The final episode of the season takes us to a small town in Canada, where a violent suspect named Billy Ray, is on the loose after he attacks his ex-girlfriend, Maria. A manhunt begins but authorities are unable to track him down. When Detective Constable Garry receives a disturbing report that Billy Ray has broken into Maria’s house, authorities continue the search but it turns out they’ve been looking in all the wrong places, as they race against time to save Maria from Billy Ray’s obsession.
Guest detective: Garry Rodgers
Garry Rodgers has lived the life he writes about. He is a retired homicide detective, coroner, and SWAT Team sniper with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He has written and published 21 books as well as hosting a popular blog site called DyingWords.net.Read Transcript
Yeardley: Hey, Small Town Fam. It’s Yeardley. How are you, guys? I’m so glad you’re here. When I sit down to record these introductions, I often struggle with how to describe our episodes, because so many of them deal with the absolute worst things people do to each other. So I’m hesitant to say it’s an amazing episode or a great episode, even if the detective work is superb, because I never want to describe murder or child abuse or sexual abuse as either great or amazing. So I’m just going to say that our episode today absolutely lives up to its title. I also want0[ to warn you that the crime which is committed in this episode is violent, brutal and bloody. And things get graphic around the 30 minutes mark. As our guest today, Detective Constable Garry, as well as our own, Paul Holes, talk about the psychology of a suspect who fits the definition of a true psychopath and has no off switch when it comes to exacting his revenge. So please take care when listening. Here is, Your Worst Nightmare.
Hi there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: I’m Dan.
Dave: I’m Dave.
Paul: And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: Dave and I are identical twins.
Dave: And retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State Killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: 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: out of respect for what they’ve been through.
[unison]: Thank you.
Yeardley: Today on Small Town Dicks, we have most of the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: I’m here. Dave is not.
Yeardley: Sweet Dave. Our own Detective Dave is under the weather today. We didn’t want him barfing all over the microphone. So we were like, “You know what? Stand down, my friend.” And we have the one and only, Paul Holes.
Yeardley: One, hey.
Paul: Just one, hey. There’s no Dave.
Yeardley: [laughs] No Dave. So we get one, hey. You know what? I’ll take it. And Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome a new guest to the podcast, Detective Constable Garry.
Garry: Pleased to be here.
Yeardley: Thank you so much. We’re so happy to have you join us. Garry, I’m going toss it to Dan, who is an expert at setting up the very first question.
Dan: I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but thank you. [Yeardley laughs] It’s Detective Constable Garry. Is that correct?
Garry: Right. The rank was actually constable at the time, and it’s a detective role. So it’s detective constable.
Dan: Got you. Can you just give us a rundown of your jurisdiction, your experience in law enforcement, how many years you spent, and some special assignments that you had?
Garry: I was a 20-year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I spent 17 years of those in what was called the serious crime section, which was 90% homicide. I worked in two jurisdictions. I worked on the Northern British Columbia serious crime section. We traveled all over the north, including the Yukon. I moved to Southern British Columbia on Vancouver Island. I was part of the Vancouver Island major crimes unit. And then I retired from the RCMP and took the role of the coroner for central Vancouver Island, and I did another full career as a coroner.
Garry: Once I finished that, I decided, what am I going to do when I grow up. And I’ve always been a writer, so [chuckles] I pointed myself as a crime writer, and I just published my 21st book now.
Yeardley: The grass does not grow under your feet, does it, Garry?
Yeardley: Good heavens.
Garry: I’m enjoying it. And all the time I was on the police force, I was also seconded to the emergency response team, or what you folks in the states call SWAT. And I was the SWAT team’s marksman or sniper.
Paul: Jeez. [laughs] Now that’s quite a career. [laughs]
Yeardley: I think we’ll just all go home.
Garry: Yeah. So it’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Yeardley: I like it.
Garry: You have to put up with my Canadian accent too.
Yeardley: We love your Canadian accent. We’ve had Scottish accents, we’ve had Irish accents, a whole range of southern accents. We love a good accent. Okay, Garry, please tell us how this case came to you.
Garry: This case I’m going to talk about happened in Northern British Columbia, 1984. It was a Friday afternoon, about 04:30, just about quitting time. I was at the prosecutor’s office preparing for a case for the upcoming week. And the receptionist came into the room where the prosecutor and I were talking, she says, “I think, detective, you need to come out and hear this.” And so I went there, and the lady by the name of Maria was there, and she was just terrified.
I took a statement from Maria, and she related to me that she’d split up with her boyfriend, Billy Ray. He’d been stalking her for the past month. And that afternoon, he’d entered her house, and cut up about 20 articles of her clothing and left a note threatening her. Maria was wearing a denim fleece jacket, and she had a scarf wrapped around her neck. And then she started telling me about being choked by Billy Ray. And I said, “Maria, can you remove your scarf?” There was just the purplish bruises all around her neck. And then she said, “By the way, Billy Ray raped me, as well.”
