues
Murder-for-hire target sues LOP
LOP sued over dock at center of hitman hire plot
Conspiring for Land
LOP murder for hire case resurrected on TV show
Bill Weismann | True Crime Stories
Welcome to Murder Street | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S1, E6)

Navy Master Chief John Bench Murdered Son & Attempted to Murder Wife & Daughter in Japan, Then Killed Self in Motorcycle Crash (August 30, 2009)

648859904

Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench, US Navy

Investigation Discovery’s show Forbidden: Dying for Love aired an episode titled ‘An Officer, Not a Gentleman’ which featured the story of Navy Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench. Bench first killed his son and then attempted to kill his wife Agnus and their daughter on August 30, 2009 at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. After the attacks, he then made a run for it and left the base traveling on his motorcycle. On that ride, John Bench slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck and was killed instantly. NCIS was assigned to the case and discovered the crime scene. As a result they were able to get care for John’s wife and daughter who survived the brutal attack. Once Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes discovered John Bench was involved in a homicide investigation in the Philippines, he did some digging because he knew this was no coincidence. The story he uncovers leads the Philippines police to another killer.

The Philippines is a key site for military and home to about 12 million citizens. Lilibeth Eniceo, 29, lived in the Philippines with her parents where she shared a room with her five children. Every day was a struggle for survival. A series of men let Lilibeth down but she continued to have hopes for a relationship. Ultimately, she was looking for love and stability for her family. Then one day in January 2007, she got a friend request from a Navy man named John Bench. He was a completely different kind of man than most. And he was the highest enlisted rank one could be in the Navy, therefore highly successful. But John was stationed thousands of miles away in Japan. Regardless, John continued to woo her and they stayed in constant contact; an internet romance grew very quickly.

Months later, John told Lilibeth his ship was traveling to the Philippines and he wanted to meet her in person. So Lilibeth traveled 100 miles to Subic Bay to meet John where his ship was at port. She was so excited to be meeting her prince charming for the first time. Lilibeth was upfront about her children from the beginning so John knew what he was getting into. John had no problems with her family and let her know he was committed to all of them. During the visit, John told Lilibeth he was divorced with two kids and free to pursue a relationship. John purposefully made her think that they had a future together. Lilibeth was happy and overwhelmed that she found a man like John Bench. It felt like they knew each other for years. Before John went back to Japan, he assured Lilibeth he would send money to support her and her family.

After years of despair and heart break, John Bench gained Lilibeth’s trust but he was keeping a secret too. John was still married with two children and they all lived on Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. John was married to Agnus, also a native of the Philippines, and they had two children: Anthony, 10, and Angelica, 15. But John was deeply unhappy in his marriage. And the success he worked so hard for would be destroyed in a divorce. John didn’t want to lose half of his military pension. Although, John was obviously not thinking clearly when he decided to have an affair because adultery is a crime in the military. John took a big risk when he started sending money to Lilibeth regularly. John felt trapped in a life he didn’t like and wanted to be free of it. He took a big gamble with his career because if caught he could lose everything. But no one could imagine the plot he was scheming.

Lilibeth and John had fallen madly in love but they had to keep it a secret. A year or so after they met, Lilibeth and John had another rendezvous but this time she introduced him to her children. John appeared to be the ideal family man because he was loving and very good with the children. They had a great visit. Right before he left, John informed Lilibeth he couldn’t give her anymore money because most of his money went towards alimony he was forced to pay after the divorce. John made it appear to Lilibeth that his ‘ex-wife’ was endangering their relationship and standing in the way of their future. He was point blank and didn’t mince words. He said he wanted to kill his wife. Because Lilibeth was blinded by her dreams of getting everything she ever wanted, she asked him what he wanted her to do. John asked her to find a hitman in the Philippines and then he returned to Japan.

Lilibeth was nervous and never thought she would be involved in an assassination plot. But she found someone to kill John’s wife. The hit would cost $1,250 with a downpayment of $700. John called Lilibeth to let her know when his wife was going to be in the Philippines visiting her family. This was the first opportunity they had to make their move. Lilibeth and the hitman lied in wait outside Agnus’ hotel and after she appeared, Lilibeth aborted the plan because her mother instincts kicked in. Agnus was exiting her hotel with her daughter. Lilibeth couldn’t imagine killing a mother in front of her daughter. Lilibeth told John she couldn’t do it and he was furious that his orders were not carried out. He eventually apologized for getting angry at her. The vulnerable Lilibeth forgave him and continued to remain under his spell.

In February 2009, John returned to the Philippines for another visit. Lilibeth still saw a relationship happening and the perfect life with John. She wanted security for her family so badly. On this visit, John asked Lilibeth to marry him and of course she said yes. She was so excited because this was a fairy tale turning into reality. But unfortunately this reality was built on lies. John was not divorced yet told Lilibeth that because he was paying alimony to his ‘ex-wife’, he would have to support two families and things would be tough. Lilibeth told him she didn’t care about the money as long as they were together and happy. But John continued to pressure her and this time he wanted her to find someone to kill his ‘ex-wife’ and the two children. Lilibeth wanted no part in this plan because to her it was unthinkable that someone would consider murdering their own children.

