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Wednesday 12 June, 2024
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Who was Sheila Bellush? How she was killed?

BY Anas Shah Mar 18, 2023. 07:50 pm

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I watched an episode of Vengeance: Killer Millionaires for this case. It’s ‘Cashed Out,’ episode 2 of Season 1.

A mother with six small children is murdered in her new home.

Sheila Lee Walsh was born on the 19th of October, 1962. Sheila got a job as a receptionist in a law firm after graduating from high school. Allen Blackthorne, her future first husband, was eventually introduced to her. They had two children together before splitting up in 1988.

Allen was enraged by his divorce. Allen and Sheila both attempted to gain custody of their children, but Sheila was granted sole custody. Sheila married her second husband, pharmaceutical sales representative Jamie Bellush, in 1993. They had quadruplets together and eventually moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1997.

Sheila Bellush

The Murder

Sheila and Jamie were looking forward to starting their new lives in Sarasota. They’d moved to get away from Allen’s grasp. Allen was constantly taking Sheila to court for things like lowering child support payments. Sheila was terrified of Allen and what he could do.

Stevie, Sheila’s 13-year-old daughter, returned home from school on November 7, 1997. She called the police and stated that her mother had died. Stevie also informed the dispatcher that her younger siblings were present in the house, and crying could be heard in the background of the 911 call.

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Stevie was standing near her mother’s body when Sarasota police arrived. Sheila had been shot in the face and had wounds on her arms and hands from defending herself. Sheila appears to have fought for her life and the lives of her children.

Sheila had attempted to crawl about 17 feet from the kitchen to the utility room. Sheila was able to get the phone off the hook, but because it was an old rotary phone, she couldn’t call the police. A bloody kitchen knife from a set found inside the house, as well as a.45 calibre shell casing, were discovered.

Sheila’s young children were not hurt. Because they had blood on their hands and feet, they had most likely walked or crawled around Sheila’s body. Stevie was asked to assist in getting her younger siblings outside.

A Possible Suspect

The police interviewed Stevie, but she couldn’t tell them much. They then spoke to Jamie, who was devastated. Jamie was able to inform the cops about his day. He left the house at 7:30 a.m. for work and drove to Ft. Myers to meet with some clients. Around 3 p.m., Jamie said he met with a contractor for their house. Jamie’s movements were verified by the police, and he was ruled out as a suspect.

Jamie did inform the cops that Sheila’s first husband, Allen, was most likely involved. Allen and Sheila fought for ten years after their divorce in San Antonio, Texas, and were in and out of court.

Allen finally relinquished custody of the children just six weeks before the Bellush’s move to Sarasota. Jamie’s company allowed him to relocate to Sarasota, and they met with a lawyer to ensure that their new address did not appear on any public records. Sheila suspected Allen of having something up his sleeve and feared him even after they had moved.

A Suspicious Man

Police contacted airlines and car rental companies to determine whether Allen had been in the Florida area. The police also contacted the San Antonio police, who discovered that Allen had not left Texas. Allen told San Antonio police that he only found out about Sheila’s death from the news.

The police canvassed the area in Sarasota. Several neighbours reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in the area around 9:15 a.m. on November 7. They also claimed to have seen a man dressed in camouflage and combat boots. It was extremely unusual because many of the residents were retired or elderly.

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A gas station attendant had also noticed the man. The man entered and requested directions to Sheila’s neighbourhood.

One of the neighbours was able to provide the police with a licence plate number. The licence plate number belonged to a woman from La Pryor, Texas, a small town near San Antonio. The woman was contacted by police, who learned that the car was primarily driven by her grandson, Jose Del Toro.

Jose was in his twenties and a part-time criminal. He was on work release for a robbery conviction in 1997. He hadn’t attended his programme that weekend.

The Evidence

Sarasota police contacted several hotels in the surrounding area. On November 6, they discovered Jose had stayed in a hotel just a few miles from the crime scene.

Fortunately, Jose was sloppy and had left a fingerprint on the washing machine in Sheila’s house in the utility room. His fingerprints were compared to the lifted print, and it was a match.

The Texas Rangers found Jose’s car. It was discovered outside one of his girlfriend’s house. A search warrant was obtained, and inside they discovered Jose’s camouflage clothing as well as a receipt from Sports Authority in Sarasota.

Jose’s girlfriend told the cops that she thought Jose had gone to Miami for a drug deal. The girlfriend told police that if Jose had murdered someone, his cousin, Samuel ‘Sammy’ Gonzales, would have more information.

The Murder for Hire Plot

Samuel was interviewed by police on November 12. Samuel stated that he was approached by a friend named Daniel Rocha who claimed to have a job for him. Daniel stated that if this job was completed, they would receive approximately $10,000. Samuel declined, but said his cousin, Jose, would be willing.

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Samuel and Jose went to Sheila’s house in San Antonio and reported to Daniel that they appeared to have moved. Daniel had Sheila’s new address on November 5, and Samuel gave it to Jose.

Jose returned on November 8, according to Samuel, and admitted to firing a gun at Sheila. Samuel claimed Jose told him he didn’t know if Sheila was still alive. Samuel claimed that when Daniel hired him, he told him to beat up Sheila because she couldn’t care for her children.

Jose, according to Samuel, fled to Mexico after his grandmother informed him that the police were looking for him.

The Mastermind

The cops were aware that Daniel, Jose, and Samuel had no ties to Sheila. They were aware that Daniel was friends with Allen and that they played golf together. Daniel was also a gambler who bet on golf games.

Daniel Rocha was arrested and charged with murder conspiracy on November 17. He was imprisoned in San Antonio before being extradited to Sarasota. Daniel refused to turn against Allen.

Jose was apprehended in Mexico on November 20. However, Jose was still awaiting extradition as of mid-December. Mexico wasn’t allowing Jose to be extradited if the death penalty was on the table.

Samuel Gonzales

Samuel accepted a plea bargain. He was convicted of murder conspiracy and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Daniel was also charged with solicitation to commit capital murder on December 16. He continued to refuse to testify against Allen. He stated that he would go to trial despite the fact that he faced life in prison.

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Daniel was eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison in January 1999.

Daniel Rocha

Jose’s Confession

Allen had hired a private investigator to find Sheila prior to the murder. When he found out where she was, he told Daniel that he wanted to beat up Sheila, but that killing her would be a better option. Daniel claimed to know bad people, but he hired Samuel and Jose.

Jose drove from San Antonio to Sarasota, making several phone calls to his girlfriends along the way. Cell phone towers basically tracked his entire journey.

Jose was extradited in July 1999. He entered a guilty plea and agreed to give the cops his full confession.

On November 7, Jose said he waited inside the house and watched Sheila. He said he was about to leave because his feet were cold, but Sheila caught him. Jose claimed that he became agitated and shot Sheila in the face. Jose stated in his confession that he was told Sheila was a horrible person and mother.

Jose Del Toro

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