Read Luggage By Kroger: A True Crime Memoir Online

Authors: Gary Taylor

Tags: #crime, #dallas, #femme fatale, #houston, #journalism, #law, #lawyers, #legal thriller, #memoir, #mental illness, #murder, #mystery, #noir, #stalkers, #suicide, #suspense, #texas, #true crime, #women

Luggage By Kroger: A True Crime Memoir (50 page)

BOOK: Luggage By Kroger: A True Crime Memoir
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

First, that conviction forced the
State Bar of Texas to suspend her license to practice law until
1988, when she completed the terms with an early discharge. As a
result, she could not work as an attorney, and I knew in 1983 that
would be a tremendous punishment for her—likely as severe as time
in prison. Also, at that time, the overcrowded Texas prison system
was granting early release paroles in record numbers, so I expected
she would have spent only a couple of years in prison even if
another jury decided to send her. In addition, no one believed she
would ever be able to comply with the restrictive terms of
probation, and most were stunned to learn five years later that she

Most importantly for me, however, was the
guarantee that Catherine would march into a courtroom and admit
what happened that night as part of a guilty plea. She could never
take it back. And she could never complain that a rubber stamp jury
of prosecutorial puppets had railroaded her. To me, the guilty plea
was worth more than the punishment.

But that still wasn't the end of
Catherine as a lawyer. She rose from her own ashes as soon as
probation ended. Reinstated and remarried, she moved from her
temporary home in West Texas to Dallas and started a new career
under her married name there. She developed a successful practice
for a few years handling a variety of immigration, divorce, and
criminal matters. But then a new controversy disrupted her life in
1999, when a former legal associate and the associate's husband
were ambushed outside their home in a shotgun attack that took the
husband's life. That investigation ultimately led to conviction of
Catherine's husband on a murder charge and a sentence of life in
prison for him. Although prosecutors tried to implicate Catherine
in the attack, they failed to compile enough evidence. She was
never charged, and her husband did not accuse her. Seriously
wounded, the associate testified that Catherine had been on the
scene of the attack, giving the man instructions, and telling him
"Don't be a pussy."

That case put
Catherine back in the media spotlight as the subject of a
three-part series in
Dallas Morning News
and a
segment of the CBS-TV news magazine
. The reporters dogging her tracks in
that case found me in her background as the only alleged target who
had successfully orchestrated a conviction. Besides the murder of
the associate's husband, police up there also found a man hanging
nude with a plastic bag around his head in the closet of a rent
house she owned. But they had to settle for a ruling of accidental
death during erotic asphyxiation, striking out again with her. That
discovery prompted a reporter from one TV station to call me and
ask if we were having "kinky sex" back in 1979. I just repeated
what Catherine always had said: "We were actually like two little
mice. Nothing fancy." I told the newspaper: "She was a lot of fun
when she wasn't trying to kill me." And, I said it looked like
Catherine had more death and violence in her life than most of my
friends who had served in Vietnam.

Following the murder case, the State Bar took
a new interest in her and tried to cancel her license to practice
law based on complaints from some of the immigrants she had
represented. But she stood her ground and had not lost her license
as recently as 2007.

Also as predicted by my attorney,
Fred Dailey, Cindy did finally sort things out and decide she
wanted to be reinstated as primary custodian for the girls. As part
of her religious epiphany she had decided to move to central Texas
and live on a farm with some of her new friends, taking the girls
along. She hired a lawyer and sued to overturn my custody order.
After a five-day jury trial, however, I won permanent custody of
the girls. I am proud to note that I did everything possible to
allow them to develop a relationship with their mother, and they
managed to do that. She remarried and returned to Houston a few
years later, finding a house just a few miles from me. We developed
a shared custody arrangement that helped heal the wounds of the
past as much as possible. But our relationship never recovered. At
one point, for example, Cindy asked me to sign a Vatican agreement
annulling our marriage so she could have a fresh start in the
Catholic church. I refused. But I always have considered it a mark
of distinction to boast that one of my wives hated me so much she
wanted the Pope to erase our marriage from the permanent records.
I'm happy to report that Cindy did manage to find true love and
rebuild her life.