The cold hard truth is if John Bench was capable of committing these crimes, Lilibeth was one of his victims too. She desperately hoped John would abandon the evil plan. He told her his family didn’t care about him or love him. He made himself out to be the victim. She was torn because she would be letting go of a future with security if she said no, so she agreed to take part in the plot to kill his family. Lilibeth found another hitman and this time tried to limit her involvement by having John speak directly to him. John and Lilibeth met with the hitman and John told him how he wanted the plan to go down. He told the hitman he wanted him to carjack his family and then kill them. John assured Lilibeth afterwards they would finally be together.

The whole idea behind the plot was that this would be a failed robbery attempt and John would miraculously be the lone survivor. But again Lilibeth was having a hard time coping with the reality of the situation. She knew that a family was going to be murdered. The hitman waited at a pre-determined location and pulled the taxi over at gunpoint. He jumped in, demanded they drive to a remote location, and then told them all to get out of the car. He killed the taxi-cab driver first. Then he hesitated and called Lilibeth to tell her he was going to kill them. She told him she didn’t want to know anything. While the hitman was distracted, Agnus lunged at him and fought back in an attempt to get the gun. John hesitated to help her because he had been waiting so long for this plan to unfold so he could be free. John finally acted because otherwise he risked his wife finding out about his murderous plan.

The Bench family was taken to the local police department to give a statement. John Bench was quietly concerned about the hitman being on the run. He knew if he was caught and the plan was made public, it would ruin him. Ruby Ramores was also looking for answers as her brother was the taxi-cab driver who was murdered. She wanted justice for her brother; he was a father of three children and was just trying to make a living. John appeared to want to brush the whole incident under the rug. He denied hesitating to assist Agnus and boldly stated that he was simply waiting for the right opportunity. He then told the police he was tired and leaving so his family could go back to Japan. Ruby read the police reports and questioned why John was hesitant to help his family especially since he had the training to do so. Ruby wasn’t going to let this case go cold.

John kept a very low profile the weeks following the incident and stopped sending Lilibeth any money. Then after months of silence, John called Lilibeth out of the blue. He told her he missed her, wanted to be with her, and apologized for his actions. She eventually relented and forgave him. John told her they would be together soon. But once again, John was lying. After this call to Lilibeth, John unraveled and took matters into his own hands. First he savagely beat and murdered his son. Then he bludgened his wife and daughter with a baseball bat and left them for dead. Afterwards, he fled the scene on his motorcycle. Everything in John’s life was on the line and there was no coming back from this. So John gunned his engine and slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck. He was killed instantly.

When Japanese authorities realized John was in the Navy, Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) took over. As a result, they went to John’s home and discovered the crime scene. They were able to save both Agnus and her daughter’s life. Once the news was reported, Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes began looking into the case. He learned that John Bench was also involved in a homicide case in the Philippines. He suspected something wasn’t right and John’s involvement in the homicide in the Philippines was not coincidental. Travis found out that John Bench was having an affair so he contacted Lilibeth. She opened up to him about the details of the relationship and the various plots to kill John’s family. Lilibeth also gave him the name of the hitman who killed Ruby’s brother. The hitman was charged and imprisoned for the homicide. Ruby opted not to press charges against Lilibeth because she empathized with her and her children. Everyone involved was a victim of John Bench. He used a victimhood narrative to justify his evil intentions and manipulated others to do his dirty work for him. He is the definition of a sneaky sociopath.

I made a mistake. If I have to pay for it, I will pay for it…I was in love with a monster. -Lilibeth Eniceo

ID Go: A Filipino woman falls for a married US Navy Officer who will do anything to keep his mistress and his money. -An Officer, Not a Gentleman, Forbidden: Dying for Love

Related Links:
Sailor dies in crash after alleged assault leaves 12-year-old son dead
Probe centers on Task Force’s top enlisted
Mistress reveals plots that led to a senior enlisted sailor’s brutal attacks
NCIS investigates Filipino cabbie slaying
Navy officer’s mistress questioned in Philippines murder case
Man accused of plotting murder with U.S. sailor arrested in Philippines
Victim’s sister, sailor’s mistress form unlikely partnership
Hit man in Bench murder plot pleads guilty in Philippines
‘Forbidden: Dying for Love’ Eyes Story of USS Denver, Navy Officer Who Wanted Family Dead
An Officer, Not a Gentleman | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery

Army Veteran & Former Police Officer David Runyon Sentenced to Death for the Premeditated Murder of Navy Ensign Cory Voss in Newport News, Virginia (August 27, 2009)

David Runyon

David Runyon, U.S. Army Veteran

“The non-statutory aggravating factors found by the jury were that the Petitioner (1) caused injury, harm, and loss to the victim, and the victim’s family and friends; (2) utilized training, education, and experience gained during criminal justice college courses, his time in the Kansas National Guard, his work as a law enforcement officer, and his experience as a member of the United States Army; (3) engaged in acts of physical abuse towards women; and (4) demonstrated a lack of remorse.” (Runyon v. United States, 2017)

On April 29, 2007, Navy Ensign Cory Voss was discovered dead in his pick-up truck in a bank parking lot in Newport News, Virginia. Initially, investigators thought maybe this was a robbery gone wrong but Cory had been shot five times. Typically, in the course of a robbery, a suspect may shoot at the victim a couple of times in their attempt to flee the scene so this particular crime was suspect right away. Detectives left the scene to notify Cory’s wife Catarina Rose that he was deceased, and had been murdered. Catarina was very, very upset to learn the news although she was able to provide some details about Cory’s movements the night before. Catarina admitted that she was on the phone with Cory while he was at the ATM and warned him to be careful. This was immediately suspicious to detectives because it seemed like too much information. You typically wouldn’t be concerned if your spouse drove 3 miles away from the house.

