True Crime On This Day January 1st

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day January 1st

January 1st

On January 1st in true crime, a blood oath slaying, New Year murder, New Year’s Day spree, and a mystery disappearance.


Pedro Lopez, AKA: The Monster of the Andes was released from prison. He would become the most prolific known serial killer in the world, with over 300 murders.

He was arrested again in 1980 and subsequently released from a psychiatric hospital in 1994.

Astonishingly, his whereabouts are currently unknown. It has been suspected that he may have been killed himself by family members of the victims.


In New Orleans, Antonio G. James attempted to rob 70-year-old Henry Silver as he was getting out of his car. Silver shouted out for help which caused James to shoot Silver in the head at point blank range.

He then left the scene with Silver’s wallet and approximately $35 (USD) in cash. James was arrested on January 26th after another attempted robbery left him injured.

He was convicted and sentenced to death. James was executed by lethal injection in Louisiana on March 1st 1996.


In Marina Del Rey, California, on New Year’s Day, 15-year-old Kimberly Ann Kahler vanished without a trace. She had last been seen in the company of an unidentified white male.

In recent years, Kahler has been linked to numerous Jane Doe’s across the United States but no match has ever been made. A wedding certificate was uncovered a few years later but the age and description of the person did not match.

It has long been suspected that Kahler was a victim of foul play but no trace of her has ever been found. Her disappearance remains a cold case to this day.


In Houston, Stephen McCoy, James Paster, and Gary LeBlanc fulfilled a blood oath between them in the most vicious of circumstances. While returning from a New Year’s Eve party, 18-year-old Cynthia Johnson became stranded on the side of a road due to car troubles.

The three men picked her up and drove to an abandoned warehouse, dragged Johnson out the car and gang-raped her. She was then strangled with electrical cord and stabbed to death. Her body was found the next day with nails hammered into her nose.

The three men had previously been hired to kill Robert Edward Howard in October 1980. He was shot in the head by Paster as he exited his vehicle. Because all three men were implicit in the murder, they devised a blood pact which would supposedly protect them from testifying against each other.

They agreed to kill two more people. The first came in November 1980 when they abducted Diana Trevino Oliver. They drove her to a field, raped her and stabbed her to death. They were all arrested shortly after the Johnson murder.

LeBlanc testified against the other two and received a 35-year prison sentence. Paster was sentenced to life but additionally sentenced to death for an unconnected murder. McCoy was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on May 24th 1989.


In Broward County, Florida, 18-year-old Patricia Gifford was raped and murdered but her body was never found. She had been killed by Dennis Sochor, who had met her in a bar the evening before at a New Year’s Eve party.

In the early hours of the morning, Sochor left the bar with his brother and Gifford and drove to a remote location where Dennis dragged Gifford into the woods before ordering his brother to remain in the car. Dennis returned to the car a short while later without Gifford.

The next day, Dennis had his truck cleaned but his brother found a woman’s shoe, sweater, and a set of keys in the trunk. Scared that Dennis would kill him, he eloped to Michigan.

Gifford’s friend reported her missing around the same time. Dennis was arrested in Georgia in 1986 when his photo was shown on the news.

His brother was also arrested but agreed to testify against Dennis. Despite no body ever having been found, Dennis was sentenced to death on November 2nd 1987. He remains on death row to this day.


In Atlas Township, Michigan, 17-year-old Goodridge High School student John Jerry Jancar, shot dead his father and his father’s fiancée and injured two more people.

Jancar was attending a New Year’s Eve party when he was known to have become involved in a fight. When he returned home in the early hours of the morning, he argued with his father. He then got a shotgun from a bedroom and fired two shots, killing his father and the fiancée.

When a neighbour heard gunshots, he went to see if everything was alright but Jancar fired at him and also shot his girlfriend. When he was arrested a couple of hours later, two people were dead and two seriously injured.

He was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder and two of assault to commit murder. He was sentenced from between 60-90 years in prison. His first parole date hearing is due in November of 2058.

Check out the Mega List of True Crime Podcasts

Author & Publisher | Website | + posts

Prolific Multi-Genre Author | True Crime Anthologist | Real-Life Writing Machine #writetheplanet #stillthewaves

Help share the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *