Lakewood psychologist Jill Bounds believed that her soul was ready for the next world. Then someone decided to help her along.
A few minutes before noon, Madelyn Moore parked her car in front of the neat frame house on Lakeshore Drive. She hadn't called to confirm her appointment, as she usually did. That's when her therapist and longtime friend Jill Bounds would tell Madelyn what she was making them for lunch. Perhaps it would be seaweed soup, or steamed vegetables and brown rice. Jill followed a stringent macrobiotic diet, a regimen she thought would cure her health problems. Madelyn didn't much care for the food. But she relished her time with "feisty, feline, feminine" Jill Bounds, and looked forward to talking over her current romantic problems with her insightful friend. Maybe Jill would read the Tarot for her; scanning the esoteric cards with their medieval pictures depicting lovers and the devil was always fun.
But if it was fun for Madelyn, it was almost a religion for Jill, who would consult the cards about everything, then write what they said in her meticulously kept journals. She even carried a deck of miniature Tarot cards in her purse. Jill always had some exciting metaphysical theory to talk about: auras, astrology, rune stones, channeling, astral projection, reincarnation, psychic surgery. She studied Buddhism and American Indian religions. If her friends and clients didn't always take it seriously, Jill did.
Madelyn, who asked that her real name not be used, saw her friend as a dedicated seeker with an unbounded curiosity about the unseen world. If the ideas were sometimes a little strange, if it seemed odd that a licensed counselor would read her clients' astrological charts, well, Jill told friends, those were just tools for using her intuition. It was important to keep an open mind. As she walked to Jill's front door that September day in 1988, Madelyn noticed something odd. The paper was still on the front lawn.
"I thought she'd overslept," Madelyn says. But that was unlike Jill Bounds. You could set an atomic clock by the forty-one-year-old psychologist's habits. Always up at 6 a.m. Thirty minutes of meditation, thirty minutes of yoga, thirty minutes to dress her petite frame, another half-hour to eat breakfast and read the paper. Then, appointments with clients in the small office in her home the rest of the day. When Madelyn's knocks on the front door were met with silence, she knew something was wrong. Jill was always on time. Driving to a pay phone, Madelyn called Jill, but got no answer. Also peculiar. If Jill had left the house, she would have transferred her calls to the answering service. She returned to her office at a downtown advertising firm, just minutes away. But she couldn't shake the feeling that something was dreadfully amiss. Madelyn dialed the police. The dispatcher told her they could not break into the house unless she was there; her worry mounting, she jumped in her car and raced back to Lakeshore Drive to meet the police.
There, Madelyn found another of Jill's friend’s, whose husband had come by the house earlier that morning for his appointment. The two women walked around the house. "The blinds were barely up in her office," Madelyn says. "I could see that the light was on. On the floor were scattered files. Both of us knew something was terribly, terribly wrong."
As they walked on the other side of the house, they noticed a window was open, a ripple of sheer white curtain wafting through it to the outside, the only thing moving in the preternaturally still structure.
"At that point," says Madelyn, "we knew she was dead." Minutes later the police arrived. An officer went in the through the open window, and a scream erupted from the alarm system when he opened the door. The officer confirmed their worst fears, telling the two women huddled near the front door that he thought their friend was dead.
Inside, Jill Bounds lay in a bloody bed, her skull crushed. Scattered across the floor and bed was one of her many decks of Tarot cards, her clues to the future, her front line of defense against random quirks and twists of fate. Had she turned them up to see Death, a grinning skeleton in black armor mounted on a white horse, coming for her?
Stunned friends and family gathered on the lawn, wondering what to make of the news. Who would have wanted to kill sweet, gentle, tiny Jill Bounds?
But other friends say that while Jill's murder was shocking, it did not come as a shock. They describe a woman with two personalities: one, the kind, caring therapist, and the other a "scared little girl," desperately searching for meaning, who at one point found her way to infamous occult guru Terri Hoffman and her bizarre inner circle, where devotees fought wars with "black lords" on the "ethereal planes." They saw a woman who apparently had no qualms about dating married men, a woman filled with sometimes uncontrollable rage toward her lovers. Three men -- a mortgage underwriter, a firefighter, and an attorney -- would emerge as suspects in the murder of Jill Bounds.
"She had a secret life," says a fellow psychologist. "On the outside, it looks so good and wholesome. But on the inside, well, there were some sleazy people in her life. She knew how to create illusions."
Daniel Burton, another friend living in New York, remembered something different when he heard about her murder: a time in 1979, when he had "facilitated" a past-life regression for Jill. "She recalled that in a previous life she had been beaten to death," Burton says. "I guess she had to do that one over again."
Jane and Philip Bounds moved to Rockwall in 1949 when their firstborn daughter Jill was two years old. Another daughter, Joy, came along three years later. The Bounds family almost instantly became a powerful force in the community by purchasing one of its oldest and most influential businesses: The Rockwell Texas Success, then the town's only newspaper.