The next day news spread quick in the Newport News and Naval community. People were in shock that someone they knew was murdered in this way in what normally is a relatively safe community. Detectives were able to get the surveillance video at the bank. It appeared someone jumped in the driver’s side of the vehicle and demanded that he drive away. They stopped in a nearby parking lot and Cory was shot. Unfortunately the quality of the video was not good enough for an identification. One interesting thing police learned was that no money had been withdrawn from the ATM and Cory was not robbed. Meanwhile, Catarina was very distraught and was being supported by Cory’s family and the Naval community. Then one day, police received a phone call from a witness that changed everything. When questioned, Ashley Doyle revealed her identity and was persuaded to meet with the investigators.

When Ashley met with the investigators, they showed her pictures of Cory and the unknown assailant from the bank surveillance video. Immediately, Ashley felt that it was Michael Draven that had killed Cory so she provided police with his name and suggested they look into him. She also told investigators about Michael and Catarina’s ongoing affair while Cory was deployed with the Navy. Investigators started looking at both Michael and Catarina’s social media pages and they were shocked by what they discovered. Michael Draven was seen pictured with Catarina and Cory’s children and he referred to them as his wife and family. Police enlisted the help of Ashley and asked her to meet with Catarina in an attempt to elicit a confession or get any other information that would be helpful to the investigation. When Ashley contacted Catarina she learned she was still very upset and was in the process of planning Cory’s funeral.

Ashley went to visit Catarina with hidden recording devices in tow. She learned that less than three days after Cory died, Catarina received $250,000 in life insurance money and she couldn’t get the full amount until an investigation was conducted. Catarina’s main concern while they visited was why she couldn’t get the second half of the life insurance pay out. Investigators were responsible for the hold on the second payment because it’s standard practice in situations like these, but Catarina was angry and impatient. As a result, she filed complaints that police weren’t doing their jobs and demanded that Cory’s case be solved (so she could get the rest of her money). Three weeks later, Catarina and Michael traveled to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a vacation. Unbeknownst to them, their every move was being watched by police. And Cory’s family were starting to become uncomfortable with her behavior after she received the insurance money.

As a result of Catarina’s behavior, detectives subpoenaed her bank records. They learned the account Cory used on the night in question had only been opened for six days and never had more than $5 in it. Cory made three attempts to make a withdrawal. The first time was $60, then $40, then $20, all of which were insufficient funds. Police theorized that Catarina didn’t just want Cory to get the money but she wanted him to stay there and struggle. Interestingly enough, the account was co-signed by Michael Draven. A deeper dive into Catarina’s life turned up even more shocking revelations. Catarina wasn’t from the Ukraine like she told people but instead she was a local girl by the name of Cathlene Wiggins. She was also married once before to a man named Steven Larson. Steve joined the Army to support them and soon his testimony started to sound like a familiar pattern: long deployments, manic shopping, and infidelity.

Corey Voss

Cory Voss, U.S. Navy

Steve Larson alleged Catarina stood him up at the airport when he returned home from a deployment to Korea and when she did finally show up she told him she was three months pregnant with Cory’s baby. Catarina wanted Steve out of the picture and started fights with him every chance she got. She escalated and became aggressive to the point that Steve wanted to leave the relationship to stop her from hurting him. All this new information about Catarina was helpful circumstantial evidence but she wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger. Investigators believed Catarina and Michael Draven conspired to murder Cory for financial gain but they still needed hard evidence to put the pieces of this conspiracy together. They also believed that someone helped Michael Draven commit the murder so they dug into Draven’s past. A month before the murder, he spent some time in the city jail on a domestic abuse warrant.

Police found a number of recorded calls at the jail, the majority to Catarina, and the pair discussed their future together. In addition, they appeared to be discussing the plan to kill Cory and Catarina mentioned a 2 hour conversation she had with “David” who police suspected was the third party involved in the crime. Investigators combed through Catarina’s cell phone records and determined his name was David Runyon. He lived in West Virginia and was a marksman in the military; he met Michael Draven at a medical research facility. In December 2007, investigators initiated a search warrant for David Runyon’s property in an effort to find evidence tying him to the murder. In the search of his vehicle, they found a map of Newport News, Virginia and there were handwritten notes with the name of the credit union and address and a physical description of Cory’s vehicle. This was enough to arrest all three players.

Michael Draven was reinterviewed by detectives and ultimately he confessed this was a planned murder that he and Catarina had devised. They hired David Runyon to do it. Michael threw both Catarina and David under the bus and sold them out. Apparently, Catarina told Michael that Cory was abusing or mistreating the children and Michael believed her. Investigators believed this is how Catarina coerced and manipulated Michael into finding someone to kill Cory. Police asked Draven to call Catarina and tell her he was outside the police station and about to confess. Catarina asked him not to confess and drove to the police station where detectives were waiting to arrest her. On December 14, 2007, 8 months later, Catarina was charged with the crime. Seven months later, Catarina went to court. In an effort to avoid the death penalty, Catarina agreed to a plea of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

Catarina Voss admitted to investigators that she set the murder-for-hire up by asking Cory to go to the ATM to get some money. She admitted she knew David Runyon was lying in wait. As a result, Catarina was sentenced to four life terms in prison plus twenty additional years. On July 17, 2009, a federal jury convicted Michael Draven and David Runyon of murder, conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and carjacking. Michael Draven received two life sentences and David Runyon received the death penalty. For the family, the pain of the loss of Cory Voss endures. Cory had turned his life around, joined the Navy, and went from enlisted to an officer. He was doing all the right things and the only thing he did wrong was love the wrong woman. Catarina Voss never showed any remorse towards Cory, but police say she was remorseful because she got caught.

