Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kristi Koslow

Dillingham Dies

Jeffrey Dillingham, profile
Jeffrey Dillingham, profile

During his trial, Jeffrey Dillingham wept continually. Wept, says a reporter — not cried or wailed. He whimpered like a scared child, not a cold-blooded killer.

After incarceration, this video store clerk ran out his appeals, claiming he had unfairly been sentenced to death when the other two involved were spared the needle. He had refused the plea bargain that would have forced him to testify against Kristi. Her future husband had no problem running for his own life, though. Salter accepted the terms and indicted the girl with whom he had once been mansion-shopping, dreaming of a life after the inheritance paid up.

Dillingham was sentenced to death for murdering a woman he had never seen, nor met. "Dillingham did not even know the victim," said a prosecutor during trial. "But it didn't matter to him. He was going to get a million dollars. That was the key point. What I argued to the jury is that he did a cost-effective analysis, and stepping over two bodies was nothing."

In his final statement, he apologized for his part in the death of Caren Koslow. "I take full responsibility for that poor woman's death and for the pain and suffering I inflicted on Mr. Koslow."

At 6:28 p.m. on the first day of November 2000, Dillingham closed his eyes for the final time. Eight minutes before, he had winked at his parents one last time, then gasped as the lethal injection filtered through his body, ending a seven-year stint on death row and 27 years of life. He was the 34th convicted killer in Texas to receive the lethal injection in that year. His crimes had not only killed him, but had also torn apart his family.