Real Name: Daniel Montecalvo
Location: Burbank, California
Date: March 31, 1988
Details: Convicted bank robber Dan Montecalvo met his forty-three-year-old wife, Carol, through a group at her church that wrote letters to prisoners, and in 1980, they were married. After he was released, everything seemed fine in their lives; Dan joined Carol's bible study group and was actively involved in the church. In March 1988, Carol won a contest where the prize was a trip to Hawaii. On the evening of March 31, 1988, they both were shot in their home by intruders. Although he survived, she died from her wounds.
Dan said that on the night of the shooting, he and Carol took a break from packing for their vacation and went on a walk around the neighborhood. When they returned, two burglars attacked them. One shot and killed Carol; when Dan found her in the kitchen, the other assailant came from behind and shot him. Dan said that his assailant was Hispanic and had a mustache. Gunshot residue tests on Dan's hands came back negative. At first, authorities suspected that Carol and Dan were attacked by the same home intruders that murdered Deputy Charlie Anderson in Burbank a few months earlier.
However, police became suspicious of Dan when they learned of his criminal past. They also discovered that Dan had large gambling debts with several casinos. Dan also apparently went out with other women while Carol was work; sometimes, he would even bring them home with him. One bartender said that Dan once brandished a revolver and pointed it at him. Police learned that Carol had approximately $600,000 in life insurance policies on her. Authorities theorized that Dan may have killed Carol in order to get the life insurance money, which he would use to pay back the debts. This theory was substantiated when two men came forward; the men were acquaintances of Dan's. Each claimed that Dan had talked to them about getting large insurance policies for their wives and then killing them.
About a year after the murder, Dan was pulled over on suspicion of DUI when he fled the scene. He was soon arrested; in his trunk was a handgun and a bizarre manuscript written by Dan. Dan was arrested because he was a felon in possession of a handgun. Dan allegedly threatened officers who had arrested him. While in jail, authorities searched Dan's new home. They found a book in which Dan detailed the actions of authorities. They also found a paper that was for a storage unit that Dan rented. When authorities investigated the unit, they found rubber gloves, ammunition, and a hollowed-out book. On the felt of the book, authorities noticed the impressions of two guns: a .25 and a .38. These two types of guns were used in the shooting. Based on this evidence, in March 1990, Dan Montecalvo was arrested and charged with Carol's murder.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that Carol had saved money for the trip and kept it in a locked box. They claimed that Dan stole the money to help with his debts. The motive for the murder, along with the insurance money, was to cover up that he had stolen money from Carol. In November 1990, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to twenty-seven years to life in prison. Seventeen days after his sentencing, he married one of Carol's close friends from church.
However, in January 1991, his neighbor, Suzan Brown, confessed that she and a friend were the ones who had broke into their home, believing that they had already left for their vacation. They planned to steal money when they entered. Suzan's friend shot and killed Carol, and she shot and wounded Dan. He believes she was one of the robbers, but he is adamant that she wasn't the one who shot him. The prosecution and many police officers, however, believe that she is lying. She allegedly has a history of mental illness and they say she made up the story to get attention. She maintains that she and her friend were responsible.
Along with Suzan's confession, Dan claims that there is other evidence to suggest his innocence. Authorities were never able to tie a specific murder weapon to him or the crime. Dan had also filed a lawsuit against the police department a few months prior to his arrest. He believes that he became a prime suspect after the lawsuit was filed. Also, unidentified fingerprints were found in the home that did not belong to Dan or Carol. However, the fingerprints also did not belong to Suzan or any of her associates. Dan hopes that the case will be re-opened and that the real killer can be found.
Suspects: Suzan Brown confessed that she shot Dan and that her friend shot Carol. However, she has never been officially charged in the case. Another possible suspect in the case is the unidentified intruder(s) that killed Charlie Anderson.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 16, 1992 episode. Karen Kingsbury wrote the book, "Fatal Vows", about the case. Dan's case was also profiled on The Perfect Murder in 2016. This program comes to the conclusion that Dan was, indeed, responsible for Carol's death.
Results: Unresolved. Suzan Brown eventually stopped cooperating with authorities; the District Attorney later determined that her confession was not credible. Dan continued to appeal his conviction until his death from sepsis in September 2013. However, he was never able to uncover any new evidence to dispute his conviction. It is unknown if anyone else is still working to prove Dan's innocence.
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