Source: Blinding Fantasy, Cold Hearted, Investigation Discovery

NCIS, The Cases They Can’t Forget:

“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season. -CBS News (May 29, 2019)

An American hero was shot to death while withdrawing lunch money for his kids. Who killed the young naval officer? It turned out to be a murder-for-hire case, plotted by Cory Voss’ wife, Catherine, who sent a hitman to kill him in what prosecutors said was supposed to look like a botched robbery. -Inside Edition (May 29, 2019)

Investigation Discovery:

Navy man Cory Voss and his wife Catherina “Cat” Voss are a young couple raising two children in Newport News, Virginia. Despite Cory’s love and devotion, Cat secretly falls for another man. But betraying her marriage vows is just one angle in Cat’s complicated web of lies, and eventually she seeks a more permanent solution to finally end her marriage. -The Liars Club, Deadly Wives (S2,E5)

They say opposites attract, that’s how Navy man Cory Voss meets his wife Cat. When money runs dry she seeks the attention of a seemingly wealthier man. But when Cat finds out he isn’t who he says the Voss family falls apart. -Blinding Fantasy, Cold Hearted (S1,E4)

Related Links:
Three Indicted in Murder-For-Hire at Langley FCU
Wife sentenced in sailor’s murder
Newport News woman gets life for hired murder of husband
VA Man Sentenced to Prison for Murder-for-Hire Conspiracy
Jury convicts two men in murder-for-hire case
2 convicted in murder-for-hire of sailor
Voss’ Family: Killing Left a Void
Television show delves into Newport News murder-for-hire case
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (April 2018)
Deadly Duo: Catherina Voss hired David Runyon to kill her husband, Cory Allen Voss; Runyon received federal death sentence
Navy Ensign Cory Voss Found Murdered in Bank Parking Lot in Newport News, Virginia; Wife Catarina Voss, Michael Draven, and David Runyon Conspired to Kill for the Life Insurance (April 29, 2007)

David Runyon:
WV Man to Stand Trial in VA for Murder-for-Hire Plot
Death sought for alleged triggerman at federal trial
Ex-officer convicted of murder-for-hire
Jury calls for death sentence in Navy officer’s slaying
Killer of former Galesburg man sentenced to death
Lawyer: Death for Sailor Killer Unfair
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. David Anthony RUNYON, Defendant–Appellant (2013)
Supreme Court denies appeal in Newport News death penalty case
Supreme Court denies appeal of death sentence in Newport News murder-for-hire case
David Anthony RUNYON, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America, Respondent (2017)
Federal Death Row Prisoners | Death Penalty Information Center

True Crime Programming:
“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season
Who Killed Navy Dad Shot While Withdrawing Lunch Money for Kids?
Wife Who Planned Navy Husband’s Murder-for-Hire Is Unforgettable Case
Navy Hero Murdered While Getting Lunch Money for His Kids
Cory Voss murder: How NCIS investigators unraveled a Navy officer’s homicide
Navy man Cory Voss was murdered when his wife Catherina Voss took out a hit on him
The cheating wife who had her Naval officer husband killed for his $400,000 life insurance: NCIS investigators reveal how they uncovered murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by ‘devastated’ widow, her new boyfriend, and a hitman
“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season
Who Killed Navy Dad Withdrawing Lunch Money for His Kids?
The Liars Club | Deadly Wives | Investigation Discovery (S2,E5)
Blinding Fantasy | Cold Hearted | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)

Alleging Abuse, Family Hires Teenager to Kill Retired Army Recruiter Gilbert Hart for Control, Cash, Life Insurance & Military Death Benefits (June 2, 2009)

fullsizerender-2

Gilbert Hart, US Army Retired

Rebecca Hart came home to what she thought was a suspected robbery in progress on June 2, 2009. She called the police and what they discovered was that her husband, retired Army recruiter Gilbert ‘Gib’ Hart was dead. He had been shot once in the head but they found no gun located near him. An no cash or other valuables had been stolen from the home. Investigators quickly learned from a couple of local teenagers that Gib’s children, Becca and Alex, were involved in the crime. They discovered that the children had been looking for someone to kill their father for a few months. And they finally found someone willing to do it for them: John Patrick ‘JP’ George. Fifteen year old JP George was easily manipulated after learning that Gilbert abused Becca and Alex. JP had a mother who was a victim of domestic violence so he didn’t want anyone to go through abuse. Unfortunately for him, there was no abuse. Gilbert may have been controlling of the finances and the way he ran his house but he was no abuser. JP admitted to committing the crime and being hired by Becca and Alex to do it. They also gave him the gun of which he threw in the Savannah Lake after killing Gib. All three kids cracked when questioned by the police and eventually they gave up the real mastermind. Apparently Rebecca Hart asked her children to find someone to kill their father. She offered to pay someone $200 to kill Gilbert Hart so she could be out from under his control and have his cash, life insurance, and military death benefits. On the night of the crime, Rebecca also gave her son the code to the safe so he could gain access to the gun that would end Gib’s life. Rebecca Hart, Becca Hart, Alex Hart, and JP George all received fifteen years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder. Gib’s children from another marriage reiterated that their father was never abusive towards them and that his new wife and children did not deserve to use the Hart name.

