Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Jeanne Tovrea


Harrod and Hap Tovrea
Harrod and Hap Tovrea

During the illuminating interview, Anne Costello revealed to Reynolds that according to Harrod, Hap and his sisters hated Jeanne for spending what they believed to be their money. She claimed that Harrod also "agreed to be Hap Tovrea's 'coordinator' for the murder, not the hit man" and that he promised to pay Harrod "$100,000 for his services, which included hiring the killers," Rubin stated. Anne further claimed that on the eve of the murder, she saw Harrod, dressed in camouflage and hiking boots leave their home with a duffle bag, in which she suspected his guns were concealed. Upon his departure, she allegedly checked to see if the guns were in the place he normally left them and noticed that they were missing. The weapons were returned to their position the following day.

Jeanne Tovrea
Jeanne Tovrea

At around 2 a.m. on the night of the murder, Anne said that Harrod came home and woke her. She asked him if he "did it" to which he replied, "Yes, it's over." According to Paul Rubin's article, Harrod later told her that two hit men were involved in the Jeanne's murder. She claimed in the report that after the gruesome job was completed, Harrod paid the men a portion of the money he received from Hap. She further stated that Harrod was angered that Hap paid him only $40,000, less than half of the money they had agreed on.

Anne's shocking and detailed account of what her ex-husband allegedly did was the evidence investigators had been looking for. However, more proof was needed to support their contention that Hap masterminded and financed what increasingly appeared to be a premeditated murder. Investigators spent the better part of a year analyzing the immense amount of evidence they had compiled.

During their investigation, the police discovered that Hap and Harrod were acquainted since 1987 when they were introduced to one another by mutual friend. Rubin wrote that "though the two came from disparate backgrounds," Harrod grew up in a middle-class household and Hap had a more privileged background, they "both were big talkers who eschewed the 9-5 life and had flitted from project to project without hitting the jackpot." The men also embarked on a business venture together in 1988 when Hap, the chief executive officer of Minerals Exploration Corporation of the Americas (MECA), a Chilean sulfur mining firm, decided to expand his operation to China. Harrod received money from Hap for "consulting services."

Despite all the evidence linking Harrod to Hap, there was virtually no evidence connecting Hap directly to Jeanne's murder. Investigators finally decided to arrest Harrod, since the evidence against him was more solid. They hoped that after presenting Harrod with some of what they knew he might confess to being involved in the crime and implicate Hap. It was a risk but the odds were looking good at the time. Unfortunately, their strategy wouldn't go as smoothly as planned.