A Brutal Murder

A Multitude Of Clues Lead Quickly To Three Arrests

Nov. 7, 1997, started off well for Stevie Bellush, then 15. She had some good news that she wanted to share with her mother Sheila.

"I found out a guy that liked me was going to ask me out," Stevie remembered. "So I was excited. I had to run home and tell her that I was going to sit by the phone all weekend."

When she got to her house, she couldn't find her mother anywhere. She heard the crying of the quadruplets, her step-siblings, then 2. After looking carefully through the house, Stevie went to the laundry room.

Her mother was there. So were the babies.

"There was blood all over the floor," Stevie remembered. Sheila Bellush's throat had been cut, and she had been shot in the face. She was dead. The babies had not been harmed, but they were spattered with their mother's blood.

Who would commit such a crime? "To kill that girl in front of those babies, you know, I don't understand how anybody on the face of the earth could do that," said Gene Smith, Sheila Bellush's mother.

Police immediately went to work. The killer left a trail of clues at the scene, including a fingerprint, a knife and a bullet shell. The day of the murder, neighbors saw a suspicious-looking man wearing combat fatigues near the Bellush's house.

They also noticed a white car with Texas license plates. Police tracked that plate, and four days later obtained a warrant charging Jose Luis Del Toro Jr. with first-degree murder.

Two weeks later, after an international search, Del Toro was arrested in Monterrey, Mexico.

Police believed they had a strong case against Del Toro. His fingerprint matches the one found at the murder scene, and police said that a gun discovered inside Del Toro's car was used to shoot Sheila Bellush. Also found in the car: directions to the Bellush house.

But a deeper question remained unanswered: Why was Bellush murdered? The house wasn't robbed. And police say Del Toro didn't know Bellush.

Texas police also arrested Del Toro's cousin, Sammy Gonzales, and a golf hustler named Danny Rocha. Both men were accused of helping Del Toro plan the murder. None of the suspects apparently knew Bellush.

But investigators focused on someone who did: Bellush's ex-husband, Allen Blackthorne.

Stevie, who is Sheila Bellush and Blackthorne's biological daughter, told police the day of the murder that she thought her father may have been involved.

Said Stevie: "The first person that came into my mind was Allen Blackthorne. That was the only logical explanation for this." Stevie said that her father hated Bellush.

Sheila Bellush had known this and had been extremely worried that her ex-husband would try to hurt her somehow, her husband Jamie Bellush said.

"He's evil, pure evil," Sheila Bellush's mother Smith said. "He's the only person on the face of the earth that ever hurt Sheila."

Sheila's younger sister Kerry says she heard Blackthorne threaten to kill heila.

Go on to Who Is Allen Blackthorne?

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