ID Go: A former military man, Gilbert Hart believes a strict parenting style is the best approach with his rebellious teenagers, but his wife Rebecca thinks that he’s crossed the line. It isn’t long before, this family feud escalates into an all-out war… -Hart of Darkness, I’d Kill for You (S3,E4)

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:
Teenager arrested for her father’s murder
Arrests made in homicide of Gilbert R. Hart
Teen’s bond reduced in dad’s slaying
Rebecca Hart’s Bond Reduced; Mother Named Suspect
Clarksville teen charged in father’s murder appears in court
Clarksville Murderer for Hire Sentenced
Teen sentenced to 15 years for conspiring to murder father
Son’s testimony reveals details of 2009 Clarksville murder
Clarksville courts see emotional trials in 2014
Murder of Military Father Makes the Case for ‘I’d Kill for You’ on Investigation Discovery
I’d Kill for You: Hart of Darkness (S3,E4)

Army Sgt. Christina Smith Murdered by Army Husband Richard Smith & Accomplice Matthew Kvapil, Both Fort Bragg Soldiers Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)

image1-4

Sgt. Christina Loehrke Smith, US Army

Sgt. Christina Smith was stabbed to death on September 30, 2008 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Sgt. Smith was stationed at Fort Bragg with her husband Richard Smith, also a soldier. After an investigation, Fayetteville authorities learned that Richard Smith hired Army soldier Matthew Kvapil to kill Christina. Richard Smith set up the murder by asking Christina to take a walk with him. Matthew Kvapil was hiding in the bushes waiting for the pre-planned moment to attack her. Both soldiers were arrested and charged with the first degree murder of Christina. Civilian prosecutors sought the death penalty for both soldiers in this case. In 2012, Richard Smith and Matthew Kvapil plead guilty to Christina’s murder and were sentenced to life in prison instead. Christina’s murder was one of many homicides and suspicious deaths that occurred in the US military in the 2008 timeframe. Christina’s death was the fourth murder involving Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune military personnel in North Carolina. Pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach disappeared in 2007 and her remains were found in early 2008. She was raped and murdered by a fellow Camp Lejeune Marine. Army paratrooper Matthew Rhoads was found dead at his residence on March 2nd at Fort Bragg. His cause of death is unknown. Air Force Reservist Blanca Luna was found murdered at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas on March 7th. Her case remains unsolved. Cherie Morton, US Navy, was found dead at her home in Bahrain on April 20th. The cause of her death remains under investigation. Amy Ignatowski, US Coast Guard, was strangled to death in her home on May 31st in Corpus Christi, Texas. Fort Bragg Army Lt. Holley Wimunc was murdered by her Marine husband on July 19th. Pregnant Army soldier Megan Touma was murdered by her lover and married Fort Bragg soldier on June 21st. Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Tinsley was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest in Alaska on July 27th. Sabrina Autrey, US Air Force, was found dead at her off base apartment on August 13th in Arlington, Virginia. Marine Stacy Dryden died of a non combat death in Iraq on October 19th. Her death was ruled a homicide yet no one was officially charged with the murder. Other non combat deaths of women in the Army included Janelle King, Jennifer Cole, Seteria Brown, Mary Jaenichen, and Tracy Birkman. The research of non combat deaths of male soldiers in the 2008 time frame have not been completed yet.

“In a way, it’s surprising that there aren’t more bodies piling up at military bases all over this nation” -The Fayetteville Observer

Learn more: Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)

Related Links:
Army releases name of Fayetteville stabbing victim
Christina E. Loehrke Smith, Sergeant, US Army
Autopsy: Soldier fought attacker
Vigil highlights military women’s deaths
Fayetteville vigil to remember recent military murders
Soldier: Sgt. wanted wife slain
Suspect: Husband requested wife’s death several times
Husband of Slain Soldier Arrested in her Death
Husband arrested in soldier’s death; police find knife
Husband Held In Female Soldier’s Stabbing
Husband, 2nd man held in female soldier’s stabbing
Third female soldier killed; husband charged
Soldier’s Husband Charged with her Murder
Husband charged in N.C. soldier’s slaying
Fort Bragg soldiers appear in court on murder charges
‘My Daughter’s Dream Became a Nightmare’: The Murder of Military Women Continues
Murder of Military Women
The Fort Bragg Murders
Death on the Home Front
Prosecutors seek death for soldier accused in wife’s stabbing death
DA seeks death penalty in slaying of Fort Bragg soldier
2 Plead Guilty in Soldier’s Contract Murder
Two Sentenced for Fayetteville Murder for Hire Death
Former Army Soldiers Plead Guilty To 2008 Murder
Former Bragg soldiers get life in contract killing
Sentencing brings closure to friends, Family
Hundreds participate in Hero’s Ride to support military
Bill changes eligibility for Military Sacrifice license plate
New Ohio license plates honor service members who die outside of combat
New plate honors military who have died outside combat zone
Steve Loehrke receives first Ohio Military Sacrifice License Plate

Steve Loehrke received Ohio’s first Military Sacrifice License Plate at the special license plate’s unveiling ceremony, June 9, 2015, at Ohio Department of Public Safety Headquarters, Columbus, OH. Steve is the proud father of fallen soldier Sgt. Christina E. Loehrke Smith and U.S. Boarder Patrol Agent Steven Loehrke.

