August 25, 1998
Jacinto City, Texas
Suzanne Basso and 5 accomplices beat Busso’s mentally impaired lover past recognition
Basso had convinced the victim, Louis “Buddy” Musso, to move to Texas away from his family in New Jersey. Musso was mentally impaired but lived independently. His niece described him as having a mind of a 7- to 10-year-old child.
Basso attempted unsuccessfully to name herself payee of Musso’s social security benefits checks. She also claimed to be Musso’s “wife to be” and named herself beneficiary of his life insurance policies and had herself named the sole recipient of his estate in Musso’s Last Will and Testament.
On August 25, 1998, Musso succumbed to injuries inflicted over the course of 5 days. He was beaten with belts, a vacuum cleaner, and baseball bats, kicked with steel-toed boots, whipped, endured a blow to the head resulting in a hinge fracture, was burned with cigarettes or a poker on his back, was bathed in bleach and other chemicals which were scrubbed on his skin with a wire brush, had hundreds of bruises all over his body to the point examiners could not count them all, and received a broken nose and broken ribs. The fatal injury was from a skull fracture that left an X-shaped laceration on his scalp. In total, Musso was struck 18 to 19 times just in his head. The 6 assailants then dumped Musso’s body in a ditch where he was later found by a jogger.
Basso attempted to convince neighbors Musso had run away with a “little Mexican lady” before his body was discovered. When witnesses stepped forward about seeing Musso with black eyes and bruises a week before his murder (which he claimed he got in a fight with “some Mexicans”), coupled with Basso’s attempts of financial gain at Musso’s expense, attention quickly turned on her.
Basso was tried with the 5 others: James “JD” O’Malley (Busso’s son), Bernice Ahrens (Busso’s friend), Craig Ahrens (Bernice’s son), Hope Ahrens (Bernice’s daughter) and Terrance Singleton (Hope’s fiancé). While all were convicted, only Basso was sought for the death penalty which she received. She was executed by lethal injection on February 5, 2014.
More horrific history from today:
1835: The Great Moon Hoax (2017)
1924: Scars self to dissuade attention (2017)
1955: Child beaten with hammer for singing (2017)
1993: Convicted murderer of five, including two children, is executed (2018)
Today in Horror History: August 25