Rush to Justice

Miami Police hurry to investigate the murder of a gay meth dealer. Blame reality TV.

In the early-morning hours of June 7, 2005, all was quiet at the tidy orange house of William Fenzau.

Usually tan, Fenzau had a sculpted physique that could have landed him modeling work, or at least a place in a David Barton Gym ad. He was almost 40, but with his dyed blond hair, smooth skin, and chiseled cheekbones, he looked much younger. The fact was he had no trouble attracting men.

Most friends described him as a gentle soul. He doted on his 5-year-old niece, taking her on trips to the pet store to buy tropical fish for the ponds he had dug in front of his house, and when he wasn't with her, it seemed like he was at Home Depot or a plant nursery, buying orchids. He had turned his home on NE 62nd Street into a tranquil oasis: There were palm trees, pink flowers, and cacti throughout the garden. A wood deck, painted white and forest green, cut through the back yard.

William Fenzau and his younger sister, Lori Grande, were inseparable until his death in 2005.
Courtesy of Lori Grande
William Fenzau and his younger sister, Lori Grande, were inseparable until his death in 2005.
Tom Edwards met Fenzau in an online chat room for men seeking men.
C. Stiles
Tom Edwards met Fenzau in an online chat room for men seeking men.
Fenzau's ex-boyfriend Kevin Goode.
Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department
Fenzau's ex-boyfriend Kevin Goode.
Growing up, Lori Grande idolized her brother.
Courtesy of Lori Grande
Growing up, Lori Grande idolized her brother.
Fenzau celebrates his 36th birthday with his niece Sophia.
Courtesy of Lori Grande
Fenzau celebrates his 36th birthday with his niece Sophia.

Fenzau hardly seemed the sort who would attract trouble, or the type who would regularly deal meth to gay men from South Beach to Fort Lauderdale.

Around 4 that June morning, a cab stopped in front of Fenzau's home. A man named Anthony Valeri stepped out. A friend of Fenzau's, he opened the front gate of the wrought-iron fence that surrounded the yard and walked to the front door.

He peered through the square stained glass on the door and then went around the side of the house to the back yard.

He crossed the wood deck, past the Jacuzzi, and turned the knob to the back door. It was unlocked. As he neared the entrance to Fenzau's bedroom, he noticed papers and shattered glass all over the floor. He took a few more steps and saw Fenzau on the ground. His head and body were soaked with blood.

Fenzau had been stabbed multiple times in the right side of his neck, chest, back, left forearm, and right hand. The attack was so brutal the medical examiner had to remove two kitchen knives embedded in Fenzau's body. One had been lodged four and a half inches into his neck. The other blade had been stuck six and a half inches into his abdomen.

For most of his life, William Fenzau had been the picture of responsibility and personal discipline. But in the past few years, he had been on a downward spiral, a chaotic jumble of reckless sex fueled by crystal meth binges that sometimes lasted for days.

His friends had changed too. Though he once socialized with college-educated types who worked white-collar jobs such as advertising, his inner circle now included a Brazilian stripper and a drug supplier who went by the street name of Mexican Ben.

But as much as his family worried about him, his murder still came as a shock.

It was a killing scripted for prime-time spectacle, which is why the Miami Police Department featured it as a case on The First 48, the popular cable television series that follows homicide investigators as they race against the clock to arrest a suspect within two days of the crime. At the end of the Fenzau episode, Miami homicide detectives zeroed in on ex-boyfriend Kevin Goode, who was formally charged with first-degree murder July 29, 2005.

The First 48 made it appear the cops had gotten their man. But even reality television can blur the fine line. One month after Goode's arrest, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, citing lack of evidence, declined to prosecute him. Four years later, Fenzau's murder remains unsolved.

Fenzau's sister, Lori Grande, blames the Miami Police Department for rushing through its investigation to look good on television. To her, the open case is a prime example of how the Miami Police's appearances on The First 48 can hamper criminal cases.

"I have a hard time dealing with the fact that the police don't tell me anything," she says. "They keep telling me it is confidential because the investigation is still open. Well, if it is confidential, then why did they let A&E film my brother's murder investigation?"

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Lori Grande sits on a patio lounge chair near the front steps to her brother's house in Miami's Upper Eastside. It is a balmy afternoon, but she finds shade next to the bushes and trees her brother nurtured. At the top step, she has set up a small shrine that includes candles, flowers, and computer printouts of photographs of him playing with her daughter, Sophie. In one image, Fenzau cradles his newborn niece. In another, they play in the sand. "Will absolutely loved his niece," Grande recalls. "She could track mud inside his house and that was OK. Anyone else, he would throw a fit. He called her his 'little blondie.' "

Ever since she was a little girl, Grande idolized her older brother.

"William stood strong in who he was," she says. "If the world didn't like that he was queer, fuck the world."

The two grew up in suburban New Jersey but relocated to Biloxi, Mississippi when Fenzau was 10. Shortly after moving to Biloxi, Fenzau's mother, Susan Lake, divorced her husband, who she says was often cruel to her son.

In 1983, Lake remarried and the family relocated again, this time to Sarasota. Fenzau, who was now a sophomore in high school, had a hard time making friends. "His classmates teased him a lot," Lake says. "They called him a fag. We had left a very liberal community for a very conservative area on the west coast of Florida. People were very prejudiced there."