Though Philip would later be interested in meditation and Eastern religions, Jill's upbringing, like that of most of her classmates, included spending Sunday mornings at the First Christian Church of Rockwall, where she played piano.
Overweight, passive but personable, Jill had many friends while growing up. "There was never any heartache with her," Jane Bounds says. After graduating with honors from high school, Jill attended East Texas State University, where she majored in business. An early post-college marriage lasted only a year.
Jill and her husband moved to Dallas, the city that had loomed over the Rockwall of her childhood like the Emerald City towered over Oz. After teaching school for a year or two, and divorced in 1970, she began a series of secretarial jobs -- working for an investment firm, a lawyer, a bank executive. Jill was frugal. saving and investing even on a secretary's salary. She lived in an efficiency apartment and drove a Volkswagen. Her only frivolities were makeup, clothes, and jewelry.
She also began a series of relationships with men -- passionate liaisons with professionals who seemed to fall instantly in love with her. Somehow, from the quiet, passive young woman who played piano at church, Jill Bounds had evolved into a petite well-dressed femme fatale.
"All her relationships were characterized by fireworks," says Madelyn Moore." She inspired obsessive love with men. Also rage." The two women met in 1973 when both were working as secretaries at the law firm of Jackson & Walker.
Another longtime girlfriend says that Jill was practiced at using men, manipulating them into giving her what she wanted. She would accuse a lover of cheating on her, then exact a dress or watch or a piece of jewelry as his penance. She would later tell her amazed friends about it, giggling like it was a game.
Dick Grote met Jill one summer night in 1973 at TGI Friday’s. "It was one of those some-enchanted-evening-you-will-meet-a-stranger experiences," Grote says. After six months of dating, Grote got down on his knees and asked her to marry him.
"I think it was the first time I had ever been in love," Grote says. "She was probably the most beautiful woman I had ever dated. She had an insight into people that sometimes drove me up a wall. She knew which buttons to push to elicit a loving response and also to make me furious."
Grote was aware of Jill's burgeoning interest in metaphysics; in the early Seventies, Eastern religions and "New Age" spirituality were just beginning to sweep into the American mainstream. "I was aware, even then, of her interest in Tarot cards," Grote says. Apparently, Jill's grandmother had introduced her to the Tarot as a game. She absorbed one of the hot books of the moment: Linda Goodman's Sun Signs. He teased her about it, but didn't take astrology seriously. She did.
The engagement didn't last through the spring. Personality conflicts appeared and both called it off. In late 1974, Jill began dating an attorney named Jim Truitt. They were soon engaged. She had begun inching away from her traditional upbringing in public, and was attending the First Unitarian Church. Jill seemed to know everybody who was anybody in Dallas’s budding metaphysical community. She began teaching yoga, and many of her friends attended her classes.
Truitt didn't view Jill's interest in the metaphysical so benignly. "The reason why we finally couldn't make a go of it is that Jill was so caught up in the supernatural and I did not agree with what I saw as her gullibility in terms of those things. We had heated discussions about it." Jill would wail that she couldn't bear to live in the world if there wasn't something more than day-to-day existence. There had to be an unseen spiritual world, where battles between good and evil influenced earthly events: otherwise, life was too capricious, too haphazard. But that wasn’t what ended their relationship.
"She wasn’t what she appeared to be," Truitt says. "She appeared open, charming, generous, and giving, but there was this other side." The side with a morbid sense of rejection or betrayal. The side that would send her into a fury if he was late, screaming and flailing at him with her fists.
"She had the most violent rages I've ever seen, completely disproportionate to the provocation:" Truitt says. "It was like watching a volcano or a force of nature. It always seemed ironic to me that she went into counseling."
Tired of the business world, Jill returned to school in 1977, taking psychology courses at Texas Women's University. She concentrated on marriage and family therapy, though on her application to become a professional licensed counselor, she listed sexual dysfunction as an area of specialized training. After graduating, she went to work part time for the Dallas Independent School District as a school psychologist, and soon set up her own counseling practice.
The world of psychology led Jill to many personal discoveries in the late Seventies and early Eighties, her friends say. She began attending meetings of Adult Children of Alcoholics: her father, who died in 1976, was a recovered alcoholic. That, they say, seemed to be the source of her rage and distrust of men.
Oddly, Jill took instantly to her stepfather, Curtis Innerarity, a banker who married Jane in 1979. One day, when her VW wouldn't start, Curtis fixed it. "From then on," he says, "I became Big Daddy to her. We talked the same language." They remained close even after Curtis and Jane divorced in 1985.
By 1988, her counseling business was thriving. Jill was living and working out of the two-bedroom frame house on Lakeshore Drive she had bought. After passing the test to become a licensed professional counselor in November 1987, she was making about $75,000 a year. Some of that came from her work as treasurer of The Rockwall Texas Success, which her mother had continued running after her father's death.
