In March 1992, Dillingham and his friend Brian Dennis Salter, both
19, were hired by 17 year old Kristi Koslow to murder her parents.
Kristi did not get along with them after her father remarried.
Dillingham and Salter entered the upscale Fort Worth residence of
Jack and Karen Koslow, using a code provided them by their daughter
Kristi. The alarm system was disarmed and they came in through a
The Koslows were asleep. Following the floor plan given to them by
Kristi, the intruders went into the master bedroom and began
attacking the Koslows. Mr. Koslow ran to his closet to fetch a
shotgun, but he didn't get it loaded in time to defend himself. Both
were forced to lie on the floor.
Dillingham then beat them with a steel pry bar and Salter slashed
their throats with a hunting knife.
They stole Mr. Koslow's wallet, $200 in cash and a wrist watch worth
$1,600. Karen Koslow, 40, died at the scene.
Jack Koslow was beaten into unconsciousness and left for dead, but
later regained consciousness, staggered to a neighbor's house, and
At first, the police suspected Koslow of murdering his wife. Later,
a tip was received from a friend of Dillingham, who assisted in
disposing of the murder weapon. A confession from Dillingham
Dillingham wept nonstop throughout his trial. Kristi's boyfriend,
Brian Salter, testified that they were offered $1,000,000 for the
murders by Kristi, who told them she stood to inherit $12,000,000.
Christi Koslow and Brian Salter both received life sentences and are
eligible for parole in 27 years.
1 Cheeseburger with American, Cheddar and Mozzerella
Cheese, without mayonaise, mustard or onions; Large French Fries;
Bowl of Macaroni and Cheese; Lasagna with 2 slices of Garlic Bread;
4 oz. of Nacho Cheese; 3 Large Cinnamon Rolls; 5 Scrambled Eggs and
8 pints of Chocolate Milk.
I would just like to apologize to the victim's family for
what I did. I take full responsibility for that poor woman's death,
for the pain and suffering inflicted on Mr. Koslow.
Father, I want to thank you for all of the
beautiful people you put in my life. I could not have asked for two
greater parents than you gave me. I could just ask for two greater
people in their life now. It is a blessing that there are people
that they love so much but even more so, people that I love so much.
I thank you for all the things you have done in my
life, for the ways that you have opened my eyes, softened my heart.
The ways that you have taught me. For teaching me how to love, for all
of the bad things you have taken out of my life. For all the good
things you have added to it.
I thank you for all of the beautiful promises that
you make us in your word, and I graciously received every one of them.
Thank you Heavenly Father for getting me off of death row and for
bringing me home out of prison.
I love you Heavenly Father, I love you Jesus. Thank
you both for loving me. Amen.
Texas Attorney General
Monday, October 23, 2000
Jeffrey Dillingham Scheduled To Be Executed.
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn
offers the following information on Jeffery Dillingham who is
scheduled to be executed after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1st.
Dillingham was convicted and sentenced to death
for the March 1992 murder of Caren Koslow. Dillingham beat Mrs.
Koslow to death with an iron pry bar. Jack Koslow, Caren Koslow's
husband, was also severely beaten in the attack, but managed to
Dillingham and his accomplice, Brian Salter,
broke into the Koslow's home with the intention of robbing and
killing them both. The plan was to murder the Koslows so that Kristi,
Jack Koslow's daughter, would inherit their money.
and Salter were to get a share of the money after the murders.
Dillingham's share was to be over $1 million. Dillingham was
arrested after a friend of his, who helped Dillingham get rid of
some of the evidence, confessed to police.
Dillingham confessed to police about the murder
and the involvement of a friend who helped him dispose of evidence.
Brian Salter, Dillingham's co-defendant, also
confessed to police, implicating Dillingham.
Dillingham told police that he tried to plan the
killings the best he could because he did not "want to get caught."
The friend who helped Dillingham dispose of
evidence told police about the murder and Dillingham's involvement.
February 14, 1996 - Court of Criminal Appeals
affirmed Dillingham's conviction and death sentence.
October 7, 1996 - United States Supreme Court
denied Dillingham's petition for writ of certiorari.
February 18, 1998 - Tarrant County trial court
recommends that relief be denied based on a state habeas application
Dillingham filed with the court.
April 18, 1998 - Court of Criminal Appeals denied
relief based on the trial court's finding.
