Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suzanne Basso and the Murder of Louis 'Buddy' Musso

The Heiress

In October 1995, the Houston Chronicle published a gaudy paid engagement announcement for one of those snooty, silver-spoon Lone Star brides.

The lucky lady's name was given as Suzanne Margaret Anne Cassandra Lynn Theresa Marie Mary Veronica Sue Burns-Standlinslowski.

The announcement said she was heiress to a Nova Scotia oil fortune—that she had been educated at fine schools abroad, had been an accomplished gymnast, a former nun and a selfless volunteer on behalf of unfortunate girls in upstate New York.

Her equally impressive fiancé, Carmine Joseph John Basso, was a Vietnam War hero who had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The announcement continued to describe the exceptional lives of the charmed couple.

Three days later, when the Chronicle hadn't been paid the $1,372 cost of the ad, the paper ran a note that it was "looking into apparently erroneous information" in the announcement.

The betrothed woman with the gilded personal history did not surface again until Buddy Musso's murder.

Map: Texas map with Jacinto City locator
Map: Texas map with Jacinto City locator

It turned out that Sue Basso's life was something less than charmed.

She lived in suburban Jacinto City in a dumpy house filled with a collection of human misfits, dogs, cats and ferrets.

James O'Malley
James O'Malley

One inhabitant was her son, James O'Malley, 24, who lived a fantasy life as a special operations soldier. He wore military regalia day and night, including in bed. His mother had a pet nickname for him: "Bozo the F------ Clown."

 

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