Four-year-old Peter Gailiunas, Jr. had just awoke from a nap and was in search of his mother when he discovered her lying naked and unconscious on her bed. Rozanne Gailiunas‘ mouth had been stuffed with tissue before being strangled and shot twice in the head.
Although Dr. Peter Gailiunas had moved out of the marital home a few weeks prior, on October 4, 1983, little Peter knew of no one else to help and frantically called his father. Once Dr. Gailiunas arrived at his former Loganwood Drive home, he called 911 for help.
It was certain Rozanne would not survive and, even before she was officially declared dead, Richardson, Texas, police were treating the case as a homicide.
In the early days of their investigation, detectives discovered the reason for the Gailiunas’ recent separation: Dr. Gailiunas had arrived home one afternoon to find his wife in bed with their custom home builder.
Larry Wayne Aylor was a wealthy and respected contractor who had gotten his start with financial help from his father-in-law after he married Joy Davis Aylor.
That was many, many moons ago, however, and Larry was now in love with Rozanne. So much so he was willing to give it all up to be with his mistresses and had filed for divorce from Joy.
But now Rozanne was dead and Peter Gailiunas, himself a suspect as the husband – a recently scorned one, at that – was pointing the finger at Larry.
Larry loved Rozanne too much to hurt her and he told police as much. Peter, on the other hand, Larry said, wouldn’t stand for his wife leaving him and taking their son. Peter, he was certain, had murdered his wife because she’d told him she wanted a divorce.
There was plenty of finger-pointing following the horrific murder of Rozanne. Unfortunately, none of those fingers were pointing in the right direction.
With the love of his life gone and the $25,000 reward offered by Peter Gailiunas seeming to bring police no closer to Rozanne’s killer, Larry gave in to Joy’s reconciliation pleas.
But an ex is an ex for a reason and, by 1986, Larry and Joy Aylor found themselves again discussing divorce. This time it would be Joy’s affair with old high school flame Jodie Packer that initiated divorce talks.
Despite his previous affair with Rozeanne and a long-standing affair with Joy’s sister Elizabeth, Larry couldn’t bear the fact his wife was cheating on him. For Larry, the marriage was over and he (again) left Joy.
Soon after calling it quits with Joy and despite the animosity between them, Larry accepted an invitation from his soon-to-be ex-wife to go horseback riding at their ranch. Frustrated by Joy’s failure to show-up, Larry climbed into his pick-up truck to leave. As he came to ranch gates, he saw a battered old Ford truck blocking his path. Thinking its occupants may be having car trouble or had run out of gas, Larry slowed down to help but as the men approached Larry’s truck, they opened fire.
Shaken but otherwise unscathed, Larry was certain Joy was behind the attempted murder and expressed his suspicions to police. Although they believed Larry was correct in his assumptions, police were unable to gather enough evidence to make an arrest.
That is, until a woman stepped forward with a confession; a confession that would prove blood is not always thicker than water – especially when there’s a hefty reward on the table.
Carol Has a Secret
The Aylors divorce was final in August 1986 and life carried on. Two years later, however, would find the Aylors digging up bones, as Randy Travis would say.
Joy’s older sister, Carol Davis Walker Garland, walked into the Richardson Police Department in the Spring of 1988 and first inquired if the $25,000 reward was still offered in the homicide case of Rozanne. When police confirmed the reward was indeed active, Carol told them she had information in the case. She told them a convoluted story about her young sister Joy soliciting her now-husband William Garland to kill her husband’s mistress and again when she and Larry separated in 1986. It was a wild and unimaginable story and the police dismissed her claims as an attempt at revenge in a family dispute.
But D Magazine journalist Glenna Whitley was captivated by the Gailiunas and Aylor cases and soon uncovered Carol’s statements to police and went to interview her. After talking with Carol and hearing the story first-hand, Whitley wasn’t so quick to dismiss it. A series of articles she wrote for the magazine included information as told to her by Carol. Detectives decided it was time to reconsider Carol’s story.
Rounding Up Suspects
Carol’s husband William Garland was charged with solicitation of and conspiracy to commit capital murder, along with pal Brian Lee Kreafle, after learning they were hired by Joy to find a hitman. The men had hired George Anderson “Andy” Hopper for $1,500 to kill Rozanne. Later the duo had hired brothers Buster James Matthews and William Gary Matthews to kill Larry.
