Christine Marie Paolilla
March 31, 1986
(m. 2005; div. 2009)
|Conviction(s)||Capital murder (4 counts)|
|Criminal charge||Capital murder (4 counts)|
|Date||July 18, 2003|
|Location(s)||Clear Lake City|
|Weapons||9mm semi-automatic pistol|
|July 21, 2006|
|Imprisoned at||Mountain View Unit|
Christine Marie Paolilla (born March 31, 1986) is a convicted American murderer who is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting four people, including two of her friends, in their Clear Lake City, Texas home on July 18, 2003. The killings, which came to be known as the "Clear Lake murders," made national headlines.
Paolilla, who was 17 years old at the time of the murders, was accompanied by her then-boyfriend, Christopher Snider. She was arrested on July 19, 2006, three years and one day after the murders were committed. Paolilla was convicted in October 2008 and sentenced to life in prison. Snider committed suicide in July 2006 before he was apprehended by police.
Paolilla was born on Long Island, New York to Lori, a stay-at-home mom, and Charles Paolilla, a construction worker. She has one older brother. When Paolilla was 2 years old, her father was killed in a construction accident. Following the death of her husband, Lori Paolilla began abusing drugs and eventually lost custody of her children to her parents. When Paolilla was in kindergarten, she was diagnosed with alopecia which caused her to lose her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. As a result of the hair loss, Paolilla was forced to wear wigs. She also had poor vision and wore thick glasses. Paolilla was frequently ridiculed and bullied by her classmates for her appearance, which affected her self-confidence.
Paolilla was eventually reunited with her mother who had overcome her drug addiction and remarried. The family then moved to Clear Lake City, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Paolilla enrolled at Clear Lake High School. She was befriended by two popular students, Rachael Koloroutis and Tiffany Rowell, who helped her improve her appearance and fit in with the other students. In 2003, Paolilla was voted "Miss Irresistible" by her school's student body. That year, she also began a relationship with 21-year-old Christopher Lee Snider. Paolilla's mother and stepfather disapproved of Snider, as did Koloroutis and Rowell, because of his frequent drug use and extensive criminal record. These fears would be substantiated, as Paolilla would increasingly experiment with various drugs during the year she and Snider were in a relationship.
Lori Paolilla later recalled that Snider isolated her daughter from her friends and family and indicated that the relationship was both abusive and dysfunctional. Snider's family also said the relationship was tumultuous and that Paolilla was prone to jealousy. After one fight with Snider, Paolilla spent the night on the front lawn of his family's home and threatened to kill his family.
On July 18, 2003, Paolilla and Snider went to her friend Tiffany Rowell's home in Clear Lake City. Also at the home were Rachael Koloroutis, Rowell's boyfriend Marcus Precella, and Precella's cousin Adelbert Sanchez. According to Paolilla, she and Snider planned to steal the drugs that were kept at the house but Snider reportedly got into an argument with Precella which led to the shootings of Rowell, Koloroutis, Precella, and Sanchez. All four victims were shot multiple times. Rachael Koloroutis attempted to crawl to a phone to call 911 after she was shot but Paolilla struck her in the head multiple times with the butt of a 38-caliber revolver, bashing in her skull. Koloroutis and Rowell were both shot in the crotch, a sign of sexual jealousy. Snider and Paolilla left little evidence at the crime scene leading police to suspect that the killings were drug related as Marcus Precella and Adelbert Sanchez reportedly sold drugs from the home. The only evidence police had were descriptions of the suspects who were seen walking to and from the home by neighbors.
In 2004, Paolilla and Snider ended their relationship after Snider was jailed in Kentucky for car theft. Shortly thereafter, Paolilla entered rehab in Kerrville, Texas. It was there that she met Stanley Justin Rott, a heroin user with whom she began a relationship. The couple married in March 2005. Around that time, Paolilla came into a $360,000 trust fund left to her by her father. Paolilla used a portion of the money to buy a condo. In July 2005, the second anniversary of the murders, Paolilla saw a newscast on television about the still unsolved case. She became upset after seeing sketches of the suspects given by neighbors and confessed to Rott that she and Snider had committed the murders. The couple then went into hiding. By November 2005, Paolilla and Rott were living in a motel room in San Antonio. For the next eight months, the couple holed up in the room, shooting heroin and cocaine.
