A Wig Wearing Murderer Shoots Mom In Target Shopping Center
Heather Strube (25) and her estranged husband Steven Strube were in an intense custody battle over their 18 month old son, Carson.
On April 26th, 2009, Heather met Steven in a local Target parking lot for their exchange of Carson. Steven handed the baby to Heather who then strapped him in his carseat. After that, Steven drove away.
Within minutes of Steven exiting the parking lot, a thin, short male approached Heather from a random corner of the parking lot. Heather let out a loud scream. Suddenly, she was shot in the head near the back of her car with a .38 caliber round.
As she fell to the ground, the man calmly walked away from the shopping center. Baby Carson was left strapped in his carseat while witnesses swarmed around the scene. People who saw the shooter described him as white, skinny, short, and wearing a black wig on his head that resembled a mop.
During this time in the investigation, police took into consideration that Carson was completely unharmed during the incident. Therefore, the target for Heather’s murder was specifically her. Police reviewed the Target shopping center surveillance which confirmed the peaceful drop off between Heather and Steven, along with proving that he left afterwards. The surveillance video went on to capture the suspect walking toward the Target parking lot with a distinctive gait, and then away from the crime scene after shooting Heather.
A guest staying at the Extended Stay hotel behind the Target provided police with a helpful lead. According to them, they saw a person matching the suspect’s description driving a white pick up truck and taking pictures of the Target parking lot the day before the shooting.
Investigators recalled that Steven Strube’s mother, Joanna Hayes, had a similar pick up truck parked in her driveway when they were making their rounds to question people. The witness was taken by Hayes’ residence and confidently confirmed that truck as the one he saw. After that distinction, the truck was taken in for forensic examination. A 4 inch black hair that resembled the type of hair used for wigs was found inside. Heather was shot with a .38 caliber bullet and Joanna’s ex husband informed police that Joanna owned a .38 caliber revolver.
Police were zeroing in on an unusual suspect, Heather’s mother-in-law.
Investigators brought Steven into the station to review the surveillance. When he took a look at the video clips, he reacted in an emotional manner. Shockingly, he confirmed that the figure on the tape looked like his own mother based on the appearance and walk. In order to help investigators, Steven set up a recorded call with his mother to get a confession. “It looks like you”, he cried. Joanna adamantly denied being involved, but by the end of the phone call asked, “So I guess they’re coming to arrest me then huh?”
Joanna was brought into the station and immediately gave a toxic combination of attitude and being nonchalant. “Like I said, when you get your little blood or whatever you find in the truck let me know, until then…”, she said before storming out of the interrogation room.
It was determined that in the days before the murder, Joanna gathered all of her supplies for the murder; male clothes, wig, gun, and pictures of the Target parking lot. She didn’t like Heather because of alleged “subpar parenting.” She wanted her dead so her son could have full custody of Carson.
Joanna Hayes was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. The prosecution pushed for justice for Heather’s family, but more importantly, for Carson who was victimized as well. She was given life in prison plus 5 years.