Georgia Got a Gun

The accused stalker of newscaster Kristi Krueger is still fighting childhood demons

Georgia became enemies with Angela over Brian. When Angela heard that Georgia called her a bitch, they fought in the hallway, pulling hair and knocking each other around. But Georgia says they quickly made up, and today, she seems to revere Angela: "She wasn't your average conceited homecoming queen -- she was special. She was truly an all-American girl."

But resentment mixes in the admiration.

"She had a big nose and a high forehead, but she was truly a beautiful person. And she had Brian's heart from 'hello'... The only reason she won [homecoming queen] was that her brother got all the stinking freshmen to vote for her," she snarls.

Georgia (top left) broke from her father and the constrictions of a strict Greek upbringing. She partied with Angela (bottom left and at right in right photo).
Georgia (top left) broke from her father and the constrictions of a strict Greek upbringing. She partied with Angela (bottom left and at right in right photo).

It's not just Angela's relationship with Brian that seems still to rankle her. Georgia despises cheerleaders in general. "Those cheerleaders were big fat cows," she recalls. "Well, three of them were fat; one was a dork. The only pretty one was Angela... Cheerleaders always end up fat."

Shortly after saying this, she confesses: "Of course, secretly, we all wish we were cheerleaders."

At the end of her senior year, Georgia befriended Angela, helping Mather High's head cheerleader land a job in a Greek store called the North Water Market, where they both would work as cashiers.

After graduation, Georgia began to embrace the people she'd sneered at during high school. She drove Angela around town in her little blue Chevy Monza, and the homecoming queen gave Georgia entrée into real American life. For the first time, the Greek girl drank into the night and acted like a teenager. The pair became close.

"Georgia didn't have that many friends," remembers Mary Puccetti, Angela's mother. "My daughter introduced her into her circle. But Angela's friends didn't really like Georgia. My daughter felt bad for her."

Georgia studied psychology at the University of Illinois while Angela took journalism classes at Columbia College in Chicago. "Angela would have liked to have been a broadcaster in television," says Angela's mother, before drawing an eerie parallel. "You know, something like Kristi Krueger."

Soon, Georgia's home life became unbearable after her father married a 28-year-old woman. Her new stepmother "was a Greek peasant girl, and my father was a big catch," she says, her voice dripping with bitterness. "It made me rebel harder against my father and Greek life."

The same year, Georgia moved out of her father's house and into a second-floor apartment with Laura Peveler, another blond beauty from high school. Peveler, now a divorced mother of two living in the Midwest, says she immediately began to notice peculiarities in Georgia. The roommate wouldn't just borrow clothes; she'd wear her underwear. Peveler says she tried to help Georgia -- whom she remembers as unstylish and unhygienic -- pretty herself up, but then it got weird: "One day, I came home and Georgia had dyed her hair blond, and she cut her hair and styled it like mine... When I saw her, I was disgusted, but I just let it go.

"Have you seen the movie Single White Female? That would be Georgia. She told me that she was angry at her mother for dying and she had a bad relationship with her father. I think she wants a new family so badly that she just pushes herself into people's lives and [then] she wants to take them over. She acts like them, she dresses like them, everything."

After about four months, Peveler moved out of the apartment. Just before the move, Georgia filed for a gun license, and Peveler's older sister, who was 21, cosigned for her. She says now that she thought it would be "fun" to have one. Laura Heller, an acquaintance who was closer to Angela, remembers Georgia telling her about her plans. "Georgia Roberts was a strange girl -- she was flighty, and she was not very bright," Heller recounts. "She did silly stupid things. When Georgia told me she was going to buy a gun, I knew it was a bad idea, and I told her that."

As Georgia flirted with the idea, she and Peveler began battling over furniture. Georgia avoided her former roommate and changed the locks. She says the dispute prompted her to order a black Mossberg .410 pump shotgun. "She is the devil incarnate," Georgia says of Peveler.

On January 16, 1986, Georgia picked up the shotgun at a store called Sportmart. The salesman, Frank Palmieri, later told police that he showed Georgia how to load the firearm and explained the safety mechanism. He also said she seemed nervous and impatient.

Back at the apartment, she loaded the gun, pumped it, and put it under her bed with the safety on red -- which meant it was ready to fire. "The gun made me feel in control," Georgia says. "I wanted to show it to that bitch Laura Peveler and say, 'Come back again, bitch; I dare you.' That would have kept her away once and for all. I would have loved for that bitch to see that gun -- my shiny, big, black toy."

Peveler says the furniture wasn't that big an issue. "I didn't hate Georgia," she says. "I was indifferent to Georgia."

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