KILLEEN, Texas – A Fort Hood soldier suspected in the Thanksgiving weekend slayings of four people, including three strip club employees, told police he videotaped two of the killings while another man did the shooting, according to court documents released Tuesday.
Timothy D. Payne, a private with the 4th Infantry Division (search), and Richard L. Tabler, a former customer at Teazers Gentlemen's Club (search), were arraigned Tuesday on capital murder charges and ordered held on $4 million bond, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said.
Neither Smith nor Payne had attorneys by Tuesday afternoon, a court clerk said.
According to the arrest warrant affidavits, Payne, 18, and Tabler, 25, used a video camera to capture Tabler shooting the strip club's manager, Mohamed-amine Rahmouni, 25, and his friend, Haitham Frank Zayed, 28, on Nov. 26. Two days later, two female dancers were fatally shot.
It was not immediately clear if investigators had seen the videotaped slayings. Bell County Sheriff Dan Smith referred calls to Garza, who declined comment on the evidence in the case.
Smith said Monday that authorities believe the victims were part of a revenge plot hatched by Tabler after he was asked to stop visiting the club. Smith said Tabler drew up a "hit list" of as many as nine more targets.
Although Tabler told police he had been fired from a job at the club, manager Scott Davis told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Tabler never worked at Teazers. He said Tabler had been a regular customer for a couple of months until he was asked to leave about three weeks ago.
He said nothing major prompted Tabler's ouster, but Tabler liked to tell people he worked security at the club and he tried to develop relationships with several of the dancers by doing favors for them outside of their work.
"The guy gave you the creeps," Davis said. "He was creating his own fantasy world."
He said Tabler's confrontation with Rahmouni likely happened sometime last week outside the club.
Rahmouni, a native of Morocco, was popular but sometimes clashed with people, Davis said.
"You either loved him or hated him," Davis said. "He was flashy and full of life. He was a cocky 25-year-old with a club. He was the hottest ticket in town."
Police say Tabler lured Rahmouni and Zayed to a remote location near Fort Hood (search) under the guise of buying stolen property and killed them.
According to the affidavit, Tabler shot both men while Payne held the video recorder. Police said Tabler told them Payne helped him look for money and other valuables on the bodies. Payne gave a similar statement, police said.
Tabler then lured two dancers — Tiffany Loraine Dotson, 18, and another woman in her 20s whose name was not released — to another remote spot on Sunday with the promise of crack cocaine, then killed both with multiple gunshots to the head and body, police said.
Davis said Tabler may have wanted Dotson to be his girlfriend and she refused.
He said Dotson had moved to Killeen from California about six months ago. She typically worked the day shift when customers tended to be older and less unruly.
"She was a true California girl," Davis said as tears welled up in his eyes. "Always smiling."
Tabler and Payne have not yet been formally charged in the women's deaths, Garza said.
Tabler's relationship with Payne is unclear other than that both men frequented the club. Davis said he did not remember the two hanging out together.
Davis called Payne a "model customer" who never caused trouble. "He never got drunk," Davis said. "He never gave the girls any problems."
Meanwhile, it was business as usual at Teazers on Tuesday, where a steady lunchtime crowd of about 20 customers watched the strippers earn their money.
The club, with its pool tables and loud and smoky atmosphere, caters to soldiers from nearby Fort Hood. A large American flag is painted on an outside wall facing the parking lot and several soldiers were part of the lunchtime crowd.
Davis said employees were relieved that two suspects had been arrested. He said after Rahmouni and Zayed were found dead, police told Davis he should consider closing the club temporarily.
The club stayed open but then closed Sunday after the dancers' bodies were found. Employees stayed at Davis' house until the arrests were made Monday, he said.
A few were still at his house Tuesday afternoon and one called Davis at the club to see if was OK to come to work.
"You're safe sweetheart," Davis told her. "The best thing to do is for us to get back to work."