One evening that year, Lake recalls, her 16-year-old son took her out to dinner and told her he was gay. Lake says she was "shocked" at the revelation but accepted her son's homosexuality. A year later, he tested positive for HIV.

"I used to lecture him all the time about safe sex," Lake says. "I don't think either one of us was too surprised. The only thing that bothered him was the stigma of having HIV. He often said he felt dirty and contaminated."

After high school, he moved to Washington, D.C., and in 1991, he earned a degree in psychology from George Washington University. The same year, he met Brian Linkous, an art director at a small D.C.-based advertising firm who was six years his senior. Their relationship would last a decade.

Whenever he and Linkous could take time off together, they would travel to Miami Beach, at a time the city was undergoing its transformation from sleepy retirement community to bustling sexopolis. Gay investors were snatching up beachfront properties and opening stores and boutiques at the then-dead Lincoln Road Mall. In the early '90s, a gay chamber of commerce set up shop in Miami Beach and Carl Zablotny launched Wire, a gay-oriented South Beach weekly.

In 2000, Fenzau and Linkous moved to Tampa, Florida, where Fenzau quit his career as a social worker and got a license as a massage therapist. Shortly after, he and Linkous moved to Miami, where they purchased a three-bedroom house at 85th Street and NE Tenth Avenue.

By this time, the HIV was taking its toll. Although Fenzau regularly lifted weights, he still had a gaunt look about him. "His brain and his thought processes were going," his sister remembers. "The medical cocktails he was taking were no longer working. He had dementia. He couldn't remember things."

To ease his fatigue, Grande continues, her brother began using crystal meth. "He was never into the club scene," she says. "He used meth to keep himself going."

Fenzau's mother says his personality darkened as a result. "It made him more angry, short-tempered, and impatient," Lake says. "He was paranoid and difficult to reason with." The meth was also killing Fenzau's relationship with Linkous. "We called them the bicksters because they bickered all the time," Lake notes. "Brian was very jealous. And rightly so. William was cheating on him."

Her son was never the same after breaking up with Linkous, Lake contends, adding it didn't help that the deadly disease was ravaging his memory and causing him mass confusion. "Even though they argued a lot, William really loved Brian," she says. "He got to the point that he didn't care anymore."

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Shortly after their breakup, Fenzau began cruising Internet chat rooms, looking to hook up with other men. He frequented Manhunt.net, a website with the tag line "If he is out there, he is on here. We just make him easier to find." Fenzau's handle: Scorpio Rising. According to a 63-year-old flight attendant who asked to remain anonymous, he and Fenzau would often chat about the men they met online. "We would share our sexual experiences," the friend says. "He was more out there than I was. Certainly, more sexually active. I lived my life vicariously through Will."

One day in late 2003, from the comfort of his Upper Eastside home, Fenzau logged on to Manhunt. Within minutes, he chatted up a 31-year-old DJ named Kevin Cunard, who had moved from Boston to Miami. After a day and a half of messaging back and forth on Manhunt, Fenzau met Cunard at his South Beach apartment, where they snorted meth and had sex. Cunard tells New Times that getting crystal meth was easy through Manhunt and other "hook-up" sites. "The first thing anyone asks you is if you party," Cunard explains. "In the gay world, that means, 'Do you do meth?' If the answer is yes, well, then the person would pull out the pipe."

According to Cunard and another man Fenzau met online, Tom Edwards, Fenzau began selling crystal meth sometime in 2003 to supplement his massage therapy income. "He started off dealing to help pay for his mortgage," Edwards says. "And then he turned out to be a very good drug dealer." Fenzau started off slowly, buying an ounce of meth at a wholesale price of about $1,500. He would divide it into smaller portions and turn at least a $500 profit.

The anonymous flight attendant says he cautioned Fenzau on the perils of getting into the drug game. "If you go that route, it never lasts long, so be careful," he told Fenzau. "But he had a good network of customers. When I used to go to Fort Lauderdale, people knew about Will up there."

Over the course of several months in late 2003, Fenzau began meeting new friends who were also dealing in small quantities of meth and who provided him with connections to other wholesale suppliers. One of those individuals was Anthony Valeri, a slightly paunchy 32-year-old with thinning brown hair. By that summer, the two were hanging out regularly. Their only common interest: dealing, snorting, and smoking crank.

According to friends, Valeri introduced Fenzau to a woman who would become part of their drug distribution ring: a 28-year-old stripper named Michelle Berry. According to the flight attendant, who has been in Miami's gay community for 17 years, Berry was the "Madonna of the gay drug-dealing world" in Miami. He adds, "She was very powerful. She knew a lot of people dealing meth in large quantities."

By 2004, Fenzau had gone from selling a few ounces of meth a week to a pound a month — which nets about $20,000 to $70,000 on the street. "I remember Will telling me once that he had $50,000 in cash," Edwards says.

Early that year, during one of his online encounters on Manhunt, Fenzau met a man named Kevin Goode. A handsome, muscular 47-year-old with short red hair and a trimmed goatee, Goode also enjoyed working on improving his home and partying with crystal meth. And like Linkous, Fenzau's previous partner, he had money. He owned a two-story five-bedroom house on North Bay Road in Miami Beach that was worth nearly $500,000 and drove a silver BMW Z3 convertible.

