LVMPD-EX Homicide Detectives Tom Dillard & Robert Leonard — DUMB & DUMBER

By Steven Barket,
Las Vegas, Nevada

tom-dillard-las-vegas-howard-haupt-victim-slider-400-blueSometimes, when you get two people together, they feed off each other in interesting, unexpected ways. That’s the case with Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Lewis & Martin, Dumb & Dumber (had to go there — those two fictional buddies from the comedic movies), Dillard & Leonard.

Yes, Dillard & Leonard. Tom Dillard & Robert Leonard, quite literally, were partners in crime, if not comedy. While they were both working as homicide detectives on the Las Vegas Metro PD, they worked at least a couple hundred cases together. They worked some of the most-publicized murder cases in the area, including that of young Alexander Harris, 7, who was kidnapped from Whiskey Pete’s Casino on Thanksgiving weekend in 1987 and was found murdered a month later under a trailer on the casino grounds.

And when you look in hindsight on some of these cases — especially that one — you wonder how could the two possibly be convinced that the man they arrested for the crime, Howard Lee Haupt, was guilty. Haupt was tried and found not guilty on all counts, and later sued Dillard and Metro PD and won an $800,000 out-of-court settlement as a result.

Yet Dillard supposedly remained convinced that he and partner in crime Leonard pinned the murder on the right man (and “pinned” seems to be the right word here) — even after all the flip-flopping and second-guessing and oversights of identification of possible suspects by witnesses who said they saw a man of varying descriptions walking out of the casino arcade with a young boy, even after viewing poor-quality video surveillance footage

A Tom Dillard, Las Vegas Unsolved Case: Alexander Harris and the Zodiac Serial Killer Theory

By Steven Barket
Las Vegas, Nevada

Here’s one from way out in left field, Detective Tom Dillard. I’m guessing you’ve heard of the Zodiac serial killer, right? He was around while you were a cop with Las Vegas Metro PD. Maybe before, even. Back in the 60s and 70s were when he was at his notorious peak. According to some accounts, he even continued his murdering spree into the 80s. In fact, according the the account I’ll outline below, he may even have been responsible for a murder you investigated in 1987 and 1988, arrested the wrong man for, who then turned around and sued you and your department for $1 million and ended up settling out of court for $800,000. And almost 30 years later, it’s still a murder that has never been solved.


tom-dillard-las-vegas-steven-barket-zodiac-killer-harris-suspect-sketch-400In our research on the case, we found a piece of writing online under the byline of “Goldcatcher” that tied the murder of Alexander Harris, 7, in Stateline, Nevada, to the  Zodiac killer. According to the writings by Goldcatcher, Alexander was one of his last victims. This was a well publicized kidnapping and murder in which Tom Dillard was the lead homicide detective. Alexander’s killer has never been found. And the details connecting Alexander and the Zodiac serial killer are chilling.

This is how Goldcatcher tells his story in this online report: Goldcatcher had a long relationship with the Zodiac killer. He identifies the Zodiac killer as Richard J. Gaikowski of South Dakota. “Gyke” for short; he says Gyke died on April 30, 2004.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

Goldcatcher has a letter he says was written by Gyke, the Zodiac serial killer (seen at right), and sent out in 1987. He’s not clear as to whom the letter was sent. Perhaps to the San Francisco Chronicle, which was covering Zodiac’s activity rather heavily and often received communication from him. In the letter, Zodiac writes in part, “Tell the blue pigs if want me [sic] I will be out driving around on Halloween in my death machine looking for some kiddies to run over. Cars make nice weapons. The pigs can catch me if they can find me out there. Just like in the movie The Car. Tell the kiddies watch before they cross the  streets on halloween nite.” And then he signs it with the symbol he had become well known for using.

Tom Dillard and the Unidentified Latent Fingerprint in the Unsolved Murder of 7-Year-Old Alexander Harris

By Steven Barket,
Las Vegas, Nevada

tom-dillard-las-vegas-steven-barket-fingerprint-evidenceI have a question for Tom Dillard: Of the almost nonexistent physical evidence that was found at the scene of the homicide of 7-year-old Alexander Harris at Whiskey Pete’s Casino back in 1987, whose fingerprint was on the glasses of the young victim?

The fingerprint was about the only real, hard physical evidence found. Detective Dillard, wouldn’t you have searched to the ends of the earth to find out whose print that was, either to exclude it as evidence or include it as evidence in the case of a murdered 7-year-old boy?

Alexander, 7, was found a month after he was abducted, lying dead under a trailer that was on the grounds of the casino at the time. The autopsy found almost no physical evidence and determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation. Police and prosecution forensic experts “surmised that his body was there shortly after the boy disappeared.”

Alexander was wearing the same clothes he had on at the time he went missing, the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1987. The Clark County medical examiner, which had jurisdiction in the case, found no evidence that Alexander was sexually assaulted. He found no evidence of any violent physical trauma.

When Alexander’s body was found, his glasses also were found, apparently placed near his body. There was a “latent” fingerprint found on one of the lenses. The print was checked against Alexander’s prints, and it wasn’t his. The print also was checked against possible suspects, and they were all eliminated.

What we do know about that fingerprint is that it wasn’t Howard Lee Haupt’s, who was charged with the crime but ultimately found not guilty on all counts.

If it wasn’t Haupt’s, or any of the other early suspects, if it wasn’t Alexander’s, whose was it? Was it his mother’s or grandparents? Was it the murderer’s? Was it run through a database of any sort, such as what was available 30 years or so ago? Has it ever been run through a modern database?

Ex-Las Vegas Metro Detective Thomas (a/k/a Tom) Dillard Nailed by Jury for $1 Million, Called “Pure Evil”

dillard court case TORN page 20 highlighted IMG_3995

By Steven Barket
Las Vegas, Nevada

Court documents are very one-sided. There’s no two ways to look at something when it comes to the finality of a court’s decision. Sometimes the legalese gets in the way, but there can be no mistake about rulings or verdicts. And that is the case in the jury’s findings in the U.S. District Court case (Nevada) between Howard L. Haupt (the plaintiff) and former Metro detective and defendant Thomas D. Dillard (Case No. CV-S-90-121-PMP(RJJ). You can see above a few of the highlighted statements.

Thomas Dillard Las Vegas mug shot while in courtDillard (left) should know better, but apparently he believes he’s above the law. We’re speculating here, drawing inferences from his actions, but how else do you explain his violation of one of the basic tenants of law? Dillard had the stones to call Judge Stephen L. Huffaker, the sitting judge presiding over this case of life and death, and try to influence his instructions to the jury as the jury was about to begin their deliberations after hearing all the testimony and seeing all the evidence in this highly publicized murder case involving a 7-year-old boy.

And that’s what this current case of Haupt v. Dillard stemmed from. It’s a case brought by Haupt against Dillard, which germinated from a previous case in which Haupt had been arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of 7-year-old Alexander Harris at Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Stateline, Nevada. Dillard was one of the Metro homicide detectives assigned to investigate the case. Haupt ultimately was acquitted, but not before Dillard tried to pile up as much circumstantial and fabricated evidence as he could and dump it all over Haupt, who was left to try to dig himself out of it.