With the Garland, Kreafle, and the Matthews brothers behind bars and awaiting trial, detectives went to speak with Hopper at the car dealership where he worked as an appraiser. During the conversation, Hopper made an excuse to step away for a moment, slipped out a back door, and disappeared for the next five months.
Hopper wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, however, and police caught up with him on December 20, 1988. After spending a few months in the clink and probably coming to the realization he was going down alone for Rozanne’s murder, Hopper gave a full video confession on February 27, 1989.
According to Hopper, on that October day in 1983, he went to Rozanne’s home and posed as a flower delivery man. Once she opened the door, Hopper had forced Rozanne into her bedroom where he attempted to rape her before killing her.
Hopper was returned to jail where he remained, unable to make a $1 million dollar bond, before his indictment two years later.
Joy Aylor was arrested and charged in September 1988, but was released on a $140,000 bond. While awaiting a trial, detectives turned their efforts toward building a rock-solid case on the femme fatale.
Occurrences during this time would prove to be quite dramatic.
On December 27, 1989, Christopher Aylor, Larry and Joy’s only child, died from injuries sustained in a drag-racing accident in which his friend was instantly killed. The opposing car’s driver was so distraught over his friends’ deaths that he committed suicide a few days later. Joy and Larry fought over the son’s remains for weeks.
On March 21, 1990, Mike Wilson, Joy’s friend and former Dallas prosecutor, was arrested by Federal agents after he was pulled over and 46 pounds of cocaine were discovered in the trunk of Joy’s Porche which he was driving.
Joy was well aware she was most likely going to prison for Rozanne’s murder and her ex-husband’s attempted murder and Wilson was looking at a lengthy prison sentence on the drug charges, so the two decided it was best to skip town on May 5, 1990.
Five weeks after fleeing Texas, Wilson was arrested in British Columbia, Canada and returned to the United States but Joy was no where to be found. One report had her staying in Mexico, but when officials investigated, they found Joy was not there. She would remain elusive for almost a year.
In the spring of 1991, an anonymous tip resulting from a minor car accident, led French authorities to a rented villa near Nice, France where Joy was arrested on March 16, 1991. While behind bars, Joy attempted to commit suicide by slashing her wrists but was unsuccessful.
French officials would not extradite Joy back to the U.S. until prosecutors agreed to forego charges that could result in a death penalty sentence. The District Attorney’s office felt they had no choice but agree to the demand and, in turn, the French Justice Ministry approved the extradition.
Life and Death
Following a trial, Joy Jeannine Davis Aylor was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole in March 2011 which was denied. Her next eligibility date is unknown at this time. She remains incarcerated at the Mountain View women’s prison in Gatesville, Texas.
George Hopper was found guilty of murdering Rozanne and sentenced to death which was carried out on March 8, 2005, by lethal injection. Witnesses to the execution claim Hopper was extremely remorseful for his actions.
William Garland received a life sentence for soliciting murder. However, there are no records for him with the Texas Department of Corrections so he may have been paroled.
Buster Matthews pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole in 1996 and a new eligibility date is unknown. He is currently incarcerated at Boyd Prison in Teague, Texas.
William Matthews also received a life sentence and will be eligible for parole in February 2013. He is presently incarcerated at Mac Stringfellow prison in Rosharon, Texas.
It was discovered Joy’s old boyfriend, Jodie Packer, had assisted Joy with her escape by procuring cash under non-reportable limits and securing fake passports and other identification. He was sentenced to 27 months for his crimes. Judging by his appeals and Amazon reviewer title, Packer still hasn’t accepted his guilt in trying to help a murderess escape prosecution.
Larry Aylor now lives in Culpeper, Virginia, and continues to work as a custom home builder.
Books and Movies
Two fantastic books were written about murderess Joy Aylor:
Open Secrets by Carlton Stower is a very (very) detailed book about Joy’s childhood, her marriage to Larry, Larry’s life and adulterous proclivities, and the men who were willing to risk so much for a woman.
Author Ken Englade also wrote a book about Joy Aylor titled To Hatred Turned. Although a well-written book, it doesn’t offer as much detail as Stower’s book.
Cybill Shepherd starred in the role of Joy in the movie Telling Secrets. Although only available on Region 2 DVD (non-US), it frequently reruns on the Lifetime Movie Network.