Reporter Ken Englade explores the complex case of Rozanne Gailiunas, a woman in Texas who, in 1983, was the victim of a grisly, unsolved murder. Her married boyfriend, Larry Aylor, was questioned, but there wasn’t enough evidence to tie him to the crime. It looked like this murder would go unsolved.
Then, in 1988, an unexpected source tipped police off and set in motion a twisted story of family betrayal and murder-for-hire. Englade brings every shocking detail to light in unraveling this complex tale, weaving together a spellbinding narrative of a family willing to kill to get what it wants, and a trial that brought them to justice.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Larry Aylor, a wiry, compact man built like a shortstop, had been up since daybreak. The sun had barely cleared the tree-lined horizon before he was out in his pickup truck, making his daily inspection of the houses he was building in the expensive, sprawling neighborhoods of trendy North Dallas.
One of the reasons he was out so early on that steamy, cloudless morning of October 4, 1983, was habit. In the dozen years he had been in business for himself, the thirty-five-year-old contractor had developed the practice of timing his visits so he could arrive at a job site as soon after his subcontractors as possible. That way if there was a problem he would know about it while he still had the whole day to get it fixed. Another reason was because he was too nervous to sleep. In a mere six days, Larry planned to begin a new life. On October 10, his fifteen-year-old marriage to his high school sweetheart, a once-happy union that had turned sour and mutually acrimonious, was scheduled to be dissolved. It was no coincidence that on that same day his new girlfriend's divorce also would become final. Then he and Rozanne Gailiunas would be free. As far as Larry was concerned, it could not come too soon.
Since he was in the neighborhood after having inspected one of his houses, Larry drove by the home of his parents, which was not too far from the small apartment he had moved into the previous spring after one too many arguments with his soon to be ex-wife, Joy. As he turned onto their street, Larry was slightly surprised to see Rozanne's brown Cadillac in the driveway. In the six months he and Rozanne had been dating, she had become close to Larry's parents, Clyde and Maxine, and to his three sisters, Karen, Terry, and Cindy. But Rozanne had not told him when they talked the night before that she was planning to visit the Aylors this morning. Shrugging, he turned off the ignition and walked briskly to the back door.
"Hi," he yelled enthusiastically, bursting into the kitchen where Rozanne and his sister Cindy, who was living with their parents, were sitting around a small table drinking coffee. "What are y'all up to?" he asked.
"I was just telling Cindy about my flat," Rozanne said, clipping off her words in a crisp Boston accent that five years in Texas had failed to dull.
"What flat?" Larry asked, frowning.
"Oh, that same old stuff," Rozanne said vaguely. "Someone let the air out of one of my tires."
"Damn," Larry said, his good mood dimming. "I was hoping we were through all that."
"Well," Rozanne said cheerfully, "we will be pretty soon. But let's not talk about that right now."
"Okay," Larry said, forcing a smile. Pulling up a chair and helping himself to some coffee, he joined the women, spending an unremarkable twenty minutes chatting about nothing in particular.
"I'd better go," he said when there was a lull in the conversation. "I've got a ton of paperwork to do." Turning to Rozanne, he asked her if she was coming to his apartment.
"Yes," she said brightly. "You go ahead and I'll be there in a few minutes."
Waving good-bye to his sister, Larry left.
An hour later, he and Rozanne lay peacefully on his bed, sweating freely despite the fact that the air conditioner was turned on high.
"It's going to be a scorcher today," Larry said, as much to himself as to Rozanne.
"Mmmmm," she mumbled drowsily.
Larry raised himself on one elbow and grinned down at her. "You can stay in bed as long as you want," he teased her, "but I wasn't kidding when I said I had some paperwork to do."
Rising, he pulled on his jeans and short-sleeved western shirt and tiptoed into the living room. A half hour later, he was deep in concentration when Rozanne came in fully dressed.
"I have to go," she said softly. "It's time to pick up Little Peter."
Larry glanced at his watch, surprised at how the morning had flown. "I didn't realize it was so late," he said. "You'd better hustle. We still on for tonight?"
"Of course," she said, leaning over to kiss him. "I'll come by as soon as I take Peter to his father's."
"Okay," Larry said, somewhat distractedly, his mind already back on his figures. He turned back to his stack of papers, but when he looked up several minutes later, he noticed that she was still standing at the end of the couch. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.
"What's wrong?" he asked, startled.
"Nothing," she said quietly.
"Then why are you crying?" Larry wanted to know.
"I'll just be glad when this is all over," she sighed.
"So will I," Larry agreed, taking her in his arms.
For several minutes they stood there, neither of them speaking. "Come on," Larry said finally, "I'll walk you to your car."
Seconds later she was smiling and laughing, her earlier concerns apparently forgotten. "Have I told you yet how much I love you?" she said, buckling her seat belt.
"No." He grinned. "How much do you love me?"
"The most," she replied, starting the Cadillac with a flick of her wrist.
Larry grinned and waved as she pulled out of the driveway, heading in the direction of the day care center attended by her young son.
