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Peter Kovach and Ted Gould Murders: How Did They Die? Who Killed Them?

When it comes to murder mysteries, there are often many complicated elements that are hard to uncover. Such was the case for the killings of Peter Kovach and Ted Gould in Southern California. In this particular instance, the investigation seemed to hit a dead end with few leads to work on until a chance encounter in another state revealed facts that could have been straight out of a movie. The details of what happened are covered extensively in CNBC’s ‘Blood & Money’ season 1 episode 4, titled ‘A College Kingpin’s Greed.’ For those interested in learning more about this double murder, here is what we know about the same!

How Did Peter Kovach and Ted Gould Die?

In October 1994, Ted Could was a relatively new employee of Galleria Telecom in Torrance, California. The establishment was co-owned by Peter Kovach and RJ Panah, as the two had formed a good friendship. On October 26, 1994, Ted’s best friend, Paul Poduska, decided to visit him at his workplace in order to check out the place. However, when Paul reached his destination, he could find no one in the store.

Peter Kovach

Worried about what was going on, Paul’s worries were further compounded upon Panah’s arrival, who had come in to check on his shop. According to the store owner, he was driving by at about 11 PM when he noticed all the lights were on, which he found unusual. Upon meeting up with Paul and realizing that Peter and Ted’s cars were still outside the store, Panah decided to call the police and investigate the disappearance of two friends.

The law enforcement could not help but notice that nothing had been taken from the store itself, and there was no indication to suggest that anything violent had happened. Upon seeing that the cameras in the store had been turned upward, the investigators asked Panah about the same, but he admitted that the recording devices were not functioning. The disappearance baffled the authorities, and they needed more leads to check up on.

On October 31, 1994, two bodies were discovered in San Diego county’s Lawndale Industrial Park. Bloated and severely damaged, the two bodies showed signs of strangulation, prompting investigators to start investigating who had killed the two men and why the bodies were in San Diego. The news broke Paul’s heart and was equally devastating for Peter’s mother, and sister could hardly believe what had happened.

Who Killed Peter Kovach and Ted Gould?

The mystery behind the double murder of Peter Kovach and Ted Gould started unraveling in New York, of all places. While undertaking a minor operation, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(ATF) foiled a kidnapping attempt that they saw happening nearby. The potential victim of the case was Bruce Wolosky, who stated that he was involved in the drug business but was ready to share crucial information in exchange for being safe. He then shared how his co-workers had killed a man named Peter Kovach.

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Kenneth “Kenny” Fieldman

This information helped the California investigators in a crucial way. At the time, the California police had been investigating the attempted robbery that was seemingly foiled by the police close to Galleria Telecom, and the people involved were apparently looking for the store. Kenneth “Kenny” Friedman, Ruben Hernandez, and Juan Galindo were arrested on the charge of attempted robbery. However, they were bailed out the very next day by Gary Friedman, a defense lawyer, and Kenny’s brother.

Based on the information shared by Wolofsky and the investigation done by law enforcement, a picture emerged of exactly what happened. As it turns out, Peter had been involved in the drug trafficking business since his college days and was working alongside a man named Howard Bloomgarden. Their interstate business involved Peter working from California and helping in bringing in the narcotics from Mexico and helping their transportation to locations within the USA.

However, one of their shipments was seized in Illinois by the authorities on its way to Florida. The 800 pounds of marijuana that were captured were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. This incident, combined with Howard’s paranoia, made him suspicious of Peter’s actions. At the time, he was also doing business with Gary Friedman and enlisted the help of his brother Kenny and a few others to track down Peter and find out the answers he wanted.

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Gary Fieldman

According to Ruben Hernandez, the initial plan was to talk to Peter after catching him when he was out of the store, but it did not seem to work. This apparently prompted them to ambush and kidnap him. As for Ted Gould, Hernandez shared that Peter had apparently requested that the three men not hurt his co-worker. After capturing the two men, the trio made use of their contact with Gus Malave in San Diego and took them to a motel in Lawndale, California.

After reaching their destination, Kenny apparently had Howard on the phone, and the latter talked to Peter for a while and then to Kenny. After this, Kenny allegedly started to beat Peter while Hernandez held the man down. However, the latter stated that he did not realize that Kenny was strangling Peter. Upon being asked why he did so, the Friedman brother apparently shared that he had been asked by Howard to do so. After Peter’s passing, Ted was also strangled to death by Kenny.

For their crimes, Kenneth “Kenny” Friedman, Ruben Hernandez, Juan Galindo, Gary Friedman, and Gus Malave were convicted on federal racketeering charges. Howard also pled guilty to financing the kidnappings and ordering the killings over the phone as a part of his federal plea agreement. The case was also tried in the Californian courts though the prosecution had to overcome many obstacles.

As for the people involved with the crime, Kenny Friedman was found dead in August 2012 on San Quentin’s Death Row of what the authorities stated was a suicide. Gary was given three life sentences by the federal courts for his actions, while Hernandez, Galindo, and Malave received lighter sentences after they pled guilty. Initially issued a 33-year sentence by the federal authorities, Howard was sentenced to life by the Californian judicial system.

Read More: Howard Bloomgarden: Where is Peter Kovach’s Friend Now?



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