Jim Strong left journalism and became an
emergency services director for a neighboring county. I always
assumed his experience dealing with my emergencies had prepared him
well for that position, but I still have difficulty imagining it

Uncle Al's whereabouts are largely
unknown, and that is probably for the best. Someone circulated a
rumor he had started a skeet shooting range that flings old
telephones into the air for targets—but I never took that

As for me and the girls, I managed
to create a successful freelance writing business that lasted until
they graduated from high school. During the 1980s and 1990s I wrote
for some of the nation's premier publications while working at home
to care for them as they grew. Somehow I managed to keep the lights
turned on and the refrigerator full. Although I lost touch with a
lot of my friends at the newspaper, I often would hear about
someone snickering to learn that I was serving as chairman of a
Brownie Scout cookie sale or coaching a little girls' fast pitch
softball team. But the girls grew up, went to college, found
careers, and started families of their own.

My relationship
with Catherine developed some national notoriety of its own in 1987
when the movie
Fatal Attraction
captured the public's imagination. I was
interviewed as part of a
magazine cover story about true-life fatal
attractions, and that article led to my appearance on a number of
television talk shows, including Oprah Winfrey, Sally Jesse Raphael
and Regis Philbin. For a brief period in the late 1980s, I became
the poster boy for true-life fatal attractions. Although often
invited to join me on these shows, Catherine never did. I received
no financial compensation for my appearances. But I always enjoyed
the experiences and found it educational to sit in the interview
subject's seat for a change of pace. I always learned something
about the interview process on each of these shows. I also found it
difficult to deny interview requests from my brethren in the media,
even when they tried to get tough with their questions. And I
always enjoyed the reaction from audiences who heard the story. I
remember one guy in Sally Jesse's audience shouting, "Hey man,
that's really cool. You ran a sting on a killer."

Fatal Attraction
talk show attention, our story also caught the eye
of television docudrama producers who twice optioned parts of it
for fictionalized treatments. Two scripts were written and one of
them produced. But neither ever aired, to my

After Catherine's probation was
announced in 1983, George Tedesco's father invited me to lunch. We
met at a place called Zimm's Wine Bar, and he came straight to the
point, inviting me to join him in a plot to kill her. I guess he
thought I would be a natural ally in his vendetta and believed me
unhappy with the outcome of my case. I refused his offer and told
him abruptly: "This conversation never occurred." Then I returned
to my apartment to find it had been burglarized during our lunch,
with my .357 Magnum pistol the only thing missing. I reported the
burglary to the police and to Bert Graham. I suspected someone
wanted to use my pistol on Catherine so they could blame me, but
that apparently never happened. And I never replaced the

As I write this on my sixtieth
birthday in 2007, I have not seen Catherine since that afternoon at
Pier 21 in September 1980. But I think about her often, and I
consider that healthy. I'm always looking over my shoulder and try
to stay prepared for the day when she returns to complete her list
of unfinished business. I believe she would have no logical reason
beyond mere vengeance to make another attempt on my life, since all
the damage already is done. On the off chance that I have
underestimated her, however, I have made arrangements for a backup
plan. I retained the Tedesco family's private investigator, Kent
Ferguson, to investigate my death whenever it occurs. Catherine
might take the last action in our turbulent relationship. But I
remain determined to have the final word.

BOOK: Luggage By Kroger: A True Crime Memoir
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Forbidden Embers by Tessa Adams
Scare Tactics by John Farris
Surrender To You by Janey, C.S.
A New York Love Story by Cassie Rocca
The Sunshine Dame of Doom by Fizzotti, Marcos
Unexpected by Faith Sullivan
The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh
Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman