Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murders of Ken Stahl and Carolyn Oppy-Stahl

A Pair of Ninjas

The police interviewed residents of the Avanti Apartments in Anaheim where Adriana Vasco had lived and Tony Satton worked. None of the residents had anything good to say about Satton. Raul "Sean" Ruiz, who had been friendly with Satton at one point, called him a crack-addicted "sissy boy" obsessed with guns. According to Ruiz, Satton possessed a handgun and a shotgun but asked Ruiz to get him a "throw-away gun."

Ruiz's brother, Raymond, told the police that Satton had shown him his latest weapon, a "Western-type revolver," two weeks before the murders. Furthermore, on the night of the murders, Raymond Ruiz saw Satton and Vasco leaving the apartment complex together, both dressed completely in black. He said they looked like a pair of ninjas.

Later that night, sometime between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m., Sean Ruiz ran into Satton, who tossed him a shell casing and cryptically told him it was a souvenir. Satton told Ruiz that he'd just completed a mission that had earned him $30,000 in cash.

According to Sean Ruiz, a few days after the murders Satton had asked him to hide a revolver for him. Sean hid the gun in the bushes at the apartment complex, but an hour later Satton asked for it back. Sean wasn't sure what Satton did with it but thought he might have thrown it in the ocean.

Another resident at the Avanti Apartments, Ryan Casas, told police that Satton had asked him prior to the murders if he could help him get a gun. Casas put Satton in touch with a man named Oscar who sold Satton a .357 revolver.

Following up on the Greenville, North Carolina, phone number on Vasco's phone bill, detectives sent Satton's California driver's license photo to the Pitt County Sheriff's Office, hoping that someone there would recognize him. In early November 2000, the photo landed on Sergeant Ron Smith's desk. Smith immediately recognized the man in the photo. It was the Weasel.

Tidewater Regional Jail
Tidewater Regional Jail

Smith got in touch with Detectives Heaney and Villalobos and revealed that the man they were looking for was Dennis Godley. Godley had finally been apprehended by North Carolina authorities at his father's house on August 18, 2000, and was being held at the Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk, Virginia. Smith told the detectives that when the arresting officers had driven Godley to jail, he had said something about facing "lifer" charges in California, but the officers had assumed that this was a whiskey-fueled brag.

Heaney and Villalobos packed their bags and booked a flight to North Carolina. They wanted to have a little talk with the Weasel.

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