A bloody murder scene along a California highway leads Investigator Paul Holes on a generational journey, as he discovers a killer’s past could shine a light on a long-dormant cold case. Along the way, Paul finds that the impulse for violent crime sometimes runs in the family.
The Detective: Paul Holes is a bestselling author, podcaster, television host and retired cold-case investigator with the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices in California’s Contra Costa County. During his 27 years as an investigator, Holes used his behavioral and forensic expertise in such notable cases as the Zodiac murders, Golden State Killer, and Jaycee Dugard kidnapping. In May 2022, Holes published “Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases” – which became an instant New York Times bestseller. Paul teamed with FBI and Sacramento DA to help identify Joseph DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer, the most prolific serial predator in U.S. history. In 2019, he teamed up with Oxygen to host ”The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes” and in November he’s launching a new original series with HLN called, ”Real Life Nightmare with Paul Holes.”Read Transcript
Paul: [00:00:03] The investigators are going, “Okay, we’ve got a suspect,” Jerry. They go and talk to the doctor to find out. “Okay, so what do you know about Jerry?” Now, it’s getting dicey for the doctor because he is in a privileged relationship with Jerry, his patient, but now Jerry is being looked at as the suspect of his wife’s homicide.[Small Town Dicks intro]
Yeardley: [00:00:27] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:00:28] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:00:29] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:00:29] And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:00:30] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:00:32] Dave and I are identical twins and retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: [00:00:37] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:00:42] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:00:50] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:00:57] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:01:02] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved.
Dave: [00:01:09] Out of respect for what they’ve been through.
In Unison: [00:01:11] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:01:19] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:26] Uh, hello, everyone.
Yeardley: [00:01:27] Uh, hello.
Dan: [00:01:28] You can cut that uh.
Yeardley: [00:01:29] I like the uh. [laughs] No cutting of the uh. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:35] Hello, team.
Yeardley: Hello, you.
Dave: [00:01:37] I am fresh.[laughter]
Paul: [00:01:40] No, you’re not.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:01:43] Your teammates have outed you. And we have the one and only, Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:01:48] Hey, everybody.
Yeardley: [00:01:49] Hey-hey.
Paul: [00:01:50] Hey-hey.
Yeardley: [00:01:51] So, Small Town Fam, today you’re getting a case from the A-Team. Today, our case comes from Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:01:58] Yes. So, case I bring to you guys happened January 2nd, 2000. And I’m sitting on my computer, typing up a report in the back lab, 9:00 AM in the morning. What was notable about this day, absolutely sticks with me was the thickest fog I’ve ever had to drive through, had happened overnight.
Yeardley: [00:02:22] This is up in Northern California?
Paul: [00:02:23] Yeah. So, I would drive from Vacaville down into my office in Martinez in Contra Costa County, so the East Bay. And that fog, I couldn’t see anything. I had never experienced fog like this. So that becomes important in this case. So, I’m sitting at my computer, typing up a report 9:00 AM in the morning, and my boss frantically comes into the room and she says, “You need to get out to Pittsburg, California, right now. We have a homicide. Looks like it’s a pedestrian-type accident, but they think this is a homicide. And the Governor has called and said open up the freeway.” Now the Governor hasn’t called her. The Governor has told CHP Commander, “I want that freeway open.”
Yeardley: [00:03:12] And for anyone who never watched the old television show, CHiPs, CHP is the California Highway Patrol.
Paul: [00:03:20] That’s right. So, this freeway is Highway 4. Highway 4 is East West oriented and connects the Central Valley Stockton area all the way out to the Bay. So, think about commuters. All the commuters live out East because they can afford housing. The closer you get to the Bay, the more expensive it is. So, the early morning commute had been completely shut down. That freeway was closed because of this scene.
Yeardley: [00:03:55] Not because of the fog, but because of the scene.
Paul: [00:03:57] Because of the scene. So now, I’m in a scramble to get out there because Pittsburg’s crime scene investigator did not know what to do next because he’s now trying to document this scene. And now, the Governor is saying, “Open up that freeway.” So, he could only imagine this is like, okay, the pressure cooker is on and I get out. It’s still very, very foggy. The fog has started to lift a bit but it’s still very foggy. I get out to where I can actually get to where the scene is on this freeway. And this freeway is two lanes each way. It’s not a huge California freeway that all of us know and love. It’s a smaller freeway, but it is a prime arterial road for people to get to work.
Yeardley: [00:04:47] So, that would account for the Governor’s urgency because otherwise you think, why isn’t the Governor more concerned with we might have a homicide here?
Paul: [00:04:56] And for me, it’s like, “Well, how is the Governor even being informed that we’ve got this?” Somebody in traffic must have been a very important person who’s sitting there going, “No,” and is dialing up the Governor and saying, “I want this open,” something like that. [chuckles]
Yeardley: [00:05:11] Traffic does you above the Governor’s paygrade.
Paul: [00:05:12] Yes.
Dan: [00:05:14] Imagine the nerve. I just think you’re sitting there in traffic and you actually have the nerve to pick up your phone and call up the Governor.
Paul: [00:05:22] Right. But when I get out there, CHP has Highway 4 shut down. There’s a guy there that had all the various decorated metals on the uniform. So, brass was present from CHP on scene. So, it’s like, okay, they even are responding like, “We’ve got to get this going.” So, I meet up with the CSI. Pittsburg, California, that police department, they use detectives, CSI, so have experienced in investigation, but then they’ve had the training to do the CSI work. And this guy, his eyes were bugged out and he’s just like, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve never had anything like this.”
Yeardley: [00:06:04] This is what the CSI is saying about this crime scene?
Paul: [00:06:07] This is what the CSI is saying. So now, it’s like, “Okay, show me.” When I arrive on scene, I always ask what I call “the story.” “Tell me the story. What do we know about this case at this moment in time?” So, he’s now telling me the story as we’re walking through the fog, down the middle of the freeway, and he’s saying, “All I know is I’ve got a man’s body that has been smeared for about 500 yards down this freeway. I’ve got body parts all over the place.” “So, what have you done at this point?” “Well, I’ve taken the photos the best I can in the fog. I’ve measured. I used a measuring wheel just to get the linear distribution of the body parts.” And there’s some carpet that’s on the freeway. And it’s apparent that the victim in this case had been rolled up in a carpet and then had been run over by multiple vehicles, who never even saw this victim on the road.
[00:07:13] The forces on the human body when we’re dealing with traffic accidents are significant. In this case, I had never seen a body, whether it be human or animal, that had been so completely torn apart. Arms had been ripped off. Legs had been ripped off. One of the drivers had a body part that was stuck in the undercarriage of their vehicle.
Yeardley: [00:07:39] Oh, my God.
Paul: [00:07:39] And so, this body had just been repeatedly boom, boom, boom as people early morning, foggy, dark, are just hitting something and they have no idea what they’ve hit.
Dan: [00:07:52] Yeah, you think it’s like a semi-tractor trailers retread that came off while they were in transit, and then it ends up in the middle of the road. I’ve done that. I’ve hit that before. It wasn’t foggy. So, I knew what I hit but I think that’s where people’s minds go, is they just justify, “Oh, it’s probably retread or something.”
Paul: [00:08:10] Yeah. So, here now, it’s like, okay, so coroner comes out. I said to the CSI who’s on scene, “You’ve done everything you need to do at this point.” We’re going to do a couple of other processing aspects. I just wanted to make sure the scene was adequately documented. But this is not a typical crime scene now where, “Okay, we’re going to take our time, we’re going to locate every item of evidence with a number stand and medium photos, close-up photos. We’ve got a body, it does not matter where the individual parts are. We got to get this road open.”
Yeardley: [00:08:42] Why doesn’t it matter where the body parts are? Can you just clarify that?
Paul: [00:08:46] Well, this is because in this particular case, it was obvious that the disruption to the body was done by the vehicles who had nothing to do with the initial crime. And so, the crime scene investigator had already documented the linear distribution of the body parts. But the precise location of where each body part was had nothing to do with reconstructing what actually happened to the victim in the homicide case.
Yeardley: [00:09:14] I see. And just to clarify, you’re not saying, “It doesn’t matter where the body parts are, and we’re going to leave them here, so the cars as you open the road are driving by pieces of a person.”
Paul: [00:09:26] No, this is what had already been done, sufficed to document how the body had been disrupted. And now, we can allow the coroner’s deputy to come in and collect as much of the body as possible before the road is opened.
Yeardley: [00:09:41] I get it.
Paul: [00:09:42] So, coroner’s is coming and collecting the body parts and finally get the road open. So, the victim turned out to be a 57-year-old man, Tony. He had gone to a convenience store. An attractive 16-year-old girl saddles up to him and starts flirting and invites him back to an apartment. He’s thinking, “Okay, I’m about to have some sex with this attractive woman.”
Yeardley: [00:10:09] She’s 16?
Paul: [00:10:11] Yes. He goes to this apartment complex and is immediately jumped by multiple men. And he is robbed, he’s bludgeoned, but not killed. And then, they rolled him up in this carpet, and put him in the back of a pickup truck. And in the middle of the night, on Highway 4, while he’s still alive, rolled up in this carpet, they pushed him out of the back of the pickup truck onto the freeway.
Yeardley: [00:10:42] Did they know he was still alive when they rolled him up in the carpet?
Paul: [00:10:45] Early on in the case, there was a question because this body is just– you don’t have the types of indicators as to the state of life prior to him being run over.
Yeardley: [00:10:45] Time of killing. For instance, if somebody is found in water, but there’s no water in your lungs, they were killed before they were dropped in the water?
Paul: [00:11:06] Right. Here, the trauma to the body is just so severe, it’s so tough for a pathologist to be able to really determine a sequence of injuries that are antemortem versus postmortem.
Yeardley: [00:11:20] So, how do you know that he was alive when he was in the carpet?
Paul: [00:11:23] Well, there was a question, did they kill him during the bludgeoning or not, but the girl that seduced him, during her interview, she’s saying he’s still alive, and I believe prime suspect, Junior, also said he was still alive. And Junior gave an excuse that, “Well, the reason we put them in the carpet and put him on the pickup truck, we wanted to get him to the hospital.”
