PRIVATE EYES OF TEXAS
March of 2015 Edition
A Message from JJ
We were so busy during 2014 we only had time to produce one newsletter in February. We had numerous case successes during the year, which we will not be able to document fully in this newsletter. I have chosen the ones that are, in my mind, the most notable.
Our sales total for 2014 was the second largest in our company’s 26 year history. In September of 2014 we had our highest bill out month ever, totaling over $115,000 in sales. Our yearly story remains the same. We leave no stone unturned to provide our clients with the best results possible. The training program that we started during the year for our Investigators has reaped great rewards. Our Investigators have honed their skills to a higher level, making our team, in my opinion, the best in the business. Every Investigator is committed to taking each investigative assignment to a successful conclusion, many times going the extra mile to get the job done.
Our satisfied clients continue to provide us with referrals that have certainly enhanced our growing client base.
New Addition To Staff
I am happy to announce the newest addition to our staff, my longtime friend and police associate Wayne Kessler. Wayne is a 38 year law enforcement veteran. Wayne’s career involved 8 years in patrol as both officer and shift supervisor and 30 years in criminal investigations.
Wayne was assigned on six different occasions to the US Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force and later served 18 months assigned to the Houston Violent Offenders Task Force. During this period Wayne arrested two Texas Top Ten fugitives.
He was later assigned to the Galveston County Organized Crime Control Unit working on a number of high profile cases. Wayne coordinated the first major body search effort in the 1986 Shelley Sikes kidnapping case, which involved 600 volunteers who searched areas covering Bacliff and San Leon but sadly Shelley’s body was never recovered. His efforts, however, resulted in the arrest and conviction of John King and Gerald Zwarst for Aggravated Kidnapping. After two change of venue trials, both were convicted of aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to Life in prison.
Wayne was also the lead investigator on the Timothy Gribble Capital Murder case. Gribble had raped and murdered a prominent Clear Lake Shores resident after performing maintenance on her residence. Wayne tracked Gribble to Newbern, TN where he was arrested and brought back to Texas. After two Capital trials Gribble was sentenced to death.
In 1996 Wayne became a Federal Agent with the Department of Veterans Affairs and worked a myriad of cases, including employee misconduct, pension and benefits fraud, narcotics and homicide. Wayne received numerous awards and commendations, including two Assistant Inspector General awards which were presented to him in Washington D.C.
After 9 years of Federal service Wayne reached mandatory age and retired from the Government. Wayne’s last tour of duty was with the Santa Fe, TX Police Department where he was a detective four years and was then promoted to Captain, second in command of the 22 man department.
Wayne has extensive training in crime scene search and scene reconstructions. Wayne is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute Homicide Investigator’s Course at the University of Louisville, one of the most prestigious in the country. Wayne has also attended numerous Homicide blood splatter interpretation and crime scene training classes throughout the country. This training, combined with Wayne’s excellent interviewing skills made him a premier homicide detective before his retirement.
Wayne’s addition to our team makes a great staff even greater.