On July 8, 2006, police received an anonymous tip via Crimestoppers regarding the murders of Rowell, Koloroutis, Precella, and Sanchez. The male caller told police that he had been in rehab with Paolilla who had admitted to being a participant in the crime (it was later reported that Justin Rott was not the man who called in the tip). Police tracked Paolilla down in San Antonio and arrested her on July 19, 2006. (Paolilla's husband was also arrested as police found 70 vials of heroin in the couple's room). After their arrests, Rott told police that Paolilla had confessed to him that she had been an active participant in the murders. He stated that Paolilla had gone back into the house and beat Koloroutis to death with a gun. Paolilla initially denied killing her friends, but eventually admitted to participating in the murders but placed all the blame on her ex-boyfriend, Christopher Snider. On July 21, 2006, Paolilla and Snider, who had not yet been apprehended, were charged with capital murder. Paolilla's bail was set at $500,000 as she was considered a flight risk.
In June 2006, Christopher Snider moved to Greenville, South Carolina where he was living with a woman he met online. After Paolilla's arrest that July, one of Snider's family members called to inform him that police had issued a warrant for his arrest in relation to the murders. Acting on a tip that Snider may have committed suicide, police went to Greenville and searched near an area where Snider was reported to have been seen. His decomposing body was found in a heavily wooded area on August 5, 2006. It was later determined that Snider had overdosed on prescription medication.
On October 13, 2008, Paolilla was convicted of four counts of capital murder. As she had been a juvenile offender at the time of the killings, she was spared the death penalty. The following day, she was sentenced to life in prison. Paolilla filed an appeal on November 29, 2008 on the grounds that "the trial court abused its discretion in setting [Paolilla's] amount of bail at $500,000". An appeals panel decided that the court did not abuse its discretion and affirmed Paolilla's original sentence. She has since filed additional appeals which have also been denied.
In popular culture
- Lezon, Dale (October 14, 2008). "Paolilla gets life in 4 Clear Lake slayings". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- Mary Fulginiti; Kristin Pisarcik; Miguel Sancho (September 25, 2009). "What Made Houston Teen Kill Her Friends?". Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- Getlen, Larry (February 26, 2012). "'Psycho' 17-year-old shot, beat classmates to death". nypost.com.
- Mary Fulginiti; Kristin Pisarcik; Miguel Sancho (September 24, 2009). "'Miss Irresistible' Denies Killing Friends". Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- Lezon, Dale (September 30, 2008). "Investigator: Clear Lake killings "a gory scene"". chron.com.
- Rendon, Ruth (July 24, 2007). "Husband shocked by wife's tale of killings". chron.com.
- Kilday, Anne Marie (July 21, 2006). "Two charged in 2003 Clear Lake slayings". chron.com.
- "$500,000 bail set for slaying suspect". chron.com.
- "Greenville Police Find Body". The Item. August 6, 2006. p. 2A.
- "Cold case file: Persistent Houston police investigators deserve the public's thanks for solving three-year-old murders". chron.com. August 7, 2006.
- "Woman found guilty of Clear Lake murders". Associated Press. October 14, 2008. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- Phelps, M. William (2012). Never See Them Again. Kensington Publishing Corp. pp. 345–346. ISBN 0-758-27825-X.
- "Paolilla, Christine Marie" (Archive). Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on December 28, 2015.
- "'Miss Irresistible' Accused of Killing Friends". ABC News. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Snapped | Episode 5: Christine Paolilla". Oxygen Official Site. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Killer Kids". TVGuide.com. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
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- "Watch Redrum Season 3 Episode 1 S3E1 The In Crowd". OVGuide. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2017.