Paul: Yeah. Garry, listening to these behaviors that Billy Ray is exhibiting, he’s cutting up Maria’s clothing, he’s sexually assaulting her, he’s put a knife to her neck. These are red flags of escalation. I’m going to steal a phrase from a British profiler, friend of mine, Laura Richards, who uses this for domestic violence. But stalking, this phrase is very apropos. It’s homicide in slow motion. And anytime you see hands going around the woman’s neck or a knife being held to the woman’s neck, that is a predictor that that offender is willing to take that next step to kill that woman.
Garry: Absolutely. So we’ve got a serious criminal case unfolding. So this is clearly what would fall into what’s called an indictable offense, which is a felony, which gives the police far more power than you would with a misdemeanor. This had to be intervened on right away. So I had the power to arrest Billy Ray right off the bat, but we didn’t know where he was.
Yeardley: And was Billy Ray already on police radar when Billy Ray crossed your path?
Garry: No. Never heard of him. He had one impaired driving offense years ago in a different community, but nothing. His fingerprints were on record because of the impaired driving offense. We also had a mugshot photo of him.
Dan: In the United States, well, in my state in particular, we had a mandatory arrest if there was a domestic violence component to a dispute. Is it the same in your jurisdiction?
Garry: It is now. I don’t believe it was then. But knowing the law, at least the Canadian applications of the law, you’re far better off to have a warrant. Let’s say, the arrest goes sideways, you’re protected when you’ve had the court order the arrest. So out of precaution, I went back to the prosecutor’s office, and swore the charges and obtained an arrest warrant. So I took the statement. To look at the corroborative evidence, I went over to Maria’s house with her. It was a one-bedroom cottage with a little A-frame with a pitched roof on it. Nice treed front yard with big oak trees. I saw the cut clothing, photographed them all, retrieved the note. I said, “Maria, you have to have somebody with you here until we find this guy.” So she had a friend of hers come over. Her friend, Becky, was there, and her brother was living next door as well.
Yeardley: What’s Maria’s brother’s name?
Garry: Jim. Gentleman Jim, I call him. And by the way, Maria had a little girl that was just under a year old, Carliana. But we summed it up that Billy Ray probably wouldn’t do anything if somebody else was there.
Yeardley: And how old was Billy Ray?
Garry: 25 years. I’d say, Maria was a little younger, maybe around 23 years.
Yeardley: How long had Maria and Billy Ray been dating before they broke up?
Garry: Around six months, if I recall. She was trying to get rid of him. She could see that this guy’s just a loser.
Yeardley: And where did they meet?
Garry: They met at a little local restaurant in town, a family restaurant. She was server in there. He showed up into town. I don’t know what brought him there, but I guess he was reasonably charming. He wasn’t a bad looking guy. There’s nothing really about him that was repulsive.
Yeardley: So Maria’s brother lives next door to her, and you all have advised that Maria, either stay with him or he stay with her at her place while you try to figure out where Billy Ray is.
Garry: That’s right.
Dan: And so I assume this is where you’re out canvassing, asking Maria, her friends, any acquaintances of Billy Ray, where he might be hiding. Because as Paul said, this is a violent man and you got to go find him.
Garry: Oh, yes. So I went and checked the usual haunts to see if I might find Billy Ray. We had Billy Ray’s mugshot photo, so I went and asked the bartenders, “Do you know who this is?” “Oh, we’ve seen him around. Yeah.” “But have you seen him today?” “No, I haven’t seen him a couple of days.” I said to Maria, “Does he have a vehicle?” “No, he doesn’t. He’s on foot.” “Does he have any belongings with him?” She said, “Not that I’m aware of. I don’t know what he’s got. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t have much to his name.”
This was starting to get around 07:00 PM by the time that the shifts of the uniform people were changing. So I went to what was called the watch meeting, took the photograph and copied the warrant and said, “Guys, we got to keep an eye out for Billy Ray. Maria is going to be with her brother, so we’re not that worried about her immediate safety. But long term, this has got to be under control.” Most of those police officers are pretty experienced around town. They’re street cops and says, “Anybody ever seen this guy before?” because we had some decent pictures of. “No. No. Never heard of him. No. No. Don’t know who he is. We’ll keep an eye open for him.” When you work the downtown part, you know the players.
Garry: That’s your job is to know who’s there. So anyway, I went back to Maria’s place again and just made sure she was okay. Her friend, Becky, was there. They put a note on the outside of the door that said, “Billy Ray, the police have a warrant for your arrest. Do not make any contact with me.” So we felt comfortable enough that we probably had it controlled for the moment.
Yeardley: Maria put this note on the door of her house, warning Billy Ray that the cops are looking for him.
Garry: That’s right. The next morning, I went back to see Maria. She seemed okay. I went again around and looked to see at the usual spots if I might find a Billy Ray and arrest him. I gave Maria my phone number. And around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, she phoned me and she said, “He’s been back.” Maria had been out. She and Becky and Carliana had gone shopping. When she got back, there was some more articles of her clothing cut in her closet. And she said, “I’ve got something missing out of the fridge. There’s a package of sandwich meat and a package of bread, and it’s gone.”
Yeardley: So Billy Ray must have been watching the house, and he knew that Maria had left.
