Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kristi Koslow

Evil Stepmother?

Caren Koslow
Caren Koslow

A friend of Salter's younger sister testified Kristi was very negative about her stepmother. It's one thing to think things, but to tell friends and even siblings of friends, and then their friends is another. "Step-witch" and "step-bitch" are just two terms this girl said she had heard repeatedly spoken by Kristi.

The medical examiner of Tarrant County showed jurors photos of Caren's mutilated body during Kristi's trial in the summer of 1994. Gaping wounds and blood-saturated clothes were too much for Caren's sister. She had to leave the courtroom while the autopsy findings were discussed in grisly detail.

After sustaining twenty-nine wounds in all, Caren died after a fatal blow to the neck with the pry bar, which crushed her larynx, causing her to suffocate. Salter admitted that after the beatings, he cut both the victims' necks. Kristi's stepmother had a deep, foot-long slash across her throat, which would have been fatal, had she still even been alive.

The jury then was shown a video of Caren's stepdaughter in the midst of a nervous laugh, the day after the murders, 12 days before her arrest. "It's scary," the young mastermind said to the cameras. "It's hard not knowing why someone would do this."  Kristi said she and Caren were as close as stepdaughter and stepmother could be, and that no one hated her father's wife in any way she knew of.

What truly was scary, people in the quiet Fort Worth community began to think, is that first, this could happen in their neighborhood, and second, that hatred for a well-respected woman ran so deep in a step-daughter she tried to love.

Kristi's statement to police rambled into the "horrible" feelings she felt about "everything they said and had done to me." Parenting in River Crest had become dangerous and loving homes were no longer considered safe, especially when a child such as Kristi, who had been provided everything she wanted, was now being implicated for murder.

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