When real estate broker Vernon “Vern” Holbrook was brutally attacked during a routine home showing in May 2013, only to lose his life around eight months later, no one could believe it. After all, as profiled on ‘Dateline: Secrets at the Sunshine Motel,’ he was a caring, generous, and hardworking family man who only ever wanted the best for his loved ones as well as his community. That’s why the worst part of the entire matter is that his mentee of sorts, Daniel Blizzard, was the one who’d concocted the plan to kill him — so now let’s find out more about him, shall we?
Who is Daniel Blizzard?
As one of three brothers, Daniel Blizzard was not just ambitious but also tenacious, qualities Vern reportedly recognized almost as soon as they first came across one another in the property industry. It’s part of the reason he essentially took the youngster under his wing before ultimately deciding to sell his brokerage to him and his siblings together in hopes of spending more time with his family. Since Vern had built Aspen Real Estate from the ground up, he genuinely liked the idea that it would be a family-run enterprise moving forward, yet the deal fell apart within 16 months.
The Blizzards could not make the required payments due to recession following two or three installments, driving Vern to cut them off and take back his business for good. He even unsuccessfully tried to cancel the $1.58 million “key man” life insurance policy they’d taken under his name, the premiums of which were kept up with no significant issues. That’s when Vern grew fearful, unaware that Daniel was already trying to recruit people to murder him, including his former daughter-in-law Jill Taylor, who led the young realtor to Adriana Mendez and Luis Gomez-Monges.
Jill was Daniel’s on-and-off girlfriend at the time, whereas Adriana was Jill’s friend and Luis (on the verge of deportation with an extensive criminal record) was Adriana’s boyfriend. Daniel was thus reportedly financially helping out Adriana, a young mother of three, by buying food for her family or paying her rent at the Sunshine Motel, so she felt pretty indebted to him. Therefore, when he offered the couple $10,000 (plus a $2,000 bonus) to kill Vern after posing as potential clients, they agreed, with Adriana eventually claiming her partner was the primary executioner.
Where is Daniel Blizzard Now?
As the mastermind of the murder-for-hire scheme, evidenced through the texts he’d sent Adriana, Daniel was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted murder in September 2013. Once Vern passed away in January 2014 from the injuries he’d sustained during this assault, the indictment was upped to first-degree murder, for which he stood trial a few months later. Both Adriana and Jill’s testimonies against him (in exchange for lighter sentences) played a crucial role, leading the jurors to find him guilty despite his team’s best efforts to undermine their assertions.
A judge later sentenced Daniel to 34½ years behind bars, explaining that it was relatively limited because of the penalty standards set by state law. He refused to speak before the court or apologize for his actions, but he did file an appeal almost immediately on the grounds of judicial bias, which was soon rejected. Hence, today, at the age of 37, he’s incarcerated at the medium-security Clallam Bay Corrections Center on the Olympic Peninsula in Clallam County, Washington. Daniel still has around two and a half decades left to serve.