Garry: Yes. By the way, he had the keys to her house. She said, “When I got back, the doors were locked. Could you be hiding somewhere around here?” “Have you got a basement?” “No.” “A crawl space?” “No.” We’ve got to change these locks. So Jim came from next door, he went down to the hardware store and got two new locks, one for the front, one for the back. So we said, “Okay, you have to have somebody staying with you.” We changed the locks on the door. I had enough concern that if Billy Ray did come back, if Maria tried to use 911, it takes too long. I went and got her police radio, portable radio, and said, “If he’s there, you’ve got a radio dispatch immediately.” And I let dispatch know that she had this radio, which is outside of the usual procedures to let a civilian have a police communication device, but it was necessary.
Dan: I think some of our listeners are probably wondering, “Why didn’t you have a police officer parked outside of Maria’s house or to stay with Maria?” The reality is small town policing, we just don’t have the resources to do that. This is a tiny mountain community. There might be one other officer on duty that day. So that’s all we can do.
Garry: Yeah. It was a Saturday and should be a day off. But I spent, oh, I don’t know, probably five or six hours with Maria between taking the original statement, going back to her house, checking on her, coming back the next day, changing the locks, and then dropping by again to check, make sure everything was okay before we shut it down. We still couldn’t find Billy Ray. I wanted her to be reassured that we were taking it seriously and that she was safe and she had somebody with her. She had a police radio.
So Saturday afternoon evolved into Saturday evening. Maria went out, and she met her new boyfriend, Earl, and told Earl what was going on. Earl says, “Well, I got to stay with you until Billy Ray is found.” Becky had been staying with Carlianna while Maria went out to meet Earl.
And so around 11:00 PM, Maria and Earl went in. Becky left. She went home. Earl stayed. He had a big black dodge pickup parked it in the driveway. Around 11:30 PM, Maria and Earl went to bed. Sunday morning, it was around 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM. I was phoned at home, being on call in the detective section, I was told, “Yeah, we’ve got a double murder. That’s brutal.” One uniform member that phoned me said, “The bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off in a red paint factory. It’s just violent.” So I said, “Okay, where is it? What’s the address?” He gave it to me. I went, “Oh, my God, it’s Maria.” So I just had this sick feeling in my stomach.
The scene was discovered when gentleman Jim went over to check on Maria. The front door was unlocked, and he went in and looked in the bedroom. I’ve never seen a more gruesome crime scene than that. Maria was face up, Earl was face down. Looks like they’re hacked to death. The slashing on them was beyond description. The gaping wounds. Maria was partly covered with a blanket. Earl was uncovered. Both had been naked.
Yeardley: And Garry, I’m almost afraid to ask, but what about little Carliana?
Garry: She was fine. Billy Ray put Carliana in a laundry hamper, so that she couldn’t get out and had her in her with a bottle.
Yeardley: And is Carliana Billy Ray’s biological daughter?
Garry: No. It’s suspected, though we’re never sure that that was Earl’s child.
Yeardley: Oh, that’s interesting. So Earl and Maria must have a history beyond their current dating situation.
Garry: Oh, yes. They’ve been friends off and on. So there’s a possibility that that was Earl’s biological daughter. So as we started to process the scene working outward, we came across a little closet. The door was a jar. And inside, you could see the knacks had been stashed. It wasn’t your run of the mill axe. It was what’s called a brush axe. They’ve got a typical axe handle that’s about 3ft long on them, and it’s got a metal frame like a hacksaw, and there’s a razor blade that’s detachable that goes across. And that’s what it was. It was covered in blood.
Yeardley: How strange that the killer would leave the weapon in a closet in the house?
Garry: You have to understand, Billy Ray and I’ll be getting to that. And then, as we were working back, I could see a stool tipped over in the hallway, and it had a rope attached to it. It looked up and the attic hatch was open, and then it hit me. We’d locked him in the house. Billy Ray was in the attic the whole time.
Yeardley: Oh, my God.
Paul: Billy Ray was having to use a rope to come down out of the attic.
Garry: What he had to do is he needed to get up enough height to get to the attic. Billy Ray wasn’t very big. He was quite a small fellow, maybe about 5’8”, maybe 140 pounds. So he had this stool to be able to go up and down. So when he’d get up in the attic, he’d pull the rope and he’d pull the stool up into the attic. So he had it up there with him.
Garry: He had this thing planned out.
Dan: Remember the missing bread and lunch meat also.
Garry: Yeah, they were in the attic as well. The lunch meat package was there, about a half a loaf of bread. He’d also taken a glass jar up in there to urinate in, and he had a water bottle as well too. Fingerprints all over them.
Paul: Billy Ray is coming down out of the attic. Apparently, Maria and Earl are likely asleep. Were there any defensive injuries on either one of the bodies?
Garry: No. No defensive wounds on either one. That’s a very good point. Yeah, they were sound asleep.