Navy Ensign Cory Voss Found Murdered in Bank Parking Lot in Newport News, Virginia; Wife Catarina Voss, Michael Draven, and David Runyon Conspired to Kill for the Life Insurance (April 29, 2007)

Corey Voss

Cory Voss, U.S. Navy

On April 29, 2007, Navy Ensign Cory Voss was discovered dead in his pick-up truck in a bank parking lot in Newport News, Virginia. Initially, investigators thought maybe this was a robbery gone wrong but Cory had been shot five times. Typically, in the course of a robbery, a suspect may shoot at the victim a couple of times in their attempt to flee the scene so this particular crime was suspect right away. Detectives left the scene to notify Cory’s wife Catarina Rose that he was deceased, and had been murdered. Catarina was very, very upset to learn the news although she was able to provide some details about Cory’s movements the night before. Catarina admitted that she was on the phone with Cory while he was at the ATM and warned him to be careful. This was immediately suspicious to detectives because it seemed like too much information. You typically wouldn’t be concerned if your spouse drove 3 miles away from the house.

The next day news spread quick in the Newport News and Naval community. People were in shock that someone they knew was murdered in this way in what normally is a relatively safe community. Detectives were able to get the surveillance video at the bank. It appeared someone jumped in the driver’s side of the vehicle and demanded that he drive away. They stopped in a nearby parking lot and Cory was shot. Unfortunately the quality of the video was not good enough for an identification. One interesting thing police learned was that no money had been withdrawn from the ATM and Cory was not robbed. Meanwhile, Catarina was very distraught and was being supported by Cory’s family and the Naval community. Then one day, police received a phone call from a witness that changed everything. When questioned, Ashley Doyle revealed her identity and was persuaded to meet with the investigators.

When Ashley met with the investigators, they showed her pictures of Cory and the unknown assailant from the bank surveillance video. Immediately, Ashley felt that it was Michael Draven that had killed Cory so she provided police with his name and suggested they look into him. She also told investigators about Michael and Catarina’s ongoing affair while Cory was deployed with the Navy. Investigators started looking at both Michael and Catarina’s social media pages and they were shocked by what they discovered. Michael Draven was seen pictured with Catarina and Cory’s children and he referred to them as his wife and family. Police enlisted the help of Ashley and asked her to meet with Catarina in an attempt to elicit a confession or get any other information that would be helpful to the investigation. When Ashley contacted Catarina she learned she was still very upset and was in the process of planning Cory’s funeral.

Ashley went to visit Catarina with hidden recording devices in tow. She learned that less than three days after Cory died, Catarina received $250,000 in life insurance money and she couldn’t get the full amount until an investigation was conducted. Catarina’s main concern while they visited was why she couldn’t get the second half of the life insurance pay out. Investigators were responsible for the hold on the second payment because it’s standard practice in situations like these, but Catarina was angry and impatient. As a result, she filed complaints that police weren’t doing their jobs and demanded that Cory’s case be solved (so she could get the rest of her money). Three weeks later, Catarina and Michael traveled to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a vacation. Unbeknownst to them, their every move was being watched by police. And Cory’s family were starting to become uncomfortable with her behavior after she received the insurance money.

As a result of Catarina’s behavior, detectives subpoenaed her bank records. They learned the account Cory used on the night in question had only been opened for six days and never had more than $5 in it. Cory made three attempts to make a withdrawal. The first time was $60, then $40, then $20, all of which were insufficient funds. Police theorized that Catarina didn’t just want Cory to get the money but she wanted him to stay there and struggle. Interestingly enough, the account was co-signed by Michael Draven. A deeper dive into Catarina’s life turned up even more shocking revelations. Catarina wasn’t from the Ukraine like she told people but instead she was a local girl by the name of Cathlene Wiggins. She was also married once before to a man named Steven Larson. Steve joined the Army to support them and soon his testimony started to sound like a familiar pattern: long deployments, manic shopping, and infidelity.

Steve Larson alleged Catarina stood him up at the airport when he returned home from a deployment to Korea and when she did finally show up she told him she was three months pregnant with Cory’s baby. Catarina wanted Steve out of the picture and started fights with him every chance she got. She escalated and became aggressive to the point that Steve wanted to leave the relationship to stop her from hurting him. All this new information about Catarina was helpful circumstantial evidence but she wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger. Investigators believed Catarina and Michael Draven conspired to murder Cory for financial gain but they still needed hard evidence to put the pieces of this conspiracy together. They also believed that someone helped Michael Draven commit the murder so they dug into Draven’s past. A month before the murder, he spent some time in the city jail on a domestic abuse warrant.

Police found a number of recorded calls at the jail, the majority to Catarina, and the pair discussed their future together. In addition, they appeared to be discussing the plan to kill Cory and Catarina mentioned a 2 hour conversation she had with “David” who police suspected was the third party involved in the crime. Investigators combed through Catarina’s cell phone records and determined his name was David Runyon. He lived in West Virginia and was a marksman in the military; he met Michael Draven at a medical research facility. In December 2007, investigators initiated a search warrant for David Runyon’s property in an effort to find evidence tying him to the murder. In the search of his vehicle, they found a map of Newport News, Virginia and there were handwritten notes with the name of the credit union and address and a physical description of Cory’s vehicle. This was enough to arrest all three players.

