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Frenimies: 4 True Crime Books About Friends Who Committed the Ultimate Betrayal

Updated on November 26, 2016

1. Wages of Sin by Suzy Spencer

Will Busenburg was born a liar. From the time the Indiana native could talk, he would spin the most grandiose of tales. He was hero or a victim depending on who he was talking to, and it’s no surprise this real-life Pinocchio eventually ended up a ward of the state.

As an adult, following a short stint in the National Guard, Will ran into his old classmate Chris Hatton, a young man who had his own issues – including being AWOL from the Navy. The two agreed to become roommates.

Wages of Sin by Suzy Spencer
Wages of Sin by Suzy Spencer

Soon thereafter, Will met Stephanie Martin, a stripper at the Yellow Rose nightclub. Seducing her with stories of being a paid assassin with the CIA, million-dollar bank accounts and Montana ranch homes, Stephanie soon found herself in love with Will. The feeling was mutual.

But oh what a tangled web we weave, and Will soon found his lies catching up to him. Stephanie was insisting on accompanying Will on a “mission” and what little money he did have was gone. Something had to give. And quick!

Will justified the lack of some funds by claiming Chris had stolen them. Of course, being a modern-day James Bond, Stephanie encouraged him to get it back.

No one will ever be sure what happened on that night in January 1995, but one thing is certain: Chris Hatton was murdered. His body was found partially burned and dismembered in a fire ring at Pace Bend Park in Austin, Texas.

New York Times bestselling author Suzy Spencer provides a detailed account on the murder of Chris Hatton by his forked-tongue roomie and the thrill-seeking stripper in her third true crime book Wages of Sin.

2. Lipstick and Blood by John Kearney

Michelle Mae Hetzel had been best friends with the openly gay Devon Nereida Guzman for many years. Classmates and others recognized it was more than a friendship for Devon, but Michelle was obviously heterosexual.

Lipstick & Blood by John Kearney
Lipstick & Blood by John Kearney

In her late teens, however, Michelle began to question her own sexuality and began a love affair with Devon. As is prone to happen when one is suffering a sexuality crisis, the relationship was riddled with arguments and break-ups. During one of those down times, Devon began dating Keary Renner, a young married woman seeking her own sexual identity.

Michelle was jealous, but nonetheless moved in with her new boyfriendBrandon Paul Bloss and soon they were married. But Michelle just couldn’t stay away from Devon.

Feeling cuckolded, Brandon began issuing ultimatums to Michelle. When Devon and Michelle slipped away for a vacation in the Virgin Islands, Brandon had had enough.

Later when Devon was found murdered in her car, investigators would find themselves immersed in a tale of a lesbian love triangle turned deadly. While certain that their killer was either Michelle or Keary, it would take uncovering forensic evidence to pick a winner for the title.

Author John Kearney takes readers on journey filled with sex, lies, and murder in his 2006 true crime Lipstick and Blood about the Hetzel-Bloss murder trial.

3. Too Young To Kill by M. William Phelps

Adrianne Reynolds had been passed around all her life. From a teenage mother who gave her up, an adoptive grandmother/mother, to her adopted Dad. She never developed any real roots.

Too Young To Kill by M. William Phelps
Too Young To Kill by M. William Phelps

And just as things without grounding will do, Adrianne simply drifted through life. When she moved in with her Dad, Tony Reynolds in East Moline, Illinois, she tried to find a foothold. To make friends. To fit in.

Since life hadn’t been kind to her and her life choices exhibited such, she wasn’t a candidate for the jocks or the preps groups. Even the anonymous nobodies of high school weren’t an option. But finally it seemed the Juggalos, a group of kids known for their outcast status in society, were a group who just might be willing to let her in.

And they did. Sort of.

At first, Juggalette Sarah Kolb, a bisexual sixteen year old, was attracted to Adrianne and eager to welcome her in. Adrianne, in turn, was just as eager to be accepted – even if it meant developing a lesbian relationship with Sarah.

But Adrianne liked boys too much and Sarah was psychotic. So when Sarah confirmed that Adrianne had slept (term used loosely) with a couple of fellow Juggalos, she saw it as the ultimate betrayal. And for Sarah, there was only one way to punish Adrianne for her transgressions.

Murder. The ultimate punishment.

4. A Descent Into Hell: The True Story of an Altar Boy, a Cheerleader, and a Twisted Texas Murder by Kathryn Casey

In their earlier years, Jennifer Rae Cave and Colton Aaron Pitonyak had been relatively good kids; a high school cheerleader and an alter boy respectively, but that life was long over. Now life revolved around the next high. And college, sometimes.

A Descent Into Hell by Kathryn Casey
A Descent Into Hell by Kathryn Casey

As it’s prone to do, drug-enhanced relationships end on a sour note when one junkie decides to get clean; which is what Jennifer was intending to do. But this time it ended in murder.

On August 17, 2005, for reasons that may never be fully known, Colton shot and killed Jennifer then hacked up her body. By the time it was discovered by Jennifer’s mother two days later, Colton had fled to Mexico with a long time admirer Laura Hall. (Just a thought: Although the U.S. seldom deports its illegals, Mexico had no problem tossing the killer and his accomplice back across the border to be arrested in record time!)

A Descent Into Hell: The True Story of an Altar Boy, A Cheerleader, and a Twisted Texas Murder recounts the high times of Jennifer and Colton and the final act of their relationship.

Updates from these Books. (Warning! May Contain Spoilers!)

  • Stephanie Martin is currently housed at the Mountain View prison facility in Gatesville, Texas. She will not be eligible for parole until January 2020.
  • Will Busenburg is incarcerated at the Allred prison in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the time of this writing.

  • All appeals have been exhausted for Michelle Hetzel and Brandon Bloss. As of this writing, Michelle is housed at Muncey Correctional Institute, while Brandon is incarcerated at Somserset State Prison.
  • Keary Renner remained married to her husband. In 2004, she enlisted in the military. This is the last confirmed update, although it is believed she is currently living in New York.

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