Paul: Think about this. Billy Ray is in this domestic violence relationship with Maria. He’s stalking her, he’s threatening her. Obviously, he has a lot of rage against Maria. Now Maria is showing up with a new boyfriend, Earl, this is only going to amp Billy Ray up. He’s inside the house when apparently Maria and Earl go to bed, and then fall asleep. When he comes down, were you able or were your CSIs able to sequence who he attacks first? On one hand, Earl’s going to be the biggest threat to him. The violence would naturally go towards the threat first before he would turn his attention to Maria. Is that what the evidence showed?
Garry: That’s exactly what it is. Billy Ray hit Earl first, and he chopped both Maria and Earl to death.
Dan: And now Billy Ray is in the wind.
Garry: Yes. Billy Ray disappeared. Earl’s truck was missing as well.
Yeardley: So Billy Ray uses Earl’s truck as his getaway car.
Garry: That’s right. So we had a description of that. I was the lead investigator appointed to dealing with Billy Ray. And so our method of dealing with crime scenes is we do a thing called a blitz. We throw as much resources at it as we possibly can in the first 72 hours because that’s after that, historically, the trail starts to get cold. For Billy Ray, what we did was started to do a profile on him. As we’re looking for him, we have to know as much as we can about this guy’s background to make some anticipation about what his next moves are. One thing that Maria told me is Billy Ray was quite close with his mother. Whenever he’d get in something, he’d run to her for money. Once we knew he had little to nothing for money, we had contacted the mother and explained, this is what happened. “Setting blood relationships apart, he’s got to be caught. He’s got to be turned in.” So she came on board.
Yeardley: Was his mother surprised?
Garry: No. No, she wasn’t. There’s a lengthy psychological history we dug up eventually on him. He had a lot of troubles. He’d been hospitalized a few times for psychiatric disorders.
Yeardley: Right. So Garry, now you’re leading a manhunt for Billy Ray. Where do you go? Where do you start?
Garry: So Billy Ray left a trail of evidence behind him. He had Earl’s truck. He’d taken Earl’s wallet too, so he had some money. He’d stopped at the local gas station, put some gas in it, walked into the convenience store. He’s covered in blood himself, and people are just looking at him. [chuckles] We see him on film, and they’ll never forget this. Here’s this guy covered in blood. He’d just done vicious double murder. He’s in there buying a hot dog and some nachos with the liquid cheese that you see in there. He’s slathering it full of cheese and coke. This is like, he’s going back home to watch movie.
Yeardley: Did anybody call the cops and go, “This guy just walked in here. He’s covered in blood”?
Garry: No, we traced his steps back. He’d gone to two other communities, had been seen in there, and it was just one of these. “Did you see that guy? Did you see the eyes on him? Did you see. He’s kicked in blood, like, what’s going on here?” But nobody reported him. Billy Ray had gone into a bar to get something to eat, and then he went to the pool table, and it was a challenge pool table. So he had to put his name on the board and wait till his turn came up. When he was there, he was covered in blood. One of the guys said, “What’s with you? That looks like blood all over you.” “Oh, yeah. I killed a deer, and I just haven’t had time to change,” what he said.
Yeardley: Did he put his actual name on the board?
Garry: Yes, he did. Yeah, he put Billy Ray.
Dan: He knows he’s not going to get away with it. Billy Ray is resigned to the fact that this is the last event of my life as a free man.
Garry: Yeah, I’d say Billy Ray was just running the clock out.
Paul: This is very interesting to me, because typically going back to the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit and the way that they would categorize offenders in the old days, they would break them generally into an organized or disorganized offender. The organized offender is planning, trying to get away with the crime, typically has a level of intelligence and is mentally sane. The disorganized offender doesn’t plan the crime, doesn’t try to get away with it. Classic is Richard Trenton Chase, the vampire killer out of Sacramento who definitely had mental health issues. Billy Ray sounds mixed. He shows the forethought to hide in the attic and has this very interesting mechanism to be able to get up into the attic and then be able to get down in order to commit the crime.
There’s forethought there. There’s planning. But then he’s stealing the victim’s truck.He’s not even trying to clean up. He’s allowing himself to be seen by many witnesses with blood all over him. This suggests a disorganized state. So Billy Ray is this blend between this organized and disorganized offender. This is an interesting study from my perspective.
Yeardley: It certainly seems like Billy Ray isn’t trying to cover his tracks in any way, if he’s stopping at a convenience store and playing pool with his blood covered shirt. So Garry, where do you catch up with him?
Garry: So it was when Billy Ray hit the little one-horse town called Watson Lake. He went into the local store, got himself a ham sandwich and a Coke. He was sitting on the front porch of the post office. He had phoned his mother from that location, asking her if she could wire him some money. She said, “Well, you just hold yourself right there. I’ll get right on it.” So she called us back and said, “Billy Ray just phoned me. He said he’s at a community called Watson Lake, and he’s waiting by at the post office because you can wire money to the post office.” So we phoned the police office there and said, “This is who we’re looking for. This is description.” The officer went right over, and there he is sitting there. Billy Ray’s sitting on the steps eating a ham sandwich and covered in blood.
Dan: Looking like an axe murderer.