By 2005, Fenzau's meth use and dealing had gotten out of hand. "I fully expected Will to get busted," Edwards says. "One time, he ran a red light on South Beach and a cop pulled him over. He was holding a shoebox full of meth under the passenger-side seat."

During this period, Fenzau's friends say, he would make four, five, or sometimes more deliveries to customers in Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale on a daily basis.

Fenzau's mom was becoming increasingly worried. She says her son went from using meth "just a little bit here and there" in 2002 to "being on it almost all the time" in 2005, the year he died. The lean muscle he had sculpted in D.C. turned flabby. His eyes and cheeks were sunken. He was often irritable from lack of sleep.

Things began unraveling when Fenzau's dealer friend Valeri, whom Fenzau supplied, was popped March 3, 2005, by DEA agents. According to Valeri's arrest affidavit, a confidential informant set up Valeri by calling him to order two ounces of meth. Valeri told the CI to meet him at a RaceTrac gas station on State Road 84. Fort Lauderdale Police detectives and DEA agents confronted Valeri, who was still inside his 1999 green BMW sedan. Cops found approximately 66 grams of meth inside a yellow Banana Republic cardboard perfume box under the passenger seat. According to Valeri's criminal case file, Fenzau posted his bail and got his BMW out of the impound.

Two weeks later, Fenzau's sister came down to visit her brother for Memorial Day weekend. She says Fenzau told her he wanted to quit using and selling meth. He had grown tired of dealing with shady characters and was worried someone would turn him in to the feds. He also suspected Goode was cheating on him and planned to break up.

He wanted to take Cunard to Key West in early June. Says Cunard: "Our plan was to spend a week there drying out."

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Episode 39 of The First 48, titled "Pack of Lies," opens with Miami Police homicide Det. Leo Tapanes taking his new ride, a jet-black Porsche Boxster with a tan leather interior, for a wash. The veteran investigator cuts a dashing profile, wearing a crisp white guayabera, black slacks, and designer shoes. His bald head shines with authority.

As the Porsche emerges from the rinse cycle, Tapanes gets a call on his cell phone. The camera cuts to uniformed police officers putting up yellow tape in front Fenzau's house.

When cops enter, the camera documents a grizzly scene. Blood is spattered all over the floor and furniture and is smeared across a door.

Investigators find a broken handle to a steak knife blade. Knowing three knives were found lodged in Fenzau's body, Sgt. Altaar Williams looks at the camera: "With the three knives, I wouldn't be surprised if there is more than one attacker."

It didn't take long for cops to develop a theory as to what happened. In the days leading up to the murder, Fenzau had broken up with Goode and told Berry, one of the biggest meth dealers in Miami, he was no longer going to sell meth. On June 6, 2005, Fenzau went to Valeri's apartment in an attempt to reclaim nearly $20,000 he had used to get Valeri out of jail, according to a sworn statement by Karen Carvalho, a friend of Fenzau's who says she was there. Carvalho told the veteran investigator that Valeri gave Fenzau $6,000 in cash and about half a pound of meth before they left the apartment.

Meanwhile, around the same time, Berry paid a visit to her friend Javier Rosario at his apartment at 2001 N. Biscayne Blvd. According to a sworn statement Rosario gave Tapanes, Berry was "hysterical... like a little bit out of control." She accused Fenzau of being a snitch and said she wanted to kill him, Rosario claimed. "She wanted to cut him," Rosario said. "She was like, 'I'm gonna cut him up.'" Rosario said he told her he was not going to help her hurt Fenzau, which caused the stripper to fly into a rage.

Before storming out of his pad, Rosario alleged, Berry said she already had recruited someone to confront Fenzau. Rosario identified the cohort as Vito Abbate, a 66-year-old who worked as a doorman at several South Beach nightclubs hosting gay parties.

Fenzau's friends theorize that sometime between the late hours of June 6 and the early morning of June 7, Goode and Valeri allowed Berry and Abbate inside Fenzau's house. When Fenzau realized his so-called friends were there to rob him, he stood his ground. At some point, the confrontation turned violent. "I heard these people were cleaning out Will's house as he lay there dying," Edwards says. "They even stuffed CDs and clothes into duffle bags."

In a 2007 Miami Herald article about the murder, Detective Tapanes said he believed Goode and Abbate killed Fenzau and that Valeri was involved. He did not mention Berry.

Certainly on The First 48, all signs pointed to Goode and Abbate as the killers and Berry and Valeri as accomplices. In one scene from the show, Goode sits inside a conference room answering Det. Roly Garcia's questions. Dressed in a blue long-sleeve button-down shirt, basketball shorts, and flip-flops, Goode doesn't appear distraught, despite the fact that his boyfriend was just brutally murdered. When Garcia briefs Tapanes, he immediately identifies Goode as a suspect. "He has a cut on his right index finger and scratches on his left forearm consistent with a struggle," Garcia says. What's more, Goode picked up Fenzau's mom and took her to her son's home before anyone called police. To Garcia, this is another indication of guilt: "You want someone there with you when you discover the body."

During a second interview, Goode tells cops he cut his finger with garden clippers while he was landscaping his house. Yet after Dr. Emma Law of the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office studies Goode's fingers, she informs Tapanes the "cuts didn't come from yard work."

Realizing he is getting himself into more trouble, Goode tells cops he lied. It was his friend Valeri who first found the body, he says. Goode then says he took a bag of crystal meth from Fenzau's house that the cops later find inside his car. To keep Goode detained, Tapanes charges him with tampering with evidence.

The day following Fenzau's murder, Valeri shows up at the crime scene, where he is greeted by homicide detectives. The next scene shows a sobbing Valeri answering questions at Miami PD headquarters. According to his sworn statement, Valeri admits to being the first person to discover Fenzau but that he left the house because he was afraid of going back to jail since he was not supposed to be associating with known drug dealers as a condition of his bond. He didn't call 911, he says, because he knew Fenzau had drugs inside his house, so he walked over to the Chevron station on Biscayne Boulevard at 61st Street, where he called Goode, who rushed right over. Valeri tells investigators that after they both went back into the house, Goode confirmed Fenzau was dead.

As "Pack of Lies" progresses, homicide investigators interview Rosario, who points the cops to Berry. She voluntarily meets with Tapanes, who uses a tried and true TV homicide detective technique on her. The camera captures Tapanes and Berry inside the interrogation room. She denies threatening to "cut" Fenzau and denies being with Abbate. A frustrated Tapanes slams one of Fenzau's autopsy photos in front of Berry. The horrific image jolts her out of her seat. She sobs uncontrollably and tells Tapanes it was the bouncer Abbate who killed Fenzau. "He has cuts on his forearm," she says, "and another one on the finger and one on his hand."

The detectives shifted their attention to Abbate, whom they bring in for questioning. When they pick up the doorman at his apartment, the detectives find a nearly empty pack of Newport Mediums with blood specks on it. At the crime scene, they had found a Newport Medium cigarette butt. When questioned, Abbate tells investigators he had cut his finger helping a neighbor move a rug.

Two weeks after Fenzau's murder, Abbate swallowed a bunch of pills and committed suicide. He left behind a note that read, "I'm tired of the drama. I did not hurt anyone." No DNA from Abbate was found at the scene, but blood from Goode and Fenzau was found on the bedroom door handle. Saliva on the Newport cigarette butt also matched Goode.

On July 29, 2005, Tapanes charged Fenzau's former lover with murder. In the arrest report, Tapanes noted Goode killed Fenzau because his ex-boyfriend "was no longer going to provide Goode with crystal methamphetamine."

But once the cameras were gone, the case was hardly as open-and-shut as investigators had made it seem. On August 8, 2005, Goode got off on a technicality. His defense attorney, Jordan Lewin, filed a motion that his client's statements weren't admissible because police didn't read his Miranda rights until just prior to his arrest for tampering with evidence. He also argued there were other people with motive to kill Fenzau. That and the possibility of additional suspects prompted Assistant State Attorney Gary Winston to drop the charges against Goode.

Financially, things did not improve for Goode following Fenzau's death. He filed for bankruptcy. He claimed assets worth between $1 million and $10 million but said he had $500,000 in outstanding debt. Last year, the IRS placed a lien on Goode's property because he owes the government $9,755 in unpaid income taxes for 2002. He also lost the North Bay Road house to foreclosure. Property records show the home was sold in December last year for $1 million.

Efforts to locate and interview Goode for this story were unsuccessful. "The police did have the wrong man behind bars," says Goode's lawyer, Lewin. "Kevin is innocent and the government's dismissal affirms it."

Berry, the so-called Madonna of Miami's underground gay drug culture, currently lives in an apartment at 11855 NE 19th Dr. in North Miami. New Times twice visited Berry's home and left a business card with a note requesting an interview about her relationship with Fenzau. She has not responded.

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Lori Grande walks on the winding wood deck her brother built in his back yard. She kneels down and points at pieces of concrete that act as a barrier between the deck and the plants and bushes her brother planted. "I helped my brother put these in," she says. "And I helped him plant the bougainvillea trees, which you see are draping over the garden now. He had this amazing ability to instill confidence in people."

For the past four years, Grande has been badgering the Miami Police Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to file new charges against Goode and to arrest Valeri and Berry as accomplices. She has expressed her frustration in multiple letters to Chief John Timoney. Each time, she has been told police cannot discuss specifics about the investigation because it remains open.

The Miami Police Department declined several interview requests from New Times. Department spokeswoman Kenia Alfonso says homicide detectives do not want to talk about the case because it is still open.

When Fenzau's sister found out Valeri became a government informant three days after her brother's death, she began writing letters to South Florida's U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, demanding Valeri be held accountable for his alleged role in Fenzau's murder. She believes Valeri has been given protection from prosecution because of his informant status. In response, Acosta's office has told her that because the murder is a state case, the feds have no jurisdiction to investigate it.

A year after the killing, Grande hired Miami private investigator Steve Sessler to review the case. A former Miami-Dade Police homicide investigator, Sessler faults the Miami Police Department for allowing the taping of The First 48 to interfere with the investigation. "Too much information comes out on the show," he says. "If there was no First 48, you can't help but wonder if the Miami Police detectives would have rushed to charge Goode. There are times you are sure who did it, but it can take you weeks to build a case."

