Broke and in the midst of a bitter divorce, Theresa Tolliver arranged to kill her estranged husband for the insurance money – but then ended up in a crazy battle with the hit man.
“Some people are killed for love. Some people are killed for revenge, some for jealousy. But Derrick Tolliver was killed for the coldest reason of all – money,” said prosecutor Emily Angulo.
Theresa and Derrick, an Air Force sergeant, were fighting over custody of their two sons. Theresa also had a daughter from a previous marriage. Theresa had moved out of their home in Converse, Texas, and was living with a much younger man – 27-year-old Emanuel Fonzie.
But she was tired of being broke, so she and Fonzie hatched a plan to collect more than $600,000 in insurance and military widow’s benefits, say authorities.
Fonzie contacted an old boyhood friend, Jeremy Farr, who was living in Arkansas, and arranged for him to come to Texas to learn details of a job he had for him. When Farr arrived, Fonzie told him Theresa would pay him a whopping $50,000 to whack Derrick.
Farr accepted the deal.
On Nov. 20, 2000, Theresa, Fonzie and Farr went to Derrick’s home with her sons, who were visiting her, on the pretext of picking up clothes for them, according to Farr.
The boys, 11 and 13 at the time, let them in the house. One of the adults unlocked a window. Later that same day, Farr and Fonzie returned, entered through the unlocked window, and waited for 40-year-old Derrick to show up.
Darkness had fallen when Derrick and his girlfriend Lorraine Johnson returned home from grocery shopping. She was outside gathering her purse from the car, and Derrick entered the garage with the groceries. “I saw someone come up behind him,” she said later. “Then I heard a couple of pops. It sounded like a firecracker.”
Pick up this week’s issie of The ENQUIRER to find out what happened next.