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Mother of quadruplets
killed in Sarasota

Sheila Sheila Bellush, 35, was found dead in her home Nov. 7, 1997, her quadruplet toddlers wandering through her blood. Suspected in the murder is 21-year-old Jose Luis Del Toro Jr., who was arrested Nov. 20, 1997, in Mexico. Two others also have been arrested in connection with the murder. Jose

The latest
Two life sentences, daughter's hatred
For his role in the murder of his ex-wife, Allen Blackthorne received more punishment than jail time. [11/3]

Lawyers seeking new trial for Blackthorne
They cite court errors, trial publicity and a report never disclosed at the Texas businessman's murder trial. [8/15]

Blackthorne's conduct erased jurors' doubts
They were deadlocked, jurors say, until they weighed Allen Blackthorne's state of mind and his actions [7/8].


  • Del Toro admits the murder
    SARASOTA -- In his heart, Jose Luis Del Toro believes he is free. But the 24-year-old will spend the rest of his life in prison. [7/7]
  • From Bellush to Blackthorne
    Federal prosecutors said the trail led from the body of Sheila Bellush through three men to her ex-husband, Allen Blackthorne. At his trial, they said they wanted to prove that he was the leader of the conspiracy. [7/7]
  • Chronology of events
    Timeline of events in the murder of Sheila Bellush and subsequent trials. [7/7]

Blackthorne verdict on hold for weekend
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- After deliberating nine hours, jurors in the murder-for-hire trial of Allen Blackthorne adjourned late Friday for the July Fourth weekend. [7/1]

Jury in murder plot trial still out
Jurors in the murder-for-hire trial of Allen Blackthorne deliberated for two hours Thursday night. [6/30]

Whom to believe is key for Blackthorne jury
Jurors will weigh the credibility of the defendant and another man convicted in Sheila Bellush's murder. [6/29]

Blackthorne on stand: I didn't do it
He tells his side of the story in his ex-wife's death, sometimes crying and sniffling into the microphone. [6/27]

Tragic tale is replete with comic relief
At the Blackthorne trial, grim testimony combines with an unconventional judge's penchant for humor. [6/19]

Blackthorne portrayed as bitter, vindictive
Witnesses describe court struggles and threats that preceded the killing of Sheila Bellush. [6/16]

Witness: Suspect ordered murder
Danny Rocha admits lying repeatedly, but he insists one thing is true: Allen Blackthorne wanted his ex-wife dead. [6/15]

Witness describes death plot
Danny Rocha testifies Allen Blackthorne wanted ex-wife Sheila Bellush hurt, and if she died: "So be it." [6/14]

Daughter recalls finding mother slain
Sheila Bellush's daughter testifies against her father, Allen Blackthorne, who is on trial in Bellush's death. [6/13]

Reno to decide murder penalty
The attorney general will determine whether prosecutors should seek the death penalty for Allen Blackthorne. [1/7/00]

Bellush's former husband indicted
A federal grand jury in Texas indicts Allen Blackthorne in the murder of Sheila Bellush, mother of quadruplets. [1/5/00]

Conspirators in Texas for questioning
Federal authorities are questioning two men convicted in Sheila Bellush's death. [11/9]

A rich man plays golf, dotes on his children, loves his wife. But is he also capable of murder? The Story Somewhere, the truth
[Times photo: Lisa DeJong]
  • Did Blackthorne do it?
    The police say the trail leads from the body of Sheila Bellush, through three men, to her ex-husband, Allen Blackthorne. [Aug. 15, 1999]

Suspected hit man in Bellush case pleads not guilty
A public defender enters the plea on behalf of Jose Luis Del Toro, who didn't attend the court hearing and remains jailed. (July 15, 1999)

Del Toro jailed in Florida as questions linger
Still unexplained are the 20-month delay in the extradition and the role of the victim's ex-husband. (July14, 1999)

Bellush suspect flown to Florida
The man accused of killing the mother of quadruplets in 1997 is extradited from Mexico. (July 13, 1999)

Life without "Mommy"
Jamie Bellush moved his family to New Jersey for a fresh start. But pain -- and struggle -- followed them. (July 6, 1998)

Court releases prosecutors' documents in Bellush case
The evidence shown Monday includes statements from the murder victim's teenage daughter. (June 23, 1998)

Husband campaigns for justice at capital
His wife was murdered in Sarasota. He pleads in the media and at the the Mexican Embassy to extradite the American suspect without delay. (June 17, 1998)

One pleads guilty in Sarasota killing
A first-degree murder charge was filed against a second defendant Friday, while a third suspect jailed in Mexico continues to fight extradition. (June 13, 1998)

Family confident justice will prevail (Sarasota Herald-Tribune: May 7, 1998)
Private eye must open files to police (Jan. 29, 1998)
Suspect to talk about role in slaying (Dec. 20, 1997)
Del Toro won't face death penalty (Dec. 18, 1997)
Husband wants suspect extradited (Dec. 3, 1997)
Suspect in Bellush murder agrees to extradition (Dec. 1, 1997)
Mexico will not deport suspect (Nov. 23, 1997)
Mexico will deport suspect arrested in Sarasota murder (Nov. 22, 1997)
Slaying suspect arrested (Nov. 21, 1997)
Suspect in murder to fight extradition (Nov. 20, 1997)
Links unfold in killing of Sarasota mother (Nov. 19, 1997)
Two arrested in Sarasota murder (Nov. 18, 1997)
Mexican police not looking for suspect (Nov. 16, 1997)
$10,000 reward goes up for suspect (Nov. 15, 1997)
Sheila Bellush remembered at service for her love, faith (Nov. 14, 1997)
Suspect who gets to Mexico hard to get back (Nov. 14, 1997)
Portrait of a murder suspect (Nov. 13, 1997)
Police hunt drifter in quadruplet case (Nov. 12, 1997)
Court files show couple was troubled (Nov. 11, 1997)
Mother's slayer knew her, police say (Nov. 9, 1997)


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