Last week’s blog underscored the old saw about there being no honor among thieves. This week, our topic is George Trepal, a murderer with a genius IQ.
Problems with the Neighbors
Two families lived next to each other amid the orange groves of the tiny town of Alturas, Florida. In one house, mine worker Parearlyn “Pye” Carr lived with his wife Peggy and their children from previous marriages. Even though they had only been married for a few months, Peggy suspected her husband of having an affair. There was also frequent strife among the children, who were in their teens and early twenties.
The other family was George Trepal and his wife, Dr. Diana Carr (no relation to Pye). George was a chemist and Diana an orthopedic surgeon who people said dominated George. Both belonged to Mensa, a society for people with high IQ.
You’d think two families living close together with no other neighbors nearby would form a bond but not in this case. The two families argued frequently over things like firecrackers and loud music. It seemed that Diana and Peggy’s stepson, Duane, were frequently at odds. And on one occasion, Peggy and Diana had a ferocious altercation over Duane’s alleged bad behavior.
A Strange Illness — And Death
Peggy Carr worked in a local restaurant. One day her daughter, Sissy, visited her at work. Peggy complained she didn’t feel well, and Sissy urged her to go home. Her youngest son found her lying on a sofa, unable to speak. Her family rushed her to a hospital.
At the hospital, doctors spent three days running tests but couldn’t find anything wrong. They suggested that perhaps Peggy’s symptoms were psychosomatic—all in her head. But her symptoms slowly disappeared in the hospital, so the doctors sent her home. The symptoms returned almost immediately.
Again, Peggy couldn’t speak. She was able to write a note saying, “My feet are killing me.” As they drove Peggy back to the hospital, her son Travis and stepson Duane both started feeling a burning sensation in their own feet. Now doctors suspected poisoning. They thought it might be a metallic substance like arsenic. But when Peggy began to lose her hair, they suspected the poison was thallium.
Peggy slipped into a coma, while doctors put Travis on a respirator. Peggy died in March 1988 after Pye allowed the hospital to take her off life support.
Detectives Find Thallium and Finger George Trepal
Detectives tested the Carr’s well water and dozens, if not hundreds, of items around the house. They found no thallium until they noticed an eight-pack of Coca Cola under the kitchen counter. Four of the bottles were empty and all four contained traces of thallium.
Product tampering is a federal crime, so the FBI was now involved. They found that someone had deliberately opened the bottles in the eight-pack. Since one else in the area developed symptoms of thallium poisoning, investigators concluded that someone had targeted the Carr family.
Naturally, Pye was the initial suspect. But authorities doubted he would poison his own son. Besides, tests showed that Pye himself had consumed thallium. Investigators widened their circle and began to consider the oddball neighbor, George Trepal.
George Trepal was an intelligent but passive man. Even the Carr family thought he was harmless. But George Trepal wasn’t harmless. A self-taught chemist, he had a 1975 conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine for sale. When questioned about the Carrs, he was nervous and complained at length about things that seemed trivial to detectives. Detective Susan Goreck befriended him and got to know him well. He told her he hated people less intelligent than himself and people he couldn’t control. Both traits applied to the Carrs.
George Trepal Arrested and Convicted
Eventually the FBI found traces of thallium in a small bottle in Trepal’s garage. They arrested him and charged him with murder. They also found a room in his house full of BDSM paraphernalia. The supposedly meek Trepal appeared to have a vivid fantasy life.
George Trepal refused a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for life. Instead, he went to trial. A jury found him guilty and, on March 16, 1991, the judge sentenced him to death.
Dr. Diana Carr died at age 69 in 2018 from complications following a stroke. George Trepal still sits on Florida’s death row. He maintains his Mensa membership and continues to file appeals, all of which have failed.
Detective Susan Goreck and Jeffrey Good wrote a book about the case, Poison Mind.
Subscribe to the Newsletter
The Old Crime is New Again newsletter is a monthly email covering a topic that has not appeared in the blog. Don’t miss out! Sign up for the newsletter today.
38 Replies to “George Trepal: Murder by Means of a Rare Poison”
I think he deserves parole
An eye for an eye….. in other words a life for a life!!!!
You can’t be serious?? He deserves what he dished out! That woman suffered tremendously and her children suffered from her death! What he should have done was take her to court like normal people do, not try and kill the entire family. He doesn’t deserve to breath the air!
I agree. I was raised in Alturas FL and I knew Pye Carr and his family and I feel they should go ahead and put George Trepal to death because he has been sitting on death row for over 31 years and the tax payers are having to feed and clothe him
He tried to murder an entire family because they were loud….. he deserves to rot
I don’t believe he did it!
He didn’t do it!
Yes, he did. All evidence points directly to him. Passive maniac.
You’re right, he does deserve parole. Their neighbors playing loud music and other mischievous things.
Given he tried to kill four people (Pye also got sick) … it is hardly surprising he was awarded a poison needle. Talk about dumb and dumber… Mensa man rejects a plea deal that at least would have saved his life. Best idea – poison him with Thallium by injection and leave him to die over a couple of weeks. Eye for an eye.
Yes. He deserves exactly what he dished out.
Yup, do the same to him, poison him like he poisoned Peggy. This should have been done right after sentancing.
Most sensible comment on here.
Also agreed WHY are so many people on Death Row for 20 years??? At the expense of tax payers etc.
If convicted sentence should be carried out within a week or two.
Look up Frank Walls, Ft Walton Beach, FL. He was convicted of 3 murders but he probably killed 7 at minimum. He’s been growing FAT on death row since 1989! Doesn’t make sense.