October 13, 1998 - Supreme Court denied relief
based on action of Court of Criminal Appeals.
September 29, 1999 - Federal district court
denied Dillingham's writ of habeas corpus.
April 18, 2000 - Fifth Circuit's affirmed
district dourt's denial of Dillingham's habeas relief.
October 2, 2000 - United States Supreme Court
denied writ of certiorari.
Dillingham had no prior criminal history.
Jeffery Dillingham is one of 3 people convicted
in the attack on Jack and Caren Koslow as the Fort Worth couple
slept on March 12, 1992, in a murder-for-hire scheme hatched by
Koslow's 17-year-old daughter, Kristi.
An accomplice, Brian Salter, Kristi's boyfriend,
later testified that she offered the men $1 million to kill her
multimillionaire parents. Testimony showed she wanted them dead
because she didn't get along with them after her father remarried.
Kristi believed she would inherit as much as $12 million.
In the early hours of March 12, 1992, according
to testimony, the men dressed in black and arrived with a drawing of
the 4,000-square-foot house and codes to disable an alarm system -
both provided by Kristi Koslow. They broke through a door, went to
an upstairs bedroom and ordered the couple to the floor. Jack Koslow
tried to load a shotgun he kept in a nearby closet.
Jurors heard how the man and woman were attacked
and how the intruders left with $120 and Jack Koslow's wallet. Blows
to Caren Koslow broke her skull and jaw. Then Salter straddled Caren
Koslow and slashed her throat. The slashing of her neck nearly
Dillingham calmly told police: "I hit Mr. Koslow
in the back of the head, on the neck. ... Then I hit Mrs. Koslow,
and I hit Mr. Koslow some more. And Mrs. Koslow started screaming,
and then I hit Mrs. Koslow again... ."
Jack Koslow testified at his daughter's trial, "I
remember the whole world turning black. I remember him beating me
and beating me until I didn't remember any more." He emerged from
unconsciousness to stumble to a neighbor's home to get help.
throat slashed and head beaten, he suffered blind spots for months.
"He still bears a huge scar on his throat," says Robert Mayfield,
one of the Tarrant County prosecutors who worked to convict
Dillingham, now a judge in Johnson County. "A doctor said he could
not imagine how the carotid was not slit. The crime scene was a
veritable blood bath."
Mayfield described Dillingham, who refused
requests for an interview in the weeks preceding his execution, as a
regular individual from all outward appearances. "But if you heard
his confession, which was audio taped, it would just chill you to
the bone because it was so unemotional," he said. "He described the
death of this poor woman by saying, as I recall, 'She was screaming
and I hit her with the pry bar and she continued to scream and I hit
her in the throat and then she laid down and let it pass.' Not a
lick of emotion," Mayfield said. "Dillingham did not even know the
victim. But it didn't matter to him. He was going to get a million
dollars. That was the key point. What I argued to the jury is that
he did a cost-effective analysis, and stepping over 2 bodies was
Caren Koslow suffered 29 wounds, mostly blows to
her neck from the pry bar, and died at the scene. Dillingham gave
his bloody clothing and the weapon to a friend who cracked under the
pressure of knowing about the slaying and told police, said Mayfield.
At his trial, Dillingham wept nonstop. "I believe
the jury interpreted that as 'poor pitiful me' rather than any
compassion for his victim," Mayfield said. The Koslows were active
in Fort Worth society and the arts. Jack Koslow is remarried and
still lives in Fort Worth, where he is involved in the business
community and plays golf. Besides a scar across his throat, he has
no lingering injuries from the attack, according to some of his
friends. He has since sold the 2-story brick house with large
shutters, trimmed hedges and a brick sidewalk.
Salter and Kristi Koslow are both serving life
sentences. Salter was offered a life sentence in return for his
testimony. Kristi Koslow's jury chose a life sentence instead of the
At her trial, jurors decided Kristi Koslow would not
be a future danger and gave her a life sentence. Outside their
presence, her father testified he favored giving her the death
sentence. Both she and Salter become eligible for parole in about 27
Dillingham, a video store clerk and former honor student,
confessed but chose not to make a plea bargain similar to Salter's.
"There can't be any satisfaction," Mayfield said of the execution. "It's
just the fact that some crimes are so heinous that the ultimate
punishment is required. It's a waste of life. Not only did he
destroy his life, Caren Koslow's life, he destroyed his family,
Caren's family. It's like the pebble dropping in the pond."