Michael Draven was reinterviewed by detectives and ultimately he confessed this was a planned murder that he and Catarina had devised. They hired David Runyon to do it. Michael threw both Catarina and David under the bus and sold them out. Apparently, Catarina told Michael that Cory was abusing or mistreating the children and Michael believed her. Investigators believed this is how Catarina coerced and manipulated Michael into finding someone to kill Cory. Police asked Draven to call Catarina and tell her he was outside the police station and about to confess. Catarina asked him not to confess and drove to the police station where detectives were waiting to arrest her. On December 14, 2007, 8 months later, Catarina was charged with the crime. Seven months later, Catarina went to court. In an effort to avoid the death penalty, Catarina agreed to a plea of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire.

Catarina Voss admitted to investigators that she set the murder-for-hire up by asking Cory to go to the ATM to get some money. She admitted she knew David Runyon was lying in wait. As a result, Catarina was sentenced to four life terms in prison plus twenty additional years. On July 17, 2009, a federal jury convicted Michael Draven and David Runyon of murder, conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and carjacking. Michael Draven received two life sentences and David Runyon received the death penalty. For the family, the pain of the loss of Cory Voss endures. Cory had turned his life around, joined the Navy, and went from enlisted to an officer. He was doing all the right things and the only thing he did wrong was love the wrong woman. Catarina Voss never showed any remorse towards Cory, but police say she was remorseful because she got caught.

Source: Blinding Fantasy, Cold Hearted, Investigation Discovery

NCIS, The Cases They Can’t Forget:

“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season. -CBS News (May 29, 2019)

An American hero was shot to death while withdrawing lunch money for his kids. Who killed the young naval officer? It turned out to be a murder-for-hire case, plotted by Cory Voss’ wife, Catherine, who sent a hitman to kill him in what prosecutors said was supposed to look like a botched robbery. -Inside Edition (May 29, 2019)

Investigation Discovery:

Navy man Cory Voss and his wife Catherina “Cat” Voss are a young couple raising two children in Newport News, Virginia. Despite Cory’s love and devotion, Cat secretly falls for another man. But betraying her marriage vows is just one angle in Cat’s complicated web of lies, and eventually she seeks a more permanent solution to finally end her marriage. -The Liars Club, Deadly Wives (S2,E5)

They say opposites attract, that’s how Navy man Cory Voss meets his wife Cat. When money runs dry she seeks the attention of a seemingly wealthier man. But when Cat finds out he isn’t who he says the Voss family falls apart. -Blinding Fantasy, Cold Hearted (S1,E4)

Related Links:
Three Indicted in Murder-For-Hire at Langley FCU
Wife sentenced in sailor’s murder
Newport News woman gets life for hired murder of husband
Killer of former Galesburg man sentenced to death
VA Man Sentenced to Prison for Murder-for-Hire Conspiracy
Ex-officer convicted of murder-for-hire
Jury convicts two men in murder-for-hire case
2 convicted in murder-for-hire of sailor
Voss’ Family: Killing Left a Void
Television show delves into Newport News murder-for-hire case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. David Anthony RUNYON, Defendant–Appellant (2013)
Supreme Court denies appeal of death sentence in Newport News murder-for-hire case
David Anthony RUNYON, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America, Respondent (2017)
“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season
Who Killed Navy Dad Shot While Withdrawing Lunch Money for Kids?
Wife Who Planned Navy Husband’s Murder-for-Hire Is Unforgettable Case
Navy Hero Murdered While Getting Lunch Money for His Kids
Cory Voss murder: How NCIS investigators unraveled a Navy officer’s homicide
Navy man Cory Voss was murdered when his wife Catherina Voss took out a hit on him
The cheating wife who had her Naval officer husband killed for his $400,000 life insurance: NCIS investigators reveal how they uncovered murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by ‘devastated’ widow, her new boyfriend, and a hitman
A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (April 2018)
Army Veteran & Former Police Officer David Runyon Sentenced to Death for the Premeditated Murder of Navy Ensign Cory Voss in Newport News, Virginia (August 27, 2009)
Deadly Duo: Catherina Voss hired David Runyon to kill her husband, Cory Allen Voss; Runyon received federal death sentence
“NCIS: The Cases They Can’t Forget” returns for its third season
Who Killed Navy Dad Withdrawing Lunch Money for His Kids?
The Liars Club | Deadly Wives | Investigation Discovery (S2,E5)
Blinding Fantasy | Cold Hearted | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)
Federal Death Row Prisoners | Death Penalty Information Center

Dishonorably Discharged Marine & Fugitive David Bieber Guilty of Murdering Police Officer in Great Britain, Charged with 2 Murder for Hire Schemes in Florida (2004)

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-11-25-54-am

David Bieber, USMC Veteran

On February 9, 1995, Markus Mueller, 29, was found shot to death in his Bonita Springs, Florida home. Markus answered his door and was shot three times in the doorway of his own home. His girlfriend Danielle found his body and informed authorities that she thought fellow bodybuilder David Bieber shot her boyfriend. David Bieber, 29, and Markus Mueller were both involved in an illegal steroid smuggling business; they made a lot of money. Apparently Bieber wanted to take over the business and he wanted Mueller’s girlfriend too. Danielle wanted to be with Mueller but he was married to a woman in Germany who he was not going to divorce. Danielle married Bieber on February 3, 1995 just a few days before the murder, and immediately began questioning her decision. She wanted to go back to Mueller but Bieber wasn’t having it. David made several statements to friends that he wanted Markus dead. David was brought into the police station for questioning but denied being involved in the murder. The Lee County Sheriff’s Department still believed that David was involved because he had the motive but they did not have the evidence to charge him.

