A Texas woman is murdered and her family suspects her husband.

Marilu Geri

Her mother found Marilu’s body

CASE DETAILS

Paramedics attempted to save her life

On the morning of February 14, 1986, Marilu Geri, a young, affluent Houston woman, was found in her home, shot four times.  She was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead soon after.  Marilu Geri had been murdered and her parents are convinced that her husband, Stephen, was the killer.  However, Stephen has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

Marilu’s body was discovered shortly after 10 AM.  At 8:15 AM, Stephen Geri called Marilu’s mother, Maria Serrato, and asked her to go over and help Marilu prepare for a lunchtime party:

“As soon as I hung up with him, I dialed Mary’s number, and she didn’t answer the phone.  And it got me very concerned because I thought how strange, she’s supposed to be already running around the house doing the last things for the party.  But where is she?”

Maria immediately drove to her daughter’s house.  She searched the back of the house, where she found Marilu lying on the floor:

“She looked like she had fainted or something, and I started to kiss her in her face, and touching her, and she looked like she was dead.  And it got me completely, I was just like, a wild person.  I thought I was in a nightmare.”

Stephen Geri insists he is innocent

At 10:30 AM, the paramedics tried to revive Marilu.  They injected her heart with medication, but she was already dead.  This procedure later made it impossible to determine the exact time of death.  Marilu had been shot four times with two different guns—a .38 and a .22.  But there were no guns found in the house, nor was there any physical evidence of a break-in.  In the bedroom, Marilu’s jewelry box was open.  Could robbery have been a motive?  Marilu’s mother believed it was a well-planned murder:

“There was jewelry lying there, like she had been selected jewelry or something that she was going to wear.  Whoever killed Marilu didn’t come in the house to steal anything.”

However, Stephen Geri disagreed:

“Well, there were many things taken.  The gross value was about 25 to 30, maybe 40 thousand dollars worth of jewelry.”

Marilu and Stephen had been married for three years.  Stephen was an insurance agent and Marilu worked for him.  The couple enjoyed vacations in Hawaii and Europe and appeared to be happily living the good life.  But according to her mother, Marilu’s marriage was anything but happy:

“It was a torment of a marriage.  The last two and a half years of her life, it was nothing but crying about one thing and another.  They were fighting over money.”

Marilu’s maiden name is now on her gravestone

Investigators viewed Stephen Geri as one of the possible suspects.  He owned several handguns, which were tested in the police ballistics lab.  However, the results proved that Stephen’s guns were not used in the shooting.  Stephen also gave the police a detailed account of his movements on the day of the murder.  Normally, he worked in his home office during the early morning.  But according to Stephen, on that particular day he changed his routine:

“I woke up at about five that morning, I went upstairs and worked on the computer.  I had an extremely busy day, there were some things that I had to finish up.  Marilu was still in bed.  Told her that I would call her at seven.  I know that the security system was on when I left the house, at about 6:25, 6:30.  I went down to 7-11 and got another cup of coffee.  I left there and went to the post office, picked up our mail for the day.  From there, I went to the donut shop, picked up donuts.  Then I went to Precision Glass, Don Richardson’s company, and talked with them for a moment.  I started to leave, realized that I had forgotten to call Mary.  I went back in at the reception desk and called her at almost 7:30.  She was up, she said she was busy, busy, busy, so I told her goodbye.”

From 7:30 when he called Marilu, to 10:06 when Marilu’s body was found, Stephen spent most of his time with witnesses who confirmed his alibi.  A private investigator, Bill Elliott, hired by Marilu’s parents, examined Stephen’s alibi in detail:

“The witnesses that we interviewed indicated to us that it was not his habit or pattern to leave the house before nine or ten in the morning.  And this particular day he claims to have left the house between 6:00 and 6:30.”

When Stephen left home, his first stop was the 7-11, only two blocks away, and less than a five-minute drive.  But according to Bill Elliot, there is a conflict as to the actual time Stephen arrived:

“We interviewed the people at the convenience store where he went first, and it was their recollection and very positive recollection that Stephen did not get there until three minutes until seven o’clock.  A variation in the alibi that would have given him time to do things as far as getting rid of evidence and that kind of thing.  The curious thing is that Mr. Geri had not only gone to these places that morning, but the following day, he went back and reminded these people that he had been there the day before, which is something that I found unusual.”

