A self-proclaimed Satanist who boasted about animal sacrifice, rape and murder and claimed to have buried the bodies of his victims in his backyard was, ‘as close to a demon as any human being could be.’
This is the chilling description of Pazuzu Ilah Algarad from his former best friend, Matt Flowers, 31, a witness to his descent into evil.
Flowers, an Iraq war and airborne special forces veteran watched for eight years as the man born John Lawson in a regular suburb became a drug-obsessed, facially-tattooed killer. He had his tongue split in two and his teeth sharpened – but that was only an outward sign of his evil.
In October 2014, Pazuzu Ilah Algarad was charged with murder in the first degree and of helping to bury a body when the skeletal remains of two men were found in the backyard of his suburban home in Clemmons, North Carolina.
They were subsequently named as drifters Joshua Wretzler and Tommy Welch who had both disappeared in 2009.
Algarad lived in the house with his girlfriend, Amber Burch, now 29, and mother Cynthia James, 68.
Burch was charged with the murder of one of the victims and she and another friend, Krystal Matlock, now 34, were both charged with helping bury that body.
The story of the troubled high school dropout, who changed his name, making his middle name Algarad his surname and adopting as his first name that of the main demon in The Exorcist then brought Satanism to suburbia is the subject of a new Viceland documentary, ‘The Devil You Know.’
Algarad never stood trial, committing suicide in jail on October 28, 2015.
Flowers was standing in line at the bank when he got the text message telling him that Algarad had taken his own life.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com he recalled the conflicting rush of relief and shock with which he heard the news.
He said: ‘Pazuzu had always told me he would kill himself if he ended up in jail and couldn’t do his rituals each month on the dark moon.
‘He spoke about it in such detail, all the different ways he would do it. Pazuzu filed his teeth down to points with a Dremel tool – he told me he would gnaw his finger to the bone then stab an artery with it.’
Algarad’s autopsy shows that he died from loss of blood from a wound that punctured the artery on his inner left forearm. It does not state that he bit into his arm, though that is the rumor that took hold locally.
‘Pazuzu wanted to be a demon. I didn’t used to take that seriously, nobody did. He chose that name from the Exorcist and he said that Pazuzu was the demon associated with winning, getting your desires,’ Flowers said.
‘I think he wanted his own death to be a show – to freak people out. He took his life on the full moon just like he always said he would.
‘I think he wanted to be a demon and he came as close to being one as any human being could.
‘I don’t know if he fueled his madness with all his talk about the devil and the occult or if his madness fueled all that. But all the things we never took seriously at the time, I think he came to believe.’
Flowers met Algarad through a mutual friend when he was 17.
He too was interested in the occult, in religions and taboo, he explained. Having come for a very strict Christian home in which he felt stifled, he was rebelling.
Algarad, ten years his senior and steeped in all the things in which Flowers was starting to show interest, seemed charismatic and compelling. And, back then, however warped it might have been to outside eyes, it all just seemed like fun.
Flowers said: ‘We pretty much hung out together every day for like a year and a half.’
Footage from the body cameras of Forsyth County Sheriff’s officers who entered Algarad’s home in October 2014 makes for shocking viewing.
The house through which they waded was deep in trash, putrid with animal and human waste, covered in graffiti and symbols of hate. It was deemed uninhabitable.
But it wasn’t always like that, according to Flowers.
‘The house really wasn’t that bad at the start. It wasn’t like the cleanest but it wasn’t the hell house it became,’ he said.
‘Everything was quite ordered. It was in a nice neighborhood and there was a pool in the backyard with a filtration system and everything.
‘There was always one room – the backroom – that was totally off limits. Pazuzu wouldn’t let anyone go there and the basement was always pretty disgusting. I didn’t go down there. But the rest was just like, a party house.’
According to Flowers, Pazuzu styled himself after the character of Drexl – the dreadlocked pimp in True Romance played by Gary Oldman.
He thought that the talk of demons and violence was just a drink and drug-fueled act.
‘There would be like 30 or 40 people there at any given time just partying and they would push him and push him [to do crazy things]. It’s like he was entertaining,’ he said.
Looking back, Flowers admitted: ‘it seems obvious now that he had mental health issues.’
Algarad’s own account of his childhood is unreliable at best. Put bluntly, according to Flowers, ‘He lied all the time.’
According to Algarad he was born in California to an unmarried mother and never met his father. He said he was raised by his mother and her relatives and moved to North Carolina when he was in his teens.
It was part of his attempt to cultivate a myth about himself; in fact Algarad’s parents were married and moved to North Carolina when he was two, divorcing only when he was eight.
His mother Cynthia remarried to a man called Johnny James, now 71, when Algarad was about 12. It was never an easy situation.
According to one close to the family: ‘Pazuzu was just a really troubled, really spoiled boy. Cynthia just gave him whatever he wanted. He ruled that household and his relationship with his stepfather got worse and worse.
‘It got to the point where he wouldn’t have anything to do with him. Johnny would come home and Pazuzu would go into his room and shut the door and not come out until he’d left.’
