Hard to believe it's been 16 years since one of the most-covered, most-talked-about homicides of the 1990s in Tarrant County. Staff writer Jack Douglas was a member of the original team of reporters that covered the killing of Caren Koslow in an affluent west Fort Worth neighborhood and the ensuing investigation. In this installment of Famous Crimes, Douglas recounts the crime and what has happened to those involved.
-- Lance Murray
It has been 16 years since two young men, clumsily wielding a crowbar, broke into a house near Rivercrest Country Club, beat and slashed a woman to death, severely injured her husband and made off into the night, beginning the saga of one of the most notorious crimes in Fort Worth history.
At first, Jack Koslow, right, was the suspect -- in the eyes of the law, the press and the public -- only because he was fortunate enough to survive such brutality during the early morning hours of March 12, 1992, while his wife Caren, also at the right, did not.
But as pieces fell together, it became clear Koslow’s then 17-year-old daughter, Kristi, at left, was the mastermind of the attack, driven by a desire to get what she thought would be a $1 million inheritance if her father and stepmother were gone.
Kristi dispatched her boyfriend, Brian Salter, and friend Jeffery Dillingham, both 19, to do the dirty work.
The public was riveted to the case, featured by true-crime shows across the country, all drawn by the affluence of the victims, the early suspicions about Jack Koslow and the bewilderment that people that young — simple teen-agers before that night — could perpetrate such a crime.
Dillingham, right, an honors student who had never before been in serious trouble, was the only one among the trio to decline a plea bargain. He went to trial, was convicted of murder and executed on Nov. 1, 2000.
In a jail house interview in 2002, Kristi Koslow conceded to the Star-Telegram that she “wasn’t the most likable person at the age of 17. I wasn’t the most wonderful person.”
She and Salter, left, are each serving life prison terms in minimum-security units in Gatesville, neither eligible for parole until 2027. Kristi works as a stock clerk; Salter as a computer equipment operator. He is taking a college course.
Kristi’s mother, Paula Haffke, who so staunchly defended her only child, died of cancer on Aug. 9, 2005.
Jack Koslow, now 64 and the owner of a building supply business in Fort Worth, has never talked publicly about the case. He has played golf with Fort Worth homicide Det. Curt Brannan, the lead investigator who once wondered whether Koslow might be a killer.
Now, Brannan said this week, “I consider him a friend of mine ...”
-- Jack Douglas Jr.