The Fabiano’s had called it a night on October 31, 1957, turning off their porch light and heading to bed in their Southern California home, until the doorbell rang after 11 p.m.
This is where Payton Moreland, host of Murder With My Husband, begins the strange story about the death of Peter Fabiano, who was killed that Halloween night when the costumed trick-or-treater at his door shot him in the chest.
“There was a pop, then a thump, then a screech as a car sped off into the night,” Payton said, quoting an article from New York Daily News. “Whoever had been standing on the front porch was now long gone.”
Peter’s wife, Betty Fabiano, rushed downstairs to find her husband dying on their doorstep. The killer had only shot Peter once, but that was enough to be fatal. Why though, had a trick-or-treater shot a Los Angeles beauty shop owner?
“Betty quickly realizes at this point that the unknown trick-or-treater was probably not a trick-or-treater at all, honestly not even a child,” Payton told Garrett Moreland, titular husband and unwilling guest of the podcast. “Someone had obviously used the traditions of Halloween as a ruse, showed up in a costume, successfully tricking Peter to open the door to a masked individual, and then shot him in the chest as he handed them candy.”
Now, from here the story gets a little complicated. Payton lays the entire case out very well, so if you want to hear all the details from this story definitely give this episode a listen.
So, police have a man killed on his front porch by a single gunshot, they have no leads, no clues, just the bullet found in Peter’s chest. After asking around about any possible enemies, the name Joan Rabel surfaced.
“Joan started working at one of Peter Fabiano's beauty salons as a receptionist around reportedly in early 1957,” said Payton. “Through Peter, Joan met and quickly became close friends with his wife Betty, and she was almost immediately welcomed into the Fabiano family.”
However, Rabel saw how unhealthy the Fabiano’s marriage was and convinced Betty to leave her husband and move in with her. Some reports suggested Betty and Rabel had a romantic relationship. Eventually, Betty reconciled with her husband and moved back home, but was forbidden to see Rabel or even say her name.
Peter fired the receptionist, and she began plotting her revenge. Rabel turned to her friend Goldyne Pizer, whom she groomed and seduced to kill Peter. Their plan was to use the holiday of Halloween to knock on Fabiano’s door and Pizer would shoot him dead.
Once the plot was finished, Rabel told her girlfriend it was best if they never saw each other again, leaving Pizer alone and scared. Once police traced the gun to the laboratory technician, she confessed everything immediatley.
“Joan looked at Goldyne, who had just murdered her enemy for her, and said, ‘Forget you ever knew me,’ and turned around and walked away,” said Payton. “Goldyne testifies before the grand jury and says Joan got her to commit the murder by portraying Peter as a symbol of evil. Goldyne didn’t even know Peter, she had never met Peter.”
Both women pled guilty to second degree murder and sentenced to five years to life in prison. Sources are unclear as to how long either severed, but both were eventually released and carried on with their lives.
Listen to "Peter Fabiano - The Trick-or-Treat Murder” to hear all the details of this crime. Murder With My Husband releases new podcasts regularly, and their Halloween special, “The Salem Witch Trials, is out now. Find them all on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
If you want to be sure you’re listening to the podcasts everyone else is checking out, iHeartRadio has you covered.
Every Monday, iHeartRadio releases a chart showing the most popular podcasts of the week. Stay up to date on what’s trending by checking out the chart here. There’s even a chart just for radio podcasts featuring all your favorite iHeartRadio personalities like Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Steve Harvey, and dozens of others.