Yes, you read the title of this blog correctly. I almost could’ve bought a house where a serial killer used to live.  The same house he lived in when he did the things he did.  The house where evidence was found.  The house where this killer was arrested.  So, it turns out I live next door to a house where a serial killer lived when he committed the crimes he would later be sent to prison for.

In the 80’s and 90’ Odessa was and remains the town with higher homicide rates.  Midland had it’s problems as well but violent crime just wasn’t as prevalent.  So when a 34 year old man is arrested for the suspected murders of 4 people the community was shocked. Even more shocking were the circumstances surrounding the deaths. David Dowler was a very eccentric, soft-spoken type of guy.  To those who knew him best he was fairly even tempered….just a little odd when it came to some of the stories he was known to tell.  Contract killings and claims of having formerly been a secret agent carrying out covert missions for the government. Sure, I’ve known some dudes that told stories like that, they were dudes I knew in high school but some men take way longer to grow out of that phase where they feel the need to make things up to impress people. David Dowler was 34 with a wife and a house and a big boy job so it’s safe to say he should’ve been past that by then. He was also seemingly a bit clairvoyant.  David seemed to be able to sense when something bad was happening, like the morning of August 16th, 1983, when he called the father of his co-worker, Lisa Krieg to say that she was late to work and he was worried about her.  Lisa’s father found his daughter dead in her apartment, stretched out on her bed, partially clothed.  David would later say that someone had tried to kill her several times before.  He also would go on to say that he found Lisa nude and deceased and that he partially dressed the corpse to make her death look natural before calling her dad.

 

Lisa suffered from long-standing anorexia nervosa and her death was attributed to the illness.  A few years later on February 12th, 1986,  David was worried about his business partner in a one-hour photo developing service, so he called the man’s ex-wife, Leza Chandler, saying he was “worried about Juan”. Leza found her ex-husband, Juan Casillas,

dead on his kitchen floor.  The toxicology report from his autopsy would find the presence of drugs.  Nine months later Leza Chandlers best friend is with her Aunt and her grandmother at an arts and crafts show at the Ector County Coliseum. Her grandmother said they were all sitting in some seats, Kathy had just bought a soft drink and a hotdog, they were chatting, Kathy had set her Coke on the ground, so when she hit her head on the seat in front of her, for a second they thought she was leaning down to get it, but they quickly realized that was not the case when she then fell to the concrete.

Her grandmother said she hadn’t even mentioned not feeling well that day or any other.  The autopsy results indicated the cause of death was a malfunctioning heart valve, odd for someone who wasn’t even thirty years old yet. There is a mention of the suspicious death of another of Dowler’s acquaintances in November of 1986, a woman named Dorothy Nesbitt, however, I have searched as many sources as I have available and haven’t even been able to find a record of a person by that name having died in November 1986 in Odessa.  It was the unexpected and questionable death of Leza Chandler who finally sparked enough suspicion to start an investigation.

Leza Chandler was found by a friend, Kerri Dawn Middleton, dead, laid out on her bed with only a sweater on and her two year old daughter naked, crawling aimlessly around on the mattress where her mom was laying.  Kerri says David called her and asked her to go check on Chandler “just in case”.  Kerri called Leza’s house several times before the toddler answered and told her that she couldn’t wake mommy up.  When Kerri asked David to go with her to check on their friend he refused, saying that it wouldn’t look good for him to be there.  It was the results of Leza Chandlers toxicology report that gave investigators something to look for in the other unexpected deaths of one very strange mans friends.  In the end chloroform poisoning and cyanide is identified as being the causes of death in all four cases.  David Dowler is arrested on August 20th, 1987 at his home (next door to my house) where they find chloroform, cyanide and other various types of chemicals.  Dowler didn’t fit the mold of an average serial killer of the time.  He killed with poison which is predominantly the choice of female killers, but that’s not the only thing that makes this killer stand out.  David told people that he was a former secret agent of the government who carried out mass assassinations and ran covert missions.  He told his friends there were people trying to kill them.  He blamed the untimely deaths of his group of friends on the people trying to get at him and even went as far as to theorize that one of the victims estranged husbands was a serial killer and he was the one responsible.   It was taped conversations between Dowler and Kerri Middleton in which he made claims of assassins and conspiracies against himself and her and stated that they were “next”.  Dowler tells Lisa Krieg’s ex-husband that his ex-wife Lisa had killer herself with cyanide that he had given her.  He said he cleaned her to maker her death look natural and that he had saved Lisa twice before when assassins tried to killer her because of her participation in a U.S. sponsored secret mission with him.  Tim, Lisa’s ex-husband, testified that Dowler told him he killed the two men that were responsible for the attempts on Lisa Krieg’s life.  In court he says that every time one of his friends died, Dowler seemed to know all about it.  David A. Dowler is currently serving a life sentence at a Texas prison.  He is up for parole in 2022 but was denied at his last parole review and will hopefully be denied at his next.