His stepfather and mother sought professional help when Algarad was about 13.
He himself gave conflicting accounts, telling some that his mother put him into a psychiatric hospital, and denying any history of psychiatric troubles to others.
One close to the family who spoke to DailyMail.com said that his stepfather and mother had taken Algarad to a center for troubled kids but that Algarad ‘managed to persuade the counselors that his mother was the problem.’
At school Pazuzu was bullied and called ‘turd boy’ for his body odor. He eventually dropped out at ninth grade having repeated the year several times over.
Eventually, the strain on his mother’s marriage became too great.
The source said: ‘Cynthia told Johnny he had to leave. She thought she could straighten Pazuzu out if he did. He told her that was crazy and that she would lose all control without him there. And that’s what happened.
‘He bled her dry, drained her of everything, her life savings.’
Flowers has often wondered how his former friend could descend into such a debauched state while his mother lived in the same house. Their relationship was one that no-one seem to understand.
‘That was always a strange one. It’s like she enabled him. He drank a twelve pack of beer every day and she bought it for him, every day,’ Flowers said.
‘Sometimes she’d party too. He told me that he learned about sex when he was six years old and saw her having sex with bikers.’
According to another: ‘Cynthia was afraid of her son. She was working two jobs and paying to support him to do nothing. She was afraid to leave and afraid to go home.’
Certainly it is shocking and hard to fathom that she was in the house when some of the worst acts of violence took place.
Flowers was 19 when he knew he had reached what he describes as a fork in his life.
He said: ‘I just knew in my gut that if I kept hanging out with Pazuzu no good was going to come of it.
‘He would call me his “brother” and he had a way of getting inside your head but it’s like he was trying to manipulate you to do dark things.’
On one occasion, Algarad subsequently admitted to Flowers, that he had drugged him – injecting mushrooms with massive doses of LSD and dosing him with them.
Flowers said: ‘For about a month straight I thought I had lost my mind. I tried to check myself into a psychiatric facility. He told me years later like it was funny. I didn’t know it at the time but I just knew I had to get out of there.’
So Flowers joined the Army, serving in the 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in 2008 and the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) from 2011 to 2012 . He left North Carolina and deployed to Iraq.
Later Algarad would ask him a lot, he recalled, about whether or not he had killed people.
‘He was fascinated. I’d tell him, “It’s not like that man.” I was in the Army but I wasn’t a killer – not like Pazuzu,’ he said.
‘There was nothing intimate about what we did. The Iraqi people weren’t my enemy. I was a guest in their country and I was there with a mission, a purpose. It wasn’t about killing. He didn’t understand that.’
After he had completed his tour Flowers spent time in a decompression camp in Kuwait.
While he was there he was in touch with a former girlfriend, Daisy, a friend of Amber Burch who would often post images of the two out together on social media.
It was only when he was back in America, in Washington state, and considering leaving the Army that Daisy got in touch and her tone troubled him so greatly that he bought her a ticket to get out of North Carolina and join him on the West coast the following day.
When she arrived she told him that she had helped Algarad and Burch bury the body of Tommy Welch.
‘I only found out later that Tommy had been buried two months by the time she told me,’ Flowers said.
It is clear that Flowers is conflicted and troubled by talk of Daisy – known as Dixie. They would go on to marry and divorce and the relationship straddled a very dark time in both their lives.
Flowers knew what he had to do, he said. He had to turn his friend in. In September 2009 he gave the cops an anonymous tip that there was a body buried in Algarad’s backyard.
He didn’t know that just two months earlier, in July 2009, a girl called Terina Billing told police that her father, Allen, had also confessed to having helped bury a body in Algarad’s backyard.
That body was of Joshua Wetzler who was shot multiple times and dismembered in Algarad’s basement.
Speaking to DailyMail.com on condition of anonymity, a relative of Billings told of how he met Krystal Matlock at a bar.
The relative said: ‘Allen had a drinking problem and was taking a lot of pills too. I don’t know why but for some reason he agreed to take Krystal back to that house and that’s when Algarad showed him the body.
‘I think he helped under threat of his own life. He was always so squeamish I can’t believe he was in the room when they cut him up.’
But when cops went to Billings he refused to talk. They had no more than hearsay and the local rumor mill.
To his dismay nothing came of Flowers’s tip either.
‘The cops went to Pazuzu’s house. They knocked on the door and told him they’d been told about a body in his yard could they look. He said, no. And that was that,’ he said.
Flowers told Algarad that he had been the one to go to the cops. ‘I wasn’t afraid of him,’ he said.
In fact he continued hanging out at Algarad’s home.
‘I wanted to keep an eye on what he was doing. I didn’t want him hurting people,’ he said.
Because according to Flowers, the Algarad he saw on his return from his service overseas was a far more disturbing figure than the party guy he had left two years earlier.
Algarad and Burch would carry out ‘rituals’ in front of an altar in the front room, mumbling unintelligibly before making their offerings of drink or tobacco.
‘He would never sacrifice animals in front of anyone but he’d go into his room and I don’t know where he was getting these rabbits from, if he was just buying them at the pet store. But he’d kill it and rub its blood all over his face,’ Flowers said.
‘He’d come out [of his room] 30minutes later with his face all red and it was like he felt he had more power.’
In 2010 Pazuzu was arrested and charged as an accessory in the shooting death of Joseph Chandler, a 30-year-old legally blind man whose body was found near a river in neighboring Yadkin County after his mother reported him missing.
With no serious criminal record at that point, Algarad was given two years probation.
But police reports show that the house in Clemmons was becoming an increasingly violent place.
In 2011 Pazuzu was charged with assaulting his mother, choking her until she could not breathe. A few months later, Burch too was charged with assaulting Cynthia in a separate incident.
Another citation shows she was charged with assaulting Algarad.
When he visited the house, Flowers said, what he saw became increasingly disturbing. He said: ‘He and Amber would cut themselves, do blood-letting and drink each others’ blood.
‘One time I went round and there was a girl sitting with deep gashes on both arms, from shoulder to wrist, just bleeding. I never saw her again.
‘Another friend told me about a guy who was so desperate for pain pills he had his hand on the table and was begging Pazuzu to smash it with a hammer so he could get a prescription.
‘He was begging and begging and Pazuzu was like, “Are you sure?” He was holding up a hammer that was blunt on one end and a hatchet at the other end.
‘At the last minute he switched it and brought it down on the guys hand. He cut off his finger. We never saw that guy again either.’
It got to the point, Flowers said, that he didn’t know what to believe. And with the police doing nothing he began doubting the truth of the stories about buried bodies once more.
Then two things happened. Algarad asked him to kill a man with him and he threatened to rape any girl Flowers brought to the house.
Flowers recalled: ‘Pazuzu called me into the kitchen one night and his demeanor just changed immediately. He’d been acting all crazy now he was like suddenly totally calm.
‘He said, “Let’s kill this guy.” I was just like, “What happened to you man?” I was upset and mad. I’m not going to kill an innocent guy.
‘Pazuzu was pushing and pushing and I just grabbed his hair and pulled his head back so it hit a cabinet behind him.
‘It’s like he liked it. He said, “That’s why I love you brother.” He thought because I did that I was crazy like him.’
But the moment when Flowers shed any doubts about the veracity of Pazuzu’s worst boasts was when he heard from multiple sources that Pazuzu had raped a soldier.
‘That’s when he became my enemy. I went round with another guy and we went round to kill him,’ he said.
‘I knew Pazuzu, I knew he wasn’t physically strong. He used to say he couldn’t be caught and he couldn’t be knocked out.
‘Well I knocked him out. I kicked him in the face and when he was down I stomped on him with my boots.’
Flowers isn’t proud of his attack on Pazuzu that night. He set out to kill him, he admitted, but he couldn’t do it like that.
‘I’m not a killer,’ he said simply. ‘Not many people are.’
Cynthia witnessed the attack he said, and intervened to protect her son.
The strangest thing was, Flowers said, how after that Pazuzu still called him brother even when he told him that he would rape any girl he brought to the house.
He said: ‘I knew then I had to go to the police. He had to be stopped. I went there and told them everything I knew. I drew a diagram of where I thought the body was buried and I said, “I’m giving you one week and if you don’t do something I will.”
Flowers planned to get a shotgun, go to the house in the night, and shoot Pazuzu as he slept before turning himself in because, he said, ‘It just had to end.’
Three days later the beginning of the end came when Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on Pazuzu’s home.
When the truth started to come out it transpired that they had received dozens of tips about Pazuzu over the years from people claiming he had bodies buried in his backyard. One of the tips came from his own mother.
Cynthia still lives locally and would not talk when approached by DailyMail.com. She was never charged in connection with the events that took place under her roof.
Burch pleaded guilty to shooting Tommy Welch and is serving a sentence of 30 to 40 years.
Matlock, who pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of helping bury Joshua Wetzler, was sentenced to 38 to 58 months in 2017. She was released last May and her parole came to an end in February.
One close to the family told DailyMail.com that she had ‘served her time and just wanted a chance to get on with the rest of her life.’
Today nothing remains of the ‘House of Horrors’ in which Algarad lived out his vision of an ideal sort of chaos.
The bank foreclosed upon it and the neighbors who bought it razed it to the ground soon after in August 2015.
For Flowers life has moved on too. He married Jess, 32, who runs a vintage clothing up-cycling site, three years ago and describes himself as a laborer and artist – among other things he designs biker jackets.
Four years on from Algarad’s death he has accepted that he may never be able to say if his friend was mad or evil – or both.
Across the years Algarad had accumulated a variety of diagnoses including schizophrenia, agoraphobia and depression. He started abusing alcohol and other substances at 13.
But for Flowers, who himself suffers from PTSD, none of that is justification for the damage his former friend did.
‘In the end I think we all know the difference between right and wrong,’ he said.
‘I think Pazuzu knew the difference between right and wrong. I just can’t say for sure why he chose wrong.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Laura Collins