Sessler specifically criticizes the "Pack of Lies" episode for revealing the fact that there were multiple suspects in Fenzau's murder. "A good criminal defense lawyer would use that footage against the prosecution. The fact is that you just can't close some cases in 48 hours." Indeed, the popular television series has come under fire in other jurisdictions where producers follow homicide investigators. Last year in Birmingham, Alabama, Jefferson County's top prosecutor, David Barber, publicly expressed his concern that the show might deter potential witnesses from coming forward and that defendants could argue that destroyed footage might prove their innocence. Barber told the Birmingham News: "It puts us in the position of having to prove a negative." In Memphis, the city's police director opted not to renew the contract with A&E, citing pretrial and trial issues. The Miami Police Department, on the other hand, has continued to cooperate with the show. Some within the department see it as a recruitment tool at a time when major police departments across the nation are struggling to fill positions.

William Moreno, a Miami Police spokesman, says the department is very careful to guard investigations that end up on The First 48. "The producers pick which ones to air," Moreno says. "But we always review them first to make sure it doesn't interfere with an investigation."

In the meantime, Assistant State Attorney Gary Winston insists bringing Fenzau's killers to justice remains a top priority. "It is still an open investigation and every effort is being made," he says. "But there has been no progress, regrettably."

The state prosecutor says he needs more evidence to refile murder charges against Goode and any co-conspirators. He says the existing evidence, including Goode's blood that was mixed in with Fenzau's blood found on the door handle, could not be used because police did not read Goode his Miranda rights while he was being questioned prior to being charged with tampering.

Asked if The First 48 had a negative effect on the investigation, Winston replies, "I don't know. There were a lot of things that had an impact on this investigation. Some of it was good. Some of it was bad. But in those instances when there could be more than a single killer, the effort to catch one often leads to the others being forgotten about."

He declines to discuss the theory that Fenzau was betrayed by Berry, Goode, and Valeri, whom Winston believes is getting some sort of protection from the feds. "I share a great deal of sentiment with [Fenzau's sister] about Mr. Valeri," he says.

But for Grande, there's no doubt The First 48 might have resulted in her brother's killers getting away with murder. "It's just so frustrating," she says. "I just want to rule people out as suspects and get some justice for my brother." As she speaks, she grips a silver pendant around her neck. She reveals that her mother, stepfather, and daughter have the same pendant, which all contain some of Fenzau's ashes.

"His last wish was to have his ashes spread into the ocean," she says. "And we will. We're just not ready yet."

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41 comments
lordhigbie
lordhigbie

Thanks A lot Will for making some very poor choices in the friend department!

Do you realize how impossible it became to even find Tina after whoever the total assholes were who murdered you!

My God there were even shady bastards out there selling entire balls of MSN!

I had to completely give up my habit because you were killed. And even though we never met I had the dubious pleasure of meeting some of your Fort Lauderdale associates and as far as I could tell any number of the people you knew were capable of murder. I suppose an unfortunate side effect of the party life style not covered in the medical journals.

I hope you are in a better place now.

I would actually consider anywhere other then Florida a better place actually...even Northern Alaska during the later part of December would be a significant step up from Broward or Dade

loriegrande
loriegrande

I used to think it imperative that the killers (and their accomplices) knew I was strong, fearless and indestructible.  I thought they had to know I had no fear, I would not cower, I would not shake, I would not stop, I would not lie down, succumb, give up or fall and if I did any of the previous I would struggle, I would crawl, I would scratch myself out of any cave I fell into and fight again.  Ultimately they had to know I would not die.  The reality is, I died; again and again  - as year, by year I had to learn how to be alive again and live with seemingly perpetual defeat.  

It took me eight years to figure out that it makes no difference how strong and powerful I appear.  It won’t make the killers (and their accomplices) care.  It won’t make them human, no matter what I do -- one suspect in particular taught me that this past summer.

I know some people are distrustful of the police in this case.  I know some came forward and felt their concerns were not taken seriously.  I can’t fix that for anyone; if I could, I would.  But, I can listen and I can follow through on every lead.  I have no other cases or conflicts of interest.  Justice is obscure, and in this case, manipulated by the suspects and those with something to hide, but truth is tangible. Don’t let them steal the truth too; goodness knows they have a large enough debt already.

If anyone out there has something they want to share in this case, I will be in Miami in June and happy to meet with you.  Don’t let the horror of what you may know take up residence in your heart. 

loriegrande
loriegrande

My name is William Friedrich Fenzau, born November 10, 1966, named after my great-grandfather who emigrated to the US from Lithuania in 1903. I was murdered on June 7, 2005, in Miami. Some say I was killed by a confidant, some say I was killed by a lover, some say I was killed by a straight man when I showed the passionate audacity to be a gay man that fought back. The case remains unsolved, though the perpetrators are known. Some say one is already behind bars.

My sister and neice set up a Facebook page in my memory and because my murder, and its ensuing aftermath never stopped impacting their and the rest of my families’ lives.

I want my neice to know how much I loved her, how much the sight of her made my heart smile and that I will always watch over her. And that though her mother seems obsessed with the truth and understanding the past in order to live in the present, about that, she is right. Those who come before us teach us what we are capable of surviving. If our great-grandparents, Giuseppe Grande and Assunta Cifrodelli traveled for weeks on the open sea away from their homeland with the belief in something better, in something new; if they could survive that journey and make their way, having lost everything known to them and who they thought they were, then you too will survive anything put before you. And I want you to learn from my mistakes; never let a friend or even someone you love, lead you somewhere your heart knows is not right for you.

