Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: The Keystone Diamond

The Roommate

The last to see a murder victim alive is usually the first to be questioned. Then detectives fan out from there to include lovers, family, friends and colleagues. It's no secret that most murders are committed by someone within the victim's personal orbit. If one included all the women Dennis brought home, that list could become pretty long indeed.

Dennis recounted his version of events. Ramsdell was suspicious of claims that he heard a car backfiring — anyone within such a close range would have figured out it was a gunshot, he mused.

"The victim's roommate could've been out drinking that night (but) he didn't admit to it," Ramsdell said later. "However, it could've been that he didn't hear the gunshots but he admitted that he heard cars backfiring."

In order to prove this, Ramsdell had forensic investigators prepare an audiotape of three .32-caliber gunshots going off. The tape was played in William's room while detectives stood in Dennis's room and out on the patio. There was no mistaking what it was.

"He's a prime suspect in the first few days of this investigation," Ramsdell said later.

Another thing that Dennis failed to mention was the string of female guests he entertained. Witnesses in the neighborhood reported seeing a woman running from the house with torn clothing the night of the murder.

Dennis was taken to the police station for a polygraph test. The results were inconclusive, meaning that the test didn't prove he was innocent, but certainly didn't point to his guilt either. None of Dennis's shoes matched the shoeprint found at the scene. Time to start looking at the relatives.


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