Dangerous Games: The Murder of Justin Newman
Ari Squire lived in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Denise in 2008. Denise was a former college professor in health studies while Ari ran a construction business. Ari had a very expensive hobby, participating in diesel truck pulls. To accommodate his hobby, Ari built a giant garage on his home. It was that garage that caught fire on February 23rd, 2008. Inside, police found a male body badly crushed underneath a truck. Inside the pocket was the driver’s license of Ari Squire. The body had been badly crushed before the fire set it ablaze. The fire was determined to be an arson. The truth about that fire would shock authorities and the community.
Ari Squire was born November 10th, 1968, in Illinois. He married Denise Squire in the 1990’s. As their marriage approached fourteen years, the two were described as distant. They slept in different beds and did not appear to be happy. The couple had no children and Ari’s diesel truck habit was costing a lot of money. When the housing crisis started in 2008, Ari and Denise were facing possible bankruptcy.
In 2007, Ari plead guilty to Medicare Fraud and was fined $63,000. The charges stemmed from a company he owned called AccuCare. According to the case Us V. Ari Squire Accucare (2005), Ari filed and collected false Medicare claims including salary expenses for a consultant that did not exist, excessive owner and administrator compensation, improper payments to a finance company owned by Ari’s father, legal expenses for two other companies Ari owned, the cost of a leased vehicle, and other expenses. Ari failed to file cost reports for the company in 2000 and 2001. A previous case of Medicare fraud involving Squire cost him $126,000. An additional $200,000 in legal fees further compounded the debt issue.
When police arrived at the Squire home on February 23rd, 2008, they found Ari’s garage engulfed in flames. Denise had reported the fire via a 911 call and was home at the time. Once the fire was extinguished, a badly burned male body was found crushed underneath a truck. It looked as if the jack had failed, causing the truck to crush the man. The garage smelled of diesel fuel, which was later determined to be an accelerant purposely used to start the fire, not the result of a tragic accident with a diesel truck.
The deceased man was identified as Ari Squire through his clothing and identification card in his pocket. However, police wanted to confirm the identity through DNA or fingerprints. Unfortunately, the fingerprints and DNA evidence was badly damaged from the fire and the fire department’s attempts to extinguish said fire. Police were able to collect the man’s teeth however, for comparison to dental records. It was difficult to compare, however, as Ari Squire had not seen a dentist in ten years.
Meanwhile, Denise Squire planned her husband’s memorial service and asked that his remains be cremated the day after his death. Her request was denied by police as they wanted to further investigate and take dental impressions from the body. Once Ari’s dental records were tracked down, police realized that the teeth found did not belong to Ari Squire. Ari had fillings in teeth that were healthy in the victim. The case was now considered a homicide with an unknown victim. Who was killed in Ari Squire’s garage? Where was Ari Squire?
On February 25th, 2008, Donna GioRito reported her son Justin Newman missing. Justin was twenty years old and working at a hardware store. He told her a few days prior that a man named Ari Squire was going to hire him to work construction at a high rate of pay. Donna received a text on February 24th from Justin’s phone, stating he was working for the Squires in Missouri. Donna had an uneasy feeling, knowing that her son rarely texted and preferred to call her. Mother’s intuition told her something was not right.
Police ran tests to compare the DNA of Justin Newman to the body found in the Squire’s garage. It was a match. Justin Newman, age twenty, had been murdered in what appeared to be a plot to fake Ari Squire’s death. But why? Police soon learned that Ari Squire had taken out a 5-million-dollar life insurance policy on himself. A policy he couldn’t afford to pay for. Could greed and mounting financial problems lead to a heinous murder of an innocent person?
Justin Michael Newman was born January 20th, 1988, in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Justin was survived by his mother and half-brother Frank, who said that Justin was “a good kid who got taken advantage of” (Chicago Tribune, 2008). Justin’s mother told Forensic Files that her son was a good person with his entire life ahead of him. His life was senselessly snuffed out in that garage.