As Larry turned to walk back to his apartment, his smile was replaced by a frown as he thought about Rozanne's tears and about how someone had apparently been following her. Over the months since they became lovers there had been one hassle after another for Rozanne, most of them, Rozanne believed, initiated by her husband, Dr. Peter Gailiunas, a Dallas kidney specialist, who opposed his wife's divorce. Almost from their very first date, Rozanne had begun telling him about the troubles between her and her husband. Although Larry's wife, Joy, was scarcely happy about his divorce plans, outwardly she was not reacting nearly as badly as Rozanne's spouse. Opening a can of diet Sprite, Larry sank into his couch and thought about how he had first met the Gailiunases.
The association began in December 1982, he remembered, almost a year ago. He was deer hunting on a lease in the Texas Hill Country when Joy tracked him down with a message.
"You need to get back to Dallas," Joy told him when he telephoned. "A doctor called and he wants you to build him a house."
"Did you tell him I was hunting?" Larry asked.
"Yes," Joy said, "but he wants to talk to you now."
Larry digested what she had said, then replied, "Well, tell him I'll be back Sunday."
Joy tried to insist that Larry return as soon as possible because the potential customer was impatient to get started.
"He can wait," Larry replied stubbornly. "I'm going to finish my hunt. Then I'll give him a call."
Several days later, just as the sun was setting, Larry drove to the address in north-central Dallas that Dr. Gailiunas had given him over the telephone. Parking at the curb, Larry looked at the house and was surprised to feel himself shiver. Although the Gailiunases lived in a typical Dallas ranch-style brick dwelling, not a New England Gothic, the fact that it was set deep in a stand of pines and all the windows were dark made Larry think of the house depicted in the TV show about the spooky Addams family. Chuckling at his silliness, Larry climbed out of his truck and strode toward the front door. Thumbtacked to the frame was a handwritten placard reading, "Please do not ring the bell. The baby is sleeping."
Shrugging, Larry walked around the back of the house and rapped lightly on the kitchen door. Seconds later, it flew open and Larry found himself gawking at one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She had thick, dark hair, eyes the color of Godiva chocolate, and a smile that would thaw Greenland. In her left hand was a chicken leg.
"Oh, God," she said, swallowing a mouthful of fowl, "I thought it was my neighbor. You must be here to see my husband about the house."
"That's right," Larry stammered.
"Well, come on in," she said, waving the drumstick like a wand.
Larry stepped inside and stared at her, their eyes almost on a level.
"Go on in," she said, pointing to a door that led to the den. "Peter will be right with you. I'm still feeding Little Peter," she explained, apologizing for forgetting to remove the "baby sleeping" sign from the door.
The den was a sterile-looking, inhospitable room, Larry noticed, lit only by the light from a television set, which was showing the movie The Stepford Wives. Letting his eyes adjust to the gloom, he picked out a chair and nervously plopped down. Twenty minutes later, when the man who had summoned him had not come to greet him, Larry considered saying to hell with it and leaving. Just as he was rising, he heard heavy footsteps coming down the hall.
Looming toward him out of the dark was a tall, gangly figure with broad, bony shoulders and large ears that stuck out from the side of his head. As he watched the man approach, Larry's analogy to the house as that of the Addams family came back to him. This is Lurch, he told himself.
The man, however, introduced himself in a deep voice as Dr. Peter Gailiunas. Without a word of welcome, Gailiunas strode to a wet bar across the room and poured himself a drink. He did not offer to make one for his guest.
Twirling his glass until the ice cubes tinkled, Gailiunas, a slim man of thirty-six, a year older than Larry, with thinning brown hair and sunken cheeks, collapsed ungracefully onto the couch.
Disdaining the small talk that is common when two men are about to discuss a deal in the making, especially in Texas, where strangers go through a complicated social dance before they talk about anything as serious as money, Gailiunas, a Bostonian like Rozanne, jumped immediately to business. He wanted, he said, to build a new house for himself, his wife, and their young son, Peter III, then almost four. He had gotten Larry's name and phone number, he said, off a sign in front of an almost-completed home on the quiet street where Gailiunas wanted to build. It was a well-to-do neighborhood closer to downtown and the city's health-center complex. He had admired the workmanship on the home he had seen, Gailiunas added, and he was interested in having Larry as his contractor. Did he want the job?
"Tell me more about it," Larry said carefully, feeling immediately uncomfortable with this man, whom he had pegged as an impolite snob and a cold fish. But business was business and Larry was not one to reject an opportunity to take on another assignment just because he felt an instinctive dislike for the man with the checkbook.
"Just a minute," Gailiunas said. "I want to get my wife in on this." Walking to the door, he called Rozanne's name loudly. When she appeared, sans drumstick, she sat quietly in the corner, only half-listening as her husband outlined his plans.
Larry, who was studying her carefully through covert glances, got the impression that she was bored.
In the end, despite his feelings about Gailiunas, feelings that would intensify rather than diminish as he got to know him, Larry agreed to build the house, which he priced out at $480,000. Larry had a reputation for building solid if somewhat expensive homes and he did not feel that the figure he quoted Gailiunas was unreasonable. Obviously, neither did Gailiunas because the project moved ahead.
