48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Ruthless’ on CBS: The True Crime Story of Serial Rapist & Camp Lejeune Janitor Willie Abner Brown (May 26, 2018)

When a serial rapist targets military spouses, NCIS agents race against time before he strikes again. -Ruthless, 48 Hours 

It is believed that Willie Abner Brown committed 12 sexual assaults in the Jacksonville, North Carolina area, five of them were Marine spouses. After the similarities in reports were observed, the Jacksonville Police Department created a Task Force with Camp Lejeune and Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) because they felt the cases were connected. The Marine Corps leadership at Camp Lejeune were very concerned that there was a serial rapist on the loose because five different military spouses reported being attacked, four were attacked while their husband’s were deployed. The attacker also stole money and debit and credit cards from his victims. Investigators were able to identify Willie Brown via video surveillance while he was using one of the victim’s credit cards at a local convenience store. They learned Brown was a janitor at Camp Lejeune.

The police picked Brown up for a traffic violation and brought him to the station for fraudulent use of one of the victim’s credit cards. The Jacksonville Police Department knew exactly who Willie Brown was because of his long rap sheet. They could prove the theft but they wanted to prove the multiple rapes so they set up a war room to gather and collect information that would help them substantiate that Willie Brown was involved in the sexual assaults as well. They interviewed every victim they could to get a better understanding of the modus operandi of the serial attacker. Investigators also searched Brown’s house and his girlfriend’s house and found items that connected Willie to the victims and the weapon they believe was used in one of the attacks. The victim’s were relieved Willie was finally caught and couldn’t harm anyone else.

Willie Abner Brown

Willie Abner Brown

The prosecutor was only able to prove that Willie was connected to four of the twelve sexual assaults. DNA evidence specifically connected Willie Brown to some of the victims. During trial, Willie Brown took the stand to defend himself and he maintained his innocence. He admitted to the robbery but not the sexual assaults. And he told the jury he was sexually assaulted as a child and couldn’t physically carry out the attacks. After a day of deliberation, the jury found Willie Brown guilty on March 13, 2014 of multiple felony charges including rape. He was also convicted of assaulting one of the victims with a deadly weapon. Willie Brown was sentenced to prison for 410 years. “You have to fight for your story, you have to fight for your word.” One of the victims said even if they can’t do anything with your case, you should still report it because someday someone else will report and the cases will be connected.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to watch the full episode of ‘Ruthless,’ please visit the CBS All Access website, visit the 48 Hours website, or download the 48 Hours app on your iPad. The most recent episodes are unlocked on the 48 Hours website and app. If you would like to watch past episodes on the 48 Hours app, it cost’s $4.99 a year. There’s programming dating back to 2005 on the 48 Hours app, including some classics, to feed your true crime addiction.  

Related Links:
Man accused of multiple rapes
Serial rapist sentenced to 410 years in NC prisons
Serial rapist sentenced to 410 years in NC prisons
Juror Speaks Out After Serial Rape Trial
Convicted serial rapist accused of assaulting fellow inmate
Jacksonville serial rapist now accused of assaulting inmate
Crime highlights from 2014 | Wilmington Star News
State of North Carolina v. Willie Abner Brown (2014)
Convicted serial rapist re-sentenced
“48 Hours: NCIS:” Can brokers cease a ruthless attacker preying on Marine wives?
Local JPD detective, NCIS agent to appear on CBS 48 Hours
JPD Task Force case to be featured on 48 Hours: NCIS show
“48 Hours” Saturday Double Feature: Ruthless & Sophia’s Secret
“48 Hours: NCIS:” Can Agents Stop a Ruthless Attacker Preying on Marine Wives?
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Ruthless (msn.com)
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Ruthless (website)
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: Ruthless (YouTube)
“48 Hours: NCIS”: Ruthless | CBS News
“48 Hours: NCIS”: Ruthless | CBS All Access
48 Hours: NCIS: Ruthless | 48 Hours (podcast)
North Carolina Prison (DOC) Arrest Records for Inmate WILLIE A BROWN

Murder Book Premiered ‘Come Back Jack’ on Investigation Discovery: Disabled Veteran Jack Irwin Disappears in Upland, California (February 25, 2016)

Four years after a 71 year-old Korean War hero goes missing near Upland, California, a DA’s investigator picks up a trail of clues that seem to lead to the victim’s closest friends. -Come Back Jack, Murder Book (S2,E13) 

