Nineteen years old — one day he was shopping for new cars and mansions, the next serving a life sentence for murder: a slap on the hand, many will agree, for the murder of Caren and brutal assault on her husband.
Junior-varsity tennis player Salter and Kristi amused themselves by car shopping, choosing a B.M.W. convertible for her and Toyota Land Cruiser for him. It was too good to be true. Teen love had made Salter fall head first into a trap from which he would never be able to extricate himself.
Was it Kristi's good looks that had him wrapped around her finger? More likely her wealthy daddy, said a friend of the teens at the time of Kristi's trial. "Anything Kristi wanted Salter to do, all she had to say was 'Do it' and he jumped," this man testified in court. "It got to the point where she wouldn't even ask him; she'd just tell him what to do." This young witness recalled something as simple as dining out with the couple and overhearing Kristi order Salter to get her a hamburger.
Salter would have been interested to know he was not even her first choice for the privileged task of murdering her family. A former classmate testified that five months before the murders were committed, she had asked him to fulfill her objective. "She said it would be an easy thing to do," this teen testified in court in June 1994. He declined, but the murder plot he described was identical to the real-life events which commanded the court gathering at which he was speaking.
A month after his accomplice received the death penalty, Salter pled out, taking a life sentence, and never was forced to face the man whose wife he took, the girlfriend he once trusted and the community he called home, lost to him by blind love.