Before leaving the Gailiunas house that evening, Larry explained that he and his wife, Joy, worked as a team in the business. He handled the construction end and his wife designed the interiors. Would Gailiunas have any problem with that? he asked.
No, said the physician, but he had a request as well. He wanted to get his wife, Rozanne, as involved as possible in the new house. She was, Gailiunas confided, unhappy with staying home. Ever since he had talked her into leaving her job as a nurse in the burn unit at Parkland Hospital, the huge, rambling structure off the Stemmons Freeway that drew international attention in 1963 when the wounded President Kennedy was rushed there after he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, she had been out of sorts. Would Larry and his wife have any objection to working closely with her?
Larry looked at Rozanne and smiled.
"Of course not," he said.CHAPTER 2
Despite his initial strong attraction to Rozanne, Larry was extraordinarily cautious in beginning an affair. The Gailiunases broke ground on their new house in January 1983 and construction proceeded at a rapid pace. Although Gailiunas had urged Larry to encourage Rozanne's participation in the process, Larry could see that her heart was not really in it. Her lack of interest became unquestionably apparent that spring.
One morning late in April, while Rozanne was on a visit to the site to check on some minor detail that Gailiunas had pushed off on her, Larry thought she looked depressed. He offered to take her to lunch at the Black-eyed Pea, a nearby restaurant that specialized in country cooking. Over meatloaf and iced tea, Larry asked Rozanne what was wrong.
She stared at her plate, pushing her pot roast around with her fork. Finally, she looked up and Larry could see tears brimming in her eyes.
"I just don't want to build this house," she confessed in a hushed voice.
Larry's eyes widened in surprise. "Why not?" he asked. It was going to be a wonderful house and he was doing some of his best work.
"It isn't you and it isn't the house," Rozanne said. "It's just that I never wanted to build it!"
Again she grew quiet.
Larry sipped his tea and waited for her to continue.
When she looked at him again, Larry could see more defiance in her eyes than sadness.
"Peter and I are having marital problems," she said, seemingly having decided to unburden herself, "and as soon as this house is finished, I'm out of here."
Larry nodded sympathetically. "I had no idea," he said.
"I know you didn't," she replied. "Maybe I shouldn't have told you."
"No," Larry added hastily. "I'm glad you did because I know what you're going through. Joy and I have been having problems, too. In fact we're talking about getting a divorce."
Rozanne looked at him with new understanding. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Don't be," Larry added. "It happens. But I'm glad you told me about you and Peter because it means we have a lot in common. I'm in the same boat you are."
Rozanne put her hands on top of his. "Tell me about you and Joy," she said softly.
The first time Larry saw Joy was at a football game in October 1964. Hillcrest High, which Larry had attended for two years, was playing W. T. White, the school he was forced to attend in his junior year because of a bureaucratic reshuffling of school districts. Larry had sat through the first half on White's side of the stadium, but at halftime he and a friend walked over to the Hillcrest bleachers so he could visit with some of his former classmates. One of the first people he saw as he climbed the steps was an old acquaintance. Sitting next to him was a slim blonde with large green eyes and a captivating smile. Gosh, she's pretty, Larry remembered saying to himself. I wonder who she is.
The friend did not introduce him, so Larry climbed a few rows higher and sat down, waiting for the second half to start. But he was only half- watching the action on the gridiron. One eye was on the field; the other was on the blonde a few rows below him. He was gratified to note that she also seemed interested in him because she kept turning around and looking in his direction.
A few minutes later, he saw a girl he knew from Hillcrest coming up the steps. She stopped to talk to the blonde, then looked up at Larry, who waved her over. "Who is that?" Larry asked, pointing toward the blonde.
"That's Joy Davis," the girl said. "She's a sophomore."
"Is she going with anyone in particular?" Larry asked.
"Not that I know of," the girl replied.
"Good," Larry replied, "because I'd like to meet her."
"Funny you said that," the girl told him, "because she just told me she'd like to meet you, too."
After the game, he talked briefly to Joy, but did not have a chance to ask her out before her date hurried her away. Larry's opportunity came a few days later.
After school and on Saturdays, Larry had a job as a bag boy at a neighborhood supermarket. A couple of afternoons after the Hillcrest/White game, Larry and a coworker were talking about girls when the coworker mentioned that he had a date that Saturday night with a Hillcrest girl named Joy Davis. The next day, when the store manager posted the work schedules for the weekend, Larry's coworker groaned in disappointment.
"What's the matter?" Larry asked.
"I have to work Saturday night," the other youth complained.
"So?" Larry asked.
"So that means I can't go out with Joy Davis," the youth replied.
Larry beamed. "In that case," he asked, "do you mind if I call her? Just so she won't have to sit at home all by herself."
The youth studied his friend. "Why the hell not?" he said.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "To Hatred Turned"
Copyright © 1993 Ken Englade.
Excerpted by permission of Diversion Publishing Corp..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I: 1983-87,
Part II: 1988-91,
Part III: 1992,
Chronology of Major Events,
More from Ken Englade,