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Come Back Jack | Murder Book | Investigation Discovery (S2,E13)
Come Back Jack | Murder Book | Investigation Discovery (website)
Come Back Jack | Murder Book | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Disabled Army Veteran Jack Irwin Murdered for Disability Benefits, Bank Account & Assets; Marcia Johnson Sentenced to Life, No Parole (September 13, 1999)
Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Point of No Return’ on ID: Estevan Maestas Killed By Live Hand Grenade Left Behind in Rental Garage (December 1, 2015)

When a mysterious explosion rocks a sleepy suburb, it’s up to Kenda to ID a pile of charred remains and find the killer who triggered the blast. Then…a young mother’s murder leads the CSPD on a harrowing car chase that ends in a violent showdown. -Point of No Return, Homicide Hunter (S5,E13)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Point of No Return | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S5,E13)
Point of No Return | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
Point of No Return | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Point of No Return | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Estevan Maestas Killed After Live Hand Grenade Detonated; Colorado Springs PD Believes Explosive Device Stolen from Fort Carson (November 12, 1978)
Lessons Learned from a Military Ammunitions Explosion in Colorado Springs
Homicide Hunter: 20 Active Duty Military and Veteran Murder Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

Army Soldiers Johnny Herrera and Benjamin Cardwell, Army Veteran Todd Crow, and Daniel Francis Charged With Conspiracy to Commit Theft of Government Property (2015)

US Army Seal

Sgt. Johnny Herrera, US Army, SSgt. Benjamin Cardwell, US Army, and Todd Crow, US Army Veteran

Two Fort Carson Army soldiers, Sgt. Johnny Herrera, 29, and SSgt. Benjamin Cardwell, 41, and a former Army soldier Todd Crow, 34, were among four people charged in connection with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of military weapons, gear and robots, then selling them to a middle man Daniel Francis, 50, who sold them on eBay for a fraction of their worth. Sgt. Johnny Herrera, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Cardwell, Todd Crow, and Daniel Francis were all charged with conspiracy to commit theft of government property. If convicted of this crime, each defendant faces not more than five years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. All four defendants were scheduled to appear before the U.S. Magistrate Judge on April 21, 2015 for detention hearings.

Retired military leaders say the string of theft allegations raises serious concerns over how the post keeps track of weapons, including items deemed too sensitive to leave military control. “If that stuff wound up in the wrong hands, it could really hurt us,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, who heads the National Homeland Defense Foundation in Colorado Springs. –Colorado Gazette

Related Links:
Men stole, sold military robots and armor on eBay: FBI
4 arrested in scheme involving stolen Army property
Four Men Arrested in Scheme to Sell Stolen Material from Fort Carson
Inside Job: Military Equipment Allegedly Stolen By Soldiers Sold On eBay
Four Men Arrested In Scheme To Sell Stolen Material From Fort Carson
Colorado Springs man accused of selling stolen equipment from Fort Carson
Soldiers in Colorado Arrested for Stealing Weapons They Sold on Ebay
2 Active Soldiers Accused Of Major Thefts From Fort Carson
Fort Carson soldiers charged with stealing, selling weapons on eBay
Fort Carson soldiers arrested, accused of stealing military equipment to sell on Ebay
Latest theft case illustrates problem of missing equipment at Fort Carson
Army says keeping equipment on post a priority, will investigate Fort Carson thefts
Army says keeping equipment on post a priority, will investigate Fort Carson thefts
Violent Crime, Suicide and Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)

A Stranger in My Home Premiered ‘Buried Secrets’ on ID: Army Veteran Allan Kowalski Found Buried in Shallow Grave on Texas Property (October 27, 2013)

Al Kowalski is new to Hill Country, Texas. He plans to spend his early retirement hunting and fixing his vintage vehicles. Al welcomes meth-addicted mechanic Charlie Tidwell into his home to help with the cars, but Charlie has a different plan. -Buried Secrets, A Stranger in My Home (S1,E3)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (S1,E3)
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (website)
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Army Veteran Allan Kowalski Found Buried in Shallow Grave on Texas Property; Charles Tidwell Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Murder (November 6, 2008)

Army Veteran Allan Kowalski Found Buried in Shallow Grave on Texas Property; Charles Tidwell Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Murder (November 6, 2008)

Allan Kowalski

Allan Kowalski, U.S. Army Veteran (Photo: Bonnies Blog of Crime)

Army veteran Allan Kowalski, 51, was found buried in a shallow grave on his Ingram, Texas property on November 6, 2008. A routine traffic stop on October 22, 2008 lead police to learn of Al’s fate. Charlie Tidwell was pulled over by the police and presented with Al’s identification. The police found Al’s birth certificate, credit cards, and Tidwell was driving Al’s vehicle. Charlie Tidwell also forged Army 1st Lt. Al Kowalski’s active military ID by cutting out Al’s picture and inserting his own. As a result, Charlie Tidwell was arrested for failure to present an ID and an outstanding warrant. Initially, Charlie Tidwell told investigators Al was in Africa. The police were concerned about him because no one had seen or heard from Al since August 26 and his dog was still at his house. Al never went anywhere without his dog. Police visited Al’s house and it was ransacked, furniture had been stolen, and all of Al’s cars were gone.

They also found most of Al’s personal effects in trash bags. The police suspected a murder but now they had to find the body. They brought in a cadaver dog and the dog hit on a spot on the property; Al was buried in a shallow grave not far from the house. Charles Tidwell was charged with murder and after several interviews, Charlie admitted shooting Al but he claimed it was self-defense. An autopsy revealed Al was shot twice in the back of the head; authorities were unclear of motive. In the end, twelve people were indicted in the theft of Al’s property including Charlie’s wife Lisa. Lisa Rassi was sentenced to 10 years in prison for organized crime; Jeremiah McGregor was sentenced to 10 years in prison; and Wayne Christiansen was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2010, Charlie Tidwell was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Other individuals who were indicted are: Wayne Earl Christiansen, 35 and Jeremiah Jason McGregor, 31 (both charged with aggravated assault and organized crime). The rest have been charged with organized crime: Theresa Jo Bruffett, 43; Elizabeth D. Carmona, 43; Amanda Rassi Contreras, 20; Raymundo Daniel Contreras, 24; Andrea Helen Cooper, 25; Michael Rene Garcia, 25; Richard Alcorta Garza, 39; Silver Star Hernandez, 24; Danita Dee Horner, 20; Kelli Rae Lagrone, 52; John Centeno Moreno, Jr., 26; and Lisa Gale Rassi, 41. Charles Tidwell and Ricado Ricky Giovannetti are both being held on charges of murder, with a $500,000 bond, and of organized crime (theft) with another $100,000 bond. Hierholzer said that there are likely more charges to be filed on several defendants. –West Kerr Current (2008)

Investigation Discovery:

Al Kowalski is new to Hill Country, Texas. He plans to spend his early retirement hunting and fixing his vintage vehicles. Al welcomes meth-addicted mechanic Charlie Tidwell into his home to help with the cars, but Charlie has a different plan. -Buried Secrets, A Stranger in My Home (S1,E3)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch 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. 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 $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Man charged in death of retiree who befriended him
Man charged in death of retiree who befriended him
Man pleads guilty to 2008 Kerr County murder
Charles Tidwell admits to killing Ingram man
Second man charged in murder; 16 indicted in ‘bizarre’ case
Man accused of taking life, identification
Man gets 25 years for disposing of retiree’s body
Man gets 25 years for disposing of retiree’s body
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (S1,E3)
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (website)
Buried Secrets | A Stranger in My Home | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
A Stranger in My Home Premiered ‘Buried Secrets’ on ID: Army Veteran Allan Kowalski Found Buried in Shallow Grave on Texas Property (October 27, 2013)

Kirby Archer Commits String of Crimes After Dishonorable Discharge from Army Including Four Murders in an Attempt to Flee to Cuba (September 22, 2007)

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-19-38-pm

Kirby Archer, US Army Veteran

Army veteran Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo offered to pay a Miami, Florida based charter company $4000 to take them to Bimini to meet up with their girlfriends. The Joe Cool agreed and the two headed out with Jake Branam, Kelley Branam, Scott Gamble, and Samuel Kairy. When they didn’t return home on Sunday, their families began to worry. They eventually contacted the United States Coast Guard for assistance with locating them. The USCG found the boat off the coast of Cuba, 140 miles off course. They also found two survivors: Archer and Zarabozo. The two claimed to be victims of crimes. They said the boat had been hijacked and the other four were shot. They claimed their lives were spared because they knew Spanish and were asked to drive the boat until it ran out of gas. Both the USCG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation got involved with this case. They learned that Kirby Archer was dishonorably discharged from the Army after he went Absent Without Leave (AWOL).

He was arrested for child sexual abuse and was on the run after stealing money from his place of employment. It is believed that he met Zarabozo at Guantanamo Bay where Archer was once assigned; Zarabozo was a child refugee. They made plans to flee to Cuba and used the Joe Cool to execute the plan. Both of them were arrested for lying to federal agents. After Zarabozo’s home was searched, they found shell casings that matched those found on the boat. They also observed that Zarabozo’s 9 mm was not in the case and unaccounted for. Both Archer and Zarabozo were charged with sixteen counts including four murders. There was no body and no murder weapons so it was considered a circumstantial case. The defendants turned on each other but the prosecutors were able to show how it took both men to commit the crimes against the four individuals on the boat. There were two guns used in the commission of the crimes, therefore both were involved. Archer and Zarabozo were sentenced to five consecutive life terms. The Joe Cool slip is empty to this day. Jake and Kelley Branam’s children are living with her sister in Washington.

Investigation Discovery:

ID Go: Kelley Branam lives in Miami’s most exclusive neighborhood. Guillermo Zarabozo lives in its grittiest.It’s improbable that their paths would ever cross.But, in less than 24 hours, their lives will intersect at sea in a fatal encounter. -Fatal Voyage, Fatal Encounters (S1,E4)

ID Go: The crew of a luxury charter yacht falls prey to a fugitive’s cold-blooded escape plan en route to Bimini, a remote Bahamian paradise in the Bermuda Triangle. -Hook, Lines and Murder, Murder in Paradise (S1,E4)

ID Go: Kelley Branam’s husband Jake is a Miami charter boat captain with high aspirations. Jake works long hours to support his new family but Kelley’s suspicions run deep. Out of the blue, she decides to join Jake on a charter and is never heard from again. -Hijacked, Dark Waters (S2,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:
Charley Project: Kelly Branam
Charley Project: Jake Branam
Charley Project: Scott Gamble
Wikipedia: Kirby Logan Archer
Murder on the High Seas
U.S. Coast Guard Seeks Four Missing Boaters Headed for Bimini Islands
FBI Questions Wal-Mart Robbery Fugitive, Rescued Boater About Missing Crew
Yacht skipper’s family hopeful boaters still alive
2 accused of killing 4 people on boat plead not guilty
Kirby Archer Criminal Complaint
Guillermo Zarabozo Criminal Complant
Convicted ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Killer Gets Life in Prison
Defendant Reveals Grisly Details in ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Murder Case
Inmate Claims Suspect in 4 Killings Aboard Fishing Boat Admitted Role in Deaths
Jury Selection to Begin in ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Murder Case
Defendant: Partner shot crew
Man convicted in killings
Joe Cool Teen Killer Gets Five Life Terms Plus 85 Years
‘Joe Cool’ Killer Gets Life Sentences
Book: Murder on the High Seas: The True Story of the Joe Cool’s Tragic Final Voyage
Lost at Sea
Fatal Voyage | Fatal Encounters | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)
Fatal Voyage | Fatal Encounters | Investigation Discovery (website)
Fatal Voyage | Fatal Encounters | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Hook, Lines & Murder | Murder in Paradise | Investigation Discovery (S1,E4)
Hook, Lines & Murder | Murder in Paradise | Investigation Discovery (website)
Hook, Lines & Murder | Murder in Paradise | ID True Crime Files (Amazon)
Hijacked | Dark Waters: Murder in the Deep | Investigation Discovery (S2,E4)
Hijacked | Dark Waters: Murder in the Deep | Investigation Discovery (website)
Hijacked | Dark Waters: Murders in the Deep | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
Kirby Archer Commits String of Crimes After Dishonorable Discharge from Army Including Four Murders in an Attempt to Flee to Cuba (September 22, 2007)
Fatal Encounters Premiered ‘Fatal Voyage’ on ID: Charter Boat Joe Cool Discovered by U.S. Coast Guard But No One Found On Board (April 9, 2012)
Murder in Paradise Premiered ‘Hook, Lines & Murder’ on ID: Kirby Archer & Guillermo Zarabozo Charter the Joe Cool from Miami to Bimini, But Never Make It… (May 4, 2013)
Dark Waters Premiered ‘Hijacked’ on Investigation Discovery: When the Joe Cool Didn’t Return Home, Friends & Family Knew Something Was Wrong (August 7, 2019)