Garry: Yeah. Stolen truck is right there, everything. The police officer in Watson Lake arrested him based upon the warrant that I swore, and there was no resistance at all. And then the police officer said, “I’ll seize all Billy Ray’s clothes and all those effects, and I’ll just put him in a pair of Tyvek coveralls and put him in a cell.” And he says, “There’s something you got to know here. When I searched Billy Ray, he’s got a Ziploc baggie, and it contains what looks like pubic hair in it.”
Garry: After he killed Maria, he clipped all her pubic hair off and put it in a Ziploc baggie and kept it with him.
Yeardley: Garry, how long was it between the time Billy Ray committed the murder and you all found him in this tiny town and arrested him?
Garry: Billy Ray was on the lamb for roughly three days. The crime scene started on the Sunday, and I think it was the Thursday that we caught up with him.
Yeardley: How far is where Billy Ray was apprehended? How far away from where the crime was committed?
Garry: About 350 miles. Because of the distance, myself and another detective flew up to escort him back rather than drives too far.
Dan: British Columbia is bigger than the size of California.
Dan: And the RCMP, you guys have your own planes, right?
Garry: Oh, yes.
Dan: There’s a lot of ground to cover.
Garry: When I first met Billy Ray, he was in a jail cell at Watson Lake. My first impression with him was I looked at him and he had dead fish eyes. There was absolutely no life in those eyes. It was like when you look at a dead fish that’s been sitting for hours, very prominent, glazed over eyes. Creepy. So over the course of time, he seemed to take a liking to me, and we just had a discussion. Billy Ray said, “I know who you are. You are blue jacket cop,” because I wore a blue jacket, windbreaker. Billy Ray had been up in the attic, and he’d be looking out a little window in the A-frame of the cottage gable, watching us. There he saw me go into the woodshed.
The second time, when I’d gone back after Billy Ray had come back and cut up the clothes, I’d ask Maria, “Do you have a basement? Do you have a crawl space?” It never, ever occurred to me to look in the attic.
Paul: Could you imagine, during a building search, you have Billy Ray up in an attic? Is there good chance that he had the axe with him while he’s up in the attic, I imagine?
Garry: Oh, absolutely did. Yeah. Billy Ray claimed he needed the axe as an equalizer. I said, “What do you mean equalizer?” He said, “Well, you know, in case I get into a fight with somebody, I’ve got to be at least equal or better. So I call it my equalizer.” He’d taken it from the woodshed. It was there all along, wasn’t his. He didn’t really bring it to the scene. When he decided that he was going to lay in the attic, he went out and get a weapon. He didn’t have a firearm. He had a little folding pocket knife, the one that he’d cut the clothes up with and that he’d put to Maria’s neck. But he wanted something more powerful, so he had this brush axe. By the way, Billy Ray’s fingerprints were on the murder weapon.
Paul: Was this attic big enough for him to be able to swing that axe while he’s up there?
Garry: Yeah. You could stand up in the attic. It had quite a pitch roof on it.
Paul: Because I’ve done this multiple times in houses, where I just push the attic door or the covering to the opening just aside, and I stick my head up there with a flashlight. Could you imagine officer doing that? Next thing you know, you’ve got an axe being buried into your head.
Garry: Could well have happened.
Yeardley: And Garry, how many days was Billy Ray hiding in the attic before he killed Earl and Maria?
Garry: Two and a half. He’d been in the attic before he sexually assaulted Maria on the Friday afternoon. After he sexually assaulted her and she left to go to the police office, Billy Ray went back up into the attic, and then he was up there all-day Saturday till 03:00 AM Sunday morning.
Dan: Did Billy Ray ever talk to you about overhearing you guys changing the locks, game plans, you as a detective, you’re instructing Maria on how to use the police radio and what buttons to push and how to turn it on, all those things? Did he talk to you about that during your interview with Billy Ray?
Garry: He did. He knew everything was going on. He heard it all. There was no soundproofing between the ceiling and Maria’s bedroom and out in the hall, and Billy Ray was there listening to me. And then he was really offended because once I left earlier in a Saturday evening, Maria had a few people over and they were all talking. Some of them were really dissing Billy Ray, and that ticked him off. And then he said that Maria and Earl were having sex underneath him. It just enraged him. Then he could hear snoring, so he knew that they were asleep. So he came down. He kept repeatedly using the word hit. Hit, hit, hit. He didn’t say any other word. It was hit. “I hit Earl first.” “Where did you hit him?” I hit him in the back of the head.”
His head was split open, and then there was wounds all the way down his neck. And then Billy Ray said that Maria had woken up. She was so disoriented that he says, “I don’t know, whether or not she actually saw me or that she knew something was happening, then I hit her straight across the face,” which was true. That was the mark across there. And then he said, “I repeatedly hit both of them.” And as the brush axe was striking, it was getting loaded with blood. And then on the backswings, it was spraying the blood off. But also, we had them reenact the murders and the crime scene bloodstain pattern analyst was able to what we call string the room.
Yeardley: That’s when crime scene analysts tape string all around the room to map the trajectory of blood patterns or bullets, right?
Garry: That’s right.
Yeardley: I always thought it looked like a life size cat’s cradle.