Dan: [00:11:47] And you just happened to lose him on the way to the hospital?
Paul: [00:11:49] Right.
Dan: [00:11:50] And how many hospitals did you pass?
Paul: [00:11:52] So, there’s a hospital equipped with an emergency room that would be pretty close to Highway 4. It would be a convenient hospital to go to, but no, he’s not taking this victim to the hospital.
Dan: [00:12:03] And we all know people who commit robberies like this, they don’t take their victim to the hospital.
Paul: [00:12:08] No. This was just a ruthless act. They’ve accomplished what they wanted to do. They lured and isolated this victim, this man, by using this woman in order to get him to the apartment, and then now they’ve taken his possessions. I believe he had a fairly nice watch on, so that probably was what made him to be a target. I don’t know what type of car he was driving, but I believe this car was probably a nicer vehicle.
Yeardley: [00:12:34] Were they robbing Tony because were they drug addicted? What was it?
Paul: [00:12:39] They are robbing for financial gain. Now in terms of what their lifestyle was, were they drug addicts? I don’t know.
Yeardley: [00:12:46] So, random victim based on some external clues that maybe this guy has some money.
Paul: [00:12:53] Yeah. And we were talking kind of offline earlier about this type of scenario where victims are being seen in Los Angeles. And they’re chosen based on what they’re wearing, what car they’re driving, and they’re being followed home. This is basically what happened. It’s obvious this was planned. Somebody was going to be a victim tonight and just happened to be Tony. He happened to go to that convenience store and he fit what suspects were looking for. And the 16-year-old girl is the scout. She’s the one that’s going, “Okay. He’s matching the characteristics. Looks like he’s got money.” And she’s saddling up to him and he’s responding, and now it’s game on.
Dave: [00:13:39] We kind of put the cart before the horse. You’re out on this scene, body gets taken back to the coroner’s office, I’m sure. How did law enforcement start to focus on Junior? How did we get to Junior and this female?
Paul: [00:13:52] I think once Tony was identified, and then during the investigation, Tony was at the convenience store, they probably have surveillance.
Dave: [00:14:01] But ultimately law enforcement is led to this female. She confirms, “Tony was alive when we rolled them up in the carpet. He got thrown out onto the freeway in transit,” is my understanding. They’re driving and just push him out the back?
Paul: [00:14:15] They are moving and push him out into the middle of the freeway. So, he’s got momentum, so when he lands in this rolled carpet, he’s still rolling. And in the fog, other cars just now start running over him and tearing him apart.
Yeardley: [00:14:29] That’s awful.
Dave: [00:14:30] It is awful. And going back just to the crime scene, I’ve investigated or been present on several vehicle pedestrian crashes. Those scenes are, like this one, hundreds of yards long, and they take a long time to process. You see streets being shut down for four or five, six hours. And in this case, they’re like, “Hurry up and get it done so we can open the road back up.” Those are difficult circumstances to process a crime scene. I want do this right and you’re telling me hurry up? You get one or the other.
Paul: [00:15:04] And that was really the conundrum that this relatively inexperienced CSI was having. He didn’t know how to proceed, and now he has this pressure on him. He’s going by how he’s just trained. He’d have to take all these steps, versus I’m coming in and I’m saying, “Okay, I do crime scene reconstruction. I know doesn’t matter where each of these pieces of Tony’s body were laying. You’ve done enough. Let’s get coroners to grab the body parts and let’s get this road open.”
Yeardley: [00:15:37] Right.
Paul: [00:15:51] Suspects very quickly are arrested. And there’s three men that are involved in this bludgeoning, but I’m really going to focus in on Junior Because Junior, his family is a family that I’m very well acquainted with in the criminal world out there in Contra Costa County. Junior’s father, Larry, at the time of this homicide was in jail, awaiting trial for a 1983 homicide of a five-year-old girl Angela Bugay. So, Larry, he had been dating a woman who lived in an apartment complex in Antioch, and they had broken up. But during the time that he had been dating this woman, of course, her daughter, Angela had become familiar with Larry. At one point, mom is, I believe, at a friend’s apartment. And Angela is going back home to their apartment. When mom comes back, Angela’s not there. She’s just absolutely disappeared. She is missing.
[00:17:00] Few days later, Angela’s little body is found in a shallow grave, in a southern park just outside of city limits of Antioch. And she’s nude, she’s been raped. I didn’t work the case. But just seeing the photos of Angela, that’s not good. Vaginal semen had been recovered, but 1983, this is pre-DNA, there is nothing that really can be done with the physical evidence to identify who her killer was.
[00:17:31] In 1996, the DNA technology had advanced enough to where this semen found from Angela’s vaginal swab was finally able to be done with an older type of DNA. And the woman’s former boyfriend, Larry, was a suspect in the case because of his prior relationship. And so, his DNA was compared to the vaginal semen, and it was a match. So now, Larry was taken into custody in the 1996-1997 timeframe, finally. And this case, Larry was in jail for years before the trial happened.
Yeardley: [00:18:15] Before the trial for Angela happened?
