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Anita Andrews

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Anita Andrews Empty Anita Andrews

Post by ophion1031 February 23rd 2016, 2:33 am

June 19, 2001 Napa Valley Register

On the morning of July 11, 1974, Muriel Fagiani went looking for her sister, Anita Andrews, after receiving a call that she had missed an appointment. Muriel was unable to find Anita at her Soscol Avenue apartment or at her Napa State Hospital office. The bar that she co-owned with Andrews was the next logical stop for Muriel, who went there shortly before 9 a.m.

The door was unlocked, but noticing that the swinging doors to the back room, usually open, were closed, Muriel stepped back to open them and made a grisly discovery. Andrews had been brutally attacked and left dead, probably in the late hours of the previous night.

Napa Register reporter John Green and photographer Bob McKenzie were next on the scene. While on another assignment, they heard the initial dispatch on the police radio as they drove only a block from Fagiani's Bar at 813 Main Street.

"Since we were so close, we headed directly there and arrived within a couple of minutes," recalled Green. "The police had not yet arrived and we walked in the unlocked front door. Muriel Fagiani was standing just inside the front door. She looked grief-stricken."

Green, who covered city hall for The Register but is now retired and living in Southern California, knew Fagiani as a local political activist.

"She used to come in to The Register to discuss local issues with me," said Green. "As Bob and I entered the tavern that morning, she looked at me and said, 'John, that's my sister lying there.'"

Napa police patrolman Joe Moore was the first law enforcement officer to arrive, but soon the bar became a beehive of investigative activity.

A composite artist's rendering of the suspect was released shortly after the incident. He was described as a white male adult, husky in build, perhaps 190-210 pounds. He had brown eyes and graying hair conventionally cut, drank Budweiser from a glass and may have been a gambler because of his playing card prowess. Investigators speculated he may have been an ex-convict based on the weapon (a screwdriver) that was used.

But then the investigation hit a dead end. No suspect was ever charged.

Jane Smith, who covered the crime for the Vallejo Times-Herald, said the fact that the crime was not discovered until the next morning was a real impediment to the investigation.

"The person had a real head start," she said. "He was gone."

"It's one of the great mysteries of Napa," said Smith.

One suspect is dead One glitch in prosecuting the crime may be the death of the main suspect. Through computer identification checks, the Register recently found that the leading suspect in Andrews' slaying, Liston Beal, died in Oklahoma in November of 1997. We passed that information on to police.

The late Jim Boitano, the district attorney at the time and a good friend of the Fagiani family, had already postulated that whoever killed Andrews may indeed be dead.

Boitano noted that once the initial leads had dried up, the case went cold in a hurry. He even speculated the murderer could be at the bottom of the Sacramento River along with Anita's 1967 tan Cadillac — which has never been found.

No unusual suspects showed up at Andrews' memorial services but Knutsen said that when Berkeley criminologist Peter Barnett was called in the day after the murder he had hoped to determine who was in the bar that night.

"There were a lot of potential suspects," he pointed out. "The Conner Hotel right across the street was a flop house for a lot of strange people."

Liston Beal was identified as a suspect after investigator Don Jones' colleague Mike Chouinard found his name on the register of a nearby hotel, the Plaza. He had checked out on July 10, 1974 — the date of the murder. It was the hotel register that finally led investigators to look into Liston Beal some 16 years after the crime.

He had reportedly been visiting his ex-wife and children who were in the Napa area. He also had relatives near Sacramento.

Not only was Beal placed near the scene of the crime. His profession matched that of the suspect. One early report had a possible suspect working as a mechanic at area carnivals. Beal had worked as a mechanic and construction worker.

But Knutsen was quick to add that even if they could place someone such as Beal at the scene that night, "it doesn't make them a killer." For some reason, the Beal lead was never followed originally even though the suspect's physical description and other factors seemed to be a possible match according to early witness accounts.

But in 1990, the lead was picked up again. Detectives Bob Bolls and Bob Jarecki traveled to Antlers, Oklahoma to follow up on the lead that yielded Liston Beal's name. Beal, who had no criminal record other than drunk driving according to police, was given a polygraph test which was labeled "inconclusive."

Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation agent Gary Rogers who administered the lie detector test termed Beal, "elderly and in poor health" at the time.He was being treated for a respiratory ailment at a local clinic and staying at a motel near Antlers. He had also lived for a while with his daughter and her husband in Oklahoma City and in a motel in Amarillo, Texas.

Beal had told investigators he had patronized a nearby bar, the name of which he could not remember, while in Napa in 1974. He said he did not specifically recall Fagiani's. He claimed to have retired around 9 p.m. the night of the murder because he had to get up early to "cut roofs for housing."

He denied any involvement in the incident and died after years of drifting and living in various locations in California, Texas and Oklahoma. If there had been any hope of a deathbed confession to clear the conscience, it didn't come.

Investigators said following the fruitless trip, "It got nowhere," although Jarecki was convinced of Beal's guilt. The Sacramento gas station attendant where the suspect stopped the night of the murder looked at a photo lineup, but 16 years after the crime was unable to pick Beal out.

David Luce who was in the bar the night of the murder was also unable to identify Beal.

