Orion – Michigan – 1999 – George Fulton was a married father of three children. His wife, 48-year-old Gail, was a pretty brunette with exotic looks and the kids weren’t too bad either. They were a Roman Catholic family, kind to everyone, with a solid reputation in the community. Gail even said her rosary ever day. She and Fulton had been married for twenty-five years. Gail was a librarian who worked at the Orion Township Public Library. She lived for her family and was very devoted to Fulton. Uh-oh. Right there you know something drastic is about to happen to shatter this lovely picture.
Apparently, Fulton had never seen the movie Fatal Attraction starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, about a married man who has an extra-marital affair with a mentally unstable woman. In spite of his religious convictions, Fulton mixed business with pleasure – the sexual kind. He had a lover in Florida, 46-year-old Donna Trapani, a nurse from Pensacola, Florida.
Oddly Trapani was no one’s idea of a mistress. Chubby and plain, it was difficult to understand how Fulton became attracted to this woman. Initially, Trapani was Fulton’s employee. She wanted to begin her own business and Fulton helped her to organize her finances. Soon they conducted their business between the sheets. Had Fulton known a little more about Trapani he might have not been “led into temptation.”
Trapani was raised by a single mother. They were poor and lived in a small, poverty-stricken neighbourhood. Growing up Trapani was overweight and insecure. She sought medical help to lose weight and become more attractive and she dropped an impressive forty pounds. Her mother, Sallie McMahan stated, “after she lost all the weight then the phone was blasting off the walls, boys would come into the house and she told them no, she had to study.”
Trapani became a nurse and in the mid-1980s she met Charles Trapani, an airplane mechanic. They married. Trapani worked incredible hours and barely saw her husband. Charles Trapani stated that “caused a lot of marital problems.” Eventually Trapani started an employment agency for nurses. The agency was rather a nuthouse. “When a cleaner annoyed Trapani, she cut the cord on the vacuum cleaner and took the vacuum cleaner over to the girl’s house and threw it at their door.”
An employee who worked for Trapani stated, “she would walk into a room and throw things down on a desk. She would slam the drawers of a file cabinet ….you might not always know why but you knew that she was mad.”
Another woman stated, “we knew she had this need to manipulate us and we weren’t going to let it hurt our friendship. But there were times that a lot of us didn’t know that that’s what she was doing. She stirred things up pretty badly.”
Trapani coolly defended her actions by stating “when you own a business that’s it’s not really being manipulative. It’s called business planning. If you have to fire somebody, you have to fire them.” Trapani seemed to feel the same way about her marriage. On the morning of an anniversary, she informed Charles Trapani that their marriage was over. Trapani had been socializing with the single nurses who worked for her and that was another poisonous thorn in the marriage.
One night when she was out with some work friends she met Fulton. There wasn’t an immediate attraction but Fulton was interested in helping Trapani to improve her business financially. Over time, this led to an affair. She wanted Fulton to divorce Gail and marry her and for a time it seemed that he would. Trapani constantly contacted Fulton at home until Gail figured things out. Gail was devastated but Fulton wouldn’t break off his relationship with Trapani. In fact, Fulton left Gail and lived with Trapani or several months. After this time, Fulton decided he and Trapani didn’t have enough in common for their relationship to work. He tucked his tail between his legs and flew home. Incredibly, Gail took him back. The two decided to work at their marriage and make it last.
Trapani wasn’t at all pleased with Fulton’s choice. She was a selfish, cold woman and she just couldn’t leave it alone. Trapani wanted her own needs met and cared little for anyone else’s. Wouldn’t you know the situation got worse? Fulton discovered Trapani was pregnant with his baby and that she had terminal cancer. How convenient. Trapani expected Fulton to finally leave Gail and live with her. Oddly, Fulton decided to introduce Gail to Trapani. Trapani nearly fell off her chair. The Fultons offered to care for the bitter woman. The Fultons decided to adopt the baby after Trapani died. The whole thing was a bit of a shock for Trapani, probably as much as the affair had been for Gail. Score one for Gail.
Trapani didn’t want the Fultons charity. She wanted Fulton and she was determined to get poor Gail out of his life. And there was another hitch: Trapani was neither pregnant nor dying. Her bizarre plan had backfired. Now what? She desperately wanted Fulton but his wife had offered to agree to an alternative relationship. That was a thorn in Trapani’s side. As fast as you could say “I’m not really pregnant,” Trapani concocted a plan to murder poor Gail.
Trapani had an employee named Sybil Padgett. Padgett was an overweight, plain blonde with a drug problem. Trapani found out that Padgett was a drug user but she hadn’t fired her. She knew a day would come when she could use Padgett’s services for a dark reason. Trapani insisted that Padgett find someone would murder Gail for her. Padgett was involved with 19-year-old Patrick Alexander who was slavishly devoted to Padgett. He would do anything to make her happy. Alexander agreed to kill Gail Fulton. He recruited his friend 32-year-old Kevin Ouelette, a hard hitman who dressed all in black. The two men were promised $20,000.00 to kill Gail Fulton. Ouelette would do anything for money. Ouelette insisted he needed a gun. Trapani agreed to get him one.
She sent her murderous team to Michigan to kill Gail. On October 4, 1999, they went to the parking lot of Gail’s workplace. The plan was to stab the tire. She would realize the tire was flat and when she got out of the car Ouelette would shoot her. Gail did indeed exit her vehicle. Ouelette shot her in the face, the chest and the upper shoulder. Gail’s murder was nothing less than an assassination. Gail was still alive but the trio left her in the parking lot to die. Trapani was ecstatic.
That night however the nightly news revealed the murder. The parking lot had a camera and Ouelette was clearly filmed on it. Now all police had to do was to contact the rental office where Alexander had rented their vehicle. At the same time, George Fulton harboured suspicions about his mistress and went to the Lake Orion Police Department to report that he’d been having an affair with a woman named Donna Trapani. Now his wife had been shot. He connected the dots and believed she had to be involved in Gail’s murder. At first, police believed Fulton was the culprit and that he had sneaked out of the house to kill Gail at her work. Thank goodness for hidden cameras.
Padgett must have had an iota of a conscience. She told local fisherman Brian Miller that she, Ouelette and Alexander had killed Gail. Miller was a witness at Padgett’s trial, whose eyes shot daggers at the man. Trapani refused to admit that she committed murder-for-hire. Hoping to continue the ruse, she placed a pillow beneath her clothing to make her body look pregnant. When Ouelette was interrogated in court he was calm and unconcerned about killing Gail Fulton. It was just another day in the life.
As for Trapani, she stated in court that she did nothing to assist anyone in killing Gail. The jury was far more persuaded by Ouelette’s testimony than Trapani’s. Pageant and Oulette pleaded guilty to murder and were jailed for life. Alexander pleaded to second degree murder and is eligible for parole after twenty years. In December 2000 Trapani was convicted of first degree murder and is serving life without parole.