Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joe Hunt: White Collar Psychopath

The List

Jim Pittman (aka Jim Graham)
Jim Pittman (aka Jim Graham)

Dean introduced Joe to a security guard who called himself Jim Graham, although in reality his name was Jim Pittman. He was a muscled black man who claimed to have once played pro football and to have won weight-lifting contests. He had fled Delaware to escape felony charges. Yet because he knew things about guns and explosives, he was allowed into the inner sanctum. He became the BBC's head of security.

Around this time, one of the boys figured out that the group was spending around $70,000 a month, but he didn't see that same amount coming back as income. He realized that Joe was spending money entrusted to him by investors. Clearly, things were deteriorating.

Joe decided it was time to pressure Levin to pay them at least something. He decided that he would have to force Levin to sign over some assets and then kill him. He would leave a contract for Microgenesis in Levin's home so that it would be easy to explain why he had a signed check, and he created a paper trail by writing a series of letters back and forth about the deal. These, too, would be planted in Levin's house. Being the organized person that he was, one day Joe made a seven-page list of things that had to be done, that included some of the following:

Jim digs pit.
Joe arrives at 9:00. Lets Jim in.
Execution of agreements.
Close blinds
Tape mouth
Kill dog.

The plan was to take some dinners over to Ron as a friendly gesture so they could have a meeting. Then Jim would arrive with a gun and demand money that Joe supposedly owed him. Joe would tell Levin that Jim was a Mafia enforcer and that he will kill them both if Levin doesn't sign over a sizable check. Once they had the check, they would pack Levin's bags, since he was scheduled to go to New York the following day, and "send" him out of town. Then Jim would go to New York and use Levin's credit cards in the hotels to make it look as if he had actually gone there.

On Wednesday, June 6, 1984, Joe and Jim carried out this plan. They got Levin to sign over a check from a Swiss bank account for $1,500,000. Then they handcuffed him and took him into the bedroom, where they made him lie face down on the white comforter of his bed. One of the two men shot Levin it was never clear who and then they wrapped him in the comforter and hauled him outside to stuff into the trunk of a BMW.

It was Joe's idea to take him to Soledad Canyon, about an hour from Los Angeles. He often went hunting there, and he had noticed that it would be a great dumping ground: anything or anyone left there would never be found.

Dean Karny later testified that Joe had described what they had done at the canyon as an added touch: They shot Levin's corpse numerous times to make him unrecognizable. During this grisly session, Levin's brain had popped out of his skull and landed on his chest — an image that Karny was never to forget. What made it worse was the way Joe told the tale, as if he though it had been kind of neat to watch.

Then Jim went off to New York, while Joe tried to cash the check. He'd left the contract and correspondence in Levin's house, so he felt perfectly safe, but what he'd forgotten in all the haste to get rid of the body was the "to do" list. That, too, was back at the house.