In 1997, a Sarasota, Florida mother of 6 was murdered in her home. Her name was Sheila Bellush, and she was the ex-wife of San Antonio millionaire Allen Blackthorne. Sheila had won custody of her two daughters with Blackthorne, and moved with her new family to Florida to put distance between them. She was remarried and had quadruplets with her new husband. Blackthorne also remarried and had two more children.
Blackthorne hired some famously amateur men to commit Sheila’s murder. He received two life sentences, but last November, Blackthorne died in an Indiana prison. The Bureau of Prisons does not list a cause of death. In 2001 he was almost killed during an attack by a prison gang, after which he was segregated from the general prison population.
The actual hit man was a San Antonio man named Jose Luis Del Toro Jr., who received a life sentence for murdering Sheila. Del Toro received two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole (when he fled to Mexico, he was extradited back to Texas once Texas agreed not to seek the death penalty in his case).
Del Toro was solicited to commit the murder by a golf caddy named Samuel Gonzales, who is Del Toro’s cousin.Gonzales took a plea agreement to give the state everything he knew on the case in exchange for a sentence of a maximum of 19 years in prison. That makes his estimated release year 2016.
Gonzales was contacted by Blackthorne’s golf buddy Daniel Rocha. Blackthorne promised Rocha financing for a golf course development. Rocha received a life sentence from the state of Florida for solicitation to commit murder
Jamie Bellush, Sheila’s husband, relocated with Stevie and the quadruplets to (he adopted Stevie and Daryl, Allen’s daughters, in 1997) to New Jersey, and then moved to Alabama. He has remarried.
Blackthorne’s wife Maureen, whom he married after divorcing Sheila, was convicted in 2005 of filing a false tax return and sentenced to serve a year in federal prison. She filed for divorce from Blackthorne in 2004. After serving her sentence, she returned to San Antonio and raised her sons in the Jewish faith.
Three of the Bellush quads, Joe, Frank and Tim Bellush, joined the National Guard after they graduated from high school last year in Alabama. Their sister Courtney attends the University of Miami, Ohio.
Sheila’s daughter Stevie Bellush attended Portland State University and graduated in 2013.
Daryl Bellush attended college in Florida.
Ann Rule wrote extensively about this case in her book Every Breath You Take. Before her death, Sheila told her sister that if “anything ever happened” to her, to ask Ann Rule to write about the case. This became the first book Ann Rule ever wrote at a victim’s request.