Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Suzanne Basso and the Murder of Louis 'Buddy' Musso

Cries for Help

Musso apparently was cognizant of his fate in the final weeks of his life. In their search of the Jacinto City house, cops found a note Musso had written in a pair of his trousers.

The note, addressed to a friend back in New Jersey, read:

"You must get son down here and get me out of here. I want to come back to New Jersey soon."

"Buddy" Musso during happier times
"Buddy" Musso during happier times

The note asked the friend to contact Musso's niece, Linda Mras, in Virginia, to ask her for money so Musso could buy a bus ticket home.

Yet Musso refused help at least twice.

Bruce Byerly, Basso's neighbor in Jacinto City, told police he noticed that Musso had a black eye, bloody wounds and facial bruises during a chance encounter in the week before he was found dead.

Byerly said he asked Musso whether he wanted him to call an ambulance or the police.

Byerly said, "He said, 'No. You call anybody and she'll just beat me up again.'"

Bernice Ahrens Miller, mugshot
Bernice Ahrens Miller, mugshot

On August 22, a week before the murder, Houston Police Officer Jeff Butcher responded to a report of an assault and found three men in a field near Bernice Ahrens' apartment.

James O'Malley and Terence Singleton were leading Musso on a "military-style" run, the cop said. Musso had two black eyes—"the worst I've see in my career," Butcher said—and complained that he didn't want to run anymore.

But Musso told the cop that he'd been beaten by three Hispanics. He refused medical treatment.

The officer drove the three men to the Ahrens' apartment. There he found Sue Basso, who told the cop she was Musso's legal guardian. She scolded her son for making Musso run and comforted him in front of the cop.

The officer said he was skeptical but left Musso in the woman's care. A few days later he was dead.

 

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