Puppies in the doctor’s back yard gave San Antonio police detective Walter Dennis a firm suspicion that the St. Bernards were more than just mere coincidence. After he knocked on the front door of Dr. Charles James Guilliam’s house, a woman with long, straight blond hair opened it. It was a cool Sunday afternoon, February 17, 1974, when Dennis introduced himself and the other suited gentleman standing with him on the porch of the Tuxford Street residence in northeast San Antonio.
“…and this is detective John Dillmann from the New Orleans Police Department,” Dennis began. The lady shook their hands and identified herself as Dr. Guilliam’s wife, Katherine. “We are here to speak with your husband.”
“I’m sorry, but he is out of town on business and can’t be reached by phone right now,” the twenty-something-year-old woman reacted. The detectives verified with her that Dr. Guilliam was a consulting psychologist currently working on a project in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
“We are also attempting to locate a Mr. Claudius Giesick,” Dennis requested. “Do you know Claudius Giesick?”
“Yes, I believe he is a business associate of my husband,” she responded.
“How about Sam Corey,” the other detective asked. “Do you know a Sam Corey?”
Katherine’s faced twitched. Dennis could hear the puppies barking outside and noticed she had difficulty focusing on the inquiry. She asked detective Dillmann to repeat the name.
“You know–Sam Corey,” Detective Dennis replied for the New Orleans investigator. “The big, heavy man. He ran for Mayor of San Antonio and owns the Tokyo Massage Parlor here.”
“Oh yes,” Katherine swiftly remembered. “Jim has gone to his parlor for a massage a few times.”
When asked, she had no photos of her husband she could provide the detectives and asserted that her spouse would have to be the one to answer these questions about him. Dennis gave her his business card and asked her to have Dr. Guilliam call him as quickly as possible.
“Look in the back yard,” Dennis whispered to Dillmann as they walked back to the police car. Dillmann said yes, he had noticed the puppies too when they started barking during their questioning of Katherine.
As Dennis drove back to police headquarters, the two officers compared notes. Dennis had received a call from Giesick on Friday after telling the police operator he needed to speak to a detective. He told Dennis a strange account of how he had spent the last two years in virtual hiding because he was in extreme danger from a criminal named Zent.
Giesick said that his bride, Patricia, had been killed by an oncoming car while they were enjoying their honeymoon in New Orleans the previous month. He wanted to let the detective know that the New Orleans police may be notifying them. Should New Orleans make any inquiries into this death, Giesick was requesting that the SAPD tell them he had to disappear because he was their police informer against this violent gangster, Zent.
Dennis, suspicious of this bizarre request, went to a nearby office to run a computer check on Giesick’s background. When he discovered there was a warrant out for passing hot checks, Dennis instantly arrested him. Dennis then contacted New Orleans and reached Dillmann, who flew into San Antonio Sunday morning. By then, Giesick had been released. Someone posted a bail bond on his behalf. Dennis discovered that someone was Sam Corey.
When Dennis picked up Dillmann at the International Airport Sunday morning, he had already arranged for a 10 a.m. meeting with Corey at the police station downtown. They took a formal statement in which the more than 300 pound Corey wrote that he “emphatically and positively” did not know Patricia. He did not know if Giesick has worked in any massage parlor. He claimed to hear of her death some days later from the bride’s mother who called him from New Jersey. Corey admitted he knew Giesick and had actually met him in Richardson, near Dallas, since the death.
If Corey had known that Dillmann was working on this case for a couple of weeks, he may have been more truthful. The New Orleans detective, by this time, knew:
–that pretty, strawberry blond 24-year-old Patricia Ann Albanowski had been employed in a massage parlor and had been heavily pursued by Giesick.
–two different insurance agency investigators had concerns. Giesick purchased insurance policies totaling over $300,000 on the day of their wedding, prior to embarking on their honeymoon flight to New Orleans.
–Patricia’s mother said that in a New Orleans hotel room, the night of her death, her daughter called very worried. Her new husband had left to take their rental car back for some kind of repairs.
–Patricia told her mom that Giesick was a psychologist, but didn’t have an office. He often had to go undercover and disappear because he had helped the federal government arrest a major gold smuggling organization. The government was so concerned about his safety and reprisals from this smuggling gang, they had provided Giesick with a new identity. The name he said the Feds gave him was Charles James Guilliam.
When the detectives called Patricia’s mother to confirm information, they learned more startling clues. Patricia, or Trish, as her family called her, commented that Giesick said he had been married twice before. His first wife, a former Miss Texas, was killed in a hit-and-run accident along with their only child. His second marriage ended in divorce.
But what she revealed next alarmed both men to the core. On January 2, 1974, Claudius Giesick and Patricia Albanowski were married. Their pastor’s name? Sam Corey.
Before they left for their New Orleans honeymoon trip on January 13, Giesick presented his wife with a wedding present: a St. Bernard puppy.