Paul: [00:18:17] Before the trial of the murder of Angela Bugay, Larry was in county jail for years. Sometimes, these types of cases take a long time with all the defense motions and now you have a new technology that at the time hadn’t really been proven in the courts, like it is today. So, this was something that the defense was doing a lot of motions on, trying to exclude that evidence because it was fingering Larry.
Yeardley: [00:18:47] Right. It’s interesting that a DNA technology would need to be vetted on its own in that way. And that’s what you’re saying, is that it was so new, that they did everything they possibly could to say this is not reliable.
Paul: [00:19:00] Any type of science, any type of testing, has to go through that kind of vetting process. It has to be established as being reliable for the courts to allow it to be admitted. And so, you go through these motions in order to be able to convince the judge. “Yes, this is a scientifically accepted technology that the juror can now hear the results of.” Different states have different terms for this type of hearing. Now at the national level, they have what’s called a Daubert hearing.
Yeardley: [00:19:39] Dalbear?
Paul: [00:19:41] Daubert. So, it’s D-A-U-B-E-R-T is basically case law.
Dave: [00:19:46] We have hearings in our state and they have different names. So, Daubert, that’s a suspect’s name or somebody who is on trial and that kind of hearing then gets assigned a name–
Yeardley: [00:19:59] Like Miranda.
Dave: [00:19:59] Yeah, it’s like a landmark case. And then, that just becomes the term for that local court system at a state level or the federal level.
Paul: [00:20:08] Yep. And so, any new scientific technology that has not been well established, now you can see these hearings, the defense is going to say, “I do not want this presented in front of a jury. It’s going to prejudice the jury, and I don’t believe it’s reliable technology.” And so, now you have a hearing for the court to decide if it is sufficiently established within the relevant scientific community to allow it to occur. And so, this is the timeframe in which Larry for the Angelou Bugay homicide, and that new DNA technology that was going through. And this is part of the reason why Larry was in jail for so long.
Yeardley: [00:20:46] They must have had enough evidence to begin with, with Larry and the murder of Angela Bugay, to keep him in prison all that time, while that new DNA technology is working its way through the courts.
Paul: [00:20:59] Yes.
Dan: [00:21:00] Just to be specific, jail, not prison, because prison is for after you get convicted and sentenced. So, he’s in the county jail waiting trial. And all of us know, at this table, that the defense is going to throw so much at the wall to see what sticks. The storage of the evidence was improper. The testing of the evidence is improper. This is not reliable technology. They throw everything at the wall just to see what sticks, it takes forever.
Dave: [00:21:27] They just want to suppress any evidence that ties their client to this crime. So, these suppression hearings are usually very contentious. They are sometimes very quick. Sometimes the judge makes a ruling very quickly, sometimes they take it under advisement, and they issue a ruling weeks later. That’s how this process gets so drawn out. And there are times where suspects rotate through multiple attorneys. They get close to a trial date and they petition the court and say, “I don’t want this attorney anymore. He’s not representing me appropriately.” They get assigned a new attorney. Now, we start the clock again, because that attorney has to get up to speed on everything. So, you see these cases that take four or five years before the trial ever actually occurs. And the suspect is just waiting in the county jail, awaiting their turn at the trial. So, these things can take forever.
Yeardley: [00:22:20] I see. Okay, so Larry is in jail.
Paul: [00:22:25] Larry’s in jail. Larry’s the one who killed Angela Bugay, that’s what he’s waiting trial for. Larry is the father of Junior who abducted and killed Tony. So now, you have father and son who are both in custody at the same time for murder. Now, this is where for me, it gets very interesting because I was very familiar with Larry. He had abducted and killed a five-year-old girl who was sexually motivated. I have been looking at Larry as, what else has he done? And Larry very well could be a serial killer though to this day, I can’t say that. There’s no other case besides Angela Bugay’s case that he has been tied to. But as I am going through sort of my library of cases, I have a case from 1969 and this is a bludgeoning homicide of Anna.
[00:23:21] Anna had left her house. She lived in a very nice part of Contra Costa County. It’s a town called Alamo. This is an exclusive enclave. Very wealthy people live in this town. Anna’s husband was a psychiatrist who worked from home and he had his patients coming to the house. The husband, the doctor, gets up as he normally would. Gets his coffee, is getting ready to meet with his first patient in the day and he looks out a window and he sees his wife laying on her back right outside the front door. He goes out, she is unresponsive. So, fire, paramedics respond, and she’s transported to the hospital and is declared dead. She goes to autopsy. Meanwhile, basically, the fire that stays at the scene ends up hosing down the driveway. [Yeardley gasps] You know where this is going, right?
Dan: [00:24:21] It’s one of our lovely monikers for the fire department and we love you guys and ladies, but one of our monikers monitors for them is the Evidence Extraction Team.[laughter]
Dave: [00:24:32] Is there any apparent injury on Anna?
Paul: [00:24:34] She has multiple blunt force injuries to her head.
Dan: [00:24:40] Are the police on scene?
Paul: [00:24:42] Not initially, no. It wasn’t until after autopsy where the pathologist is going, “This is a homicide.”