Word of mouth and YMCA classes in stress management brought in patients who were mostly interested in personal growth, not those struggling with severe mental illness. Many were impressed with Jill's "pulled-togetherness." Some viewed her with an emotion akin to worship. "Her clients saw her as God," says Curtis. "I saw her as a little person fighting for her life."
Clients, however, seemed to get no glimpse of the Jill who was struggling to find her own meaning.
Indeed, she told many clients and friends she was an "old soul" who had lived numerous times before and was almost done with her work on earth. After her next death, she would escape the karmic circle of reincarnation because of her high level of spiritual development. She believed she was one of the few who was highly evolved enough to grasp many of the answers to her own and mankind's problems.
"She was very insightful," says a female computer expert who began seeing Jill in the mid-Eighties. "It's difficult for professional women to find mentors -- a woman who can be feminine, yet strong and really contributing. Jill was so balanced."
Diane Ashworth, a woman who became, friends with Jill in 1970, was her patient from 1979 to 1985; even after Diane moved to Arizona, Jill counseled her long-distance, mailing her relaxation and visualization tapes. Jill's hypnotherapy and relaxation tapes helped her "enormously" and enabled her to pass her court reporting exams, says Ashworth. "She once gave me a calming talk. It was like Christ came down and put his hand on me."
But Ashworth knew that all was not right with her friend and therapist. She deliberately avoided knowing anything about Jill's personal life. "I felt I might lose my respect for her," Ashworth says. She and other female friends caught glimpses of the problems Jill was having with men -- the manipulation, the chaos in her relationships caused by her anger. One woman friend cut her ties to Jill because of it. "She refused to acknowledge she had a problem," the friend says.
If she couldn't control her anger, Jill could control something more tangible. She became more and more obsessed with her body. Every morning, after her ritual of meditation and yoga, Jill downed a handful of vitamins and herbs. She took frequent colonics to cleanse her intestinal tract. She began visiting a parade of massage therapists, Rolfers, acupuncturists and homeopaths, whose approach to health includes dog's milk and snake venom.
Jill's obsession about her health multiplied in the early Eighties after a doctor diagnosed abdominal growths as uterine fibroid tumors and recommended surgery. Determined to avoid an operation, she began following a macrobiotic diet. "There were only three restaurants you could go eat at with Jill," says Jeannie Peterka, her art teacher. One of her favorites was Francis Simun's macrobiotic restaurant, now on Greenville Avenue. Simun claims that a macrobiotic diet can cure "cancer, diabetes, AIDS, anything."
When it became obvious that the diet was not, eliminating the tumors, she began visiting Mazatlan, Mexico, several times a year. There, Jill attended New Age seminars set up to bring Americans to see so-called "psychic surgeons" from the Philippines. She seemed convinced that the tumors were being pulled from her body as the surgeon bits of bloody tissue "miraculously" from abdomen, then cleaned out her "third eye," showing her tiny pieces of gristle supposedly taken from her forehead. After one such experience, she claimed things were "blindingly clear" for three days.
But though she told friends the fibroid tumors would disappear temporarily, they always returned. She would become increasingly dedicated to her rigid diet, convinced that if the psychic surgeons couldn't rid her of them permanently, the right combination of brown rice and seaweed extract and vegetables would.
Early on, Jill’s interest in metaphysics began seeping into her counseling. "She had a knowledge of all sorts of things: healing crystals, astral bodies, auras," says Ashworth. While many clients received only classic Gestalt therapy or transactional analysis, for some, Jill read Tarot cards or drew up astrological charts for $50 to $65. Some clients came to her specifically for those services.
She led other clients in "light work" meditation and visualization based on principles propagated by a Richardson woman named Toni Moltzan, founder of the "Aquarian Practitioners of Light." Moltzan says her information is given to her by spiritual beings, members of the Ascended Masters of White Brotherhood.
Despite her unorthodox methods, no complaints were ever filed against Jill Bounds with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, whose bylaws prohibit therapists from making claims about "the efficacy of any services beyond those which the counselor would be willing to subject to professional scrutiny through publishing the results and claims in a professional journal"
"She was trained as a psychologist on the master’s level," says Dr. Virginia Jolly, a professor at TWU. "I'm a little amazed she would do all that. I don't know anyone who would do that." Another professor agrees. Dr. George Mount, who oversaw Jill's training in psychology, calls metaphysics "pseudo-science." "She didn't get that from me," Mount says. "It borders on the kind of stuff palm readers do."
Another bylaw in the code prohibits therapists from counseling "intimate friends," family members, or others "whose welfare might be jeopardized by such a dual relationship." That, too, Jill ignored, treating several of her close friends,
As she entered the last year of her life, Jill became more and more dissatisfied with her practice, confiding to friends that she was tired of listening to people’s problems. She wanted to do more business consulting, and even thought about buying some land in Santa Fe, one of her favorite places, and opening a sort of New Age bed-and-breakfast.
