HOUSTON - Joseph Pappas II was in contact with a woman in Ohio after police said he shot Dr. Mark Hausknecht to death on July 20, according to a report from The News-Herald, a northern Ohio newspaper.
Pappas was found dead Friday morning in southwest Houston, two days after police named him as a suspect in the July 20 killing of Hausknecht.
Three days after the attack, Jeanette Spencer got the news that Pappas' home in Westbury had been deeded to her, according to the report.
“I called him on the 24th and he said he had a terminal illness, and that’s why he deeded (me) the house,” Spencer said in the report. She has known Pappas for about 25 years.
One of Spencer's daughters was supposed to meet with Pappas on July 30, but he sent a text message indicating that he was going to commit suicide miles away from his home, according to the report. He also provided detailed instructions on how to secure the home.
“Sorry for handling things this way,” the text said. “House and property is now yours. Please make best use of it for you and (your daughter).”
Spencer attempted to contact Pappas, 62, but she said her calls went straight to voicemail.
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said evidence was found at the home that connects Pappas to Hausknecht's shooting death.
"We have plenty of evidence that ties him to this crime," Acevedo said, adding that evidence was removed from the home that tied Pappas to the crime. "
Acevedo said Pappas may have been seeking revenge for his mother, who died during surgery more than 20 years ago. Channel 2 Investigates learned Julia Pappas died of natural causes on April 2, 1997, due to cardiovascular atherosclerotic disease, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
“There was a lot of planning that went into this,” Acevedo said. “There was a lot of planning and, sadly, some skill.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Pappas on a murder charge. Police said he was considered armed, dangerous and possibly suicidal.
Spencer said one of her daughters was aware that Pappas was angry with a doctor over his mother's death, but the daughter did not know the name of the doctor, according to the News-Herald report.
Spencer also said that Pappas looked after one of her daughters when she lived in Houston. He and the daughter communicated regularly, according to the report.
According to the report, a cover letter was included with the deed record when Pappas transferred it to Spencer. In the letter, Pappas expressed admiration for Spencer and the care she took of her daughter, who has special needs.
“I never expected this at all,” Spencer said in the News-Herald report. “I don’t know. (My daughter) didn’t want to believe it.”
Pappas held an armed law enforcement job for more than 30 years, retiring in 2013. His record shows he worked with Harris County Precinct 2 and Precinct 7. He was first paid for his services, and later was listed as a volunteer reserve.
Pappas is not married and has no children. His friends called him "Joey," and he was living in the same Westbury home where he grew up.
In 2000, Hausknecht treated former President George H.W. Bush for an irregular heartbeat after the ex-president complained about lightheadedness.
Friend reflects on Pappas
Marc Johnson owns Texas Concealed Handgun License and said he has known Pappas for more than 20 years.
He not only considered Pappas a friend, but an expert marksman as well.
"It's hard to believe this happened," Johnson said.
He said the last time he saw Pappas was a few months ago.
"He wasn't too 'happy-go-lucky Joe' when I met him. He seemed depressed. He just seemed like things weren't right with him," Johnson said.
Johnson is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the matter.
"I'm hoping he'll give me a call. He has my number (and) I've got people that are willing to take him to custody without a big show," he said.
Police activity at Pappas' home
Law enforcement agencies responded to a report of a disturbance Thursday at the Westbury home of Joseph Pappas.
According to an NBC correspondent, a neighbor called in the disturbance around 9 p.m. when they noticed that a back gate was open.
Harris County Precinct 5 constables arrived at the house to investigate, according to the correspondent.
Neighbors said a light was on inside the house, but it is not clear if the light was on a timer.
Authorities blocked off the streets of the neighborhood, the correspondent said.
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