HOUSTON – Barring any last-minute legal maneuvers, Houston’s so-called “Tourniquet Killer” is scheduled for execution on Wednesday.
Anthony Allen Shore, 55, confessed to the murders of at least three girls and one woman.
The murders took place between 1986 and 1995. Police said Shore would rape and torture his victims, before using handmade tourniquets to strangle them.
KPRC has an unsettling connection to this killing spree. In July of 1995, Shore called KPRC to report the location of a body.
“I pick up the phone and I say, ‘Tipline,’” said former KPRC assignment manager Barbara Magana Robertson. “He said, ‘I have a tip for you. There’s a serial killer on the loose.’”
Robertson said at first she thought the call was a prank or a mentally ill person.
“I have people calling me and saying ‘Elvis is alive, here he is at the 59 Diner,’” said Robertson.
Robertson said the call became intensely serious when the voice on the other end began giving her directions to the location of a body in a field off Richey Road. Robertson said the caller went so far as to give details of exactly how the body was positioned and which way it was facing. Robertson said she then learned she was being watched through a window that faced the assignment desk.
“When I went to reach for the Key Map to find out where he was talking about and I rolled my chair over and reach for it and he said, ‘Don’t reach for your Key Map,’” said Robertson.
During the 37-minute-long phone call, Robertson said she took detailed notes as the caller kept giving her details.
“He gave me clues to like four or five different murders and I had no idea. I’m thinking I’m getting one murder details and he knew I was getting several different murders,” said Robertson.
Robertson said she immediately told her managers and called police.
“When I turned around gave them to the detectives, they kind of put their heads together and they said, ‘That’s this case, this is this case and this is this case,’” said Robertson.
The day of the phone call, the body of 16-year-old Dana Sanchez was found. Robertson said it wasn’t until she was asked to change her shift at KPRC, drive a different car and use different entrances and exits that she felt a sense of danger.
“It was years before I stopped walking into a crowd and listened for the sound of his voice,” said Robertson. “I would have to drive to my parents' ranch to be able to sleep, because I knew I was safe there.”
Shore was arrested and convicted in 1998 of raping 13- and 11-year-old girls. At that time, his DNA was uploaded into a state database.
A new round of testing in 2003 determined Shore’s DNA matched the DNA found under the fingernails of 21-year-old Maria del Carmen Estrada, who was murdered in 1992. In 2004, Shore confessed to killing Estrada, as well as Laurie Tremblay, 15, in 1986, Diana Rebollar, 9, in 1994 and Sanchez in 1995.
Shore was convicted and sentenced to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently denied Shore’s appeal on the grounds he has a previously undiagnosed brain injury.
“We dismiss this application as an abuse of the writ without reviewing the merits of the claim raised,” the judges' order read.
As his execution draws closer, items purportedly belonging to Shore have shown up for sale on so-called “Murderabilia” sites. One site is selling a handwritten letter for $105. The letter, written to an unidentified person, asks for picture of their grandchildren so he can draw their portraits.
“I’m running out of time love, they gonna kill me 4 sure,” read a letter dated August of 2016.
“I expect more and more 'Murderabilia' items procured by dealers from Anthony Shore to flood the market before his pending execution,” said victims’ rights advocate Andy Kahan. “This is blood money, plain and simple, made from the lives of four young innocent girls he brutally murdered."
These are our interviews with Robertson: