By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
That evening, Georgia had Angela stay at the apartment in case Peveler returned. At 10 p.m., Georgia came home and found Angela, who had been studying, with her books packed. Georgia took her into the bedroom and showed her the new, shiny, big, black toy. Mary Puccetti says her daughter was terrified of guns, but Georgia says she was "interested."
"Angela was always curious -- you know, she used to look in people's medicine cabinets," Georgia says. "When I pulled out the gun, she said, 'Is the safety on this thing on or what?' She was nonchalant about it. If it was a handgun, we would have both been more on alert. But this was like a toy. Even the shells were plastic, not like real bullets."
As Angela sat at the foot of her bed, Georgia stood over her and did an incredible thing: She pointed the gun at her friend's head and pulled the trigger.
After falling backward from the explosion, Georgia saw Angela on her back on the bed, gurgling for breath. "I just thought, 'What did I just do? What just happened?' I looked at Angela. There was no blood on her face. It was all near the back of the head. There was a ton of stuff running off the mattress. It was brown. It was like a leak, this brown stuff coming like water from the back of her head.
"God was protecting me in some way. If I would have been exposed to -- if something happened to her face and I saw it, I could have been in the [mental] hospital for months."
The blast of pellets struck Angela just above the hairline. In addition to the pool forming behind Angela's head, blood and brain matter sprayed the wall and ceiling. A piece of skull landed on a nearby heating unit. Scalp and hair were blown to the floor. Though she now remembers differently, Georgia told police she fell forward onto Angela before dropping the gun and running screaming into the hallway. A neighbor called 911.
Angela was rushed to nearby St. Francis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. Georgia was taken to the Chicago Police Department, where she told police she "playfully" pointed the gun at Angela and pulled the trigger, not believing it would fire. She told detectives that, even after reading the instructions and hearing the salesman's lecture, she believed that a red safety meant the gun was "stopped just like a traffic light." As for pumping it, she said that on the nighttime soap opera Dynasty, one of her favorite shows, they always said "pull" when firing their hunting rifles, so she thought having the pump cocked forward meant it wouldn't fire.
After a detective told Georgia that Angela had died, she became hysterical and made a bizarre request: She wanted him to call Brian Hooker. The detective obliged. Nova Lanktree, Brian's mother, remembers the time on the coffeemaker clock when she received the call: 3:13 a.m. The first thing she heard were Georgia's blood-curdling screams in the background.
"This is the Chicago police," the detective said. "Is Brian there?"
Lanktree put her son on the phone.
"Brian literally crumbled," she recalls. "I was holding him, and it was as if the life was taken out of him. The whole household woke up, and we were just devastated. We were all sobbing, dumbfounded, in shock. We stayed up all night."
Georgia gave police a statement and signed herself into the Chicago Reed Mental Health Center. The day after the shooting, she made several strange calls, one of them to Peveler. "Georgia said she thought that she had killed me when she killed Angela," Peveler remembers. "She said she thought [Angela] was spinning around the room like a ballerina, and her face kept changing. She said the last face she saw was mine, and that's when she pulled the trigger."
The next day, Georgia called her again.
"She was trying to get me on her side to say it was an accident, and I wasn't going to have any part of it," Peveler explains. "She said she was going to kill me the same way she killed Angela."
From Reed, Georgia also called Lanktree, whom she'd never met, to ask about her son, and she dialed up Mary Puccetti to tell her the shooting was a "joke" gone awry. To this day, Peveler, Lanktree, and Mary Puccetti complain that detectives ignored their suspicions that Georgia had killed Angela out of jealousy.
"Immediately, I thought she killed my daughter on purpose," Mary Puccetti says. "I thought it was odd that she was showing her a gun, and it happens to shoot her in the head. But the Chicago police detectives basically told me to go to hell in not so many words.
"I think [Georgia] was jealous of Angela. Angela had a lot of friends, she had Brian, she had parents that cared about her. I think she wanted to have a life like Angela."
"Everything points to it being an accident," then-Sgt. Francis O'Connor said in a Chicago Tribunearticle published the day after Angela's death. "She had a license. Everything's legit."