Other theories

Boitano also had another theory, according to a 1989 San Francisco Chronicle article. The second theory postulated that the killer drove to Sacramento simply to mislead authorities. The DA speculated he could have then driven back to Napa because he had some connection with Napa State Hospital where Anita had worked. Knutsen also noted it could have been a co-worker or a deranged or former patient at the facility.

During the course of the investigation, the case was compared with those of other women who had been murdered in bars in the Bay Area. That investigation yielded little.

The police even fruitlessly checked into similar crimes as far away as Phoenix and Ft. Lauderdale. There was a male friend living back East whom Anita had visited at some point before her death. Police speculated that perhaps his jealous wife entered the picture and hired a killer.

Sherman Schulte of the Napa Police suggested she should be interviewed, but the police department did not have the resources to send an officer so far away without a more substantive reason to believe the trip would bear fruit. There were also other boyfriends and an ex-husband who could have committed a crime of passion. Most were ultimately eliminated from suspicion.

And one of the great mysteries of this case was the disappearance of Anita Andrews' 1967 tan Cadillac.

The car was probably taken by the killer who then drove to the Sacramento area and bought gas for the car using Andrews' credit card.

Days later, someone reported having seen the car on a freeway near Modesto. But by the time the CHP was able to check, it was gone. It's never been found.

Napa police have kept the stolen vehicle report active and regularly check with wrecking yards and other agencies. Detective Knutsen ran the vehicle through the computer system as recently as March 2000.

Murder revisited

The case, partially thanks to The Register's interest, has helped Napa police to reallocate some of its detectives' time. They are dusting off some of the so-called cold cases. Detective Sergeant Ron Allgower is coordinating the effort under the investigative unit's Commander Bill Jabin.

Jarecki, now retired from the police force and a part-time investigator for the Napa County District Attorney, called it, "not especially gruesome but a big-city type of crime." He said it was not typical of previous Napa cases.

"I never did think it was a local person." Knutsen noted the multiple stab wounds from a screwdriver and the severe beating as well as a probable sexual assault.

Napa Deputy Police Chief Gary Domingo said that at this point, the murder case has been in a state of limbo for some time. Although, "every once in a while we get a lead."

Now, more than a quarter century after the crime, Knutsen has re-organized the thick file generated after Anita's slaying. "It may be solvable, but probably not prosecutable," said Knutsen of the crime. Still, Knutsen feels hopeful that modern investigative techniques could be applied and some answers found.

"It would be fun to work this case, to see the methods used then as opposed to today," he said.

One technique used to solve crimes today that was not available in 1974 is DNA analysis. But DNA testing may still be possible in this case. Hair samples were taken from Beal that may be useable.

"DNA was in its infancy then," noted Jarecki. "It could be analyzed now."

They have other hard evidence as well. Chuck Hansen of the NPD was in charge of gathering evidence following the crime and pointed out that, because the crime was a homicide, they still have all the accumulated evidence in the basement of the police department. It is kept in three plastic storage bins.

"Nothing is thrown away," said Hansen, although nothing is refrigerated, either.Criminalist Barnett, who is still active with Forensic Science Associates, concurs that DNA could be helpful today.

"Cigarette butts especially, glasses perhaps," he offered. "That kind of evidence could be pursued, and the same holds true for fingerprints. A cold hit on the data base could yield some results."

And good old-fashioned investigation may yield as much as DNA testing. Registers from all the hotels in the area could be re-checked with a special eye toward the transients who would not have had their own transportation.

"I'd like to totally reinvestigate the case and rule people out one at a time," said Knutsen."It was a crime of opportunity," stated Jarecki. "The suspect needed transportation and money. Sex was an afterthought."

The building sits empty

The Fagiani building still sits locked and empty. A small portion of the old sign that once heralded "Fagiani's Liquor Store — Cocktails" had fallen to the sidewalk. The remainder of the sign was removed before it had the chance to tumble and now sits inside the bar in a dusty space once occupied by a pool table and a piano.

Muriel Fagiani kept the business open for a while after the murder, perhaps in an effort to see if the perpetrator would return to the scene of the crime, but also to keep the on and off sale liquor licenses active until they could be sold.

The Department of Environmental Health conducted periodic inspections in order to keep the licenses and permits current. A city of Napa business license that expired in 1974 still hangs on the back wall. In the back room, beverage glasses, empty boxes of Roi-Tan cigars, a big seller at Fagiani's, and other items, if not for the heavy coat of dust, look like they could be ready for the next day's business. In November, 1989, more than 15 years after the incident, Muriel Fagiani, Bob Jarecki and officer Randy Bowman went into to the bar to search for any remaining evidence. But several floods, including the severe flooding that occurred in 1986, had taken their toll on any potential evidence that might have remained.

Bowman concluded after the visit, "Further pursuit of forensic investigation within the building would be fruitless." But much of the evidence remains intact.

Many of the principals remain alive. New techniques have been devised to assist in solving crimes. Napa police remain open to any clues or theories that could help them solve what has been termed "one of the great mysteries of Napa."

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Anita Andrews Empty Re: Anita Andrews

Post by ophion1031 May 8th 2016, 2:14 am

Slight resemblance to the sketch of Anita's killer and Larry Kane. The sketch actually looks a lot like someone else, but I'm not putting my finger on it at the moment.

Anita Andrews Kanesk10

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