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Man Convicted Of Killing Fort Worth Socialite, Faces Possible Death Penalty

August 8, 1993

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) _ A man convicted this weekend of killing a socialite in a murder-for-hire scheme allegedly orchestrated by her stepdaughter now faces a possible death penalty.

The jury that convicted Jeffrey Dillingham of capital murder on Saturday was scheduled to return Monday to begin hearing testimony in the penalty phase of his case.

Dillingham, 20, was accused of the March 12, 1992, beating death of Caren Koslow, 40, and the slashing and bludgeoning of her husband, Jack Koslow, at their Fort Worth home.

Koslow, 49, recovered and provided key testimony at the trial.

Mrs. Koslow’s grandfather was a colorful and wealthy Fort Worth oilman H.L. Brown. Her uncle, Sonny Brown, is a widely known Midland oilman.

The state maintains Dillingham killed out for the $1 million fee allegedly promised by Koslow’s 18-year-old daughter, adopted in an earlier marriage.

Kristi Koslow and her boyfriend, Brian Salter, 21, are awaiting trial.

Defense attorneys contend it was a knife wound, and not a blow to the throat delivered by Dillingham, that killed Mrs. Koslow. And, they claim, it was Salter who slashed her throat.

A medical examiner testified the blow from Dillingham’s metal pry bar crushed Mrs. Koslow’s larynx and she suffocated.

Court-appointed defense attorney Jack Strickland said Dillingham’s tape- recorded confession was too much for the jury to overcome.

But, he said, he was optimistic the jury would spare Dillingham’s life because he has no prior criminal record. ″In fact, he has an exemplary record,″ Strickland said.

Jack Koslow, silent and stoic all week, smiled and shook hands with supporters after Saturday’s verdict.

″I can’t say anything,″ he told reporters.

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