Orange County Confidential

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Sometimes the known is the unknown. On the way back from dinner, Stahl drove up Ortega Highway, which runs from San Juan Capistrano east over the hills to Riverside, about 30 miles from their home. The detectives think Godley, a.k.a. Satton, was waiting for the car, a silver 1996 Dodge Stratus. They theorize that Godley decided to kill both people in the car, either to eliminate all witnesses or because he was jealous of Stahl's affair with Vasco--or both. "Ken didn't see it coming," says Villalobos. "He thought he was taking care of her, and then--boom!--he got his."

Godley took off, back to North Carolina and would probably still be on the run were it not for the persistence of one man: Sergeant Ron Smith of the Pitt County sheriff's department in Greenville, N.C. Smith had tried to arrest Godley on robbery charges a year before, but Godley had jumped out of his mobile home, kicking one of Smith's deputies in the head, before disappearing into the woods. "The Weasel-- that's what we call him here, because he keeps escaping," says Smith. "In 20 years of service, he is one of the meanest men I have met. You look into his eyes, and they look black." Smith primed informants all over the county to let him know if the Weasel turned up again. In August 2000, nine months after the murders in Orange County, Smith got his man--at 4 o'clock in the morning in Godley's father's house.

But it would be two months more before the alleged connection to the California murders was made. Smith received an alert accompanied by a photograph from Orange County, looking for a Tony Satton. "Soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was the Weasel," says Smith. Meaney and Villalobos flew east to interview Godley, who denies all involvement in the murders. On Dec. 11, arrest warrants were issued for both Godley and Vasco. Police believe she was waiting in another car while Godley allegedly did the shooting, apparently using a .357 Magnum revolver (which does not spit out casings like a pistol with a magazine) to kill Stahl and wound Oppy; then he allegedly returned to his car to reload to finish her off. Godley and Vasco have been charged with multiple murders. The suspects also face charges of lying in wait and murder for financial gain, which under California law makes the pair eligible for the death penalty. The case will take a while to get to court: Godley is still awaiting trial on a robbery charge in Virginia before he can be shipped back to California.

But the police in Orange County are pleased to have finally cracked the case. Says Michael Corona, sheriff of Orange County: "People who commit crimes like these need to know it may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but someday we are going to get them."

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