Robert Angleton

Harris County, Texas
Date of Crime:  April 16, 1997

Robert Angleton, also known as Bob, was a bookie who took bets on sporting events. He was charged with murdering his 46-year-old wife, Doris. Following the murder, Bob told police that he suspected his brother Roger was the killer. Despite Roger's checkered past, Bob had employed him in 1989. He fired him less than a year later. After being fired, Roger felt Bob owed him $200,000 and even tried to rob him of it at gunpoint. Roger then threatened to put Bob out of business, by reporting him to the IRS. Bob ignored him, but Roger started making phone calls to customers, posing as an IRS agent.

After realizing that Roger could ruin his bookmaking business, Bob started paying him $2500 a month. While the payoffs worked for a while, in 1997 Roger demanded even more money. Bob says he received a letter from Roger saying if he didn't get the money, “I will hurt you in a way that will be with you for the rest of your life.” Bob ignored the letter, but six weeks later Doris was killed.

Roger had fled following the murder, but was arrested two months later in Las Vegas. He had with him audiotapes of two men planning the murder. Prosecutors believed the two men were Roger and Bob. Roger claimed he was hired by Bob to murder Doris. Prosecutors also learned that Doris had filed for divorce two months earlier. Doris had an online lover that Bob said he was unaware of. Prosecutors believe that Doris could have threatened to expose Bob's bookmaking business in order to obtain a larger divorce settlement.

Shortly before a prosecutor was about to offer Roger a deal to testify against Bob in exchange for getting out of jail, Roger committed suicide in his cell. Roger left a note stating that he had killed Doris on his own as an act of revenge, and that Bob was not involved. The prosecutor convinced a judge that Roger's note was unreliable hearsay, and therefore inadmissible. The prosecutor hired an audio expert who had once worked for the FBI to analyze Roger's tapes. Contrary to the prosecutor's hopes, the expert reported that he was “very confident” that Bob's voice was not on the tapes. After listening to the tapes, the jury thought the voices on it were too muffled to identify Bob's voice. They acquitted him.

While Roger was imprisoned, aspiring crime writer Vanessa Leggett visited him and made 50 hours of audiotapes of her interviews with Roger. On them Roger pointed a finger at Bob and claimed that Roger had agreed to pay him $100,000 a year for ten years in exchange for killing Doris. Roger claimed he taped his conversations with Bob as insurance in case Bob failed to pay up. Armed with this new evidence, prosecutors planned to try Bob again, this time in federal court, three and a half years after his acquittal in state court. Roger's “dying declaration” suicide note would still be inadmissible, but his taped statements to Leggett would be admissible, even though Bob would be denied his constitutional right to confront Roger regarding their truthfulness.

Four days before his second trial was to begin, Bob, out on bail, boarded a plane and flew to Amsterdam. He did not want to face the possibility of a conviction. He carried with him $135,000 and a fake passport. Dutch officials spotted the fake passport and took Bob into custody. After the U.S. began extradition proceedings against him, Bob's Dutch lawyers argued that international treaty protects against double jeopardy and prohibits the Dutch government from sending Bob back to face murder charges a second time. Not only did a Dutch court agree, but so did the prosecutor.

Dutch courts eventually agreed to extradite Bob, but only after the U.S. filed new charges against Bob of passport and tax fraud and also agreed not prosecute him for murder. Bob pleaded guilty to the new charges in 2004 and will be released from prison in 2014. Bob's two daughters have stood with him and have never believed he killed their mother. The U.S. government says it has found a way to prosecute Bob again for murder upon his release from prison. An early book was published in 1999 about the case entitled Death in Texas by Carlton Smith. Leggett has also written a book about the case, but as of 2011 it has not been published.  [2/07]


Reference:  48 Hours

Posted in:  Victims of the State, Houston Cases, Wife Murder Cases, Convicted of Brother's Crime, Hearsay Testimony, Double Jeopardy Cases, Favorite Case Stories