The truth is out there, the truth is known, the truth just needs to be revealed and it will be. Everything good and bad, truth, as well as secrets, eventually floats to the surface.

All future posts at: Facebook -  William Fenzau

loriegrande
loriegrande

In Rememberance:  November 10, 1967 - June 7, 2005

 

This past weekend we honored what would have been your 45th birthday.

 

There are a lot of good people who have tried to help your case, some of which never even met you.  As for the people who did know you and did not come forward with information - recognize that they are afraid.  Some are still holding secrets.  But give them time; they have goodness in them and their hearts will lead them to do the right thing, eventually.

 

There is no magic path to moving forward from your unsolved homicided.  The only way to live with the awareness of the depth of evil that was unleashed upon you, without accountability is to find that which is of equal depth, yet good, and be grateful for it every day.  If we can't fix the bad things that happen, at least we can try to level the playing field out there with good.

 

Thank you for hanging around me all these years.  So many times I have wished you could save me.  But you can't, just as I could not save you.

 

In my heart ..... granola

 

 

loriegrande
loriegrande

William's family is grateful to individuals who have come forward over the years and tried to help law enforcement get to the truth of who killed William and  why.  We may not know who you are, but you exist. We know it was not easy to come forward and we know people are afraid.  Please know we thank you for trying.  Thank you for your bravery and your compassion. .... Lori Grande

 

zandraiii
zandraiii

The sad fact is, more cases are dropped by the state of FL DA's who seem to need a case laid out for them as though they have no investigative teams at all. It's far higher than other states, that isn't the police departments fault if the DA can't or won't investigate and make the cases. It really says more about the state prosecutors office than anything else, the police found the man they believe killed this poor man, a man who made some seriously bad lifestyle choices that ultimately lead to his death. Did he deserve to die, of course not but could it have been avoided, most likely yes. Another sad fact is that while the police have their suspect, what are they supposed to do, the case was turned over his sister should be hounding the state prosecutor and investigators if she wants the man who killed her brother brought to justice.  I hope she doesn't give up but blaming the police who found the suspect is not going to get anything accomplished, keep talking to the media to keep the case alive and keep demanding the prosecutors office get the evidence needed for a solid prosecution of the murderer.  The First 48 isn't to blame and many episodes/crimes take months if not years to make an arrest and the show continues to follow cases that take longer to solve, just because they are filmed doesn't mean the police stop investigation after 48 hours. I do understand her pain but the blame should be put where it belongs, an inadequate  statewide prosecutorial staff that seems pervasive throughout Florida. I am so sorry for the family, because they are going to be their brother's only hope for justice and it's going to be an uphill battle for them.

wrathofasister
wrathofasister

Closure from the murder, closure from the cover-up by Will's friends or closure from the efforts of law enforcement to keep this case unsolved?  Yes, I'll take any of the previous.  But I cannot post the exact dates I will be in Miami or I might end up like my brother.  Please call me.

Truthbeknown
Truthbeknown

Lorie, are you in Miami?? or when will you be?? -may be able to assist with your quest for closure…...

William Fenzau
William Fenzau

Dear Rewards90 I will be in Miami the end of July, please contact if interested.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

June 2012 Update: If I had known, what I know now, I would have done things dfifferently and I would have a resolution by now. What’s done is done. Can’t cry over spilled milk, but I can over spilled blood. So …. I am offering a financial reward to anyone able to successfully connect me with Ben. Please contact me at: wrathofasister@yahoo.com Ben, I understand you have friends in law enforcement; you got one up on me there. But I imagine they can be bought too. Thanks again A&E; Act II is beginning and you don't have permission to film that either.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Ben, let me see if I have this right.

On this day, seven years ago, you have a meeting with my brother which is arranged by Anthony. My brother insists on meeting you in person, you agree to meet at Anthony’s apartment, both you and my brother leave the meeting angry, a few days later my brother is dead, in the hours after his murder, you, Javier and Anthony have a meeting ... and you had no involvement in my brother’s murder? …. Humm

William Fenzau
William Fenzau

Ben,

We need to talk. Anthony knows how to get a hold of me, as does Javi and Juan, though as you know, Juan is hard to communicate with these days.

You have a tight wall around yourself, but I am just hoping that one of your friends, not excluding those in law enforcement, will get you the message.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Lori Grande

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

I wish I knew who murdered my brother. I wish my child could have closure in her Uncle's death. I hope this case is solved before any more lives are destroyed in its wake.

As for the producers of The First 48; I hope one day you understand that the profit that was made off of my brother's murder investigation was not worth the cost.

--Lori Grande

Concerned
Concerned

The sad thing is that this crazy dude Kevin Goode is working at a pizza shop on 41st Street in Miami Beach "Beyond by Shemtovs". He is around children and families all day, who knows what else he is capable of especially after getting away with murder once....LITERALLY!

Paul Cyr
Paul Cyr

The police should all be fired and that stupid show and it's producing company should be shut down for investigation tampering/hindering.

Filthy, media hungry pigs. Hope they all get raped to death by gay guys on meth...