Garry: Yeah. And it was uncanny how close the bloodstain pattern analysts had reconstructed the scene for what Billy Ray told us. It was so similar. I spent 22 hours with Billy Ray later on tape recorded interviews. A good deal of that is evidentiary to get repeated, inculpatory statements of him confessing to it, because each particular statement at time can be ruled inadmissible for whatever reason. So often we do multiple interviews. So eventually, when this becomes the pile of evidence, it’s corroborative. But also, I’m a big believer that if you can get a perpetrator cooperating, the more that you can do to move them towards a guilty plea, you’re saving the public and the victims and the families an awful lot by not having to go through trial. A conviction of something is better than an acquittal of everything.
As I am talking to Billy Ray in one of the sessions, I said, “So what was going through your mind when you were in the attic?” And he started explaining everything in song lyrics. Lyrics of different songs that he was thinking as he was in the attic. One of them he changed the lyrics to just came back to say goodbye, Colin James is the artist. Billy Ray gave me all the lyrics that he had for that pertaining to killing Maria and Earl.
Yeardley: That’s creepy. Garry, how is Billy Ray changing the song?
Garry: In the lyrics, he always used his name as Billy Ray, Billy Ray, Billy Ray.
Yeardley: Referred to himself in the third person.
Garry: Yeah. Referred to himself in the third person. Yeah.
Yeardley: I have the lyrics here. What if I read them to you, and everywhere there’s an I, I’ll insert Billy Ray’s name?
Yeardley: Billy Ray had stones in my pathway and my road seems dark at night. Billy Ray had stones in my pathway and my road seems dark at night. Billy Ray got pains in my heart they done take my appetite. It’s grammatically a mess, but basically, Garry, that’s the way Billy Ray was conveying to you what he did and why.
Garry: That’s exactly what it is. Yeah. When I was interviewing, he had those lyrics down by heart.
Yeardley: Really? There’s a lot of them here.
Garry: Yeah. He knew them.
Yeardley: So here’s where it gets. Ooh.
Garry: Gets really dark.
Yeardley: It does.It says, the viper hiding up in your apple tree. I really hope you’re satisfied. I just came back to say goodbye. Girl, I found your little black book. You know, I opened it up to get a second look. That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?
Garry: It does. Yeah. Little black book and here’s Earl, the new lover.
Yeardley: So Billy Ray basically rewrote the song to fit the narrative that he was telling himself in his head.
Garry: Yeah, exactly. That’s what it was. He was changing all the song lyrics to fit his narrative and his justification for doing this.
Dan: He’s the victim.
Garry: He’s the victim. Billy Ray could never give an explanation for why he was in the attic. He said, “Well, I just wanted to be close to Maria.” It’s all lies to justify his actions. There was no emotion in him, no feeling whatsoever. Nothing. Completely detached from the gravity of what he’d done. Never an apology. Even when he said that he was enraged that he just lost it because heard them having sex. There was no emotion when he was saying that. Nothing. Billy Ray said that he felt everything was in slow motion. That’s why he was able to count all the hits.
Dan: How many times did Billy Ray hit Maria and Earl with the axe?
Garry: 39. 39 times that he’d hit the combination of the two victims.
Dan: Constable Garry, you talk about Billy Ray’s eyes when you first had contact with him, and that they were glazed over. You described it as like a dead fish. I would imagine that Billy Ray’s eyes probably glazed over when heard Maria and Earl having sex. And then after that, it’s like he just turned his brain off and he just went, “I’m just going to kill.” The next thing he does is he goes to a gas station, then he goes to a bar. He’s still covered in blood. He’s got the foresight to steal Earl’s vehicle. Paul really likes to dig into the mental aspect and the emotional aspects of these cases. I do find it fascinating. There are so many aspects of this case where it just screams premeditation, but then there’s just careless moves.
Paul: Yeah. Billy Ray is trying to minimize this, saying, “Well, the rage of hearing Earl and Maria having sex,” and that’s what tipped him over the edge. Yet prior to them having sex, Billy Ray had to grab the axe out of the woodshed, had to develop a mechanism to get up into the attic, and then descend from the attic. So if Earl wasn’t there, Billy Ray already planned on axing Maria to death.
Garry: That’s right.
Paul: Was there any indication that Billy Ray had sex with Maria after he killed her?
Garry: Yes, there was. It’s a little graphic, but there was biological evidence of that.
Yeardley: Why do you assume that, Paul? You said that, yeah, I figured. Talk about that.
Paul: The idea that Billy Ray, after he killed Maria, he’s cutting her pubic hair off. The cutting of the pubic hair, he took that with him in a Ziploc bag. That’s right, Garry, right?
Paul: So that tells me he’s taken a souvenir. He has just heard Maria and Earl having sex. And now Maria is tied psychologically in Billy Ray’s mind to Earl, so now what he’s wanting to do is take Maria back. So he owns her. So he’s now having sex with her, even though now she’s bloody and dead. The amount of blood on Billy Ray, at least the way Constable Garry described it, it sounded like the amount of staining was so obvious to these witnesses that you have large blood stains, like contact transfers, that would likely occur when Billy Ray is laying on top of Maria with these huge, gaping bleeding injuries.