Bill Elliot also discovered that two years before Marilu’s death, Stephen had purchased insurance policies on both their lives.  According to Bill, each policy had a total value of more than $400,000:

“Mr. Geri was a big spender, liked to spend a lot of money and liked to live the high life.  At a higher level than his income was capable of supporting.”

Ten months after the murder, Stephen tried to collect on his wife’s policy.  Outraged, Marilu’s parents went to court to prevent him from collecting the money.  They claimed he had been the cause of Marilu’s death and would attempt to prove it in court.  However, Stephen Geri believed there was another reason that the Serratos filed the lawsuit:

“Well there are two things that make the world go round, and that’s sex and money.  And it definitely wasn’t sex, was it?”

Strangely, just as the trial was beginning, Stephen Geri and Marilu’s parents reached an out of court settlement.  But which side had requested the settlement?  Stephen claimed that the Serratos approached him with the offer:

“I was adamant that when my attorney presented this to me, that it would not be as an admission of guilt and that rather that the Serratos would realize that I was not involved, or why would they make the offer?  And that we would settle on it.  If it had been my daughter and I thought that person was involved, there was no way I would ever take the settlement… but they did.”

The court documents can’t reveal who asked for the settlement, since the judge ordered the records sealed.

The police continue to search for information about the two weapons that were used in the murder.  They feel these guns will lead them to the killer.  Stephen Geri remains a person of interest.  But through it all, Geri has consistently maintained his innocence:

“No, I did not kill my wife.  Marilu was the perfect woman for me.  We had a wonderful life together, exciting, we traveled, we built one hell of a business, and were a fantastic complement to each other.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis FarinaVarious seasons available now on Hulu.

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22 Comments

  1. Mrs. Smith

    It’s been years since this aired and I am curious as to who filed for the settlement. It was sealed by the judge till 1988, who filed? I think it would indicate the character of all parties involved if we had this answer.

    Reply

  2. Reader

    Since Stephen Geri is such a successful businessman today in San Antonio, why isn’t he offering money to help solve this crime? Shouldn’t he care about his late wife? He has his webpage at stephengeri.net and no mention is made of his time with his late wife. He cannot escape Judgement Day thankfully.

    Reply

  3. thinkingoutloud

    he might not have ‘murdered’ her, but he definitely had something to do with it. the day of her death, he unnecessarily leaves his house super early to run all these unnecessary errands and calls his mother in law to unnecessarily check in on his wife so she would obviously go over and find her dead. the one day hsi wife is murdered, he decides to switch up his normal routine??? i just dont buy it. he hired a hit man and left so he could run all these dumb errands so the hitman could kill his wife and he could obviously say ‘hey i had nothing to do with it cause i was out running unnecessary errands all day’. so obvious he was involved. i do not know why he had her murdered, but there had to be some reason. she was a very pretty lady, RIP Marilu

    Reply

  4. None

    Why has there not been any more action taken on this case. I know this man and am 100% sure he killed his wife. He lives in San Antonio now with the women he married after he murdered his wife. This man has a temper and I belive he killed his wife to keep from sharing his business and assets after his wife asked for his divorce.
    One evening I was alone with him at his house and he pulled out a gun and pointed it at me and asked me if I was scared. I said yes, and he replied good.

    Reply

    • Jackie Jackson

      Just watched “unsolved mysterys” and it is obvious he did it. He had the motive and the means. After reading your comment…I have no doubt he has the temperament to commit murder. I think it’s a shame this has never been “officially ” solved.

      Reply

  5. Anonymous

    Yes, that is the same Stephen Geri who probably murdered his wife.

    Reply

  6. joseph

    Geri had some close associates from Israel that certainly were the type to make the person of interest category with flying colors. They partnered with him on dozens of financial fraud endeavors that supported him in the years up until the murder. Many people who knew him then instantly assumed he did hire someone to do this, the moment they heard of Marilu’s death.

    Reply

  7. Jason

    Mr. Geri seems very likely to have hired a hit man to come in and murder his wife to collect her life insurance policy that would pay for the judgments against him. I was watching this on Amazon today and the fact that he refers to her as strictly a business partner rather than a loving wife is a major red flag. I don’t believe he was the one to personally murder her, but I have no doubt that there is someone out there who murdered her for him – especially since none of the guns Mr. Geri owned were the same type used in the murder!

