Saturday, January 15, 2011

Walter Waldhauser & The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit

One of the many reasons that I was excited about getting to work for the Harris County District Attorney's Office back in 1999 was that I would finally get to meet some of the heroes that I had read about in True Crime books as I was growing up.  As I've mentioned before, there are many books about famous and notorious crimes that happened in Harris County.

Out of all the books that I read, my hands-down favorite was The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit by Rick Nelson which was written about then-HPD Homicide Detective Johnny Bonds.  The book outlines how Johnny investigated the murders of John, Diana and Kevin Wanstrath, a husband and wife and their 14-month old son.  I highly recommend reading the book, if you can find it in print.

Johnny became one of my biggest heroes after reading it. The case had originally been ruled a double-murder/suicide until Johnny spent two years proving it was a murder for hire.  Along the way, he also proved that the killers involved in the case had also murdered Diana Wanstrath's mother.

The crimes were horrific and they were all for money.

Ultimately, two men would receive the death penalty on the case -- one was the shooter and the other was the person who hired him.  A third person, however, received 30 years in prison.

Which is why I'm writing this post today, on Johnny's behalf.

That third person's name was Walt Waldhauser, who after paroling out for the four murders he was responsible for, changed his name to Michael Lee Davis and began operating financial scams out of Dallas.  If I recall correctly, those scams involved him bilking terminally ill AIDS patients out of their insurance money.  Those actions landed him back in prison for 60 years, but he's already up for parole again.

Johnny and I (and pretty much anybody who is opposed to quadruple murders for money that also involve the deaths of small children) are hoping that YOU will help keep Waldhauser in prison by contacting the parole board and letting them know that you, John Q. Citizen, oppose his release.

Brian Rogers did a great article on the Waldhauser situation with this article yesterday, and KHOU also did this piece on the story.  (NOTE:  Watch the video on the KHOU story.  You'll see some familiar faces involved in the case.)

Both pieces are great, and I hope you will want to contact the Parole Board to let them know that anyone who would show no remorse over the murder of four people (including a 14-month old child) doesn't deserve to be paroled.

If you have time, please let the representatives of the Parole Board know how you feel.  You can contact them by e-mail with a reference line of "RE: DAVIS, MICHAEL LEE TDCJ ID: 00933173".

Alternate means of contacting them are calling 1-800-848-4284 or 512-406-5900.

You can also write a letter to:

Angela McCown, Director
Victim Services Division
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd., Suite 265
Austin, TX 78757-6899

Guys, Johnny has battled cancer and is fighting it off a second time.  If he's got the energy to mobilize and try to keep this guy in prison, writing a quick e-mail doesn't seem so much to ask.


Anonymous said...

Lots of good stuff on this guy at this link

Jim Bell said...

As I recall, HPD Det. Bonds simply refused to buy the official ruling in the deaths of the Wanstraths. The Medical Examiner, Dr. Joseph Jachimczyk, inexplicably ruled "double murder-suicide", despite the troubling fact that the weapon used to do the killings and the suicide was never found.

Johnny Bonds refused to go along with that, especially when he learned of the death of Mrs Wanstrath's mother - which was also initially ruled a suicide.

Walter Waldhauser, who changed his name to Michael Davis when he got out of prison, got in trouble again when he went into the ghoulish business buying life insurance policies from AIDS patients and other terminally ill people who needed money desperately.

He would give them a fraction of their policy benefit in cash -- usually at only 20 or 30 cents on the dollar, and in return they would make him the beneficiary of the policy so he could cash in when they died. He regarded it as an investment in a sure thing.

It's not illegal, but Waldhauser/Davis

Anonymous said...


Has anyone ever traced his geneology to see if he's somehow related to Pat ... That self centered, borderline type personality of a psychopath may have a doppelganger one floor up from us on 5!!!

just sayin...

But how true!! After reading what the Houston Press and KHOU did on this a**hole, no one in their right mind could say that he is deserving of the privilege like parole. Prosecution or Defense, common sense screams it; No Parole for this jackass!

BLACK INK said...

Johnny Bonds is a cops' cop.....they just don't make them any better.
I am proud to know Johnny and have the utmost respect for him at every level.

This case, however, begs the question as to whether or not Johnny should be criticized or praised for being a "win at all costs" cop.

Is Johnny's hard work, dedication and tenacity appropriate or not in law enforcement?

Has anyone asked Pat Lykos and her inner circle whether or not Johnny worked too hard on this case and is guilty of "winning at all costs"?

Is, "The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit", a secret acceptable code phrase for "The Cop Who Wins at all Costs"?

How actions are packaged for the malleable public is evidently more important than the actions themselves; or at least so it seems.....

Sid Crowley said...

I was with the DA's office when those cases were first tried and watched the closing arguments of Bob Moen in Janecka's trial and Mac Arnold against Duff-Smith. When I later became Chief in the 248th where Janecka was tried I saw the crime scene photos of the baby shot in his crib. They were simply awful. Waldhauser's 30 year sentence was a gift, he deserved the death penalty along with the rest of them. As an aside, Duff-Smith actually received the death penalty for the earlier murder of his adoptive mother, Gertrude Zabolio and not for the Wanstrath killings.

Renee said...

Was Waldhauser released? I dated him, not knowing who he was, after he was released for the murders. As mentioned, he presented himself as Michael Davis. I looked him up as a Texas inmate and didn't find him. Is he out again?

Anonymous said...

No Renee
Hi is still in prison.

Theresa said...

Johnny Bonds is a great man! He investigated my brother's case in Houston back in '02+ He never gave up on me and was always patient, kind and eager to lend the ear. Anyone should be proud to know him or have worked with him.He doesn't quit until it's time & they really don't make them any better.

Jack said...

Diana Wanstrath and her mother Trudy Zabolio were my 2nd cousin and my great aunt respectively. If there is any more activity on paroling Waldhauser/Davis, I'd like to know about it so I can oppose parole.