Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: West Hollywood Hustle

A New Lead

Like the other two victims, Klugman was an older gay man, two weeks short of his 49th birthday, and he too had a preference for young Hispanics. He often brought young men to his apartment.

The one problem for detectives was that latent prints developed from both scenes turned up none in common. That did not necessarily mean that two different offenders were involved in similar crimes; it only meant that supporting physical evidence to pin the crimes on someone especially a single serial offender was lacking.

However, there were a number of items in common between the Bayis and Klugman cases that bore further examination. Both victims had frequented the same areas to pick up men, both were killed in a similar manner in their homes, the vehicles of both were stolen, the faces of both had been covered with pillows, and there had been no struggle or forced entry in either place. This seemed to go beyond mere coincidence, but they still had no suspect.

On the same day that the detectives from different areas of LA gathered to compare notes, SID informed the Wilshire Division officers that the latent prints from the inside of the windows of the Bayis vehicle had been identified as those of a person named Angel Almazon. This was good news and they went looking for Almazon. Since he was in the department's records, they were able to quickly track him down. His street name was "Sonia" and his booking photographs showed him to be a female impersonator.

In September, Almazon had gone to San Francisco, so they had to go there to find him, although they were already aware that Bayis had no interest in transvestites. They found him easily enough, but it turned out that Almazon had a viable alibi for the time of the murders. When asked to explain his fingerprints inside a victim's car, Almazon commented that when he'd approach a car he'd often grasp the windows, if rolled down, to talk to the driver, so he had probably left his prints in quite a few vehicles. In any event, thanks to his alibi he was no longer a suspect.

In the meantime, the fingerprints lifted at the Bayis scene had eliminated a dozen male prostitutes as suspects. The detectives doggedly continued their search.

Then Bayis' missing ATM card was used several times at teller machines with surveillance cameras, but when the detectives looked at the bank videos they were in for a surprise. Clearly, two different men were using the card. Both were Hispanic, but one wore a motorcycle helmet with the face guard pulled down and the other did not. One had a mustache and the other did not. The detectives realized they were dealing with two offenders who had access to the same card, and both knew the PIN.

Then one or both appeared to strike yet again.

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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