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Did Allen Blackthorne do it?

Police say the trail leads from the body of Sheila Bellush, through three men, to her ex-husband, Allen Blackthorne.


© St. Petersburg Times, published August 15, 1999

Nov. 7, 1997
Bellush, 34, is found on her kitchen floor, shot in the face, her throat slit and her 2-year-old quadruplets covered in her blood. She had the quads from her marriage to Jamie Bellush and two teenage daughters from her former marriage to Blackthorne.

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Nov. 20, 1997
Del Toro, 23, is captured and charged with murdering Bellush. Police lifted his fingerprints from her clothes dryer. Del Toro says he hit her twice but says another man named Jorge killed her. Del Toro will stand trial in Sarasota.

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June 12, 1998
Gonzales, 27, pleads guilty to soliciting Bellush's murder. He says that his friend, Daniel Rocha, told him he had a golfing buddy who wanted a woman beaten up. For nearly $14,000, Gonzales says, he hired his cousin, Del Toro, for the job.

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Jan. 15, 1999
Rocha, 29, is convicted of first-degree murder. He says that while flying out to play golf with Blackthorne in Oregon, he asked if Rocha knew somebody who would kill his ex-wife. Blackthorne wanted "to not only beat, but torture Sheila," Rocha says, suggesting that they cut out her tongue.

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Blackthorne, 44, has not been charged, though police haven't been shy about blaming him for Bellush's murder. Their theory: Desperate for custody of his two daughters, he had Bellush attacked so she would not be able to care for them. Blackthorne's lawyers don't think like him talking to the media, but he does it anyway.

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