In 1957, on Halloween night, years before the Pixy Stix murder, there was another individual that had crime on their mind. Her name was Joan Rabel, a photojournalist, and ex–hair salon worker. She sits in a car, along with her accomplice, Goldyne Pizer. Across the street, they wait over two hours for the lights to go out at the home of Peter and Betty Fabiano.
Like clockwork, at 11:00 p.m. PT, the lights go out, and the women proceed with their plan. A soft voice of a female is heard. “Go do it…go now!” The doorbell rings at the Los Angeles residence of the Fabianos. The family awakes to an uninvited guest on this Halloween.
Joan Rabel Obsession
Before the Halloween murder life was grand for the Fabiano family. The two lovebirds married only a short while before the tragedy. The couple met in the late 1940s. As stated in multiple articles in the Valley News-Sun, he was an ex-soldier in the Marines, and she a divorced and beautiful woman with two kids.
In Los Angeles, they opened two beauty shops. Rabel would work in one. This 40-year-old woman soon becomes close to the family. When the Fabiano’s marriage started going south, the wife, moved in with Rabel.
The Los Angeles Times mentions that there is a little detail of what become known among the two women, except the point that they had an “odd” relationship. In fact, before the Halloween murder, their affiliation was so bizarre, that Mr. Fabiano went to get his wife back. The pair reconciled, but it was done on one condition, that his wife cut off all communication with Rabel forever.
The Psychology of a Halloween Killer
Rabel, the daughter of German immigrants, was not about to let that happen. She was infatuated with Mrs. Fabiano. It became a problem. Rabel’s feelings and her addiction for Fabiano’s wife got out of control.
Psychologist, Dr. Charles Carr, describes Rabel fascination before the Halloween crime:
She would have a repeated thought or image that gets out of hand. It’s a desire that starts as an infatuation, like that undergone by alcoholics when they drink.”
“These individuals likewise experience a ‘high’ from their fixation,” Dr. Carr said. “These highs gave Rabel feelings of power, being superior, being able to do whatever she wanted…”
When this occurs, the obsessive person possibly will even see death as a way out of their addiction.
Terribly obsessed with Mrs. Fabiano, it was clear that if she could not have her dear friend, then he would not have a wife. Halloween night was Rabel’s chance to act on her threat, and she did.
Bullet with the Fabiano Name
Mr. Fabiano, 35-years-old, darted down the steps after the door bell rung that Halloween night in 1957. Who would wake them this time of night? Halloween was over. Moments after opening the door, he got his answer. Standing to the right in front of him is, Pizer, with a gun cocked. Disguised in a scarf and shades. Fabiano thought the cover was a Halloween costume.
His last words were: “It’s a little late for this, isn’t it? Halloween is over, right?” he said with the door wide open. He thought it was a trick-or-treat prank. Pizer, answers him with a resounding, no. Shots are fired. Fabiano falls to the ground. His wife found him with a bullet that struck just below his heart.
There was only one individual she could think of that might want to hurt her husband. Joan Rabel. Police brought Rabel in but let her go due to lack of proof of the Halloween murder. The crime weapon was discovered in a department store weeks later. The registered gun was traced all the way back to Pizer.
On November 12, Pizer confessed, claiming that Rabel forced her to kill Fabiano on Halloween. Both women hired attorneys. Los Angeles Police organized a head-on conference with Rabel and Pizer and their legal representatives present. Pizer confessed, “She kept saying that Mr. Fabiano was a wicked, vile man—a man who ruined everything and everyone.”
Halloween Murder Confession
Pizer then told the police department that Rabel gave her money to buy the gun. They both drove to the Fabiano residence weeks before the Halloween murder so she could be familiar with him. Rabel never said a word the whole time.
At the trial, Rabel and Pizer pleaded not guilty. The judge charged them with first-degree murder. The charges were eventually reduced to second-degree murder, but only after the women made a plea deal. They each received five years to life in a top-security prison.
Neither, one would serve a full term. Pizer was ultimately let go but never left Los Angeles. She would live and die there at the age of 83 in 1998. Rabel was apparently released from prison but vanished. After 1957, she was never heard of again. Some say Mrs. Fabiano put the whole ordeal behind her after the trial and never looked back on that terrible Halloween night. She would die in 1999, at the age of 81.
Two grisly murders on Halloween. One in 1957 and the other 1974. Each would go down in history as the Halloween Trick or Treat Murders that caused the demise of innocent victims over lust and greed.
By Jomo Merritt
Edited by Cathy Milne
Buzzfeed: Five Infamous Murder Houses
Daily Mirror: Trick or Treat Murder
All Woman: Love, obsession, and murder; when romance goes all wrong
Image Courtesy of t3xt’s Wikimedia Page – Creative Commons License
Image Courtesy of Flood gildas_f’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License