More and more, Jill talked about settling down, about finding her "soulmate" and getting married. But it was obvious to almost everyone who knew her that that would never happen. For one thing, her "soulmate" would have to be macrobiotic and a regular practitioner of meditation. Perhaps a husband wouldn't let her, do all the ritualistic things she did every day," says Ashworth.
During the Eighties, she had had a string of relationships that eventually soured for one reason or another. Several of the men she was serious about were homosexual. Others simply didn't share her interests. Often, with those who did, she seemed to deliberately sabotage any hopes of a long-term romance.
One man, an Austin engineer who was also a member of APL, went to Mazatlan with her on Valentine's Day in 1987. They had planned to share a room, but on the plane, Jill met another man. As they landed in Mexico, Jill informed her original date, who was in love with her after two months of dating, that they would not be sleeping together. "She said I was getting too demanding," he says. "I was crushed. Later, I realized how she isolated herself from people and daily life."
But one man, attorney Bob Jones, remained a constant in her life. They had met in 1971 at a courthouse Christmas party. Munching a veggie burger at one of their haunts, the Bluebonnet Cafe at Whole Foods Market, Jones says they dated, but their involvement soon evolved into a comfortable brother-sister relationship.
On the surface, the two seemed totally unlike. He was overweight, owlish. A history buff who collects guns, Jones is working on a novel based on World War II. But Jones was also interested in the metaphysical. Another bond was a similar family background. His father was a psychiatrist and an alcoholic. Never married, Jones lived with his mother, a petite blond nurse who looked much like Jill, until she was placed in a nursing home in 1982. Friends describe him as a devoted son; each evening he visited the nursing home to feed and read to her until her death in 1984. Jill and Bob both began attending ACA.
"She had guts, she had drive," Jones says. "She read the self-help books and did it." Jill eventually got Bob into macrobiotics which helped him to lose forty pounds.
Friends saw their relationship as something more than platonic, at least on his part; they say Bob was in love with Jill, and that she did not reciprocate. "Jill treated him (Bob) badly," says Innerarity.
"She'd call him if she couldn't get a date on a trip. They would go on one- or two-week trips -- which he often paid for but she would make him get a separate room. Jill never once took Bob seriously in his advances to her."
For his part, Bob says he never felt used or manipulated by Jill. "She was honest with people," he says. "You might not like what you heard. And she was a beautiful woman. She took it as natural that men might do things for her."
In late 1987, Jill met a man who appeared, at first glance, to be a candidate for the role of soulmate: forty-three-year-old Adam Schubert. (He agreed to an interview on the condition that his real name not be used.) They met at Francis Simun's macrobiotic restaurant. Dark, with an athletic build, Schubert was macrobiotic and interested in New Age philosophy. A mortgage underwriter with a BMW and use of a company Lear jet, Schubert had moved to Dallas in March 1987.
About the same time, a dentist had fitted Jill with a retainer after she complained of grinding her teeth at night. He then sent her to a hypnotist to get to the bottom of her stress. Days before her fortieth birthday, Jill asked her mother and sister to come to lunch at her home.
She announced what she had discovered after the hypnotist "regressed" her to four years of age: she had been sexually molested by her father. They were dumbfounded. "We just listened," Jane says. Jill told friends her mother was "into denial."
Many of her friends believed that Jill had been abused. Or at least believed she believed it. Some thought the revelation was in the same category as her many "remembered" past lives. One therapist and friend remembers being astonished when she found that Jill was not in therapy herself to deal with the painful "revelation." Instead, she seemed to concentrate on finding the perfect man.
Within a few months of meeting, Jill and Adam Schubert were discussing marriage. She was upbeat and happy. They went to movies, restaurants, to the gym, to art class together, and he often spent five or six nights a week at her house. Schubert also wooed her family, flying in live lobsters from Maine at Christmas.
But he couldn't please Jill. She began telling him that he could improve his personality, handing him a list of traits he needed to work on: be on time, be more friendly, etc. She wanted him to move from his North Dallas apartment to a "more geographically desirable" location. Once Jill demanded that he meditate more to improve his aura, or she wouldn't make love to him. "She said when you made love you exchanged auras," Schubert says, "and mine was terrible."
Jill, who had dreams that Schubert was unfaithful to her, began constantly challenging his whereabouts. Trying to please her, Schubert started carrying a $2,000 portable phone everywhere so that Jill could check up on him. And she began pleading with him to spend only one weekend a month instead of two with his teenage daughter.
Jill would later tell many of her friends that Schubert was violent, that he was manic-depressive, that she was afraid of him. Schubert admits to elevated moods, but says his condition is actually cyclothymia --a milder form of the disease -- and is controlled by lithium. He claims the only violence in their relationship was that perpetrated by Jill. She would literally attack him if he was late, ripping his shirts. He says he once grabbed her wrists when she struck out. She was furious, and demanded he take her to a doctor to have her hurt finger attended to.
Still, they talked marriage. Jill wanted a $25,000 ring because the $3,000 diamond Schubert had. given to his first wife was now worth that amount. But Jill became more and more obsessed by the idea that he was cheating on her. On May 5, after she was diagnosed with a vaginal infection, Jill dragged Schubert to a doctor's office, convinced that he had given her a sexually transmitted disease. They got into a fight, and Jill told friends the doctor recommended that she break off the four-month-old relationship.
May 5, Schubert says, was the last day they saw each other. That afternoon, Jill made a visit to a woman from her past, a woman she called "the witch" Terri Hoffman, a so-called psychic and leader of a group called Conscious Development of Body, Mind and Soul Inc. As she had several times that spring, she paid Hoffman $60 for a reading.
"She told Jill that Adam was practicing black magic and Satanism on the astral plane," says Madelyn. "She said he was seeing two women, and was too smart to ever get caught." Hoffman told Jill the relationship was a test for her. "If I didn't break it off," Jill told Madelyn, "he would kill me."
Apparently, Jill believed everything Hoffman told her. "She was out of her mind over that conversation with Terri Hoffman," says Curtis Innerarity. "It just destroyed her. She wanted him to admit he was running around on her. I don't think he was."
Jill broke off her relationship with Schubert, but left the door open for reconciliation. She told him that they could only get back together if he moved closer to her home and bought her an engagement ring. Schubert said thanks, but no thanks.
"The last time we talked was on Father's Day in June," Schubert says. "She called me from Santa Fe to wish me luck on my divorce." Though Jill was still telling people she was afraid of Schubert, concerned that he might hurt her or ruin her business, she continued to ask her mother and former stepfather if Adam had called. The reply was always no. The Monday before she died, she told her art teacher she hadn't spoken to Schubert in a long time.
Jill seemed to become more and more depressed as her forty-first birthday on August 9 approached. A friend who had lunch with her in July says she looked terrible, "thin and emaciated."
Just weeks before her death, Jill had confronted her sister and brother-in-law about "mooching" off her mother. Joy and Jim had returned to Rockwall after living nine months in Tennessee. Their house was leased, so they moved in with Jane, Jill told friends that Joy, who worked at the news~ paper, was keeping her from her mother. The last straw, Jill told friends, was when she called her mother's home one day and heard the phone recording identify it as her brother-in-law's residence. She called and blasted him.
The vociferousness of the confrontation astonished the family. Even her old steady friend Bob Jones told Jill she was out of line. Jane and Joy privately conferred, wondering if Jill's macrobiotic diet was somehow unhinging her mind. They discussed the possibility of getting Jill into a psychiatric hospital for observation. "Jill was extremely angry and extremely suspicious in the last few months," Innerarity says.
Her diary reflects much of her torment. "September 10: I can never relax ... Life is a constant struggle every day. I'm exhausted." "September 11: Last two weeks have been like a miserable lifetime. It's been tough since about my birthday. I don’t even remember July."
She seemed to be casting about for some direction that couldn't he provided by her seemingly endless supply of New Age philosophies. On September 15, days before her death, she had signed up for yet another class: Gohenzen, a form of Buddhism.
But if she was struggling for emotional stability, there was nothing that indicated Jill was in danger from anyone other than herself. Bob Jones wonders, however, if she had a premonition of her death. The day before Jill died, she completed a painting she had promised a friend and left it on her front porch, as if wrapping up unfinished business. Jill, a Leo who ardently followed her astrological chart, wrote a friend in California, telling her something would happen in the fall. "All the planets are moving," she said.
The last day of her life, September 20, Jill Bounds rose early and apparently performed her usual morning rituals. At 10 a.m., she arrived at Classic Cuts on Lovers Lane to have her hair styled. Her stylist did the usual, a cut and partial blond highlights, and she was on her way at 11. After shopping at Bookstop, she went home and ate lunch. Her maid Essie was there. At about 3 p. m., she stopped by Whole Foods Market, where she met several friends. Then she went for a walk in Tietze Park. She was home by about 4:15.
Her diary later noted: "BH (Bob Hargrove) found me in the park." She had a late-night rendezvous set up with curly-haired, tobacco-chewing Hargrove, a firefighter. They were going to discuss painting the outside outside of her house. For six years, he had done various odd jobs for her, from roofing her home to painting her kitchen.
But their relationship was something more -- a passionate on-again, on-again affair.
Most of her friends, including Bob Jones, knew about Hargrove. Though he seemed an odd choice for the fastidious, intellectual Jill, she told people that she and Hargrove were somehow psychically connected, that in another life they had been lovers. In this life, she hoped that he would leave his wife and two children and marry her.
