But her wants were often capricious. After that first marriage fell apart in late 1978, she bounced through two more husbands during the early 1980s, the second of whom she wed illegally because she was, technically, still married to the first. She developed a keen sense of business and by the mid-1980s was president of a construction company called V-Lar, based in Edgewater, a forgotten highway town of 15,000 along I-95.

On a weekday afternoon in 1985, Virginia visited a nearby dental office on Knapp Street, where she met a dark-haired dentist named Norman Larzelere. She now says she adored him from the start. The two made an odd pair: he wonky and careful, she vivacious and sexual. They married quickly, on June 14, 1985, and Norman Larzelere, whom everyone called Doc, soon adopted his new wife's two children, Jessica and Jason.

The family moved into the dentist's multiwing mansion in DeLand, which had housed aristocrats from a U.S. congressman to John Graham, president of First Union Bank. "Norm was my best friend," says Virginia, chestnut eyes electric with memories. "It's rare in life when you meet someone you can talk to about anything in the world."

Jason Larzelere, Norman Larzelere's 18-year-old stepson.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal
Jason Larzelere, Norman Larzelere's 18-year-old stepson.
The gunman broke into the dental office with a shotgun.
Courtesy of Gary McDaniel
The gunman broke into the dental office with a shotgun.

Juanita Washington, who's now 82 and still in DeLand, was the Larzelere housekeeper. She remembers tending to an archetypal nuclear family. "There was nothing but love in that household," she says. "Nothing but love."

According to a financial statement from those years, times were indeed good for the dentist. He had a net worth of $1.1 million and owned boats, cars, and $200,000 worth of paintings and antiques. His home, tucked among oaks dripping Spanish moss, included a screened pool, a basketball court, and a guesthouse.

But despite the family's apparent wealth, disturbing problems simmered. In 1986, Virginia's business went bankrupt after she was charged in state court with embezzling $30,000 from a Daytona Beach construction company; she paid a settlement of $34,000, and the charges were dismissed.

More troubling, her six-foot, 130-pound son began to evince a temperament that was volatile and violent. "We were all close when we were young," says Jason's sister, Jessica. "But two years before my father died, I had a friend over. Jason was so angry that she and I had to lock ourselves in the closet as he was beating on the door. When we finally thought it was safe to come out, he punched me in the face and broke my nose."

Jason, who attended gay clubs in Orlando and collected drag-queen friends, also displayed an unusual and aggressive fealty to his mother. "He threw me down the stairs and broke my ribs by kicking me over and over again," his sister recalls. "I had told my dad that Mom was cheating on him with a patient of his."

Virginia Larzelere had, in fact, cheated on her husband with at least three other men, court records show. One of them was Phillip Langston, a six-foot-five exotic-animal and parrot collector who lived in a New Smyrna Beach hovel north of Edgewater. He slept with Virginia in 1989, and, he alleged in court, she once complained about her husband abusing her in a rage, saying she wanted to "get rid" of Norman for $50,000 — though Lang­ston didn't think she was serious.

Another of Virginia's lovers was a Californian named Norman Lee Karn, who favored big black cowboy hats and dated Larzelere for three months in early 1989. After requesting $500,000 for his testimony, which authorities rejected, he claimed Virginia had asked one of his pals at a tavern to kill her husband so she could marry Karn. (The friend later testified it was just "bar talk.")

And on that warm afternoon in March 1991, when a masked man broke into Dr. Norman Larzelere's dental office with a sawed-off shotgun and unloaded a single round into the dentist, every eyeball in Edgewater settled upon Virginia Larzelere and her strange son, Jason.


Six weeks after the murder, on an early May morning, a jowly and good-natured detective named Dave Gamell, who often played Santa Claus for local kids, grabbed a phone at the Edgewater Police Station. It was a friend of Jason Larzelere's, and he said he wanted to talk. He knew where the murder weapon was.

So that morning, Gamell climbed into his car and drove through 37 miles of baking farmland to a weather-battered, beige house in DeBary, where he shook hands with a cherub-faced kid named Steven Heidle.

The 20-year-old, who shared an Orlando apartment with Jason and was paid by the Larzeleres to look after their troubled son, seemed terrified.

The detective listened to the boy talk for hours. Heidle said he performed household tasks for Jason and knew him better than most. Days after the murder, Heidle confessed he had climbed into his own mom's attic and retrieved a bag of cement and a sawed-off shotgun he alleged Jason had stashed there. Next, under the orders of Virginia Larzelere, a woman he claimed to have met only once before, he went to the Larzelere manor with the gun and cement.

Azure eyes big and glassy, Heidle stressed to police he did this only because of the control Virginia had over him. She was evil, he said. "She'd just had her husband killed," he later explained at trial. "She wouldn't think twice about killing me too."

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10 comments
jpmorgan3
jpmorgan3

I believe Terrence McCoy is the fruit cake here.  Terrence,  she really is guilty. Life without parole.

leejean21
leejean21

This woman is not a victim of injustice.  She had an incestuous relationship with her son and used him to kill her husband.  The ONLY reason her son is not in jail is because his face was covered and there was not enough evidence to show that he was the shooter beyond a reasonable doubt.  Eye witnesses at the crime scene all heard the victim call out his step son's name before he died(i.e.Jason is that you? Jason!), and they testified that she began to press her mouth to his, so he could not get any more words out. Not to mention she gave the murder weapon to her house staff and told them to clean it and dispose of it. She is disgusting and belongs where she is.

CheckpointCharlie73
CheckpointCharlie73

Most criminal defense attorneys do tons of drugs, drink like fish, and are involved with court personnel if they can, and are usually robbing some client or another. This guy was a typical lawyer. Additionally, if he was screwing the court reporter, that could only help his client, since she could interpret the transcript in the client's favor. 


jamjamaa
jamjamaa

What the hell is a "nude bottle club"?

Kzm Ufc
Kzm Ufc

That status sounds an awful lot like government and religion.

cooperschuler
cooperschuler

just as Carol implied I am startled that anybody able to make $5040 in 1 month on the computer. find more information == > w­w­w.B­a­y­9­3.ℂ­o­m

Betty Perez
Betty Perez

And yet the smell of a dead body in the trunk of a pathological mother whose missing daughter was later found dead was too circumstantial. Oh yeah Florida...

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

Not an actual like, but an upvote of support for this to be seen.

jenkemjones
jenkemjones

@leejean21 I think she and her son belong in an unmarked grave near their place of execution.  The witnesses saw Jason do it but the jury was told to ignore that because Jason wore a mask.

leejean21
leejean21

@Chard Beauregarde Larzelere is guilty. She confessed to her personal assistant and house staff at the time and they advised police that she made them clean and dump the murder weapon (which was found where they said it would be). Also, she took out 2.1 million in life insurance policies on her husband and called to make sure they were payable days before his murder.

 
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