In late March 2000, Clara Pantazes, a married mother-of-two, was found shot to death in the garage of the Maryland house, which she shared with her husband Dean “Dino” Pantazes. The couple reportedly operated a bail bond company together.
The crime scene made Clara’s death appear like a burglary gone wrong, as multiple items, including her wedding ring and car, were missing. However, revelations about their marriage shifted the suspicion on Dino, her husband of nearly two decades.
Later, during the investigation, the name of Jermel Chambers, a prostitute with a history of drug abuse, surfaced. After this, she confessed that Dino hired her to commit the crime. The suspect was motivated to orchestrate the killing because Clara was considering a divorce, which would have cost him too much.
Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins on Oxygen is slated to chronicle Clara Pantazes’ murder-for-hire case in an episode titled Deadly Business. The official synopsis of the episode reads:
“Dino and Clara Pantazes run a successful bail bond business and their 20-year marriage is seemingly perfect; when Clara is gunned down at home, however, detectives wonder if an angry client is to blame or if there is more to their fairy-tale story.”
The upcoming episode will air on the channel at 7 pm ET on Sunday, August 20, 2023.
Clara Pantazes was fatally shot while leaving for work at the bail bond company she operated with her husband
Clara Pantazes was found dead in a pool of blood inside the garage of her family’s Maryland home on the afternoon of March 30, 2001. The discovery was made by her husband, Dean “Dino” Pantazes. The victim died of three gunshot wounds to her arm, jaw, and temple, and was reportedly shot at close range.
According to FindLaw, the mother-of-two was shot in the morning hours while leaving for work at the bail bond company that she operated with Dino. Moreover, the crime scene made the incident seem like a burglary gone wrong, given that many of her belongings, including her wedding ring and car, among other items, were missing.
While investigating the murder, detectives learned about Clara and Dino’s tumultuous marriage, especially after their son Sotereas admitted that his mother confided in him about their marital problems about six months before the killing. The couple first met at a wedding in New York in 1979, after which they soon began dating and subsequently marrying in Maryland. The birth of their two sons followed.
The Cinemaholic reported that a prostitute with a history of drug abuse, Jermel Chambers, whose name surfaced during the investigation, confessed that one of her regular clients named Steve had approached for a murder-for-hire in January 2000. Jermel claimed she agreed to it for $11,000. She later identified Dino as Steve from a photo lineup.
What did Jermel Chambers confess about Clara Pantazes’ murder-for-hire plot and the mastermind?
As per Jermel Chambers’ confession, Dino Pantazes picked her up on March 30 and drove her to their house. He then opened the garage and also gave the hired killer a pair of gloves, after which hetold her where to find the gun. Meanwhile, Clara Pantazes, unsuspecting, waited in the garage where she was shot thrice. The crime scene was then staged to look like a burglary.
These claims were backed by another prostitute named Mimi, who informed police of a man named Steve and that he had approached her with an identical offer. Mimi also identified Dino as Steve. His phone records further revealed that he had made multiple calls to Mimi and Jermel prior to the murder.
Prosecutors alleged that Clara was considering divorce after learning that Dino had been cheating on her. However, after the latter found out, he had his wife killed because a divorce would have cost him too much.
Dino Pantazes was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation to commit murder and found guilty on all counts in December that same year. Jermel Chambers pleaded guilty to murder along with a weapons charge and testified against Dino, receiving a life sentence with an additional 20 years.
The mastermind was given two life sentences. However, his conviction was overturned the following year and a re-trial resulted in a second conviction in August 2002.
Learn more about the case on Oxygen’s Killer Relationship With Faith Jenkins on Sunday.