    Reply

  8. Angie

    I just saw this and believe the husband behaved very suspiciously. I think he hired someone to do it.

    Reply

  9. Reality Check

    The parents obviously dislike Stephen… They strike me as the type to do anything to get rid of him including murdering their own daughter. There is an equally high chance they did it… especially the mother is she was pushing for a divorce (I bet you she was but did not say it) and was denied at everyturn. She the more suspect ine in how she answered questions to be. Paying a “private investigator ” to defkect from them would be the perfect cover up.

    Reply

  10. habes

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150201043953/http://www.stephengeri.com/family.html

    here’s a link to the same website… just a bit creepy

    Reply

  11. Anon

    This episode is available for streaming on Amazon currently so I hope someone sees it and can bring new information forward. As others have said, it certainly doesn’t add up. Looking at the husband’s current website raises a few more questions. I would never propose that someone is guilty based on simply watching a TV show but I do think the police department totally blew the investigation (as someone mentioned above). Simply does not add up..neighbors didn’t see or hear anything during a time of morning when everyone is up and getting ready/leaving for work?
    Either way, someone does not go back to businesses the day after a wife is murdered to remind them that he was there. That’s not a natural, rational reaction. Wouldn’t you be too busy grieving or making funeral plans and working with officers to help find the guilty party? I cannot even fathom a loving husband doing that the day after a wife was murdered. Just so…suspicious in my mind.

    Reply

  12. Sun dog

    I bet you him and her mother were both in on it for the $$$

    Reply

  13. Anonymous

    Guilty!

    Reply

  14. Heather

    Weird comments on here. Just because Stephen Geri’s guns were not used in the killing does not mean he did not hire someone to kill her. He did several odd things the morning she died, according to what the show shared:

    1) He left the home 3+ hours earlier than normal
    2) He made several stops that allowed him to “be seen,” providing witnesses (i.e. 7-11, post office, donuts shop, glass place. He said he had a very busy day of… um… donut-eating, coffee-buying, and mail retrieving, apparently.
    3) The 7-11 witness said he arrived more than 30-minutes later than Stephen Geri said he arrived. The investigator thinks this gave him time to hide evidence, but it could have also been a last-minute meeting with a possible contract killer before the CK completed his job.
    4) Stephen Geri called Marilu’s mother and randomly asked her to “go to the house and help Marilu prepare for a party.” Translation: Go over to the house and make sure my wife is dead. I can’t be seen anywhere near there. I’m super-busy collecting witnesses who will support my alibi.
    5) Which brings up an interesting point… He went back the next day to remind witnesses that he’d been there the day before?? No one thinks to do that. Unless… hmmm… Stephen Geri was worried about something? (taps chin) What could that be…

    Anyway, I wonder if they interviewed him regarding his movements the day before, or weeks prior to the murder. Where did he go? Whom did he meet? Are their witnesses to support those tall-tales? What about access to his office and home landline phone records. Whom did he call?

    I hope they get this one solved.

    Reply

  15. Clarence Cartwright

    Cops are so lazy… Why didn’t they check Mr. Geri’s skin and clothes for gunpowder residue? Those tests were certainly readily available back then. The re-runs of the interview look like Mr. Geri was angry or upset because the cops were not looking at other leads… It looks to me like the mother did it to steal the jewelry. There would be receipts to show they owned that much jewelry (in 3 years of marriage) and since he was an insurance agent, you’d think there would be pictorial evidence too. Why didn’t the cops look at pawn shops and fences for pieces of the jewelry – or watch the mama for unusual spending habits? Because cops, especially in Houston, are fat lazy gov-mint bureaucrats with a built in bully-pulpit and some dimwit detective felt so sorry for the mama’s crying alibi story.

    Reply

  16. Lonewolf

    You can clearly tell that Stephen Geri is lying, when he is telling unsolved mysteries about the settlement and his wife and their life together. He says no he didn’t kill her and looks left, he takes his time to think on what he has to say. When he says “We had a wonderful life together” he is shaking his head no. I believe he did kill her, but here’s the twist. Her mother is smiling after she tells the story, this is a smile after she knows she’s gotten away with something. Dig deeper and I’m sure you’ll find something, people who have a routine will hardly ever break it, unless they are often doing something the don’t want people to know.

    Reply

  17. Mary

    Is this the same Stephen Geri? http://www.stephengeri.com/home.html
    Not too narcissistic is he?

    Reply