While investigating the case, police learned that a co-worker of Justin Newman may have been the original target. The man, named Sandy, had been invited to Ari Squire’s home the day of the murder to discuss a construction job paying $60,000 per year. Sandy thought the job application was odd, asking for specific locations of tattoos and piercings, but was still interested. In a twist of faith, his child was sick that February day and so Sandy had to cancel. Ari then invited Justin over to discuss the job.
Investigators were stunned by the similarities in age and build between Ari Squire and Sandy. Ari and Justin were not as similar with an obvious age gap. The two had similar builds, however, and authorities determined that Justin was the backup option after Sandy backed out of the meeting. Police believed Ari lured Justin with the promise of paying him $15 dollars per hour, twice the minimum wage in 2008. Once Justin was in the garage, Ari convinced him to go under the jacked-up truck. Ari then dropped the truck on Justin, causing massive blunt force trauma injuries to the chest and killing the young man. Ari then poured diesel fuel on Justin’s body and lit the garage on fire. Ari probably thought that all the evidence would be destroyed, but investigators were a step ahead.
Police now needed to find Ari Squire. Denise claimed to know nothing of the murder or where her husband was. Justin’s vehicle was also missing. Given the text message to Justin’s mother, police thought Ari may have left in Justin’s car and headed to Missouri. On March 2nd, 2008, an officer located Justin’s vehicle int eh parking lot of a Days Inn motel in Eureka, Missouri. Police learned that the man who rented the room used Justin Newman’s credit card, but the clerk identified the man as Ari Squire when shown a photo.
As police prepared to storm the motel room, they heard a gunshot. Inside, they found Ari Squire dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to his head. He took the cowards way out and committed suicide rather than face the consequences of his murderous actions. The case did not die there, however. Police wanted to know if Denise Squire was a willing participant in the murder and insurance fraud plot that killed Justin Newman.
Forensics found Justin’s ID and credit cards still in his car. Ari had died his hair blonde and bought blue contacts to look more like Justin. He had previously grown a beard to resemble Sandy more closely. He was certainly committed to his elaborate scheme. Police also uncovered emails that Ari Squire sent to Denise after the death of Justin Newman. The first message arrived the day after the fire, “My will and letters are located in my file drawer in my office”. Five days later, Ari wrote to his wife, “Did an accident happen?”, to which Denise responded “yes”. Next Ari said, “Per my will, when is the party set for?”, to which Denise responded, “Working on that now”. Ari finally asked her if she needed anything, to which Denise responded, “a new life”.
Police believed the emails were evidence that Denise was aware of the insurance fraud and murder. However, her attorneys spoke out on her behalf, denying any knowledge or participation in the crime. Denise said she believed her husband had set up the messages before his death to be automatically delivered. Denise has never been charged in the crime and continues to reside in the Chicago area. Justin’s mother and brother sued Denise for wrongful death and were awarded six million dollars. Denise was never able to collect Ari’s life insurance due to the suicide clause in the policy.
Ari Squire played dangerous games. These games resulted in financial ruin after multiple Medicare fraud charges and a housing crisis. Then he played the most dangerous game of all, attempting to fake his own death in order to collect his life insurance. This game resulted in the death of an innocent young man who just wanted to support himself and his family. Justin Newman was robbed of an entire life by someone who had ruined his own life and later took his own life.
Forensic Files (HD) - Season 14, Episode 5 - A Squire's Riches - Full Episode - YouTube
Wife of man who faked death speaks via attorneys | ABC7 Chicago | abc7chicago.com - ABC7 Chicago
Ari Squire: Insurance Fraud Fiasco – Forensic Files Now
Ari Squire (1968-2008) - Find a Grave Memorial
Justin Michael Newman (1988-2008) - Find a Grave Memorial
07 Mar 2008, Page 1-10 - Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com
25 Feb 2008, Page 2-7 - Chicago Tribune at Newspapers.com
U.S. v. ARI SQUIRE ACCUCARE, INC., Case No. 05 C 3781 | Casetext Search + Citator
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