My previous blog post involved the still-unsolved murder of five people in a Las Cruces, New Mexico bowling alley. This week, we look at a bizarre case from Scottsdale, Arizona, where, in 2000, beautician Valerie Pape killed and dismembered her husband.
In 2000, Valerie Pape was 47 years old and owned a beauty salon in Scottsdale, Arizona. She also had a husband, Ira Pomerantz, 60, a Chandler, Arizona bar owner. They married in 1995. Theirs was not a happy union, as friends and family knew the couple had a volatile relationship. On more than one occasion, the police had been called to their McCormick Ranch home.
Valerie contended that her husband was an abusive alcoholic. He denied this, but friends reported seeing Valerie with bruises. She filed for a protection order against him in 1999, claiming he’d thrown knives at her during a fight over bills. Pomerantz admitted the argument but stated he’d never “been physical” with his wife. For whatever reason, Valerie withdrew the request a week later, maintaining the couple had reconciled.
Reconciliation or not, the bills continued to pile up. Pomerantz complained that his wife was bleeding him dry financially. Moreover, he suspected her of having an affair with a Frenchman staying with the couple (the man had a stake in her salon). Friends later told police he planned to file for divorce.
Valerie Pape and Murder
On January 27, 2000, Valerie Pape pulled her Jaguar beside a dumpster behind a Mesa, Arizona grocery store. Removing a heavy-duty plastic bag from the car, she managed with effort to heave it into the trash bin. Unfortunately for her, a deliveryman saw this strange episode and notified the police. Inside the bag, investigators found Ira Pomerantz’s headless, limbless body. The media naturally dubbed it the “Torso Murder” case.
A week after discovering Pomerantz’s torso, police arrested Valerie Pape. At first, she claimed she found her husband shot to death on the kitchen floor of their home. She dumped the body, she said, because she feared she’d be blamed for his murder. But she eventually confessed to shooting him during an argument on January 23, then disposing of his body four days later.
How the petite blonde dismembered the body remains a mystery, as Valerie never offered an explanation. Detectives believed she had an accomplice who they never identified. They also found a receipt for an electric saw bought just before the murder, but not the saw itself.
Instead of going to trial, Valerie Pape pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in August 2002. She received a sentence of sixteen years with no chance for parole.
In 2006, the Arizona Department of Corrections arranged a deal to transfer Pape to a prison in France (she was a French citizen). She was flown to a holding facility in Oklahoma City in preparation. However, Pomerantz’s daughters objected, fearing the French would release her on parole. The Arizona DOC had her transferred back to Arizona.
Valerie Pape served her sentence and was released on January 26, 2016. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported her to France on March 7, 2016.
Investigators never found Ira Pomerantz’s missing body parts.
The Oxygen network’s show, Snapped, aired an episode on the Valerie Pape case on January 7, 2018.
Don’t Miss Out! Subscribe to the Newsletter
Subscribe to True Crime in the News, a monthly email newsletter that looks at recent news stories that will interest any true crime fan. There is also a summary of the previous month’s blog posts. You won’t want to miss this. Sign up for the newsletter today.