Apologetic Hired Killer Put to Death
HUNTSVILLE (AP) - Jeffrey Dillingham, smiling,
winking and blowing kisses at relatives, went to his death Wednesday
for fatally beating a Fort Worth woman in a murder-for-hire scheme
he thought would get him $1 million from the victim's stepdaughter.
"I would just like to apologize to the victims of the family for
what I did," he said in his final statement. "I take full
responsibility for that poor woman's death and for the pain and
suffering I inflicted on Mr. Koslow."
Dillingham, 27, confessed to police as the murder
plot unraveled some two weeks after Caren Koslow was slashed and
beaten to death with a metal pry bar in an attack at her home.
husband, Jack, was beaten and left for dead but survived. Dillingham,
in his last comments, recited a prayer in which he thanked God and
his parents. "Thank you heavenly father for getting me off of death
row and for bringing me home out of prison," he said.
family members, he repeatedly mouthed, "I love you all, you all take
care." Then he smiled and winked before grunting and gasping as the
drugs took effect. He died at 6:28 p.m., eight minutes after the
lethal dose was administered.
Dillingham's father, his father's
fiancee and his stepfather were led in prayer during the execution
by two spiritual advisers. No one was present from the victim's
family. Outside, about a dozen demonstrators held candles during a
The bloodshed occurred six days after Dillingham,
who worked in a video store, turned 19. An accomplice, Brian Salter,
and his girlfriend, Kristi Koslow, the murder victim's stepdaughter,
both received life prison terms. Dillingham rejected a plea bargain
and a jury sentenced him to death.
On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and
Paroles rejected requests for commutation, a pardon and a reprieve.
Dillingham's lawyers had argued it was unfair that his two
accomplices received life terms and he got death.
Dillingham was the
34th convicted killer to receive lethal injection in Texas this year,
three short of the record 37 executed in 1997 in the nation's most
active death penalty state. He was the first of six set to die over
the next 16 days.
Salter, also 19 at the time, testified against
Kristi Koslow, who then was 17. They both are eligible for parole in
about 27 years. Testimony showed she wanted her father and
stepmother dead because she didn't get along with them after her
father remarried. She also believed she would inherit as much as $12
million and she had promised $1 million to Dillingham.
"Dillingham did not even know the victim,"
recalled Robert Mayfield, one of the prosecutors in the case. "But
it didn't matter to him. He was going to get a million dollars.
was the key point. What I argued to the jury is that he did a cost-effective
analysis, and stepping over two bodies was nothing." In the early
hours of March 12, 1992, according to testimony, the men arrived
with a drawing of the 4,000-square-foot house and codes to disable
an alarm system - both provided by Kristi Koslow.
They broke through
a door, went to an upstairs bedroom and ordered the couple to the
floor. Jack Koslow tried to load a shotgun he kept in a nearby
closet. Jurors heard how the man and woman were attacked and how the
intruders left with $120 and Jack Koslow's wallet. Blows to Caren
Koslow broke her skull and jaw. The slashing of her neck nearly
Execution Set for Hired Killer
HUNTSVILLE (AP) - Six days after his 19th
birthday, video store clerk Jeffrey Dillingham figured he was on his
way to a cool $1 million when he and an accomplice broke into a
luxury home in Fort Worth.
All they had to do was kill the couple
who lived there.But the scheme unraveled. Although the woman in the
house was killed, her husband survived a savage attack. Some two
weeks later, Dillingham confessed to police. Then he rejected a plea
bargain that would have given him a life sentence. After convicting
him of capital murder, a jury sent him to death row.
More than 8 1/2 years after Fort Worth socialite
Caren Koslow was beaten and slashed with an 18-inch steel pry bar,
Dillingham was set for lethal injection Wednesday evening. "There
can't be any satisfaction," Robert Mayfield, one of the Tarrant
County prosecutors who worked to convict Dillingham, said of the
execution. "It's just the fact that some crimes are so heinous that
the ultimate punishment is required. It's a waste of life. Not only
did he destroy his life, Caren Koslow's life, he destroyed his
family, Caren's family. It's like the pebble dropping in the pond."
Dillingham, 27, would be the 34th convicted killer to be executed in
Texas this year, three short of the record 37 executed in the
nation's most active death penalty state in 1997. He's the first of
six set to die over the next 16 days. Another three are set to die
on consecutive days in early December.