Dan: [00:24:48] So, they’re just thinking it’s a fire call, a rescue call.
Paul: [00:24:51] Yes. I believe they thought that she walked out, fell down, and hit her head.
Yeardley: [00:24:55] Oh, because otherwise you’d say how do you mistake a bludgeoning for some heard of accidental death?
Dave: [00:25:01] It’s important to remember the time. It’s 1969.
Paul: [00:25:05] 1969. And they went into a rescue mode. We’ve got an injured person, but now there’s no crime scene.
Yeardley: [00:25:13] It’s the worst possible scenario. But in fairness, I can see that if everyone thought at first that Anna’s death was just a slip and fall accident, then hosing down the crime scene afterward may be felt like, “We’re helping out the family not have to clean up.” I don’t know, but oh, my God.
Paul: [00:25:36] Exactly. So, these investigators who are now with the sheriff’s office trying to investigate Anna’s homicide are playing catchup, and they don’t have a foundation as to, “Okay, we’ve got some evidence to understand really what happened here.” Anna was fully clothed, she had her purse with her, that was all present. And so, there is evidence in the case. But they start their investigation, and of course, they talk to husband. Husband is home. And we know that spouses are going to be the first ones that we have to look at in this scenario. But they are not convinced husband is suspicious in this case. But they turn their attention to all these patients who are needing psychiatric help that are coming to the house. So now, they’re questioning the doctor, the husband, and saying, “Hey, so give us a list of all your patients.”
Yeardley: [00:26:34] My guy can’t do that.
Paul: [00:26:35] “I can’t do that.” Privileged. What these investigators do, cops are pretty good at thinking outside the box. They just sit outside his house and record the license plates of all the vehicles that are coming and going over the course of a week. [Yeardley laughs] And now, you have the ability to trip those plates even back in 69, they are able to identify who the registered owners are of these vehicles. And one of the patients is Jerry from Antioch. Jerry is a known entity to law enforcement. He is a prolific child molester. And part of his sentencing and a case was he needed to go to the psychiatrist.
Yeardley: [00:27:22] So, one of the conditions of his sentencing in a previous case is you need to go see a psychiatrist, it happened to be Anna’s husband.
Paul: [00:27:29] That’s right. So, Jerry is now going into this exclusive enclave to the doctor’s house, and having his therapy sessions with Anna’s husband, the doctor. So, of course, because Jerry is a known entity, he’s a child molester, the investigators really start focusing in on him to see, “Is he our killer?”
Dan: [00:27:51] Is his name one of those that just jump off the page to the investigators when they’re going through these license plates and the registered owners?
Paul: [00:27:58] Yes, he was that notorious in the child abuse world in 1969 in the county, so they’re going, “Oh, okay, so here we have a guy who has a criminality to him. Could he be good for this bludgeoning homicide of Anna?”
Yeardley: [00:28:29] What time of day did Anna die because you mentioned that her husband, the doctor, gets up in the morning, he has his coffee, he looks out the window, she’s already on the front walkway. So, was she killed the night before? Did he not see her in bed that night? How does this go?
Paul: [00:28:44] No. Anna had woken up, she had dressed, and she had left around 8 o’clock to 8:30 in the morning. I believe the doctor gets up and about 9:00 in the morning is when he looks out the window and sees her laying there.
Yeardley: [00:28:57] So, she was going to work herself or to run errands or do something?
Paul: [00:29:00] I believe she was going out for the day. Yes. So now, the investigators are going, “Okay, we’ve got a suspect,” Jerry. They go and talk to the doctor to find out, “Okay, so what do you know about Jerry?” Now it’s getting dicey for the doctor because he is in a privileged relationship with Jerry, his patient, but now Jerry is being looked at as the suspect of his wife’s homicide. But then the doctor opens up and he says, “Jerry isn’t capable of killing my wife. That’s not his thing. He’s a child molester. He would never do that. But during a session, Jerry had said that his two sons are responsible for unsolved homicides of women in Contra Costa County.
Yeardley: [00:29:47] Oh, my God.
Paul: [00:29:49] One of his sons is Larry, the killer of Angela. [Yeardley gasps] Jerry is the grandfather of Junior, the killer of Tony. So, this is a true example of how criminality does run in families.
Yeardley: [00:30:03] Isn’t there a mandatory reporting aspect because Jerry is saying after the fact, “My son’s committed these homicides,” that takes the urgency off the table?
Paul: [00:30:18] I don’t know about mandatory reporting requirements for medical professionals in this situation.
Dan: [00:30:25] Especially back then.
Paul: [00:30:26] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:30:27] Well, that’s true because I think if you’re a psychiatrist, like Anna’s husband was, and let’s say your patient says, “I’m going to murder my parents and I have the means to do it,” or, “I’m going to kill myself,” I believe they have to report it. I don’t think they’re allowed to stay silent about that, at least anymore.
Dan: [00:30:48] Nowadays, it’s like that. But also, Anna’s husband, the therapist, the psychiatrist, he would have been able to commit someone if they said that to him in a session, like, “I am a danger to myself,” or, “I’m a danger to others.” It still has to be a court order and it takes some time. But I’ve been a part of those where it’s a committal and you have to go take someone into custody and take them to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. And it’s not fun. They do not want to go. I always try to make them think that it’s their idea to go, but it doesn’t always work.
