Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: West Hollywood Hustle

Crusading Killer

Chavez also said that he had killed the men to stop the spread of AIDS.

"They pick people up," he said during questioning. "They don't let them know that they are sick, and a lot of people be dying because of them. That's why I don't like these guys. So I better, you know, stop them. They even killing little kids. If they gonna kill me, I'm gonna kill them first, cause I'm not gonna let them do this to me."

He even thanked the detectives for discovering his crimes because his conscience had been bothering him and he was glad for the chance to clear the air. "I thank God you guys found out."

When the detectives returned to Washington to question Sergio Rodriguez about being involved in the Randolph murder, he insisted again that he had not been there. Detective Luper, the interpreter, thought Rodriquez had been truthful. He might have suspected at the time that Chavez had been involved in something illegal, but no one could say what he really had known that night. They certainly had no proof, one way or the other.

Actor portrays Cruz Chavez.
Actor portrays Cruz Chavez.

But then there was the issue of Cruz Chavez. To be certain the brothers were telling the truth, rather than one covering for the other, the detectives looked to the physical evidence, now analyzable with a DNA analysis. Cruz volunteered a buccal sample from his mouth, while detectives got a warrant to take one from Juan. When cigarettes are smoked, the smoker often sheds cells from the lips and inside cheeks, so a DNA analysis was possible with these as well. The results confirmed that only Juan had smoked the cigarettes and only Juan left the fingerprints in the Bayis house and other places. Several people affirmed that he smoked both Winstons and Marlboros, and he admitted that Marlboro was his preferred cigarette.

It had taken four years to break the case, eliminating dozens of suspects, and would take another five to go through legal proceedings, but Juan Chavez was finally charged with the five murders and multiple counts of robbery. The court appointed him an attorney.

Watch this story and many others from the case files of the LAPD's Scientific Investigation Division, which solves crimes using cutting edge forensics. Only on Court TV. Learn more.


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