Patricia Almazan’s office is more like a cubbyhole perched above the entryway inside her two-story Upland home. The ceiling slants so sharply inside that she must kneel to skim through her fleet of file cabinets – time capsules preserving newspaper clippings, legal documents, and notes she’s gathered over the last 30 years.
Near the entryway to her office is a caricature sketch of Almazan as a young woman, drawn by her father. Her father was a gifted man, Almazan said – kind and strong, too. He died peacefully in her arms at St. Jude Hospital on July 12, 1976.
Almazan, 60, is the daughter of Frank Teplanksy, the Cal State Fullerton graphic artist who was shot three times by deranged janitor Edward Charles Allaway in the basement of what is now the Pollak Library.
Nearly three decades after Orange County’s bloodiest mass murder, Almazan continues her crusade to keep the man who killed her father locked up for life and to ensure the memory of Allaway’s victims is not soon forgotten.
Allaway, who’s eligible to seek release every year, has claimed full recovery and that he would be better suited in an outpatient program.
His case has reached the courts four times, Almazan said.
“I haven’t been able to get it behind me,” Almazan said, “because I haven’t been told the truth.”
The truth Almazan is referring to is a thorough explanation for why her father’s dead.
She believes the university has gone out of its way to sweep the details surrounding the killings under the rug to protect the jobs and reputations of those directly involved.
She contends that Allaway, who received a life sentence in a mental institution for the shootings, knew exactly what he was doing, and he premeditated the killings the weekend before.
Allaway did spend at least 36 hours immediately before the shooting locked in his apartment with the loaded rifle he had just purchased at a K-Mart in Buena Park, according to a psychiatric evaluation prepared after Allaway’s arrest.
He had the presence of mind when he bought the weapon to ask the sales associate about the rifle’s jamming mechanism, Almazan said. He had the presence of mind to reload the rifle in the stairwell after he’d already fatally shot six people.
“He was on a mission,” Almazan said.
But a mission requires a motive.
Allaway was mentally disturbed, Almazan concedes, but he was also troubled by what he saw happening in the library.
A police investigation turned up documentation of plans to produce a pornographic film with four CSUF employees, the Orange County Register reported.
Police also uncovered over 20 commercially produced pornographic films, reportedly owned by employees and viewed in the university library, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In the same article, Allaway’s defense attorney said Allaway believed his wife was being forced to appear in the films. His co-workers often made comments about Allaway’s wife, which fueled the psychotic episode and caused Allaway to snap.
Almazan’s father likely knew about the pornography but didn’t say anything. He paid for his silence with his life, she said.
Allaway had reportedly filed a grievance with a union representative of the California State Employees Association, Bruce Jacobsen, a media center assistant and the first person Allaway shot that morning.
Speculations persist as to what was in the grievance. Allaway was scheduled to meet with Jacobsen the morning of the shootings to draw up an internal grievance with other union representatives, Almazan said.
Some say the grievance was over Allaway’s request to transfer to a different building on campus, while others say the grievance was in regard to the pornography that disturbed Allaway.
Jacobsen had told the president of the association that he was working on “a big one,” the Register reported. Attempts to retrieve the document have failed, Almazan said, and to this day nobody knows what the big one was.
She said many of the individuals afflicted by the rampage received large sums of money, worker’s compensation for the traumatic events they witnessed, though Almazan questions if the money may have served to keep people from talking about the crime and the pornography that circulated in the library basement.
“A very heinous crime took place there, and it can never be covered up,” Almazan said.
None of this information, however, was admitted into evidence for Allaway’s criminal trial, which took place in August of 1977, Almazan said. This is because all evidence used against Allaway had to be submitted within a year of the crime.
The information Almazan received from library insiders, like her late father’s secretary and other employees, didn’t come in time to act through the courts, she said.
Almazan doesn’t think Allaway’s jealousy was the main reason for the killings.
If he was jealous that his wife was sleeping with other men, then why didn’t he go to her work and shoot the people there, Almazan asked.
Allaway did have a history of similar behavior dating back to his first marriage, which dissolved at least partly because of his belief that his first wife was sleeping around and posing for pornographic photos, the Register reported.
But she wonders why the university continues to shirk responsibility for the brutal killings of seven people, even 30 years after the fact.
A mass murder taking place on campus is not exactly a selling point for the university, said Brett Robertson, coordinator of New Student Programs, which organizes campus tours for incoming students.
The Memorial Grove, located between the Kinesiology and Health Science Building and Library North, is not a tour stop nor is it in the tour guides’ script, Robertson said, though occasionally a tour guide will answer questions about the shady nook.
“I’ve never been told to keep it hush, hush,” Robertson said. “There hasn’t been anyone saying not to talk about [the Memorial Grove].”
For people like Almazan who have spent their whole lives searching for clues as to why their loved ones were killed in a shooting spree that lasted not more than five minutes, time is running out.
Allaway, now 67, is reluctant to go into too much detail about the series of events that led up to the shootings, partly because of his mental illness and partly because he doesn’t like to stir up issues of the past, he said.
Individuals who might possess information as to Allaway’s motives or what really caused Allaway to snap have since scattered. Some are dead. Some have moved on.
But Almazan remains exactly where she was the day her father died.
“Knowing what I know is not going to bring my father back,” a teary-eyed Almazan said. “Still, it’s difficult to completely close the chapter, even if Allaway dies. I’d like to know why he killed my father.”