This is the 9th in a series of articles in preparation for the Lake Highlands High School 50th Anniversary celebration. The event will be held March 23rd from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at LHHS.
In the fall of 1983, Lake Highlands mom Joy Aylor had had enough. She knew about her husband’s affair. She was furious and desperate. She needed to find a way to end it.
While her husband, Larry, was at work and her teen-aged son, Chris, was at school, Joy hatched a plan. She hired her sister’s husband, William Garland, and his pal, Brian Kreafle, to find a hitman for Larry’s lover, Rozanne Gailiunas. The duo employed George Anderson “Andy” Hopper, an appraiser at Steakley Chevrolet, for $1,500. Later, they added brothers Buster James Matthews and William Gary Matthews to the team.
On October 4, Rozanne put her 4-year-old down for a nap. According to Hopper’s audio and video confession 6 years later, he posed as a flower delivery man to gain entry to the house. He tied her to a bed and attempted to rape her, but when she freed one of her hands and struggled with him, he shot her in the head.
Hopper wasn’t suspected – even Joy seemed in the clear – and the case went unsolved for years. With Larry’s lover out of the way, the Aylors reconciled.
For a while.
Soon, divorce prospects loomed, but Larry accepted Joy’s invitation to go horseback riding at their ranch. When Joy was a no show, Larry began to drive away in his pickup. At the ranch gates, an old Ford truck blocked his way. As he approached, gunmen jumped out and opened fire.
Larry escaped but he finally understood one thing with certainty – Joy had hired men to try to kill him and to kill Rozanne.
Police didn’t believe him that day, and they didn’t believe Joy’s sister when she first gave her statement to gain the reward, but a magazine reporter pursued the story and the truth finally came tumbling out. Joy was arrested.
While Joy was out on bond and awaiting trial, her son, who had transferred from Lake Highlands High School to nearby Bending Oaks private school, died over Christmas break in 1989. Chris was the passenger in his own Corvette, speeding down LBJ (some said the driver was drag racing). A fiery crash near Marsh Lane killed them both.
Joy fled the country but was arrested in a villa near Nice, France and extradited to the U.S. Today she is serving a life sentence in Gatesville, Texas.