Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murders of Ken Stahl and Carolyn Oppy-Stahl

The Weasel

Fourteen-year-old Kyle Alligood would later tell the police that the next summer he and his friend Reid Radcliff had driven to the home of Ed Godley in rural Belhaven, North Carolina. Radcliff had a job mowing Godley's lawn, and he'd come to get paid. Alligood waited outside while his friend went in to get his money. The boys were friends of Godley's son, Edwin.

Dennis Godley
Dennis Godley

While Alligood waited, a man came out of Godley's garage. The man wasn't wearing a shirt, and he was covered with tattoos. He was obviously drunk, sipping from a bottle of hard liquor. He plopped down in a chair in the yard and started talking to Alligood, just rambling on.

The man said he was Dennis Godley, Ed Godley's son and Edwin's older brother, which surprised Alligood. Edwin had never said anything about having an older brother. The man said that he'd been living in Orange County, California, which didn't mean much to Alligood. Godley jabbered on, and Alligood just listened. Then out of the blue Godley matter-of-factly volunteered that he had killed "a couple" of people in California. Alligood didn't take him seriously; he figured it was just the alcohol talking.

Reid Radcliff finally came out of the house, and he and Alligood drove away. Alligood told Radcliff that Dennis Godley had just told him that he'd committed murders in California. Radcliff wasn't all that surprised. He knew that Godley had had several serious run-ins with the law.

But what Dennis Godley hadn't mentioned in his drunken monologue was that in California he had been living under an alias. His California name was Tony Satton.

Adriana Vasco and Dennis Godley
Adriana Vasco and Dennis Godley

The law-enforcement community in North Carolina had another name for Godley: "The Weasel." He'd earned the nickname for his annoying ability to slip out of police custody. That summer the police had thought they had him cornered in a mobile home in Bellarthur, but he had squeezed through the bathroom window, kicked an officer in the head, and disappeared into the woods.

The Weasel had a considerable criminal record of theft and robbery, presumably committed to support his drug habit. He'd started using crack at age 19 and later developed a taste for LSD and speed. He was violent and unpredictable.

Sergeant Ron Smith of the Pitt County Sheriff's Department in Greenville had been on Godley's trail for some time. "In 20 years of service he is one of the meanest men I have met," Smith said. "You look into his eyes, and they look black." Godley, who was also wanted in Virginia for robbing a convenience store, had proven himself to be a menace to society, and Smith was determined to bring him in. But Smith had no idea that Godley had recently added murder to his criminal resume.

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