Due process requires unlimited appeals for anyone sentenced to death, which takes decades to set a date as a result, unless the person waives all rights to appeal, as Timothy McVeigh had done. McVeigh was put to death almost immediately, which was what he wanted. Doing that to anyone else without waiving their right to appeal would be in violation of due process as guaranteed by the Constitution.
For profit prisons are everywhere. They sit on death row for years and the share holders take in the money
Kill this f—— freak already. 30 years. This f— should have been put down long ago.
They shouldn’t execute him, they should give him life without parole. He should have a stainless unbreakable mirror installed in his cell so he can see himself age every day, month and year as he rots away. Also they should pipe in “happy birthday” to him once a year to remind him of his plight and that the only way he will get out will be in a body bag.
Maybe you should actually cover this fairly? I’m not saying he’s innocent, but if you look into how circumstantial the evidence actually was and how sleazy and corrupt the prosecution played things to get their conviction, there’s certainly reasonable doubt.
I try to be as fair and accurate as possible, but covering a case a week, it is impossible to do a deep dive into each one.
Your logic is deeply flawed, or you only read the defense’s angle, which would be the ignorant way to come at the case. He owned a recapping device for the Coke bottles, he had an intimate relationship with thallium due to his running the largest meth lab in the southeast during the 70’s ( for which he spent 3years in federal prison), both he and his wife had well known animosity for Peggy Carr and family, when questioned by detectives as to why someone would poison the Carrs, he replied “because someone wants them to move away.” A threatening note saying move or die was delivered to the victims’ home. Thallium was found in Trepal’s garage/lab, and in 4 of the empty Coke bottles. There’s more, but how much does one really need? Are you a flat-earthier?
That is exactly what got my interest. I was watching Mr Ballen on YouTube and he stated that thallium was a byproduct of methamphetamine production, I was unable to confirm that. The conviction was not based on facts!
I find no evidence that thallium is a byproduct of making methamphetamine. I looked at the USDOT document describing the byproducts (for classifying methamphetamine as a hazardous material) and thallium isn’t mentioned.
So do you think he was set up?
This was in the 70’s, so it’s not impossible that Thallium may have been used in some manner in making Meth back then. I’m sure that the chemistry and composition of Meth has changed over the last 50 years has changed in some way or another.
It’s great that the music is so loud in prison! That is more than enough for a punishment in some ways. lol.
I am torn about the death penalty. I generally don’t agree with it, but for some cases – including that sicko Josh Duggar- I think it’s appropriate. This is also a case for which it is appropriate, IMO. The evidence clearly pointed to him as the murderer so I don’t believe there is any reason to think it’s the wrong person – which is why I generally don’t agree with the death penalty. I don’t believe that the wife didn’t know, but in respect to her passing and inability to defend herself, I’ll simply say that it is my feeling, but there is no evidence to support it.
Why Duggar? Since someone is bound to ask, it is because he has proven to be unable to be rehabilitated. He’s had 20, 25 years, with dozens of offences. If he hasn’t learned in the past 20 years, why would he learn in the next 20-40 years? Why let him walk free to repeat these offences in the future? I almost think Anna should be arrested and tried as an accomplice for keeping children in his presence and defending him, because I guarantee that he’s molested his own children. Maybe even filmed it and uploaded it.
But, I acknowledge that she’s been raised to think women are second-class citizens, too. This isn’t an excuse to allow him to have access to his children – she should’ve protected them, and no amount of brainwashing can account for her jeopardizing them. I’d sooner live on the streets with my child, knowing they aren’t being molested at least, than to allow someone that poses a threat to them, to have access. You can recover from being homeless. You can never recover completely from being sexually abused, physically, verbally, emotionally abused; neglected and abandoned.
I don’t think she knew about the porn. I’m referring to the time starting when the initial allegations were made and validated. I still think Michelle and Jim Bob should be held accountable, even though the statute of limitations is up. They shouldn’t have custody of minor children still at home.
Anyway, that’s my reasoning. You can’t fix some people, and even if he claims to be a changed man after his sentence is up, it’ll be a lie.
Why are you going on and on about Josh Duggar on a page about a poisoner? I don’t think this is the right forum for that.
One person asked why wasn’t he given life without parole. He was offered a deal that would have given him exactly that. But he refused that deal, thinking he was smart enough to beat the charges. And now he is facing the consequences – awaiting a date with the needle. The person who thought he deserves to be paroled is living in a fantasy world. Men like this DO NOT change.
I do agree though, 30 years on death row is way too long.
He overestimated his intelligence, obviously. They always do.
Know what I think?
Disgusting wastes of skin like this man, the NYC bomber and anyone else who commits 1st degree murder or serial murder, after being found guilty, should be taken outside and executed.
Saves money and headache.
It’s not like anybody would miss them anyways
He tried to kill a whole family.
But 30 years in death row is too
Thallium is in no way shape or form a byproduct of making methamphetamine nor are any of its Salts. He was set up!
I wholeheartedly believe Diana was 100% involved in this crime. She was a Doctor and would be able to get access to Thallium. They both hosted a murder mystery show based on a poisoning murder and they BOTH obviously hated their neighborhors; especially the victim and her children. They didn’t have their own he children which makes me believe they didn’t want them. She verbally attacked the murder victim and her sons. She had to at least be aware at a bare minimum that George was involved. IMO anyway.
I can’t believe that creep is still alive. Our justice system is so crazy.
I knew Peggy, my sister graduated with Pye, my older son knew the two boys, Diana was the orthopedic surgeon for both of my sons, and my friend’s husband was on the jury that found George guilty. I’m writing a fictionalized version of this story. It is called Murder in a Small Town. Good therapy to get my feelings out after all these years. I always felt Diana had a part in the murder. She’s dead now, so it’s moot. I’m sure she’s paying for her sins. As for George, 31 years on death row is too long!