His appeals exhausted, Dillingham's attorneys
asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to spare his life.
Attorneys said it was unfair he was the only one of the three
charged in the case to receive the death penalty. But in twin 18-0
votes, the board denied requests for a reprieve and a pardon and
16-2 against a commutation.
Dillingham's partner, Brian Salter, also 19 at
the time, testified against a third member of the plot, Kristi
Koslow, his 17-year-old girlfriend and the murder victim's
stepdaughter, and received a life prison term. Kristi Koslow,
identified as the mastermind of the scheme to kill her father,
former banker Jack Koslow, and stepmother, was convicted and is
serving a life sentence.
Testimony showed she wanted them dead
because she didn't get along with them after her father remarried
and because she believed she would inherit as much as $12 million
and promised $1 million to Dillingham.
Texas Execution Information
Jeffrey Dillingham, 27, was executed by lethal
injection on 1 November in Huntsville, Texas for the murder-for-hire
of a 40-year-old woman.
In March 1992, Dillingham and his friend Brian
Dennis Salter, both 19, entered the upscale Fort Worth residence of
Jack and Karen Koslow. Using a code provided them by the couple's
17-year-old daughter, Kristi, they disarmed the house's alarm system
and came in through a rear entrance. The Koslows were asleep.
Following the floor plan given to them by Kristi, the intruders went
into the master bedroom and began attacking the Koslows. Mr. Koslow
ran to his closet to fetch a shotgun, but he didn't get it loaded in
time to defend himself.
The man and woman were forced to lie on the
floor. Dillingham then beat them with a steel pry bar and Salter
slashed their throats with a hunting knife. They stole Mr. Koslow's
wallet, $200 in cash and a wrist watch worth $1,600.
40, died at the scene. Jack Koslow was beaten into unconsciousness
and left for dead, but after awhile, he regained consciousness,
staggered to a neighbor's house, and called police.
At first, police suspected Jack Koslow of
murdering his wife, but then they received a tip from a friend of
Dillingham's, who helped him get rid of the pry bar and bloodstained
Two weeks after the murder, Dillingham was arrested, and
in confessing, he implicated Salter and Kristi Koslow, who were
dating at the time. Dillingham and Salter told police that Kristi
promised to pay them $1 million each for murdering her father and
Court testimony showed that Kristi wanted them dead
because she didn't get along with them after her father remarried,
and that she planned to gain a $12 million inheritance. Jeffrey
Dillingham was the first to go to trial. He was offered a life
sentence to testify against Kristi Koslow, but turned it down.
He was found guilty of capital murder and was given the death sentence.
Salter was then offered the same deal as Dillingham. He accepted it.
Kristi Koslow was convicted of capital murder but was spared the
death sentence by the jury. Jack Koslow testified that his daughter
should be condemned, but the jury did not hear that testimony.
While on death row, Dillingham declined
interviews with the media. His father, Ray Dillingham, said that
Jeffrey did not discuss the crime with him or with his mother in
their visits on death row, but that he did express sorrow for Mrs.
Dillingham's trial and appeals were not characterized by any of the
issues that death penalty opponents have frequently raised during
Governor Bush's campaign for the presidency. All of the victims and
defendants were white.
Dillingham was an adult with full mental
competence at the time of his crime. Although he was represented by
a court-appointed attorney, the quality of his legal counsel was
never questioned. His chief appeal strategy was to protest the fact
that he received the death penalty while the other defendants did
Each of his eight appeals to state and federal courts were
rejected. The last denial came from the U.S. Supreme Court in
October. Two members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted
to reduce his sentence to life in prison, but they were outvoted by
the other 16 members.
In his final statement, Dillingham said, "I would
just like to apologize to the victims of the family for what I did.
I take full responsibility for that poor woman's death and for the
pain and suffering I inflicted on Mr. Koslow." He then offered a
prayer in which he thanked the Heavenly Father for his parents, for
softening his heart, and for loving him.
He then smiled and winked
at his parents while the lethal dose was administered. He grunted as
gasped as the drugs took effect and was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m.
Brian Salter and Kristi Koslow become eligible
for parole in 2027.
Jack Koslow sold the house where his wife was
killed. He still bears a scar on his throat from the night he was
attacked. He has remarried and still lives in Fort Worth. He did not
attend the execution.