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Crime News Dateline on NBC

How a Group of Brave Women Took Down a Man They Believed To Be an "Incurable Psychopath" and Predator

A key witness in the case against Victor Paleologus breaks her silence in a two-hour special based on Dateline's hit podcast, Murder in the Hollywood Hills

By Jax Miller
Kristi Johnson featured on Dateline: The Girl With The Hibiscus Tattoo

A key witness in the case against a “terrifying” killer is speaking out for the first time in an all-new two-hour Dateline special.

Alice Walker is opening up exclusively to Dateline about the unnerving encounter she had with convicted killer Victor Paleologus, the focus of Dateline’s hit podcast series Murder in the Hollywood Hills. Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison revisits the case in the upcoming Dateline episode titled “The Girl with the Hibiscus Tattoo,” airing Friday, May 31 at 9/8c p.m. on NBC.

“Morrison previously reported on Paleologus, a terrifying killer and serial predator who was brought down by a courageous group of women after he lured them with false promises of fame and fortune amid the glitz and glamour of Hollywood,” Dateline’s official synopsis states.

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Morrison gave a little more insight about the episode, telling NBC Insider about what he found most notable about the case:

“It was not so much surprising as disturbing to discover how a clever liar was able to manipulate the legal system in his favor,”  the longtime correspondent revealed.

Who is Victor Paleologus?

Paleologus presented himself as a photographer tasked with casting actors, telling women he could help them could help them land blockbuster roles, if they followed his instructions for a supposed photo shoot, including wearing long black stiletto heels, a black mini-skirt and a man's white dress shirt, as detailed in a sneak peek of the episode.

Morrison not only sits with the women who narrowly escaped Paleologus’s traps, but he speaks with those closest to one of the victims, missing woman Kristi Johnson.

Kristi Johnson featured on Dateline: The Girl With The Hibiscus Tattoo

“I grapple with it all the time,” said one survivor. “It could have and should have been me.”

In a prison interview with Morrison, Paleologus said that the women who’d picked out his photo and pointed to him as a suspect were lying.

How did a group of women take down a killer?

Cathy DeBuono, another key witness in the case, had her own history with Paleologus, but she decided he wouldn't get the best of her and ultimately “assembled a sisterhood of women” to help her take him down, as Morrison describes in a preview of the upcoming episode.

“We experienced him,” DeBuono said in the preview. “We know who he is.”

Christine Kludjian will also share her life-changing run-in with Paleologus.

“I said, ‘He’s done this before, he’ll do it again, and he will kill someone because he almost killed me,’” Kludjian said.

More will tell their brave stories in the Dateline special, tackling one man’s violence as a united front.

“We come together and use our voices,” DeBuono continued. “It’s powerful.”

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One official said there “most likely” would not have been a case against Paleologus had it not been for the women.

Morrison, who hosted the Murder in the Hollywood Hills podcast when it premiered on March 26, 2024 —  since garnering nearly 3 million downloads — shared with NBC Insider what he found to be the most challenging about the case.

“It was a challenge to reach back through time to uncover the long-buried stories that made this case as fresh now as the time it happened over two decades ago,” he said.

Above all, he hopes those watching the Dateline special will leave with “a better understanding of the nature of psychopathy, among other things."

To learn more, tune into Dateline on Friday, March 31, 2024, at 9/8c p.m. on NBC or stream the next day on Peacock.

For more about Dateline, sign up for the show’s official newsletter and check out its podcast.

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