Christine Paolilla was a lonely little girl, ostracized, bullied and without her father who had died in a construction accident when she was two years old. Her mother Lora began using drugs and eventually lost custody of her daughter to her parents. Paolilla’s stress was so extreme that she developed alopecia (baldness) and had to wear a wig. She also lost her eyebrows and eyelashes. The little girl had poor vision and had to wear thick glasses. Her childhood was one of unhappiness and isolation.
The years went by and entered high school. Paolilla was reunited with her mother who had overcome her drug addiction and remarried. The family then moved to Clear Lake City, Texas a suburb of Houston. Paolilla enrolled at Clear Lake High School. She found a new life and new friends. A number of attractive, popular girls took her under their wing, including Tiffany Rowell and Rachael Koloroutis and in no time Paolilla herself became attractive and well-liked. Her hair grew back. She dressed in trendy clothes and in 2003, Paolilla was voted “Miss Irresistible” by her school’s student body. Best of all in Paolilla’s mind, she found a boyfriend – 21-year-old Christopher Snider. He was attractive but he too was an outsider. Paolilla’s mother and stepfather disapproved of Snider, as did Koloroutis and Rowell, because of his drug use and various arrests. But even though Paolilla was no longer an outsider she still felt like one. Snider must have sensed something needy in Christine because he made a beeline for her as soon as he saw her. You just know that can’t be good.
Snider was a dark soul who liked to watch violent movies, experiment with XTC and of course, he got Paolilla to use it too. He also got her involved in petty crime. Snider isolated Paolilla from her friends and family and the relationship was abusive and dysfunctional. Paolilla was prone to jealousy, perhaps prompted by the neediness that had haunted her childhood. After one fight with Snider, Paolilla spent the night on the front lawn of his family’s home and threatened to kill his family. Teenagers say a lot of things when they are angry but threatening to kill a person’s family is not one of them. The warning signs were there but no one realized it.
On July 18, 2003, Paolilla and Snider went to Rowell’s home in Clear Lake City. Rowell lived in a home with out any parent. There was drug dealing and drug use in the house on a constant basis, instigated by Snider. On this date at the Rowell’s home were Koloroutis, Rowell’s boyfriend Marcus Precella, and Precella’s cousin Adelbert Sanchez. According to Paolilla, she and Snider planned to steal the drugs and cash that were kept in the house. Paolilla’s thanks to Rowell and Koloroutis for including her in their lives was to turn against them to fulfill Snider’s wishes. As soon as Snider and Paolilla entered the residence Snider asked the group if they had pills. One of the boys laughed at him for being so transparent and in that moment Snider and Paolilla became their enemies. Without warning, Snider pulled out a gun and held three of the friends at bay while Paolilla walked Rowell into her bedroom to find money.
Snider and Paolilla then shot and killed their friends. Paolilla stated later, “you don’t rob your friends and not kill them because they’ll be able to identify you.” Koloroutis was shot several times but somehow she lived. Critically wounded, she attempted to call the police but Paolilla returned to the house and shot her just as she called 9-1-1 but she ran out of bullets. Paolilla pistol-whipped her friend until she died. She shot both Rowell and Koloroutis in the crotch, indicating that sexual envy was part of the motivation for the murders. The home looked like a slaughterhouse. Paolilla then went to work at Walgreens half an hour later. Snider and Paolilla escaped. Police had no leads and the case went cold.
In 2004, Paolilla and Snider ended their relationship after Snider was jailed in Kentucky for car theft. Shortly thereafter, Paolilla entered rehab in Kerrville, Texas. She met Stanley Justin Rott, a heroin user with whom she began a relationship. The couple married in March 2005. Around that time, Paolilla came into a $360,000 trust fund left to her by her father. Paolilla used a portion of the money to buy a condo.
Paolilla was haunted by the murders. Whenever she looked in the mirror she saw her murdered girlfriends. One night she told Rott about the murders. Shocked, Rott was torn between protecting his new wife and reporting her to police. The two left the condominium and went into hiding at a seedy motel in San Antonio. An anonymous tip by a man who had met Paolilla in rehab sent police to their putrid motel room. Rott wasn’t the source of the tip. The room was a study in the grotesque. It smelled awful. There was blood on the walls from heroin and cocaine use. Paolilla was arrested on July 19, 2006.
Rott crumbled beneath police interrogation and informed police about Paolilla’s confession. On July 21, 2006, Paolilla and Snider, who had not yet been apprehended, were charged with capital murder. Paolilla’s bail was set at $500,000 as she was considered a flight risk. On October 13, 2008, Paolilla was convicted of four counts of capital murder. Because she was a juvenile offender at the time of the killings, she was spared the death penalty. The following day, she was sentenced to life in prison. Paolilla is eligible for parole in 2046. By then she will be 57.
Snider was never caught. When he heard police were onto him he went into the woods and overdosed on prescription medication. It was the hallmark of a sociopath. Snider refused to pay for his crimes. His suicide was one of coldness, not remorse.