Houston police found evidence that murder suspect Joseph James Pappas II was getting his final affairs in order when they searched his home earlier this week, including a will and a mostly bare living room, according to a charging document released to KHOU 11 Investigates today.
The weeklong manhunt for Pappas, 62, ended Friday when he killed himself after police confronted him in southwest Houston. He was wanted in the July 20 murder of prominent Houston cardiologist Dr. Mark Hausknecht.
Police identified Pappas as a suspect on Tuesday after two neighbors called in a tip. The same day, an “old family friend” told police she received a text from Pappas stating he “was going to kill himself.”
She asked police to conduct a welfare check, but when they entered Pappas’ Stillbrooke Drive home, he was not there.
They did find “what purported to be the ‘Last Will and Testament’ of” Pappas. The mother of that family friend also told police Pappas recently sent her the title to his vehicle and a property deed giving her ownership of his home.
Pappas told the woman “he had a terminal illness,” according to court records. Separately, she provided police with a photo of Pappas’ bicycle that she said Pappas sent her on July 23, three days after Hausknecht’s murder.
The bicycle matched the one seen in surveillance video, but police never found the actual bicycle at Pappas’ home.
Investigators said they found Pappas had removed the backseat of his Crown Victoria, creating enough space “to conceal a bicycle.”
They found an unfinished police report, showing Pappas planned to report the bike stolen, something police said offenders do “in attempt to distance themselves from association with the vehicles in case the vehicles are identified by witnesses,” according to the court document.
Chief Acevedo said officers also found "a very extensive intelligence file" on Dr. Hausknecht and a list of names of dozens of other doctors and medical center employees.
Meantime, in the garage of the home, police recovered “three boxes of .22-caliber ammunition,” the same type of ammo used to kill Hausknecht.
Immediately inside the front door of Pappas’ home, police found “a large piece of metal, position in such a way that it appears it was intended to be used to buttress the front door against any attempt to force entry to the residence,” the charging document read.
In the living room of the Pappas home, there was “a solitary piece of furniture,” a chair positioned in front of the window with a view of the street, according to court documents.