Paul: [00:31:21] Yeah. So, I’ve been aware of Larry for years, and now I have his father fingering him to a doctor, and the dad is telling in this privileged conversation, “My two sons are responsible for killing women.” Who did they kill? How does Jerry know that? For me, I’m going, “This is legit information.” That DA who is prosecuting Larry, for Angela’s murder, I go to him, and I’m like, “I have a file that is saying your defendant back in 1969, 14 years before Angela was killed, is responsible for other unsolved cases.” My goal was to be able to try to compel the family because now husband of Anna is dead.
Yeardley: [00:32:16] So, the psychiatrist is dead?
Paul: [00:32:18] Yes. But do they have any of his patient files? Did he take notes during these sessions to find out? Did he write down what cases? The father, Jerry, was saying his son Larry had committed, in part, I want to solve those cases, get those families an answer. But also, Larry, who hadn’t been convicted yet of Angela’s homicide, I want to add more charges, if they were out there, to make sure that piece of shit doesn’t go anywhere, he’s done in society.
Dan: [00:32:54] Earlier, you mentioned that you have this library of homicide and other criminal activity that you go to. Is there a reason why you went to it? Did you know that something was there? Something jogged your memory when you were thinking about Larry and Angeles case, and you’re like, “Wait a minute”?
Paul: [00:33:08] I routinely was looking at all sorts of unsolved cases. But one of my big goals was to find a case that a convicted serial killer, Phillip Hughes, could be responsible for. So, I was looking for a death eligible case on Phil Hughes, because he was eligible for parole. He was going to get out and that he should never be allowed to get out. And I wanted to find something in which Phil Hughes could be confronted on a case and saying, “You are going to be charged with the death penalty on this case.” I want it the Green River Killer deal where, “You tell us everything you did, we’ll take death off the table, but you are no longer eligible for parole.” That was my goal. And so, Anna’s homicide in this exclusive area where she lived, Philip Hughes’ parents lived one block over in South Walnut Creek. And at the time in 1969, I had information in a case file that Phillip Hughes would be staying at his parents’ house.
[00:34:14] One of my thoughts is, was this a trial run? Was Phil Hughes just wanting to experience killing somebody? They fantasize about killing. Now, it’s like, “Well, I want to see what it’s like.” And Anna just happened to pop out of her front door at a time that maybe Phil could have been there. It’s just a theory. But there’s an actual notable example of this type of predatory behavior, when somebody is fantasizing about killing and escalating their violence up, they will do trial runs.
[00:34:50] And a notable example is Gary Ridgway. When he was 14 years old, he stabs a six-year-old boy just to see what it would be like. I was like, “I’ve got a serial killer that is physically in this area and possibly is walking past the house at the time that Anna was leaving to go do her daytime activities.” And so, that’s where I’m wondering, “Is this a trial run with Anna?” So, there’s a little bit more to the story on the evidence side in this case that is so frustrating. The crime scene has been hosed down. So, I don’t have anything at the physical space where the offender and the victim interacted. But the victim does have her clothes. She has her purse. So, the goal is that maybe during the homicide evidence was transferred from the offender onto Anna’s clothing, or onto her person.
[00:35:42] And today, with the technology of DNA, looking at contact DNA, looking at hairs that could have been shed. So, I start hitting up the property room, and it’s interesting, because Anna’s family had actually reached out to a homicide investigator around the same timeframe, who was hitting me up. Family wants to know what is going on in Anna’s case. “What do you know about this case?” And I’m now going to the property room to see, “Okay, I’ve got the evidence. They must have preserved this evidence.”
Dan: [00:36:11] It’s fortuitous timing that the family wants to know an update on this case and you need something from them now.
Paul: [00:36:18] And I’m the only one that knows about this case, at this point in time, because this is not a case that anybody else had looked at for years.
Yeardley: [00:36:27] It never got solved? You’re saying they eliminated the husband, who’s the psychiatrist, and after that, it went cold?
Paul: [00:36:33] It was truly a case in which they ran into a dead end investigatively. And then, it just sat on a shelf for decades with nobody ever looking at it until I came along. And that’s what I did. I opened up so many cases that were truly cold and dust was just collecting on the case files. So, this is where now a homicide investigator is talking to me, because she was aware if anybody knows anything about the case, I would be the person to go to. So, I reached out to property room wanting to have this evidence submitted to the lab to do work on. The evidence had been destroyed. [Yeardley gasps] It’s a homicide.
Yeardley: [00:37:15] Don’t you keep homicide evidence forever?
Paul: [00:37:17] You’re supposed to.
Yeardley: [00:37:18] Oh, my God.
Dave: [00:37:20] It is well known that by statute, there are certain cases where you are never to destroy the evidence in a case. Now, there’s other cases that are thefts and misdemeanors where there’s a statute of limitations. And there is no point to keep evidence beyond the statute of limitations if it’s a case that might have gotten solved, but we can’t prosecute it anymore. It’s okay to get rid of that evidence. But an unsolved murder? Come on.
