Kathryn Casey
Mystery and True Crime Author


Click here to read the prologue to Possessed
Click here to read the first chapter of Deliver Us!
Click here to read the first chapter of Deadly Little Secrets!
Click here to read the first chapter of my latest Sarah Armstrong mystery!
True Crime
The infamous Texas stiletto murder
True Tales of Jealousy, Betrayal, and Revenge
Three decades of murder and redemption in the infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields
A minister, his mistress, and a heartless Texas murder
A mother's love, a husband's betrayal, and a cold-blooded Texas murder
An Altar Boy, a Cheerleader, and a Twisted Texas Murder.
Murder, Revenge and Two Texas Sisters.
Sex, Murder, and a Texas Millionaire
Obsession, Lies, and a Killer Cop
Seen on Oprah! A courageous woman married to a dangerous psychopath.
The third Sarah Armstrong mystery, named a best book of the year by Library Journal!
The second Sarah Armstrong mystery "a strong sequel," says BOOKLIST, now available in stores and on the Web!
The first in the Sarah Armstrong mystery series, BOOKLIST MAGAZINE picked SINGULARITY as one of the Best Crime Novel Debuts of 2009!
Want discussion questions for your book club? Click the titles below:

A Descent into Hell: an altar boy, a cheerleader, and a twisted Texas murder

“Never has a book been more aptly titled. Masterfully, Casey weaves a dark and disturbing look into a world of advantaged youths who throw it all away in favor of drugs, booze and bad company, leaving a sordid trail of destruction – and death – in the wake. A troubling tale, indeed…” Carlton Stowers, Edgar-winning author of CARELESS WHISPERS

At Catholic High for Boys in Little Rock, Arkansas, Colton Pitonyak was an exceptional student, a National Merit Scholar finalist and a sociable teenager, well liked by faculty and friends. He came from an affluent family and had every advantage. No one would imagine that just four years after his high school graduation Pitonyak would be charged with one of the most brutal murders in the history of the University of Texas.

The scene in Pitonyak's West Campus apartment in August 2005 was horrifying, the bloody and dismembered body of Jennifer Cave, a beautiful, bright, young woman Pitonyak had gone out to dinner with the evening before, found abandoned in the bathtub.

By then, Colton Pitonyak and another student, Laura Hall, had fled to Mexico, on what Hall would describe as a romantic getaway. Pitonyak saw it differently, insisting he used Hall only for sex. The fugitives were later apprehended by U.S. Marshals.

In January 2007, Colton Pitonyak went on trial. His attorneys argued that the killing was an accident, a product of Colton's mind clouded by drugs and alcohol and a Saturday night special, a loaded semi-automatic without a safety on it. But their client did little to aide their argument. On the witness stand, he insisted he remembered nothing of the fatal shooting, and, perhaps even more surprising, that he had few memories of the horror that followed, claiming Hall had carved up Jennifer's body alone. "I wouldn't have done it," he said. "Jennifer was my best friend."

Prosecutors, however, showed evidence that contradicted Pitonyak's testimony. Pitonyak, they said, shot on purpose, twice, then immediately began covering his tracks, including trying to explain away the gunfire to a neighbor as a clash with drug dealers. And the post-mortem butchery? Pitonyak's DNA was all over the machete and the bathroom, not Hall’s.

Why did Colton Pitonyak kill Jennifer Cave? Prosecutor Bill Bishop suggested it was all about money: Pitonyak, who'd been dealing and using drugs, was in dire straights, and wanted Jennifer to bail him out. When she refused, he murdered her.

The jury agreed with the prosecution, finding Colton Pitonyak guilty. But the story doesn't end there. This is a case where the trial posed more questions than it answered. Why did Pitonyak kill Cave? Was it really all about drugs and money? What was the true story of Jennifer Cave and Colton Pitonyak's relationship? Were they really just the best of friends?

As a child, Jennifer was unhappy with her freckles, but her mother called them angel kisses.

Jennifer Cave, on the right, with her sister Vanessa. By the time she left Corpus Christi for Austin, Jennifer was a beautiful young woman, with an engaging smile and bright blue eyes.

Here the winter before her death, Jennifer (far right first row) was a member of a large, loving family.

Colton Pitonyak and Laura Hall on the lam in Mexico.

Pitonyak's booking photo, after the U.S. Marshals brought him back from Mexico.

Laura Hall in the courtroom.

Colton Pitonyak on the witness stand