Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suzanne Basso and the Murder of Louis 'Buddy' Musso

Bozo Confesses

Houston Police Dept. logo
Houston Police Dept. logo

Police led Basso and O'Malley to the Galena Park ditch so they could confirm that the dead man was their missing friend.

A cop would later say that Basso broke out in "fake" hysteria on seeing Musso dead, while O'Malley was "expressionless," as though he saw just what he expected.

The lack of reaction "just gave me that gut feeling that he knew before we got there," Robert Pruett, Galena Park's assistant police chief, would later say.

Cops took O'Malley aside and asked whether he had any ideas about what might have happened to Buddy Musso.

"Yeah," O'Malley replied, "we killed him."

"We" would prove to include Basso; O'Malley; Basso's friend Bernice Ahrens Miller, 55; Miller's son, Craig Ahrens, 25; Miller's daughter, Hope Ahrens, 22; and Hope Ahrens' fiancé, Terence Singleton, 28.

Group headshot
Group headshot

O'Malley helpfully explained that the fatal beating had taken place at Bernice Miller's apartment in Houston. Musso had been forced to kneel on a child's play mat for several days, apparently after accidentally breaking a Disney figurine.

He was beaten, stomped, burned with cigarettes and "cleaned" with a wire brush. He was dumped into a bathtub filled with bleach and pine-scented kitchen cleaner. His corpse was then redressed and dumped in Galena Park.

O'Malley and other eyewitnesses would reveal that Musso lived a life of servitude, not love and romance, with Basso. He carried groceries and took out the trash. Neighbors said he was bloodied and bruised.

James O'Malley led police to a trash bin, where they found Musso's bloody clothing, bloodstained towels, the mat and rubber gloves.

The six suspects were arrested and charged with murder.


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