Bob Hargrove didn't believe in any of Jill's metaphysical ideas. "She was always talking about reading the stars and cards and charts," Hargrove says. "I never let her read my cards."
Several times, worrying that Hargrove was "not her destiny," Jill tried to break off the relationship, once asking her former stepfather, with whom she was close friends, to call Hargrove and tell him to leave her alone.
But she couldn't stay from him. After she died, Jane Bounds was astonished to find out that Jill had plans to see Hargrove that night; Jane thought the relationship ended four years earlier. "We try to say goodbye and stick to it, but we can't," Jill told Madelyn. "It's like we're addicted to each other,"
On the Saturday night before she died, Jill told Sam Landers, a longtime friend who now lives in Florida, that she was going to break off the relationship once and all. But, other friends didn't get that impression; they felt she was simply lonely after the end of her affair with Adam.
She told Simun she was seeing "the fireman" again. "She sounded like she didn't want to, but she was desperate to have someone," Simun says.
Whatever the reason, Jill had arranged to meet Hargrove that night. Early that evening she declined an invitation to have a macrobiotic lunch with Bob Jones to celebrate his September 21 birthday the next day, pleading that she had to see a client. She promised to make it up to him when they flew to California together the next week. The two were flying to Monterey on September 29; Jill was going to attend a seminar for Adult Children of Alcoholics at Esalen, a New Age institute in Big Sur. Her last client left at 8:30. At 9:05, she wrote in her diary: "BH is late. I don't trust him ... I should get rid of him but I'm too afraid without him."
Hargrove says he arrived about 9:00 and left at 11:15 p.m. When he left, Hargrove says, Jill came to the front porch in her nightgown to wave good night. "I'm getting ready to go to bed," Jill told Hargrove. ''I'm going to read the cards." He says he then drove to his home in Mesquite.
That was the last time anyone admits to seeing Jill Bounds alive.
The next day, as Jane stood on her daughter's front lawn with police, the mother searched her memory for someone who might have had a motive for murder. She and others who knew Jill mentioned the names of Adam Schubert and Bob Hargrove.
Later when going through her daughter's financial records, Jane would wonder why Jill had gone just a few months before her death to Terri Hoffman, a name the mother recognized with a small shiver of fear. And she contemplated an occultic drawing she found several days after the murder on the ground outside her daughter's bedroom window. The police either missed it, or it was put there after Jill's death was reported. In colored marker, it showed the letter J, a bunch of grapes, a symbol for Omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, and a penis, surrounded by several lightning bolts, often called the satanic "S"' Nearby, she had found a red toy robot, its legs pulled off and head crushed in.
Jill Bounds's funeral was held on the Saturday after her death at the First Baptist Church in Rockwall. Adam Schubert and Bob Hargrove did not come to the service. Bob Jones sat on the front row with Jill's family. The parade of unusually dressed mourners, from all facets of Dallas's psychic community, astonished the Old Guard from Rockwall who gathered to grieve. The very traditional Christian funeral surprised Jill's New Age friends, who knew she had little tolerance of her childhood religion. "I wasn't sure whether Jill would be outraged or amused," says a former client.
At the cemetery that afternoon, after Jill's grave was closed, Jane Bounds stood with her ex-husband and Jones, who had experience in criminal law. "Bob," Jane asked, "will we ever know who killed Jill?"
"No," Jones quickly told her, "we'll never know unless they find a murder weapon or something of Jill's in his possession, or someone confesses."
Jane was puzzled, thinking Jones's pronouncement was premature. They knew little about what police had found in the house. But as the investigation took shape, it appeared that Jones was right. Eighteen months after her death, no arrest has been made. Detective Johnson will say little beyond the fact that "nobody has been ruled out."
Early on, people in Rockwall wondered if her death might have something to do with the war that The Rockwall Texas Success had waged with Sheriff John McWhorter, who was indicted last fall for conspiracy to sell marijuana. Could Jill's death have been a revenge slaying?
What about her clients? Though most were dealing with short-term problems, she told friends that a few had more severe disturbances. She apparently wasn't overly concerned, Schubert had frequently encouraged her to stop seeing clients in her home, or to let him be there when she saw new clients. She refused, saying she would simply ease out the clients with problems she couldn't handle.
Those angles wouldn’t be pursued very far. As police gathered evidence, one thing became increasingly clear. Jill Bounds's killer was someone she would have opened the door to in the middle of the night, and then felt comfortable enough to go to sleep while he or she was in the house.
Or it was someone who might have had a key and knew the security code. As far as police could determine, that list was small: her next-door neighbor, Bernadette Hudson; Jill's maid, Essie Harper; and Schubert, Hargrove, and Jones.