As I was thinking about how this crime occurred and the psychology of Billy Ray, it became pretty obvious that Billy Ray likely would have had sex with Maria before he left and after she was dead.
Yeardley: That’s unbelievable.
Garry: And he did one other thing, and this might really gross people out, but Billy Ray took a carrot and inserted it in her vagina.
Yeardley: Oh, my God. Did Billy Ray tell you that in the interview?
Garry: No. This all came out at the autopsy. When it came to the pubic hair and the carrot, Billy Ray was really evasive about that. He just climbed up.
Paul: And this is something that these offenders, when they are being interviewed, they may be wide open about certain behaviors and actions that they did at the scene. But there’s certain sensitivities that they don’t want to talk about. And so Billy Ray, by him being evasive about the pubic hair and the carrot, there is something very personal inside of him that he relates to that behavior. Billy Ray doesn’t want to expose that part of his inner self to Constable Garry.
Yeardley: Would you say there might be a measure of shame about that kind of behavior, or would it be a measure of pride?
Paul: I think with Billy Ray, there is a measure of fantasy. This is now more exposing his, Billy Ray’s own fantasy, life about what he thinks about Maria. That’s where offenders will get sensitive. They may admit to certain crimes, but they don’t want to expose that inner self, that inner fantasy.
Yeardley: It’s just very private for him.
Dan: Well, it’s not like there was a carrot in the bedroom either. He had to go get it.
Garry: We checked that. There was carrots in the crisper in the fridge. He whittled the carrot into the shape of a penis with a bell head on it.
Yeardley: Stop it.
Garry: Yeah, seriously.
Yeardley: What does that tell you, Paul?
Paul: [chuckles] That’s a first for me. Garry, was this carrot that was whittled into the shape of a penis, was it a very large carrot?
Garry: Maybe eight inches long. Maybe inch and a half in diameter, something like that.
Paul: But generally larger than the average male penis.
Garry: I would say so. Yeah.
Paul: The carrot by itself is a phallic object. I’m trying to think about why take the time to whittle the carrot into a penis shape. I’m wondering if Maria made a comment about Billy Ray’s own endowment at some point during the consensual relationship, and now he’s leaving her with a memento, in essence out of spite over maybe some commentary she made about his own anatomy.
Garry: It could be. I can’t say that I really considered that.
Yeardley: Okay, Garry, so now you have blood evidence, you have Billy Ray’s statement, you have multiple witnesses and surveillance footage of Billy Ray in public places covered in blood after the crime was committed. Does this case go to trial?
Garry: There was a preliminary hearing, but there was no trial. In this case with the key fact evidence, there was just so much evidence overwhelming. And so eventually, Billy Ray pled guilty. He just rolled over and completely cooperated with us. The only question was his sanity at the point of committing the offense. When the psych report came back for his sentencing, three forensic psychiatrists signed off on it and said it’s the worst case of a true psychopath that they’ve ever encountered. The prosecution decided that, based upon his psychiatric evaluations and that could be a chance if we took it to trial. Did he get off for temporary insanity?
Yeardley: So Billy Ray taking a guilty plea prevents the risk of him potentially getting off on an insanity plea at trial.
Garry: Yes. He got the same punishment in the long run. It’s life imprisonment.
Yeardley: And Garry, you had mentioned earlier that Billy Ray had had some mental health issues prior to killing Maria and Earl. Do you know what those were?
Garry: Yes. Yeardley, we went back in the aftermath. We did a real deep dive into Billy Ray. He’d been diagnosed with antisocial behavior. Do you know what the MacDonald Triad is?
Garry: It’s the making of a psychopath. There are three behaviors in youths that psychopaths have displayed. One is a pyromaniac. They’ve known to set fires. The other one is harmful to animals. The third is extended bedwetting. That’s well established. Billy Ray is a classic case of that.
Yeardley: Paul talks about that all the time. I didn’t know it had a name.
Paul: I haven’t heard of it as MacDonald Triad. I know for me, in my evaluation offenders past behaviors, I put the most weight on the animal. The torture of animals, the killing of animals, because they’re one step away from committing that kind of violence on a human.
Paul: The fire aspect, yeah, there could be some predictive things there. The bedwetting, I haven’t put any weight on whatsoever. But it’s interesting that they do find that trend in the youth of these guys that end up developing into the psychopathic type of mentality.
Garry: Yeah. I remember touching with Billy Ray about the aftermath and question, “Did you ever think about setting fire to the house?” And he said, “Well, no, I couldn’t because Carliana was in there.” So, here’s this sympathy for the baby and incredible viciousness towards the adults. Billy Ray told me that she had been in a bassinet in the room, and that was another thing that enraged him that Carliana was in the room when Maria and Earl were having sex. But during the back swinging and forth swinging of the axe, Carliana was splattered in blood. So Billy Ray, after this was over, he took her and bathed her and gave her change clothes and picked up a bottle and put her in clothes hamper in another room.
