On April 18, 1974 a deranged killer broke into the San Francisco home shared by 25 year old Frank Carlson and his wife, Annette.
The Carlsons were terrorized and tortured. Frank was beaten to death. Annette was raped and left for dead when the killer set fire to their home to cover his tracks. The killer was captured and sentenced to death.
The sentence was not carried out.
On April 15, 2020 the killer will once again be considered for parole.
Frank Carlson was my older brother.
In 1974 he was a 25-year-old aspiring journalist before he was murdered and his wife Annette was sadistically raped, beaten, and left for dead in their home in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Now, his murderer is coming up for parole–and could be released back into society to harm others. In April 2020, he will attend a hearing to determine his potential for release. His parole hearings have occurred on a semi-regular basis since 1980 and this event will be the 16th time he has been considered for release.
On the night of April 18, Angelo Pavageau, a total stranger, climbed the outside of Frank and Annette’s modest home, snuck in through an open second story window, and surprised Annette, asleep in bed, placing a knife to her throat. When she screamed, Frank ran upstairs. With his knife still to Annette’s throat, Pavageau led them both downstairs and forced Annette to help him tie Frank to a chair in their living room. He demanded money; she gave him what they had but it was not enough. Pavageau proceeded to savagely beat Frank’s head with a claw hammer, a thick cutting board, a jar of pennies, and a vase, stopping only when each object broke. Annette was forced to witness the blows that killed Frank.
A firefighter arriving on the scene later described Frank looked like he had been run over by a truck.
Pavageau then took Annette upstairs where he raped and tortured her for over three hours. He bludgeoned her, broke bones and slashed her wrists. When his butchery had run its course, he poured paint thinner around the home and set it on fire. Miraculously, Annette regained consciousness and crawled naked onto the roof where she was rescued by neighbors. She would then spend several days in intensive care, close to death.
For years our family has fought to keep the killer in prison. We attend these hearings and speak on behalf of the crime victims. We remind the Parole Board of the impact of his crimes, the life lost and the chaos created by his actions. His original sentence was death plus 54 years; the sentence was commuted to life with parole in 1976 when the death penalty was eliminated in California. Unfortunately, life with no parole was not a penalty at the time the law was changed.
When the death penalty was reinstated in 1978 his sentence was not changed.
We fight to ensure the State of California honors its obligation to protect all of us from an unrepentant killer.
Despite the passage of time, it is important for people to know the barbarity and randomness of the crimes committed. San Francisco Police Captain Frank Falzon who led the investigation stated many years later it was the most barbaric crime he had ever seen in his long career with SFPD.
Now, on April 15, 2020 Pavageau will have his 16th opportunity to appear before the State of California Parole Board to review the circumstances around his term.
Over the course of these hearings, Pavageau has shown no genuine remorse. He denied any involvement for years and when that did not work, he made up stories ridden with lies that were so obviously contradicted by known facts and his other statements, that he later recanted them. It shows his willingness to re-victimize Frank and our family, and how far from suitability for release he really is. He has shown no insight whatsoever into what drove him to commit such barbaric acts. On the contrary, the most thorough examination of Pavageau after the crime by numerous leading medical experts declared that he was a “sadistic, sexual psychopath…whose condition is not amenable to treatment, though fortunately controlled in an institutional setting.”
Through this painful process, we have learned that reminding the Parole Board of the impact to the victims makes a significant difference in the decision making process. At the hearing, the Parole Board has the latitude to release the offender, or sentence him to additional prison time for a period of up to 15 years.
Our parents, Sten and Betty Carlson have passed away. This will be the first time I have assumed the role of victim’s advocate and I will testify at the hearing.
And our family needs your help.
If we can convince the parole board that there are enough public voices demanding justice, your letters could mean a potential additional 15 years in prison for the killer. Your letters of support over the years have made a real difference, and we can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write them – and also sharing our cause with other people in your circle of friends and family members.
Please know how much your support means to us, to Frank’s wife Annette, to our late parents and to the person that can’t be there to speak.
Sincerely, Eric and Wai Ling Carlson