Long before Richard Matt was felled by a border patrolman Friday night, the fugitive killer was apparently a snitch for the feds—helping them catch a greedy embezzler who, according to Matt, was plotting to kill his heiress wife.
Matt, a career criminal, was serving time for attempted burglary in 1995. He appeared then before a parole panel and portrayed himself as the victim of a ruthless and rich fellow inmate. Matt told the panel a “guy hired me to kill his wife and three other people while I was in jail.”
That man was David Telstar, an adopted child from Minnesota. An artist who married up. The graphic designer married Desiree Telstar in 1986. She was the granddaughter of the late Harry Warner, founder of Warner Bros.
But the marriage didn’t last. In 1991, Desiree reported that he’d embezzled more than $1 million from a joint multimillion-dollar trust and stashed the cash in Swiss banks, backed by numerous court documents and Swiss bank account files. By the mid-’90s, Telstar was being held at Erie County Holding Center on a warrant.
Matt and Telstar met while holed up in cells in the Buffalo, New York, facility, Matt told the parole board, according to a transcript from the hearing. Matt said Telstar offered him a fee of $100,000—plus $15,000 cash for Matt’s bail from the holding facility—if Matt would help kill Desiree, along with her parents, who happened to be Los Angeles Police Commission President Stanley Sheinbaum and Betty Warner Sheinbaum. Also on the alleged hit list was Telstar’s attorney, Walter Valentine, who’d created the couple’s multimillion-dollar trust.
Friends of Matt’s, lawyers who worked on the case, and Matt himself all say the prison escapee had became an informant for the FBI as it investigated the alleged murder-for-hire plot. When reached for comment on this article, the FBI would neither confirm nor deny whether Matt had ever been an informant.
Telstar, who was later arrested by the FBI for the alleged plot, admitted to ginning up the hit on his wife, in-laws, and the family lawyer in a guilty plea, his lawyers confirmed. Read more at the Daily Beast.