In August 1995, a random shooting occurred involving Michelle Stanforth. She was shot at four times by an identified gunman but all the bullets missed her. Police learned that Michelle dated David Bieber in 1993 and that one day David showed up to her work and threatened Michelle and told her if she left him, she would be sorry. Michelle broke up with him and filed a restraining order. Police also learned that David had a history of violence against women dating back to 1989; he dated a sixteen year old that he later sexually violated. The Lee County Sheriff’s Department continued to investigate the murder of Markus Mueller and the attempted murder of Michelle Stanforth. They began by learning more about David Bieber. What they learned is that David appeared to be the all American boy until he began using steroids in his teens. After this David became more aggressive and violent. He joined the US Marine Corps to help him channel some of his aggression. Instead he rebelled against authority and ultimately found himself AWOL, facing charges, and dishonorably discharged. The aggressive ex-Marine remained a prime suspect in the murder and attempted murder cases but police still didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.

In September 1995, detectives learned from an informant that David Snipes was involved in a murder-for-hire scheme. David Snipes admitted that he was hired for $1,250 to kill Michelle Stanforth and hired for $1,000 to kill Markus Mueller. Snipes informed authorities that John Saladino hired him to kill them. When John Saladino was arrested, police learned that he was roommates with David Bieber. It didn’t take long before Saladino admitted that Bieber hired him to kill Michelle Stanforth and Markus Mueller. Saladino also admitted that Bieber put a hit on the lead homicide detective and his two sons. Police obtained a warrant to apprehend Bieber on first degree murder charges but instead he vanished. David Bieber became the focus of a nationwide manhunt. Both John Saladino and David Snipes were locked up for their role in the murder for hire schemes. Saladino was found guilty of second degree murder and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. David Snipes was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to death by the electric chair but on appeal, it was commuted down to life in prison. David Bieber went missing for the next eight years. Police would later learn that Bieber altered his appearance, put on weight, and changed his name to Nathan Coleman.

In 1996, David was able to obtain a tourist Visa for England. He worked a few jobs and then met another woman who he married in March 1997 right before his six month tourist Visa expired. David found himself divorced again in May 2002 because of all his suspicious activity. David doesn’t resurface until he is confronted by two Leeds, England police officers on December 26, 2003. He was found sitting in front of a known suspicious gambling and betting location. The police ran his plates and placed David in the backseat of the cruiser while they awaited the information. At this point, they didn’t know David was a fugitive and had a concealed 9 mm; but they were concerned about his behavior and called for back up. The officers learned David’s car was stolen and were going to arrest him when he pulled out the gun. He shot and wounded one officer who was able to get away and shot Officer Ian Broadhurst in the shoulder and the abdomen initially. After back up responded, he shot and wounded another officer and then executed Officer Broadhurst, who was on the ground begging for his life. David Bieber was able to escape again.

The police were able to match fingerprints in the vehicle to David Bieber and that’s when they learned he was a fugitive on the run. David’s ex-wife in England was able to help the cops make the connection between David and his new alias Nathan Coleman; she was even able to give them an address. David had fled but he left behind evidence in his apartment and his storage locker that connected him to the crimes. On December 31, 2003, a SWAT team descended on a hotel after getting a tip that he had checked in. Initially, an armed and dangerous David refused to come out of his hotel room and things were tense, but police were able to apprehend him without a single shot fired. On December 2, 2004, David Bieber was found guilty and given three life sentences without the possibility of parole. But on appeal, Bieber’s sentence was reduced. Regardless, he is not eligible for parole until 2041; he will be 75 years old. In the event David is ever paroled from Great Britain, the State of Florida stands ready to extradite David Bieber and charge him with the murder of Markus Mueller and the attempted murder of Michelle Stanforth.

Related Links:
Wikipedia: David Bieber
Pc: ‘Please don’t shoot me’
The hunt for a policeman’s killer
Steroids changed obsessed body builder
Cop killer David Bieber branded ‘bestial and an escape risk’ by top judge
Bieber guilty of PC’s murder
Police murderer jailed for life
Police killer David Bieber wins appeal against ‘life means life’ sentence
Rage on the Run: An American Bodybuilder Becomes An International Fugitive (48 Hours)
Suspect in Bonita murder has life sentence reduced in England
Killer who shot dead police officer granted £12,000 legal aid to fight for a cushier life in prison
Pc killer David Bieber loses bid to sue authorities
In the line of duty: Ian Broadhurst’s murder, a decade on
Cop killer David Bieber ‘Britain’s most dangerous’
Cop killer’s reduced security request rejected
Convicted 1995 Lee County hitman wants life sentence reduced
£277,000 legal aid for police killer… which even helped him whine about his ‘uncomfy cell’: Widow brands decision to give him public money ‘absolutely disgraceful’
Leeds, England Police Officer Ian Broadhurst Gunned Down by Dishonorably Discharged Marine and Fugitive David Bieber During Routine Traffic Stop (2003)
Killer on the Run: David Bieber (Documentary)
David Bieber, The Bodybuilder Serial Killer (YouTube)