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:


Pitonyak Guilty: Now My Work Begins

February 5, 2007

Hi All:

It's been a busy 2007. The Colton Pitonyak trial began on January 23rd, and I was in the gallery, along with an often standing-room-only crowd of interested observers. The case is undoubtedly the most troubling I've covered. Jennifer Cave, Pitonyak's victim, was a beautiful 21-year-old, a gentle young woman, well-loved by her friends and family.

Colton Pitonyak, meanwhile, left the courtroom as much a mystery as he entered. He's the Catholic school kid with the wide grin and the brilliant mind, a National Merit Scholar, who moved to Austin on a full academic scholarship. He came from a well-to-do Little Rock, Arkansas, family, and had all the advantages other kids dream of. Yet not long after he arrived at the University of Texas, he began using and dealing drugs.

Over his years in Austin, Pitonyak's demeanor changed from frat kid to street thug. He lost his scholarship, got a DWI and was arrested on a drug charge. Pitonyak spent a month in jail, his grades plummeted, and his life fell apart.

On the stand, Colton described Jennifer as his best friend. She, too, was extraordinarily bright. Friends say they connected intellectually, and her family speculates that Jenn saw Colton like the stray dogs she brought home: someone lost who needed her help. Yet something went terribly wrong early in the morning of August 17, 2005, in Pitonyak's apartment. Shots were fired, and Jennifer collapsed. One bullet tore through her aorta, and she was dead within seconds.

In the bloody aftermath that followed, Colton and his would-be girlfriend, Laura Hall, another UT student, prepared to dispose of the evidence, namely Jennifer's body, in gangster fashion, by cutting off her hands and head, compounding the horror of her death. When Jenn's family confronted him, Pitonyak and Hall took off for Mexico in Hall's green Cadillac. The U.S. Marshals caught them and extradited Pitonyak home to stand trial.

On the stand, Colton Pitonyak claimed he remembered nothing of Jennifer's death or its bloody aftermath, but that he wouldn't have intentionally murdered his friend. His attorneys argued it had to have been an accident. Prosecutors presented evidence that they said proved the killing was murder. The jury agreed and came back with a conviction and a 55-year sentence.

Laura Hall remains out on bond, charged with hindering apprehension. Prosecutors tell me that theyíre combing through the transcript, considering further charges.

Yet this is a case where the trial posed as many questions as it answered. I'll be working to answer those questions and fill in the gaps the trial left behind. The working title for my book is A DESCENT INTO HELL, for certainly that is the road Colton Pitonyak took that led to that terrible, hot summer night when Jennifer died.

In the meantime, for those of you curious about Houston's David Temple case, a new trial date has been set: October 15th of this year. Yes, I am planning to attend. This is, as many of you know, an exceptional case as well, one that's taken seven years and counting to reach a courtroom.

That's all for now. Stay safe!


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With the Houston Women in Crime Ink gals.

Here I am in the courtroom, at the Celeste Beard trial.

...and at a Houston booksigning.