Cases Reviewed In This Edition of The Newsletter
Private Eyes of Texas
- The Case of the Shell Companies
“The Billing Scam” Attorney Phillip Hilder, one of our most tenured clients, referred Gradoni & Associates to one of Houston’s largest commercial land development companies. The individual in charge of Company signage
- The Case of “Just Living” … With $80,000.00
Payroll Clerk – Busted An international engineering firm hired Gradoni & Associates to investigate a number of irregularities identified with vacation pay on a number of employees. It appeared that a number of vacation checks had
- The Case of the Wayward Movers
Our Client had hired a local moving company to transport their belongings from one location in Ft. Bend County to another location in Harris County. When everything was unpacked the client was missing over $100,000 worth of silver along
- The Case of the Stolen Coins
Silver Theft Our client had secreted in a secured area a number of silver coins, valued at over $1,000,000. During the course of an inventory the business owner discovered that $200,000 worth of the coins were missing. J.J. Gradoni and
- The Case of The Missing Laptops
We were hired by a Houston, TX-based firm who keeps a large inventory of laptops that they supply to customers in the medical field. The laptops are delivered to the medical client completely updated with current software and the medical
- Upcoming Trials
Security Guard Faces Death Penalty In June we will start jury selection on a security guard facing the Death Penalty, being charged with the murder of two prostitutes and the aggravated robbery of 6 other prostitutes, all from the
- When Being An Investigator Gets Interesting
J.J. Gradoni recently interviewed one of our criminal Defendants at the Harris County Jail. The Defendant had lengthy criminal history and had a number of very serious pending charges that most likely could result in him spending the rest
- The “His Turn to Inflict Pain” Murder Investigation
Attorney Skip Cornelius represented a Defendant who was charged with the stabbing death of an individual during an altercation. Our client regularly hung out at a makeshift bar and pool hall on the North side of Houston. One of the
- The Wrong Man Killed in Dope Rip-Off Case
Attorney Skip Cornelius represented a teenager charged with Capital Murder. The teenager was selling dope for a dealer and had been ripped off by a customer. When our Defendant informed the dope dealer about what happened she also gave him
- The Weed Killing Investigation
Attorney Skip Cornelius represented a Defendant who was charged with Capital Murder for attempting to rob a dope dealer during a transaction, which resulted in the shooting death of the dope dealer’s associate. Our Defendant admittedly
- The Case of the Homemade Engine Fabricator
HIGHEST VALUE PROPERTY RECOVERY IN HISTORY OF GRADONI & ASSOCIATES Our firm was contacted by a Texas City Detective who advised that his uncle worked for a company that built engines used in chemical plants to verify the content and
- The Finger Investigation
Attorney Brett Podolsky represented a defendant who was in very ill health. The defendant, a gay male, was charged with biting off the finger of his lover’s mother. The mother showed up at the defendant’s apartment highly intoxicated.
- The “Kingpin Bums Ride to Hit” Investigation
Attorney John P. “Casey” Keirnan represented a defendant charged along with 3 other defendants with Capital Murder. The State alleged that the head of a local dope ring wanted to have an individual who provided information to
- Marijuana Leads to Death, Gradoni Investigates
Attorney Katherine Scardino represented a young man who allowed an acquaintance to use his apartment to buy marijuana in Houston, TX. During the transaction, the acquaintance shot and killed one of the weed sellers in an attempt to rip
- Robbery Gone Wrong in Port Arthur, TX
Attorney Robert Loper AND Attorney Gerald Bourque represented a defendant charged with the shooting death of a nightclub owner during a robbery attempt that went bad in the parking lot of a club in Port Arthur, TX. The State had an
- Male Prostitute Accused of “Laptop” Robbery
Attorney Skip Cornelius represented a male prostitute who allegedly ran up to the complainant’s car, robbing the complainant at gun point in the middle of the street and taking his laptop. J.J. Gradoni Investigates The defendant informed
- The “Let’em Shoot at You First” Murder Investigation
Attorney Brett Podolsky represented a defendant charged with the shooting death of an individual in the parking lot of an after-hours club in Houston, TX. The State of Texas had witnesses that were allegedly going to testify that the
- The Case of the Invoice Groomer
Thieves Amongst Us The Owner of a large Pet Grooming & Boarding Hotel for animals had become suspicious that one of the employees had been changing the deposit slips each morning and taking some of the cash collected. The Client
- The Case of the Chemical Plant Extortion Saint
Payroll Raised Fraud John Rhem, one of our Corporate Attorney clients, asked Gradoni & Associates to look into allegations from employees of a chemical plant that their Supervisor had extorted money from them in return for favorable
- The Case of the Concrete Thief
Our firm was hired by a concrete company who had suspicions that one of their drivers was diverting loads dedicated to a client and dropping them at locations where the loads were sold for personal gain. One of the reasons that the
- New Cases
During the month of February 2015 we received three new Death Penalty cases from Defense Attorneys Katherine Scardino and Jimmy Phillips. Escaped Brazos County Inmates The first case is a seven-year-old case being tried in Brazos County on