Sorry that his sister has to deal with the incompetence of such terrible, terrible people.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

To my beloved ... Happy Birthday, I carry you with me. Love, Sis Sis

To the infamous three: remember "... everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don't sow, becomes part of your destiny ..." (Abraham Verghese, Cutting For Stone)

P.S. The obvious shouldn't be minimized -- Innocent people dial 911.

Loriegrande
Loriegrande

Dear Chief Exposito,

I am worried that you are not receiving my letters. I hope you get this one.

Upon reading the New York Times article, “Race Issues Rise for Miami Police,” I was surprised to discover that you are in support of another “reality” television show, “Miami’s Finest, SOS.” I guess this solves the mystery of my unanswered letters inquiring where you and other city officials stand on investigating the role television cameras played in the demise of my brother’s initial homicide investigation and the ethics involved in this filming. As I have said before; the public may be entertained, but is not served by a jeopardized homicide investigation.

Presumably, there is no point in articulating my concern regarding the possible constitutional violation of the police inviting the media into a private home to film without consent and then broadcasting that footage for corporate profit – especially when the footage broadcasted was my brother’s bloody body in his bloody home. In my cursory review, I found a few cases related to this issue: Ayeni v. Mottola, Berger v. Hanlon and Wilson v. Layne. There is also an interesting article on this topic written by Special Agent Kimberly A. Crawford of the FBI Academy, called, “Media Ride-Alongs: Fourth Amendment Constraints,” (FBI Enforcement Bulletin, Volume 69, Issue 7, July 2000; pgs.26-30). As this issue appears to warrant legal and scholarly critique, perhaps the City of Miami will consider a comprehensive analysis and review, instead of condoning exploitation of the dead.

Now that I am aware of your support of the City of Miami Police participating in “reality” television, my future correspondence will just be related to the unsolved case.

Sincerely,

Lori Grande

cc: Miami FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Mayor Tomas Regalado Commissioner Marc Sarnoff

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Ah snoopy, good to hear from you again. Still no balls huh? Give it time, they'll grow. Peace be with you.

Lori Grande

Snoops1646
Snoops1646

Drug dealing scum should all be dead like this fenzau punk.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Hi m.b., Thank you so much for commenting. You seem to be confident in your opinion. I like that. I wonder if you could comment a little more to describe how it is you reached this conclusion? I'm wondering if you could comment on Mexican Ben at all as he was in town at the time of the murder and remains, like Berry, somewhat untouchable. Please feel free to write me at: loriegrande@optonline.net. -or- a more anonymous route: PO Box 98, West Nyack, NY, 10994. Thank you again. Lori Grande

m.b.
m.b.

valeri was not involved in any way . berry,goode,&vito are responsible plain and simple

Anthony
Anthony

Sure, I will send you an E.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

You do know quite a bit about Michelle. Unfortunately she got a pass out of this country and she is smart enough not to come back unless she has a new identity. Regardless of where suspects are living, I intend to get to the truth. I would be interested in speaking with you further via a different forum. There is more I would like to ask, but not here. I can be reached at: loriegrande@optonline.net -- thanks again.

Anthony
Anthony

Sorry, "relationship with will" with Michelle I intended. getting late!

Again my condolences.

Anthony
Anthony

You are welcome. I am trying to think back during the time of my relationship with will.

I know I had met Vito a couple of times, but i really am trying to remeber if I had ever met Will. I did know a William but Michelle use to call him Billy.

Kieth Brandreth was the name of Michelle's X before me. Kieth had died of Unknown Cuases, (listed as Overdose). After learning more about Michelle, and her dark past, I came to the conclusion that she had cuased his death, and started to worry about myself.. HEr behavior was extremely odd, including marry a known drug dealer named Salvador for immigration papers during our relationship.. I remeber she used to drag her kid with her to his hosue and smoke meth right there with her kid around. I used to find her in the pantry or hiding wheerever .. This is who she was crying for in that interrogation ? Please, such fake tears. I knew her like a book. I spent over 2 years with her.

Her mother also was dating a criminal when I had last seen her. Her entire U.S. family has been around criminals forever. Her family in Brazil has some political involvement and seemed very nice. Michelle changed her ways when we were in Brazil. Just more of her scary mood swings... Hopefully they will question her again one day and the truth may come out. 99 percent she had something to do with it, if not commiting that act herself.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Thank you Anthony for your condolences. I agree it seems odd how Michelle slipped out of this investigation. I think that is an excellent question for the Miami DEA and the original lead Detective in the case. It also seems odd that Mexican Ben was never questioned in the investigation seeing as he was in town at the time of the murder and not discreet in terms of his communication and meetings with people being questioned in this case. Sadly, law enforcement is unable to locate Mexican Ben. This too seems odd, considering Mexican Ben showed up in a public courtroom when a suspect in this case was sentenced in an unrelated case. Apparently, Mexican Ben is just a real nice guy that likes to show his support for friends - especially when they might be questioned by a Judge if they knew anything about this murder. It's all very confusing and I don't understand much.

One thing I do know is that every detail of forensic evidence collected in the crime scene should be processed if the goal is to solve this crime and get the right person(s) behind bars. If the MPD and SAO are financially or otherwise restricted from processing all of the evidence perhaps an outside, third party might do so. Between the profits made off of this homicide via its commercial value and the number of law enforcement agencies involved in it, one would presume someone has the resources to process the evidence of a brutal homicide. No? It's all very confusing and I don't understand much, though I have to admit, it's getting clearer as the years pass. Thank you again for your condolences Anthony.

