The Suspect's Sidekick

It was an arduous trail that led investigators in the Jeanne Tovrea murder case to accused killer James "Butch" Harrod. A common sight en route was Edward "Hap" Tovrea Jr.

Sue promised detectives she'd urge her daughter to come forward, then added a final thought:

"She advised me that Anne previously came to her and said, 'Mom, do you know what I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life? That I knew something that could have prevented someone's death.'"

Reynolds tracked down Jeff Fauver in Albuquerque. Actually, Fauver was an ex-FBI agent now working as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Fauver told Reynolds he'd been the anonymous caller who had left Harrod's name with the police secretary in January 1994, and said he'd phoned again a few months later.

Why this law enforcement official called a police station anonymously is unknown. In any case, Fauver said he'd met Harrod years earlier through one of Anne's brothers--and was unimpressed. He'd considered Harrod a con man who blabbed about his alleged Vietnam War exploits (Harrod never had been in the military) and his claimed connections with rich people, contract killers and international tycoons.

Said Fauver in the tape-recorded interview: "The gist of all this bragging and all this stuff that Butch was talking about all leads back--Is the guy's name Ed? Yeah, Edward . . . Butch said he was [Ed's] right-hand man."

Fauver had attended the Harrods' wedding in 1985 as a gesture to Anne and her family. He had served as a sounding board to her family over the years, as they made no secret of their disdain for Harrod.

Antipathy toward an in-law isn't uncommon. But Anne's mother in early 1992 took a drastic step--hiring a private investigator to do background checks on Harrod and Hap Tovrea.

New Times obtained a copy of that investigator's notes from his assignment, dated January 27, 1992:

"Butch Harrod--claiming Vietnam. Phoenix area. Married Anne about six years ago. . . . Sleeps with loaded gun. Friend Hap Tovrea--now in California."

The investigator didn't uncover much of substance at the county courthouse, just a few lawsuits and routine property transactions.

Later in 1992, Fauver continued, Anne started to meet with him privately: "She had made some comments to me indicating [Harrod] was not home that night [of Jeanne's murder]. He had made some overtures about having some involvement with Hap Tovrea. . . . The impression I got from Anne [circa 1992] was that she herself didn't even know. That she didn't make that connection until a later date."

Anne separated from Butch in October 1993. It was after that--and apparently after another replay of the Unsolved Mysteries episode--that Anne really opened up to Fauver.

According to Fauver:
* Anne said Butch had claimed to be the middleman between Hap Tovrea and unnamed killers in the conspiracy to murder Jeanne Tovrea.

* Anne said Harrod had told her hours after the murder that the deed had been done.

* Butch had told her he had masqueraded as Gordon Phillips.
On November 28, 1994, Ed Reynolds finally sat down with Anne Harrod. Anne had hired prominent Phoenix attorney Jordan Green, who attended the interview at his law office.

Her account was staggering.
As the interview began, Detective Reynolds told Anne Harrod that she wouldn't be charged if she hadn't been involved in the actual Tovrea murder.

With that promise ringing in her ears, Anne talked and talked. Among the revelations in this and subsequent interviews with authorities:

* Butch had told her before the murder that Hap Tovrea's sisters "hated their stepmother so badly that they wanted her dead. They were concerned that she was spending all the interest on their inheritance which they could not touch until her death. . . . Hap said that they hated her with a vengeance, because she was spending too much of their money."

* Butch told Anne that he had agreed to be Hap Tovrea's "coordinator" for the murder, not the hit man. Hap--whom she said she'd never met--had promised to pay Butch $100,000 for his services, which included hiring the killers.

* Just before the murder, the number of phone calls from Hap to Butch had increased dramatically, then dropped off to almost none after April 1, 1988, the date of the murder.

* Butch had left their home about 9 p.m. the night of the murder, toting a large duffel bag. He was wearing a dark-hooded jacket, camouflage pants and hiking boots. After he left, Anne had checked where he kept his guns--they were missing. The next day, all the weapons were back in their usual location.

* About 2 a.m. on April 1, Butch had awakened her. "You did it?" she'd asked him. "Yes, it's over," he'd replied. Later, he told her he'd awaited the hit men--there were two, he said--on the hill behind Jeanne's home. The hit men murdered Jeanne, and had taken her jewelry and credit cards to make it look like a burglary. Butch had paid them that night, though he apparently didn't say how much.

Anne said Butch was irate that Hap Tovrea had paid him only about $40,000 of the $100,000 allegedly promised him. She also claimed Butch had told her he'd recorded many conversations with Hap to protect himself, and that she'd seen these tapes in his desk. (No such tape has turned up.)

Were these the bleatings of a vindictive ex-wife whose marriage had ended in emotional and fiscal disarray just months earlier, in February 1994?

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