Yeardley: So Billy Ray’s version of looking out for the baby is putting her in a clothes hamper after he’s murdered her parents?
Garry: That’s right.
Dan: Constable Garry, I’m trying not to open any old wounds, but is there any regret on not checking the attic? Is that something that sticks with you throughout the years is, why didn’t I just check the attic?
Garry: It does. Yeah. I had some real trouble with it. When I finished the manuscript for the book, I ended it with, if only, if only, if only, I’d looked in the attic.
Yeardley: And what’s become of Carliana? Did she end up going to live with relatives?
Garry: She was raised by a gentleman, Jim and his wife. She contacted me a few years ago just to touch base and said, “I know who you are. I just wanted to let you know for whatever you’ve done that it’s appreciated.”
Yeardley: That’s good.
Dan: And Billy Ray’s just rotten away in prison right now?
Garry: I had heard through the grapevine that they gave him day parole and he sexually assaulted his caseworker.
Dan: Not surprised. Not surprised at all. I hear things like this, and I just say to myself, “Why?” This guy should never get another shot.
Garry: No. Not after this. No, he shouldn’t.
Yeardley: So you mean that Billy Ray was in prison and then there’s some part of the system up in Canada that says for good behavior or whatever the case may be, “We’re going to let you out during the day.” Are you supervised? Unsupervised? Is it a field trip? What is that?
Garry: It can be many things, Yeardley. Canada’s law on conviction for first degree is a minimum 25 years for parole. You can apply for parole after 25 years of incarceration. Second degree, which is what Billy Ray pled guilty to because of the risk that he could have got off. He could have got off on insanity. And so the minimum eligibility for that is 10 years. But the judge raised it. He said, “I don’t care whether it’s first or second. This is too severe. The eligibility for parole for this man is going to be 25 years.” But in the meantime, while they’re working up to parole, they give him tests. They’ll take him out on a supervised visit.
Yeardley: That’s insane.
Garry: I don’t know, that’s parole system.
Dan: It just doesn’t make any sense to me. You want to rehabilitate offenders. I get that. But there are some offenses that you’re not rehabilitatable.
Paul: And that’s the failure.
Dan: Yeah. When Billy Ray gets angry and has a bad day, two people are dead. When Billy Ray has something go against him that doesn’t agree with Billy Ray, he offense. He offended on his caseworker.
Garry: Yeah. I think just a common-sense approach is based upon the history of what he’s been convicted of, can we take a chance at releasing him to society? Balance probabilities, no. No, he stays behind bars.
Dan: When you offend and you do something heinous like this and make a little girl an orphan, I’m sorry, you just don’t get any more chances.
Yeardley: Yeah. Garry, you’ve had such an extraordinary career. You’ve done so many different things. What about this case sticks out to you? What separates it from the others?
Garry: Just how tragic it was. Just how absolutely unnecessary and how violent this was. Maria and Earl were two completely innocent victims.
Paul: Garry, what stands out to me, I’ve got multiple cases in which I’ve developed a personal attachment to the victims. But in all my cases, they’re already dead. Here with Maria, you’ve interacted with her while she was alive. Now you’re seeing just the horror that Billy Ray inflicted on her, the violence that he inflicted on her. There’s got to be a personal connection between you and Maria.
Garry: Oh, yeah. I need to add on it that I was with her for that length of time. And this psychopath is hiding in the attic right above us, listening to everything we’re saying.
Yeardley: It’s really your worst nightmare, certainly as a woman. Like, when you think about trying to keep yourself safe, if you’re living in a house by yourself or an apartment and your worst nightmare is that the person who wants to harm you is already in the house.
Garry: I’ve never heard of a similar thing. It’s one of those ones. If it was written for a movie or book or something, it’s a little almost beyond belief that happened. But it did. It’s true.
Yeardley: Detective Constable Garry, thank you so much for bringing that to us today. It’s just an extraordinary tale.
Garry: It’s been a pleasure talking with you. We’ll do it again sometime.
Dan: Yes, thank you.
Yeardley: Thank you.
Paul: Thank you, Garry, for bringing this case to us.
Yeardley: Well, Small Town Fam, this marks the end of Season 13. I know, I know, we’re going to miss you too. But what’s that saying? Don’t be sad that it’s over. Be glad that it happened. The good news is we’ll be back in the spring with a brand-new season of great episodes told by the detectives who investigated them. In the meantime, keep your podcast notifications on because we, of course, have a few treats lined up for you during the hiatus, including one coming in a couple of days. We would also love to see you over on our Patreon, where we continue to produce new content weekly all year round, and you can sign up for that gold for $5 a month at patreon.com/smalltowndickspodcast. Whatever you decide, remember that you are the best fans in the pod universe. Nobody’s better than you, and we’ll see you soon.
Yeardley: Small Town Dicks is produced by Garry Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin and our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by John Forest, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: 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: 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: And join the Small Town Fam by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @smalltowndicks. We love hearing from you.
Dave: 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: That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: -in search of the finest-
Dan: -true crime cases told-
Dave: -as always, by the detectives who investigated them. So thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: Nobody’s better than you.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]