The Bookie's Wife

Bookie Tried For Wife's Murder And Acquitted

When Bob Angleton pulled into his driveway on a Thursday evening in April of 1997, he knew something bad had happened.

"As I pulled up into my spot, I noticed the back door was open," he tells 48 Hours. "Now I was concerned."

Bob had begun to worry earlier that evening when his wife, Doris, didn't show up at their twin daughters' softball game.

Bob, the team's coach, phoned and paged her but she didn't answer. After the game, Bob drove 12-year-olds Niki and Ali straight home. By then, even the girls were worried.

"We were all worried; we didn't know where she was," says Ali. "We needed to find where she was," adds Niki.

When he found the side door open, Bob didn't go inside. Instead, he backed out the driveway and called 911. Minutes later, police officers arrived, and entered the house. One of them came out and broke the news to Bob.

"He came out, walked up to me, looked me in the eyes and said, 'Was your wife wearing a white shirt?' The message was clear, it was clear to me," Bob recalls.

Doris Angleton's body was found lying in the hallway next to the kitchen. She'd been shot seven times in the face, five times in the chest.

"My legs buckled," Bob says. "He (the officer) grabbed me and he held me up and said, 'Look, you got to be strong for your daughters; you gotta be strong for your kids. Stand up, stand up.' "

As hard as it was to tell the girls what had happened, it was next to impossible to explain why it had happened, why anyone would want to kill Doris Angleton. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger has an update to this 48 Hours Mystery, which originally aired in June 2002.

Doris Angleton was well liked and well off, living in one of Houston's well-heeled neighborhoods. The first thought was burglary, but that didn't last long.

"Nothing was disturbed, no glass was broken on the door, there was no forced entry," says her brother, Steve McGowen. "The only reason anyone was in there was to kill my sister."

To this day, Bob Angleton weeps when he talks about his late wife. "She was absolutely perfect," he says. "She was a perfect wife, she was a perfect mother. She was a perfect lover."

But as police began their investigation, they soon found that behind the closed doors of the Angleton house, things were far from perfect. Bob and Doris each had a secret life, and while some friends knew about his, almost no one knew about hers.

With kids in private schools and a house paid for in cash, there was no question Bob was making a good living. The question was, how he made it. And Bob was evasive when someone asked him that.

"Initially, I would just avoid the question," Bob says. "I would say, 'I'm a businessman. I invest in real estate.'"

But close friends knew the truth: Bob Angleton was one of Houston's biggest bookies, bringing in, by some estimates, more than a million dollars a year.

There was nothing about his job that was legal, so Bob hedged his bets and made a deal with the Houston police department. He gave them information on other bookies and they left him alone.

"I became a confidential informant, to supply information, that would keep the industry reasonably clean," he says.

Doris knew about Bob's illicit career before she married him in 1981. "She was my right-hand man for years," Bob says. "She knew exactly how the business ran. It was important that she did know in case something ever happened to me."

But after about 15 years of marriage, Doris stunned Bob in February of 1997, about two months before her death, by filing for divorce.

Her friend, Mary Lou Sullivan, says Doris was waiting until the end of the school year to tell the twins about the divorce.

But Doris wasn't about to end the marriage empty-handed. Her divorce lawyer, Tom O'Connor, says she was looking for more than 50 percent of her share of the estate.

"I hate to say we were in a situation that was so comfortable. It really wouldn't have made a difference," Bob says. "It irked me, but it didn't get me that angry."

Bob learned a week before his wife's death that Doris, on advice from her lawyer, planned to report their income to the IRS, something that could get very messy for Bob.

Also, Doris' hairdresser, Larry West, says that as her marriage was coming apart, Doris spent time on the Internet, met a man online and began having an affair.

"In fact, just a week before Doris' murder, she was in the salon. And she was telling me about the boyfriend. And she had been to see him that prior weekend," says West.

Bob says he never knew about the affair, but Doris told her friend Mary Lou she was getting nervous.

"She really wasn't sure exactly how safe she was in getting this divorce," Sullivan says. "I asked her point blank if she was in fear of her life and she said, 'I think that Bob cares too much about the girls to hurt me in that way, but I don't know.'"

But to police investigating Doris' murder, Bob started looking like a suspect.

Next: The Murder Trial

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