When Greed Turns Deadly

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But two weeks before graduation and the day after her 18 birthday, Betty and Bill eloped. They were married in Las Vegas, June 13, But if it was what their son wanted, his parents would go to any ends to see that he had it. Shocked by the elopement, and disappointed their second daughter married at such an early age, the Hales were consoled only by the feeling that she had married into a good family.

Never enough: Why greed is still so deadly - ABC Religion & Ethics

Every time they came, the parents hugged and kissed their son as though they had not seen him for years. If they came back that same day to bring him a snack, which they did frequently, they would go through the same routine all over again.

To a casual onlooker, it seemed to be a loving family indeed. Joe and Dorothy felt confident that their daughter would always be treated with the same kind of love and respect. Betty, on the other hand, had nothing extra to spend. Whatever Bill decided to dole out was what Betty had, and it was never any more than enough for the bare necessities.

Before Joe and Dorothy moved to Buena Park it had to be a special occasion to go visit her parents.

DEADLY WOMEN - Insatiable Greed - S6E3

Now that she would be living next door she could see all she wanted of them and even more of Jo Ann and the kids as they often spent time with Grandma and Grandpa Hales. To say the Hales family was a close family would be an understatement. Holidays were always spent together, including aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. No one they knew even remotely was allowed to spend the holidays alone.

At Christmas there would be something under the tree for everyone, even if it was nothing more than a sack of candy. Joe Hales was born on December 19 and as a child he always felt cheated out of a proper birthday celebration due to the Christmas holiday. They would always carry that same zeal and excitement for holidays. Marvelous decorating and extra special food preparation set the stage for every holiday gathering. Betty got so caught up in the excitement she began to make fancy cakes for whatever the occasion. Taking classes and perfecting her craft as the years went by she developed an extraordinary talent for design and decoration.

Selling her cakes through word of mouth, Betty added a few dollars here and there to the Gray household funds. Saralyn was born April 21, , and 19 months later on November 30, , Jeff joined the family. Now that Betty was a mother, Jo Ann and Betty had even more in common than they did before. They were constantly on the phone talking about the kids and spending hours poring over the Sears catalogue deciding what to get for birthdays and Christmas.

Saralyn was especially exciting for Jo Ann. She wanted to buy her clothes and dolls. Having two sons and no daughter, she was longing to shop for all the pretty girl things for her young niece. She explained to Betty that she needed some fun. You have Saralyn so I get to at least buy dolls, she insisted, and by then Jo Ann had the money to spend on others. The Buccolas could enjoy the results of their labor and were steadily climbing to an above average financial status.

He controlled the checking account and paid all the bills, but the one thing she did know was they were darn poor. She was sad but thankful when her parents slipped her some money now and then, and Jo Ann bought quite a few clothes and necessities for Betty and the kids.

It was the least they could do for her as they knew she needed help. Betty kept her kids clean and neat.


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She was an excellent housekeeper, Jo Ann recalls. But they always looked kind of shop worn, they looked poor. The clothes were old faded hand-me-downs except the few clothes Mom and I could afford to buy. She never spent an extra dime on herself. If she had some money it all went for the kids. I never heard her complain about Bill. She always supported him, whatever he was doing. They were beginning to feel uncomfortable around Bill. The more they were around him, the more concerned they became. They sensed he was becoming very controlling over Betty, dictating her every move. She had to ask Bill about every little thing she wanted to do.

Betty was scared to death to be late returning home for any reason. Like Cinderella, when her time was up she flew home immediately. I thought, give me a break. Everyone should be allowed some leeway in their lives, remembers Jo Ann. When it was time to go, she packed up the kids and she went. Undoubtedly she found it much easier to comply with his demands than to make excuses. Purchases for almost everything had to have prior approval. It was quite simple. If Bill wanted something they got it.

If Betty needed something for the house or the kids she had to convince her husband it was an absolute necessity. Only then would he give her the money. Often he wanted to see the receipt. If there was change left over, he took that into account the next time he gave her money for groceries. Betty was a married woman, a housewife, the mother of two children but she had no say in daily events. Without realizing it, Betty Gray was going through life never being allowed to make any decisions of her own. Bill Gray was sole director of this household production.

Mood swings were not uncommon to Bill. No one knew if he was going to be pleasant and jolly or sullen and quiet. If anyone, even in a casual comment, tried to reason with him or kid him out of his dark moods he would throw a glaring look that truly unnerved them, a backoff or else, kind of look. Jo Ann shuddered a little when she thought about it. His eyebrows would turn down and those black eyes would stare right through you.

However, in spite of her inner feelings about Bill, Jo Ann always included him and her sister in functions held at her home, and Bill, probably somewhat subdued and intimidated by his sister-in-law, usually put his best foot forward. They chose a wooded, unimproved lot that needed to have some trees removed. By then Bill had sold off or lost most of his tree cutting equipment and had been working other odd jobs as he could find them. At least that was the understanding Dick had when he sought bids from three different tree removal companies. When Bill heard what they were doing, he went to his brother-in-law and asked for the job.

After all, this was family, and if they could help out they should. Dick never expected Bill to beat the lowest bid; he was prepared to pay around the medium to higher range. A few extra dollars for family would not be a problem, he maintained.

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His brother-in-law had charged three times more than the highest bid Dick had previously received. Expressing intent to pay only a fair price for the work received, Dick confronted Bill with this outrageous charge. Dick made a silent vow that he would never allow his sister-in-law to go without food and necessities, but as long as Bill was controlling her life, he would never again enter into any financial dealings with Bill Gray.

When Greed Turns Deadly

Although Dick paid the price, he made it known to Bill the charge was totally out of line. The fact that he and Betty were having money problems was no excuse to be dishonest in his business dealings. The only thing that kept Dick from punching Bill was he was family. Although Dick thought it was over and to be forgotten, Jo Ann was furious. She called and made it clear to Betty that she and the kids were welcome in her home anytime but she did not want Bill Gray to set one foot inside her house again. Bill drifted from job to job. He tried his hand as a heavy equipment operator and spent some time working in the quality control division at U.

Rubber in the City of Commerce.

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Probably because his brother-in-law Dan had gone to work in the heating and air conditioning field, Bill started night classes to learn the sheet metal trade. Bill showed up on the job but he worked only sporadically. He called in sick often. Curious, they discovered Bill sleeping the day away under a staircase or in an area where no one was working. Surprisingly, no one complained to the boss.

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