Yeardley: [00:37:45] What about solved murders? Do you keep the evidence after the murder has been solved as well?
Dave: [00:37:49] You do.
Paul: [00:37:50] That evidence is kept as the convicted defendant, he goes through an appeals process, and it will be kept until they are satisfied that there is no longer any possibility of an appeal and overturn of the case. And then at that point, the evidence could potentially be destroyed or sold, or whatever the process is for what type of item it is. But in this case, this is where a lot of the function of law enforcement, the policies and the procedures are in place, but it also is dependent on the person. And you have some individuals back in the day that worked at property who were not good at their job. They were not diligent, and it was obvious that somebody who handled this evidence didn’t check into what kind of case it came from, and they just destroyed it.
Yeardley: [00:38:47] This is Anna’s–?
Paul: [00:38:48] This is the evidence from Anna’s case, from the 1969 case. And this is when you’re a cold case investigator, you run into this all the time. And it’s so frustrating. “Oh, if I just had that, I might be able to solve this case.”
Yeardley: [00:39:02] Did you have any luck with the family getting old records from the now deceased psychiatrist’s notes or anything?
Paul: [00:39:09] No. So checked with the family, all his files were gone. So, all I have is this case file indicating that Larry, Angela’s killer, his dad, Jerry, is basically saying he’s good for unsolved cases, prior to 1969. And then, of course, I’m going, “Okay, so between 1969 and 1983 when Larry kills Angela, what else has he done?”
Paul: [00:39:48] Fundamentally now, when we get back into this family, Jerry, Larry, and Junior, this is generational. Larry gets convicted, sentenced to death. During the sentencing phase of the trial, the defense is pointing out his rough upbringing. His mom was alcoholic, his dad was a child molester. So, they were trying to excuse Larry abducting and raping and killing a five-year-old girl based on how Larry had been raised.
Yeardley: [00:40:21] So, Larry’s convicted and sentenced to death for Angela Bugay?
Paul: [00:40:24] For Angela Bugay’s Homicide. I’m thinking Larry is a bona fide serial killer. I just can’t say what other cases he’s done. And with situations with evidence being destroyed, Larry is going to be the source to be able to tell what he’s done. Larry has committed suicide. He’s taken his secrets with him.
Dan: [00:40:47] In prison?
Paul: [00:40:47] In prison.
Yeardley: [00:40:49] How old was he when he was convicted and sentenced to death? And at what point did he die in prison?
Paul: [00:40:54] Larry committed suicide in prison in 2009 and he was 58 years old at that time. So, when Larry went into prison, in 1996-97 timeframe, he would have been about 45-46 years old when he was taken into custody.
Yeardley: [00:41:11] Okay. In show business, there’s this idea that talent runs through a bloodline. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say that’s definitively true, I think it can happen. But I think it’s so spotty as to be not a sound theory. So, talk to me about generational, really violent criminals. Is there actual evidence that that can run through some sort of genetic sequencing?
Paul: Well, I can’t say there is or there isn’t. I think anybody who has been involved in law enforcement, whether it’s out on patrol or whether you’re doing investigations, can anecdotally say, “We have a family that we all know generationally has been committing crimes,” and whether it’s nature versus nurture, I don’t know, it’s just that we see it.
Dave: [00:42:09] There’s this idea out there that you’re a product of your environment. So, if you grow up, and the patriarch has a moral compass that doesn’t point due north, that when you’re learning your values and morals, that your compass is not going to point due north either. You’re going to align with what you learned as a child. So, if you learn that it’s okay to just go out in public and steal stuff, then you think, “Well, this is what my dad does, so this is what I do.” You pass it down to your next generation. I feel the same way about people who don’t put grocery carts away. It’s like, “Where’d you learn that? Why are you so lazy?”
Yeardley: [00:42:48] [laughs] Right.
Paul: [00:42:51] That’s actually a pet peeve of mine too.
Yeardley: [00:42:52] It’s one of mine too.[laughter]
Paul: [00:42:55] I make sure it at least goes to where the cart carousel is in the parking lot, or I’ll even walk it back into the store.
Yeardley: [00:43:02] Sure, I’ve done that too.
Dan: [00:43:03] Absolutely.
Dave: [00:43:04] I do follow Cart Narcs on Instagram. I love the confrontations. I’m like, “Get ’em. Get ’em.” “Hey, Sir, you’re supposed to park the cart right there.” “Fuck you.” It’s like, “No? Now, I’m going to blow you up on Instagram.”
Yeardley: [00:43:17] [laughs]
Dave: [00:43:17] I’ve talked to many of my buds in law enforcement over the years who work for different agencies. And everybody says, “This is the family that causes us issues,” and has for decades.
