Apparently Investigation Discovery network has aired again the Deadly Sins episode about Regina Hartwell, Kim LeBlanc, and Justin Thomas, a love triangle that resulted in murder and was the focus of my book Wasted, because my blog is being slammed with hits due to searches for Regina and Kim.

After the first airing, I promised to provide you with additional photos, which I’ve failed to do because I’ve gone from being under deadline for my next book, Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality, to being under deadline for a screenplay. Forgive me, please.

In the meantime, perhaps you want to take a look at this post I wrote about Regina a few years ago — A Wasted Ghost Story.

Here’s a version of the photo featured in that post — a poster of pictures I stared at while writing the book — that I (hope) you can click on and enlarge.

Photos from the lives of Regina, Kim, and Justin.

In the center of that poster is Justin’s mug shot. If you can’t see it there, here it is again.

Justin Thomas on the day he was arrested for the murder of Regina Hartwell.

To the right of Justin’s mug shot is a photo of Kim, the day she was picked up for questioning regarding Regina’s murder. And here is a larger version of it.

Kim LeBlanc, the day she was picked up for questioning regarding the murder of Regina Hartwell.

In contrast, here’s a photo of Kim, her senior year in high school, i.e. a little more than a year before she became addicted to cocaine and crystal meth. I’ve used these photos in high schools when I’ve been invited to speak to journalism and English students. The students have literally crawled on their hands and knees to get a closer look at what crystal meth does to one’s looks … and how quickly it happens. They rarely believe that the person shown above is the same as the one shown below. But they are both Kim LeBlanc.

Kim LeBlanc, high school senior year.

Similarly, here’s a picture of Regina when she was a teenager in Pasadena, Texas.

Regina Hartwell, high school student.

Below is Regina soon after she moved to Austin, i.e. a newcomer to the city’s lesbian bar scene.

Regina Hartwell, soon after moving to Austin, Texas.

And here’s what Regina and Kim looked like in December 1994, not long before Justin came into their lives. Notice the bottle of Dom Perignon. It was one of Regina’s favorite drinks.

Regina Hartwell and Kim LeBlanc at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Here’s another photo from that trip to New York City, approximately six months before Regina’s murder.

Regina and Kim, partying in New York City.

By the way, there are many more photographs on my Facebook page and in my book Wasted. Also in Wasted are significant updates on Justin and Kim that are not mentioned in Deadly Sins. Those updates include new and contradictory testimony from Kim.

For an additional update on Kim LeBlanc, please read “A ‘Wasted’ Update & Book Club Questions.”

And for an update of my own, Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality is now available for purchase. If you liked Wasted, I think you may like Secret Sex Lives. It’s my memoir about my journalistic research into Americans’ alternative sex lives. Secret Sex Lives has been featured on the new Katie Couric talk show, Katie, and in Salon.com.

Secret Sex Lives Cover

 

 

Suzy Spencer is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist.
  1. David Reply
    This was the life of pure sin, far far away from Jesus. How different a life could be to have lived for Christ.
  2. Julianna Reply
    Saw this on Scorned Love Kills just now. So tragic....but Regina should've left Kim alone. I don't get people who invest so much time in someone who can't reciprocate the same amount of affection & love back. @David....the murders & heavy drug use is bad, but hope you're not clumping sexual orientation into your assessment.
  3. Toni Reply
    @Julianna- it also could be David was referring to all the hard-core drug use. Never know what someone is really thinking until they come right out and say it. But I also wonder-just what- may have happened if Regina had just let go. Not to say she is in any way responsible for her own murder, but if only... I think her friends most likely were seeing all this play out right before their very eyes, yet they couldn't stop it. Drugs, money, sex. What a powerful combo.
  4. Toni Reply
    And BTW, Suzy, thanks for keeping us updated. I've been a fan of your work for a long time. Looking forward to reading Secret Sex Lives.
    • Suzy Reply
      Thank you, Toni. And my pleasure. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on "Secret Sex Lives."
  5. David F Reply
    I just watch the scorned love kills episode and my take away from the whole situation is that they were all using each other. No one deserves to be murdered but I thought that Regina was a sexual predator, plying Kim with drugs and alcohol until she succumbed. If Regina was a "Reggie" I think we'd be assessing it as rape. Kim was just an addict participating in typical addict behavior and Justin is just an animal that deserves to be on death row. Overall sad situation with no redeeming qualities.
    • Suzy Reply
      Thanks, David. I think the "Scorned" producers did a fabulous job, but there's no way that in one hour they can provide all the details provided in a 406 page book. I encourage you to read Wasted. Thanks again for the input.
    • Shanon Reply
      I totally agree with David F. When I saw this on ID it really seemed like Regina was a very manipulative and obsessed person. She used drugs and money to get Kim to do what she wanted and whenever Kim tried to break away or even help herself by getting off the drugs Regina seemed to be more of an obstacle than anything else. This kind of relationship is never going to end well. Either the person who is obsessed will snap or the person on the receiving end will. I could have just as easily ended with Kim being murdered as Regina was not willing to let anyone else have her. Not that Regina deserved what happened to her, but I really think she was a screwed up person to go to those kind of extremes to control this young girl.
      • Suzy Reply
        Shanon, I encourage you to read Wasted so that you can read Kim's statement to the Austin police and Kim's testimony about Regina in Justin's California capital murder trial.
  6. Liza Reply
    This truly is such a sad story. I read "WASTED" for the first time this weekend and cannot get it out of my mind. Especially since I work in downtown Austin. One thing I'd really like to know is did Regina really have AIDS?
    • Suzy Reply
      I understand. I wrote the book in 1997, it was published in 1998, and I can't get Regina out of my head either. I found no evidence that she had AIDS or was HIV+.
  7. Charles Reply
    @ Suzy, You write great books. Usually, the only nonfiction books I read is political. I think Kim was just as bad as Regina and Justin. I do hope Kim is enjoying life now, and not living as she was before.
  8. Tiwana Reply
    This is a most intriguing story. Just saw it on ID, and just ordered the book off Amazon. Only paperback, there was no hardcover.
    • Suzy Reply
      Thank you, Tiwana! (It never came out in hardback.)
  9. Arlizz Reply
    God, this was such a sad story when I first saw it on ID. You can blame drugs, obsession, etc. childhood problems. But murder is just terrible. Justin was an animal that deserved death row in my opinion.
  10. Ashleigh Reply
    I first saw this story on SCORNED: Love Kills on ID and I CRIED A LOT! This was such a depressing story that it haunted me and also made me wonder, "what if this happened to me?" Honestly, I do not want this type of love triangle (or love triangles in general) to happened to me. This is, by far, the Most Depressing Case i've ever watched. When I watched it on SCORNED, the ending was Heartbreaking and is what triggered my depressive behavior because the nature of this crime had gotten to me emotionally and I could not stop crying after it ended. It was a bridge that was hard to cross over. ((^))
    • Suzy Reply
      Ashleigh, thank you for this. All day I've been debating whether to write a blog post about my continuing battle with depression. I've never been shy about admitting to the battle, but that's usually been after I've made it through a depressive state, not while in the throes of it. For some reason, this time I've been embarrassed to admit it. I guess that's because I'm still struggling. Thank you for reminding me that depression isn't shameful. And you and I will both walk over that bridge and see light and beauty and hope and laughter again.
      • Ashleigh Reply
        Suzy, Thanks a lot for your reply. I am still battling depression and I'm Avoiding Watching that episode (For fear that severe depression will once again trigger). My mother always tells me that watching Comedy shows enhances better mood and relieves depression. Yep, She's right. Once again, it's great to hear from you. :)
        • Suzy Reply
          Yes, Ashleigh, your mom is right. That's exactly why I had to stop writing true crime. As I wrote in my memoir, Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality,: I’d spent the better part of the last ten years writing “true crime” books about real-life murder, sitting with the grieving friends and family of homicide victims, listening to their stories, memories, regrets, loves, and rages as they talked about the ones who had passed on too soon. I proclaimed that I wrote these books so that people could learn from what had happened—that denial of sexual, physical, emotional, drug, and alcohol abuse destroys lives and that mental illness is a real disease, not a weakness that can be healed by simply thinking positive thoughts. If we recognize these facts and deal with them rather than ignore them, we can prevent such tragedies from happening again. That’s what I preached over and over again. But I was worn out from all the tragedy. I needed to laugh—and sex made me laugh. And thank God, I did start to laugh again.
  11. Soul Inscribed Reply
    I am a lesbian that was in a similar love triangle situation (without a death) when I was 24 in the 90's (95) like these characters, drugs and all. I haven't read this autos book, but I saw the ID representation. It's just sad the way mainstream media portrayed the lesbian relationship, and I'm a little offended. No one knows the way any of these people actually felt, they can only interpret. Leave it up to mainstream media to make it seem that Regina had to use drugs and money to influence her to be a lesbian, and even phrases in the ID representation "Regina couldn't give her what she craved most but Justin could". Its a joke, written from a hetero-normative society. The whole situation is sad, all the way around, but as I said before, no one knows how the lesbian relationship formed or how KIM felt (only what she will admit to) No one KNOWS, they can only interpret what they think they know. Its always sad for me to see a tragic story like this, represented to fit TV. (no offense to the author here) Thanks for posting pics.
    • Suzy Reply
      I think/hope you might find the book a bit different, i.e. more in depth, than the TV show. I know that in the book you'll read Kim's actual words. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
  12. GG Reply
    Regina was a predator...she persisted on preying on Kim, no matter what she had to do to DRAG that girl into her web. Tragic.
  13. skully Reply
    there IS 2 ways to look at this situation, 1 if regina was a man you would call him a pervert for buying kim's love with money, and be trying to charge him with statutory rape/sex with young gurls ets, 2 kim was being bought and doing sexual acts for money, isn't that prostitution? Anyway I really liked the story except someone had to pay with their life. I am on the way to purchase the book now and cant wait to read it. I wish there was more pics on the subject and updates on the 2 living.
    • Suzy Reply
      Skully, thank you for commenting and for purchasing the book. There is an update on Kim and Justin in the latest edition of the book. There's even more info on Kim in the blog post titled "A 'Wasted' Update & Book Club Questions." There are also additional photos on my Facebook page. Just click on "photos," then "albums," and search for the "Wasted" album.
  14. Chantille Reply
    Hi Suzy Just seen this story on the ID channel, Amanda Burton's Bloody Valentines and would like to buy the book for more info. You mention in one of your previous comments there is an updated book since the original one was published. How many updates have there been and as of today what is the latest one published called please and when was it released? Many thanks Chantille
    • Suzy Reply
      Hi, Chantille, thank you for your interest in Wasted. The book first came out in 1998. It was updated and reissued on its 10th anniversary -- 2008. You can find the newest edition by clicking on here.
  15. Surge Cess Reply
    I'm halfway through Wasted right now and the story is extremely gripping! I feel very sad for Regina, reading about her obsession with Kim, its very clear that she needed professional help. Her high school picture is SO beautiful, she looks like Scarlett Johansson with very curly hair =)
    • Suzy Reply
      Thank you so very much for reading the book, Surge. Yes, it is a very sad story.

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