After going through the open window on the side of the house, police opened the front door and set off Jill's security alarm. Both the front and back doors were, locked, and the security system armed. The screens were off all the windows on the north side, propped against the outside of the house.
Police found two Winston cigarette butts on the ground by the open window, one of three in the house that was not on the security system -- a fact impossible to tell from the outside. When Jill bought the system for $1,685 in 1985, she cut costs by leaving the three windows unmonitored. The savings amounted to $120.
The window had not only been opened; the lower half had been taken out of its frame and placed against a wall in the living room. A stained-glass owl hanging in the window had been taken down and carefully placed on a nearby chair. Family members later tried to take the window out of its frame from the outside; it couldn't be done, at least not without a lot of noise that would have awakened Jill, a notoriously light sleeper. From the inside it popped out easily.
The security system was armed and disarmed by a key pad -- one was located near the front door, another near the back door. The code consisted of numbers corresponding to her birthday. Jill had talked about changing the locks and the code after breaking up with Adam, Bob Jones says, but she didn't do it.
She was probably killed while asleep; her retainer, which she never put in unless she was ready to close her eyes, was in her mouth. According to one source, the sheet had been pulled up to her forehead, as if the killer couldn't bear to look at her features, and then she was struck seven times across the skull. Though blood spatters were found on the window blinds near her head, none were found on the headboard or wall behind the bed. Dr. Robert Sparks, a friend of the family who identified the body for her mother, said the blows might have been made by a tire iron. Nothing indicates she had awakened and fought her attacker.
Time of death was not easy to pin down. But when, police arrived, they discovered that her bedroom and bathroom lights were on, as if the murderer turned them on after the attack as he went through the house, opening dresser drawers and strewing costume jewelry on the floor, Tarot cards on the bed. Apparently, he took the time to peruse her diaries. Police confiscated a 1979 journal, which had several pages ripped out and bloody smudges, possibly made by someone wearing gloves, on other pages.
The murderer probably went to the bathroom to clean up; blood was found on the carpet there, as were several damp washcloths, draped on the bathtub.
Detectives later determined that several pieces of good jewelry she wore that day were stolen. The maid told police that Jill kept her best jewelry in a safe deposit box, but other gold and gem pieces were hidden in a plastic pan she kept above the stacked washer/dryer in the kitchen. Family members later concluded that most of that jewelry was missing, as was the gun she kept in a nightstand by the bed.
But other valuable items remained untouched, making it hard to believe that Jill had been the victim of a thief who panicked. Her Cartier watch was still on her wrist. Sterling silver place settings Jill kept laid out on the dining room table were still in place. So were her new computer and her television and stereo.
The afternoon that Jill's body was found, Hargrove drove by her house to see a crowd of people standing on the lawn. He says he had called her that morning without getting a response; when a police officer answered, Hargrove could hear Jill's burglar alarm going off. Hargrove asked what had happened. When told that Jill had been murdered, he blurted out, "You're kidding!" Explaining that he knew her well, he went down to the police station to make a statement.
When police realized that Hargrove was the "SH" in the diaries, they zeroed in on him, bringing him in for questioning several times. Hargrove brought his wife with him for one session; according to Hargrove, she told police he was home after 11:30 on that night. He told them he didn't have a key to Jill's house and that he didn't know the security code.
Hargrove says now that his sexual relationship with Jill had ended years before, but the last entry in her diary indicates that she and "BH" had sexual intercourse that night. Had Jill told him that the romantic was over for good -- prompting him to return to kill her? The diary doesn't indicate that they had a confrontation: indeed, it says the opposite. "New level of love and emotion. I love him deeply. He was so sweet and loving."
Hargrove contacted an attorney, Ken Blassingame, after he realized he was being treated as the prime suspect in Jill's death. Hargrove had taken a polygraph for police shortly after the murder. Blassingame says his client passed the lie detector test. Detective Howard Johnson says the test was inconclusive.
When Adam Schubert heard about Jill's death from a friend that morning, he called police and also volunteered to make a statement. Schubert says he was at temple the night she died; it was Yom Kippur. But he left the service early and has no alibi for the approximate time of death. Though he knew the security code, Schubert claims he had given Jill's key back to her. He contacted an attorney as well, and later took a polygraph for the attorney and another for the police that, he says, police told him was inconclusive. He also gave them his car phone records.
From the beginning, it was clear to police that this was going to be a difficult case to solve. There was no obvious murder weapon, though police seized a tall wooden candle holder found in her bedroom. Family members, cleaning out her house several days after the murder, found a three-foot piece of iron outside the back door and told police about it and the occultic drawing and toy robot. They also found a man's flannel shirt, size XL, on her sofa. Howard Johnson, a tall, impassive man whose favorite words are yes, no, and "I can't comment on that," says the investigation is still open. However, no arrest is imminent. "Nobody saw anything," Johnson says.