Dan: [00:43:30] I remember fairly early on in my career while I was still with an FTO, so Field Training Officer, I was a baby cop. And my FTO had been working for 30 plus years. And we arrested a guy who was in his mid-20s. And he said, “You know, I used to arrest his dad,” when his dad was his son’s age the kid we’re arresting now.” And I remember as my career went on, that same kid, that 25-year-old that we had arrested, I started arresting his children as they became in their late teens, I was arresting them. So, not at the same degree of violence, the crimes that Paul’s talking about today. But I think they really do learn from their examples, their role models that they have, if you will, and it’s just accepted that they commit crimes, they steal cars. This particular family, they were all car thieves. And it’s like they pass it down from generation to generation.
Dave: [00:44:27] Every town with somewhat of a population has a few families that law enforcement is very familiar. You know exactly where each address is in the city that dad lives here, brother lives over here, uncle lives over here. Every town has a family like that or multiple families.
Dan: [00:44:45] I think about a mother-son combo that I’ve busted so many times. I’ve kicked their door in, doing search warrants and they were running a drug trafficking business out of their house together, mother and son.
Yeardley: [00:44:58] It’s so interesting. You could also– sort of back to the show business thing, there are a lot of actors whose children then become actors, musicians the same, politicians the same. I suppose it doesn’t really matter what the profession, whether it’s legal or illegal, based on what is presented to you as being really important, possibly profitable. But, of course, we have to close the circle by stating the obvious, which is there are also lots of people who have shitty, abusive upbringings, who then grow up and break the cycle and go on to become compassionate, productive members of society.
Dave and Dan: Yeah.
Paul: [00:45:39] Yes. And I would venture that there is a genetic component to criminality. And I do believe this, particularly with the fantasy-motivated predators out there, is that they have a genetic predisposition. It may be something where maybe there’s an environmental trigger along the way. But you see individuals that are raised in what everybody would consider a normal non-abusive environment, and serial killers come out of that environment. So, I think it is a combination of both the genetics and what they’re exposed to.
Yeardley: [00:46:16] Right. There are just so many variables that it’s impossible to draw a straight corroborating line. So, Paul, in these three generations of criminals, just to summarize for the laypeople like me, Larry is convicted and sentenced to death for Angela Bugay’s murder, she’s the five-year-old. He then commits suicide in prison.
Paul: [00:46:38] Correct.
Yeardley: [00:46:38] Did Jerry ever make it to prison? Jerry is the dad.
Paul: [00:46:41] Well, Jerry is a convicted child molester. That’s why law enforcement was aware of him. And when he pops up as a patient, going to the house where a homicide occurred and going, “We need to talk to Jerry.” So, Jerry was not arrested for the homicide of Anna. He was just a suspect. He could be responsible, but he may not be– I would just list him as a suspect in the case, as is Phil Hughes.
Yeardley: [00:47:09] And had he been in and out of prison for his child molestation convictions?
Paul: [00:47:12] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:47:14] Okay. So, Jerry implicates his son, Larry, right?
Paul: [00:47:18] In 1969, Jerry says his two sons, Larry and the brother, are responsible for unsolved homicides in Contra Costa County.
Yeardley: [00:47:29] And I can’t believe he didn’t come cleaner than that. That’s fucked up. And then, Junior is part of the ring that lured Tony to the apartment, robbed him, bludgeoned him, wrapped him in a carpet, dumped him off the back of their pickup, and that poor man was run over by multiple vehicles. And that’s where you come in, and you start to connect all these generational dots.
Paul: [00:47:55] That’s right. And this is just where I coincidentally was sent out just to help out on what turned into a very urgent situation because of the Governor. And then as that case unfolded, now, I’m aware of this family.
Yeardley: [00:48:11] You see all these tentacles.
Paul: [00:48:11] Yes.
Dave: [00:48:12] What happened to Junior?
Paul: [00:48:13] So Junior got convicted, and he was sentenced to 25 years to life.
Yeardley: [00:48:17] For the murder of Tony.
Paul: [00:48:19] That’s right.
Yeardley: [00:48:20] That can’t have happened every day that you would then come across multiple generations of criminals.
Paul: [00:48:27] It was eye opening because I don’t just run across three generations of violent offenders. This was like, “Whoa, what is going on here?”
Dave: [00:48:36] Yeah, that is a brutal family.
Yeardley: [00:48:39] Thank you so much for bringing us that case, Paul. I’m amazed every time I sit down with you all.
Dan: [00:48:45] Thank you, Paul.
Dave: [00:48:45] Thank you, Paul.
Paul: [00:48:46] Hey, it’s been fun.[Small Town Dicks theme playing]
Yeardley: [00:48:55] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. And our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [00:49:24] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
Yeardley: [00:49:38] Small Town Dicks would like to thank SpeechDocs for providing transcripts of this podcast. You can find these transcripts on our episode page at smalltowndicks.com. And for more information about SpeechDocs and their service, please go to speechdocs.com.
Dan: [00:49:49] And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @smalltowndicks, we love hearing from you.
Dave: [00:49:57] And if you support us on Patreon, your subscription will give you access to exclusive content and merchandise that isn’t available anywhere else. Go to patreon.com/smalltowndickspodcast.
Yeardley: [00:50:09] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [00:50:15] -in search of the finest,-
Dave: [00:50:16] -rare-
Dan: [00:50:17] -true crime cases told as always by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [00:50:23] So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [00:50:24] Nobody’s better than you.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]