True Crime Sunday: The Murder of Teresita Basa

Welcome back to True Crime Sunday! This week we’re going to take a look at a murder case where the victim may have seen to it that justice was served.

Teresita Basa was born in the Philippines in 1929. She later moved to Chicago and worked as a respiratory therapist at Edgewater Hospital.

On February 21, 1977, residents of the apartment building in which Teresita lived smelled smoke, but didn’t know where it was coming from. The firefighters came and were able to locate the fire in Teresita Basa’s apartment and put it out quickly. However, that’s not all they found.

Under a mattress and pile of clothes, both of which had been set on fire, they found Teresita with a butcher knife in her chest. Law enforcement figured the fires in the apartment were set to cover up the murder. They investigated, but had few clues to go on. Their most promising find was a note reading “Get theatre tickets for A.S.” They questioned people in the woman’s life, but didn’t really get any leads. Until they had one from an unexpected source.

Six months after the murder, Remy Chua came forward. She was married to Jose Chua, a coworker of Teresita’s. There are conflicting reports about whether Remy or Jose was Teresita’s coworker. Chua claimed that one night, his wife was napping and suddenly started talking in her sleep, except the voice wasn’t hers. She reportedly said, “Ako ‘y (I am) Teresita Basa.” She told Jose that another coworker, Allan Showery, killed her. Understandably, he didn’t go to the police right away. Not to be ignored, Teresita spoke through Remy Chua again.

She asked why no one went to the police, and informed Jose that Allan Showery had taken some of her jewelry and given it to his girlfriend. After this conversation, the Chuas went to the police. They were, of course, skeptical. However, they had few leads and decided to follow up on this one.

It turned out that Showery lived near Teresita Basa and coworkers reported that he was supposed to go to her house to fix her television. He told police that he went to her house, but didn’t have the right tools for the job and went home. The police were skeptical and asked his girlfriend if he’d recently given her any jewelry. She confirmed he had, and the items were later identified as belonging to Teresita.

Allan Showery was charged and tried for murder. Initially, he confessed, but entered a plea of not guilty. The trial resulted in a hung jury. While waiting for his new trial, Showery changed his plea to guilty, presumably for a reduced sentence. One of the articles I read claim that there were rumors Teresita’s ghost paid him a visit. Either way, he was only sentenced to fourteen years.

This case caught my attention thanks to the supernatural element of the victim solving her own murder. Is that really what happened? If not, what is the explanation for the knowledge Remy Chua had? Some sources I read posit she was acting on suspicions she had or had heard rumors about the murder. Whatever the explanation, Teresita’s murder didn’t go unsolved.

What case will we talk about next week? As always, there’s one way to find out!

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