After the initial flurry of activity died down, Jill's mother became increasingly concerned that little progress was being made by police. She sold her newspaper, in part to concentrate on investigating Jill’s death. Though she had little patience with her daughter's New Age beliefs, she even visited psychics for readings.
Jill's connection with Terri Hoffman underwent scrutiny last fall after the mysterious deaths of a Lake Highlands couple. In January, the Dallas district attorney's office began investigating Hoffman in nine unusual deaths of people closely associated with her. Friends and family remembered that Jill had been one of Terri's most ardent followers in the Seventies, perhaps involved with her as early as 1973. Jane says Jill took her to see Terri Hoffman for a psychic reading in 1976 or '77. Jane was unimpressed, but Jill was taken with her, signing up for classes in "Conscious Development."
"It's something that's easy to get into and not realize what it is," says Sylvia Peterson, a psychotherapist who was a friend of Jill's. Sam Landers, Daniel Burton, and other people who remained close friends were also in the group. It started blandly enough, with somewhat traditional metaphysical teachings. But as members got into the inner core, they began "warring" with "black lords" on various spiritual "planes." Jewelry was extremely important: certain gems and stones kept away evil spirits -- and ensured health and long life.
Sam Landers says he joined Terri's group in 1979 at the invitation of Jill's friend Bob Jones; at that point, he says, Jill was deeply involved with Terri. Jones says he didn't know Terri Hoffman and says Jill was not deeply involved in her group. "She did go to meditation classes with Terri," he says. "That's a bunch of crap (about being terrified of Hoffman). I guarantee you she didn't sign any property over to her."
Jill told another friend that she was one of Hoffman’s "right-hand" people. "Jill might have been enticed or seduced with the psychic phenomena of it," she says.
But back in December 1982, after this magazine ran a story about Hoffman and the mysterious deaths of people associated with her, Jill told a few friends that she was leaving the cult. Jill was worried that Hoffman would seek some revenge, telling therapist M.E. Grundman that Terri had sent cockroaches to plague her townhouse.
"They instilled the belief that they could come and get you in the ethereal planes:" says Landers. "She was afraid of leaving."
Hoffman, in a brief telephone conversation, would say little about Jill. "I had known Jill for quite some time. We would get together once or twice a year. She had had a boyfriend. He was abusive and had been drinking or doing drugs a lot. I suggested she leave her boyfriend if she was having so many problems with him. I knew she was having problems with a couple of clients. But that’s all I remember."
Why, after telling numerous people that she was afraid of Hoffman, did Jill return to "the witch" just a few months before her death? Police began looking for a connection, but say there is little to go on.
And there are other eerie coincidences. On December 5, shortly after work began for this article. Bob Jones and Bob Hargrove each received a death threat. Identical copies of the letter, written in an erratic, semiliterate style, were mailed to them from Fort Worth. "I am a lifetime friend of Jill Bounds," the letters read. "I have worked hard on this case. It is down 10 you two. one of you BASTARDS killed Jill Bounds for no reason ... EYE FOR EYE TOOTH TOOTH … "
The letters mentioned personal information about each man, and then said they would die. "I ASK GOD TO FORGIVE ME FOR THIS DOUBLE MURDER," the writer concluded.
Both men turned their copies over to police, who sent them to the FBI for analysis. Detective Johnson would not comment on what if anything was found. Bob Jones also sent copies to Jill's relatives, asking them if they knew anything about the threat. Family members insist that they did not send the letters and don't know who did.
But several of Jill's friends say the letter made them look at Bob Jones in a new light. Why was it sent to him and not Adam Schubert, one of the more obvious suspects? Bob Jones was not given a polygraph until late January. Police declined to reveal the results, but Jones says he passed the test. Other friends remember Jones's strange behavior after the murder. The evening Jill's body was found, he visited the office of the Success. He had something he had received in the mail that day from Jill. "Today's my birthday," he told the receptionist, "and look what I get. A f----ing card on my birthday." That same night, Jones, asked Joy if she knew he was the beneficiary to Jill's life insurance policy. But he wasn't listed in Jill's will. Jill left everything to Joy and her daughter. In addition, Jones was one of Jill's friends in 1979 -- the year the diary with missing pages was written.
For his part, Jones at least initially believed the letter was sent by the murderer. "He might have seen me as a competitor for her affections," Jones says.
But Jones admits that he is a suspect. He knew Jill's security code, and he had a key. And he has no alibi for the time of her death that evening. he was home alone.
He seems to think back to the day of her death, remembering the painting she had finished and left on her friend's front porch. He begins crying softly. "Did she subconsciously say something? Did I miss it?"
He pauses, collecting his thoughts. It all comes back to karma. "I don't know what Jill did or did not see. But I believe we choose what happens to us. On some level, she chose that," he says, wiping his eyes.
"I just keep thinking that if she had gone to lunch with me that day, she wouldn't have been killed."