Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murders of Ken Stahl and Carolyn Oppy-Stahl

"Too Deep Into It"

Adriana Vasco and Dennis Godley
Adriana Vasco and Dennis Godley

Godley agreed to talk to Villalobos and Heaney, which surprised them, but he was far from cooperative. The detectives interviewed Godley for five hours, but it all added up to "a lot of bull," according to Villalobos. The Weasel admitted to having lived at the Avanti Apartments and having known Adriana Vasco, but he minimized his relationship with her, calling her a "pincushion," someone he had sex with when he was in the mood. He denied buying a gun from Ryan Casas's friend and said he and Vasco had been out shopping, nowhere near the Ortega Highway, on the night of the murders. Despite his insistence that he had nothing to do with the murders, he asked the detectives if it were possible that he could be extradited to California to face murder charges. They told him it was a very real possibility because they were sure he was the man who killed Ken Stahl and Carolyn Oppy-Stahl.

Dennis Godley
Dennis Godley

Heaney and Villalobos left the jail frustrated. They had a strong gut feeling that Godley had been the triggerman, but they didn't have enough evidence to take to the District Attorney. They were also sure that Adriana Vasco had been Godley's accomplice, but she was set to be released from Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles County in a few weeks. If she fled to Mexico, where she had relatives, finding her would be nearly impossible. The detectives felt that the clock was ticking on their investigation.

On November 27, 2000, Detective Heaney called Greg Stewart to let him know that they had found "Tony Satton" and to warn him that it was possible that Godley had violent friends who might want to hurt him and his family for cooperating with the police. It just so happened that Stewart was on his way to visit Adriana Vasco in jail when he got the call, and he passed on the information. According to Stewart, Vasco's first reaction when she learned that the detectives had talked to Godley was that he could put her away forever.

Within hours of getting the news, Vasco called Detective Heaney. In the course of a long conversation, Heaney led her to believe that Godley was cooperating with them. Vasco urged him not to file murder charges against her until she could talk to him in person.

Ken Stahl's bank statement
Ken Stahl's bank statement

When the two detectives met with Vasco later that day, she had a lot to say. She immediately admitted that she had known that Ken Stahl had wanted to have his wife killed and that she had relayed that information to Godley. She claimed she feared Godley and his hair-trigger temper and that he had gotten her back into drugs. Trying to reason with Godley was useless, she said, so she had pleaded with Stahl to call off the planned murder. But she also admitted that she had accepted the $30,000 payment from Stahl and passed it on to Godley.

Vasco described the murders and the events that preceded them in detail, relating how Ken Stahl had called her from the restaurant at which he and his wife had celebrated her birthday to let Vasco and Godley know that they were on their way. Though she repeatedly claimed that she had tried to stop the plot, she admitted that she accompanied Godley to the murder scene, driving the car. She also admitted driving Godley to the Huntington Beach Pier several days after the crime so that he could toss the murder weapon into the ocean.

When asked why she hadn't just gone to the police, Vasco said she had felt she was "too deep into it" and that she had believed "nobody would help me."

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