The detectives soon uncovered information to prove Sam Corey, in a scheme to save on taxes and protect his massage parlors from police troubles, became an ordained minister with the Calvary Grace Christian Church of Faith. He filed a request with Bexar County to change the name of his business from Tokyo House of Massage to Tokyo House Massage Temple.
They also learned that Corey had provided money to Giesick to deposit into his Harlandale State Bank account in San Antonio. The money was used to buy several insurance policies, pay some rent and a few bills after he had performed the marriage ceremony.
As the investigation progressed, it was revealed that Corey was in New Orleans on the night Patricia was hit by a car. The rental car Corey used was checked for evidence which exposed and matched Patricia’s hair. In his formal confession, in order to cut a deal for a lighter sentence, Giesick implicated Corey as the driver of the car that killed Patricia on January 16, 1974.
Giesick had asked his wife to go for a walk that foggy and chilling night. He wanted to show her a family of ducks near the romantic water at a bridge up the street from their hotel. On cue, he noted Corey was waiting nearby in the rental car.
“I tripped her into the road, and he came by and hit her. It was him. He was driving the car and I did see him.”
“I waited about four or five seconds to give him enough time to get started,” Giesick confirmed with no remorse. “I tripped her into the road, and he came by and hit her. It was him. He was driving the car and I did see him. Seconds later the police were there because a guy came by and called the police. Then Mr. Corey came by in the Monte Carlo, just drove by.”
Giesick confessed that his new wife, at the moment of impact, was on the road “on her hands trying to get back up again, but she was facing up. As she was trying to get up, she had sandals on and she was slipping. She couldn’t get up…There was a double thud. It very distinctly hit her twice.”
Several days later Giesick and Corey flew to Trenton, New Jersey for Patricia’s funeral. Corey “was wearing Catholic-priest clothes and was paid by the Albanowski family as a priest; he accepted several donations…for prayers for Patricia.”
On February 22, Dennis and other San Antonio police arrested Giesick for bigamy. It was confirmed that Giesick had been married four times. A one year marriage ending in divorce, a California marriage annulled after three days, to his existing wife Katherine in 1969, and illegally to Patricia.
Eventually Sam Corey was sentenced to death which was later reduced to life in prison. He died at Angola State Prison in Louisiana. Giesick received a 21 year prison sentence, but was released in 1986 at age 54. By 2000, he was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for submitting false auto theft reports in an attempt to collect insurance funds.
Years later, when asked what he remembered most about the case Dennis, a then retired detective had two answers.
“Well, of course I remember the book by Dillmann and the 1987 TV movie, ‘Unholy Matrimony’ with Patrick Duffy of the Dallas television show starring in it,” Dennis offered. “But the most disturbing thing that sticks in my mind was going back to Giesick’s house on Tuxford to talk with his wife again during the investigation. This time I brought a patrolman with me that actually knew the couple for a few years, hoping she would trust him enough, maybe we could get better information from her.”
The blond hair lady at the door with the St. Bernard puppies was Katherine Kiser Giesick, the real wife of Claudius Giesick, aka Jim Guilliam. They had been married since September 1969. She recognized the friend, the police officer with Dennis, immediately.
During their conversation, the young policeman revealed that her husband had called him to ask if he would say they had been divorced for a couple of years.
“She was puzzled by this, we could tell,” Dennis remarked. “It was obvious we hit a nerve and she acted like she was both hurt and confused.”
“I will never forget the look on her face when we told her about Patricia (Albanowski)—her death and the insurance,” Dennis shook his head. “She started crying in disbelief.”
“It was a life insurance policy he had recently, and unexpectedly, took out on her life and the family.”
“We thought she was crying because of the news we just told her,” Dennis continued. “But she got up and went to a drawer in the kitchen area and brought back a file—a paper.”
“It still brings me chills to think how evil Giesick and Corey were when I saw what the paper was,” Dennis revealed. “It was a life insurance policy he had recently, and unexpectedly, took out on her life and the family.”
During the April 1975 trial, court evidence showed that when the FBI analyzed the pieces of human hair taken from underneath Corey’s New Orleans rental car and from the exhumed body of the bride, “all 15 characteristics were matched perfectly.”
The District Attorney showed how Giesick, all through his adult life was a “con man who made his living off ripping off insurance” companies. “Claudius Giesick literally lied his way through life. He posed as a psychologist. Dr. Jim Gillium and even collected fees.”
“Claudius Giesick told friends he had a plan by which he could hook Sam Corey on a murder charge in New Orleans.” Testimony and evidence also showed how he attempted to get two women to take out insurance policies on their husbands and have them murdered.
Katherine and Claudius Giesick’s divorce was final on Oct. 19, 1976. They both remarried. He lived in Louisiana for a while, but moved back to San Antonio in 2006. At age 70, Giesick currently lives in a rundown one bedroom apartment just southwest of downtown San Antonio.