Anthony
Anthony

I had known one of the people interogated for this case. I saw the episode by accident while on vacation. THey never really pressured Michelle it seemed.... odd considering her past. I knew michelle for 2 years before she disapeared and the next time i saw her was 1.5 years later on tv being interogated for murder.

Kinda strange since the father of her child (baby girl) Christina Luiza, has a Mysterious UNKNOWN as the cause of death on his death certificate and also was a well known drug dealer on South Beach.

I spent 2 years with Michelee both in the united states and in brazil with her family.. she is a pathelogical nightmare, and I hope that if they are still investigating the case that they focus more on Michelee as it seems odd she is always around a mysterious dead friend / boyfriend .....

I am sorry for your loss Lori. I did not know William...

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Hey Snoopy,

I just check back periodically to see if you have grown any balls. Not yet, huh? Give it time something might come up for you when you least expect it.

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

Dear Kristy, Not sure if you will read this but ...

I am very sorry for your loss and for the proverbial pouring of salt in the wound which comes from having a loved one's death used for profit and publicity through The First 48. As other cities around the country analyze the impact associated with filming homicide investigations, it would be nice for Miami to do the same. Death, like birth is personal, private and sacred (even when it is violent and gory -- maybe more so) and should not be taken advantage of just because the deceasesd is unable to sign a release.

As for Snoop's comments. So be it. At least I rest well knowing my brother had the guts to stand behind what he said and was not a coward.

Kristy, the fact that you have stayed clean after the murder of your boyfriend and raising a young child without her father is demonstration of your incredible will -- don't lose that. Children bring us into the moment like nothing else on this planet can (except, perhaps, our dogs). Peace be with you and thanks for your posting. .... Lori Grande

Kristy
Kristy

I think Williams sister is right onthe mark. My boyfriend was killed in Miami and his case was featured on First 48. The police tried to make it look real good for t.v. but in reality have done very little to find out who is responsible for his death. His name was Jon Dixon and I believe it is because he was an addict and homeless that they have done very little to find out who killed him. Some of you who read that are familiar with his case from the show may htink that he didn't matter to anyone cuz he was a homeless addict, however that could not be farther from the truth. I was an addict myself and was brought back home by my family by force while he was in jail for drugs. They saved my life and the life of my unborn child. I have been clean now for 5 years and miss him dearly. Alot of people say that i'm better off without him but what they don't realize is that the reason he was homeless was because he chose to stay down in FLA. as to give me and our unborn child a shot at having a life. He felt that if he was here he would just f*#@k it up and i'd start using again. He gave up his chance at having a family and life for me and his child which was one of the most unselfish things he could have done. So to anyone posting comments please think b4 u type..Even some of the most destitute people out there who u think wouldn't have anyone who cared about them actually do. these people no matter what they have done were someone's son, father, husband, boyfriend, uncle , brother or friend so please remember that. my prayers to his family especially sister and neice.and Jon I miss u and Love u and so does ur daughter alyssa

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

... hmmm ... sounds like Snoop doesn't have any balls.

lori grande
lori grande

Oh, and SNOOP, I don't know if you realize this, having decided 9 months after this article was published to sign on and write a comment such as you did, but ... you wrote that comment the day after a suspect was released from federal custody. Any correlation?

Lori Grande
Lori Grande

DEAR SNOOP,

Think before you write. Because before this is all over someone else is going to wind up dead and I would hate to see you get mixed up in this. Good idea to not put your name on the post.

SNOOP
SNOOP

...hmmm...sounds like a community service to me.

William
William

What is worse; to be the one to take a life or be the many to perpetuate evil through silence and indifference?

In Memoriam: William Fred Fenzau, November 10, 1966 � June 7, 2005.

Lori
Lori

To be real and true - the time for justice for William has passed. Too many forces worked against it.

Further, there remain voices which have harbored secrets about this homicide for four years. For those people - you know how you are - the first cut may be the deepest, but inaction, pours salt in the wound.

As for law enforcement of every branch; you may scorn me - but know that you have helped to create who I have become. The rest, I know, is up to me to resolve, and I will. What is lost is untouchable as is what remains.

ada
ada

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Bill
Bill

I remember this from the First 48, but I don't get the angle of the article. (other than to be sensationalistic I guess) How did the show rush the detectives? Where in the article is there anything to substantiate this incredible claim? Did the reporter even try to talk to the producers? The reporter seems to contradict himself whenever he brings up the show. He even tries to back the prosecutor into blaming the show, but the prosecutor can't do it. The reporter's quote about the show's premise is all wrong from the start - the show never says anything about an arrest in the first 48, just that its important to get a lead in that time. As the reporter states in the article, the detectives didn't arrest Goode until two weeks later, after DNA evidence came through linking Goode's blood to the crime scene. That and all the other evidence about Goode's cuts seems like pretty good probable cause to me. Sounds like Goode had a really good defense attorney and he got off on a bunch of technicalities. If the reporter really wanted to help the victim's sister out, he should have focussed on that aspect!

Rewards90
Rewards90

How much reward exactly are we talking about?

 
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