Friday, October 25, 2013

Murder LA 000034

The Fabianos
via LA Times
Thursday, October 31st, 1957. 11 p.m. 

Peter and Betty Fabiano are getting ready to turn in for the night, now that the witches’ and vampires’ sweeteeth have been satiated for the year. 

It’s been quite a year, too. The couple had separated for a while, Betty living with a friend of hers named Joan Rabel. Peter ran two hair salons in the San Fernando Valley and Rabel was an ex-employee. 

Betty only recently moved back in with her 35-year-old husband, who insisted that she speak neither to nor of Ms. Rabel again. 

As the couple turn off the lights and get to bed there’s a knock at the door. Unwilling to disappoint trick-or-treaters, Peter walks out of the bedroom. Betty hears him laugh and ask “Isn't it a little late for this?” as he opens the door. 

Then she hears a gunshot. 

Betty finds Peter unconscious, fatally shot just below his heart.

Though the “trick-or-treat murder” is a hot topic, it takes police a couple of weeks to identify a suspect: Joan Rabel. 

Rabel, now a freelance photographer, claims she was home at the time, to which her car sitting in her Hollywood driveway all night attests. A friend of hers, however, tells police that the woman borrowed her car and put more than 30 miles on the odometer, ostensibly for groceries. 

The alibi is falling apart, now, but with no concrete evidence tying her to the crime Rabel is not arrested. 

Joan Rabel
from Mirror News,
via LA Times
Not for a couple more weeks, anyway. An anonymous tip leads authorities to a publicly available pay locker in a department store. Inside it is the murder weapon, which is traced to another friend of Rabel’s, a Ms. Goldyne Pizer.

Pizer reveals that Rabel had been complaining about Mr. Fabiano a lot -- though she didn’t know him, Pizer was convinced by Rabel that he was a drug dealer and abusive to his wife. After a while she accepted that he had to die. So she bought a gun in Pasadena and Rabel picked her up on Halloween. They parked outside the Fabiano residence on Community St, just north of Roscoe near the 170, and waited a couple of hours for the right opportunity.

Pizer was the one that went up to the door in a simple costume and shot the man. She then ran back to the car and they disposed of her disguise before parting ways. Rather than discarding of the gun, Pizer rented a locker for it.

A year later, despite lying in wait for an obviously premeditated homicide, both women are allowed to plea down to second-degree murder. They are sentenced to 5 years to life in prison.

What goes unexplored in the contemporary news articles is the nature of the relationship between Rabel and Betty Fabiano that so upset all of the parties involved and culminated in the slaying.

Goldyne Pizer is released 13 years later and dies in 1998. 

Joan Rabel dies in 2012.

The former Fabiano residence
via Google Maps