Viceland’s latest gripping documentary traces the grisly story of Pazuzu Algarad, a self-proclaimed Satanist from Clemmons, North Carolina who was charged with murder. The Devil You Know is a five-episode series set to premiere on August 27, at 10:00 p.m. EST. With the input of local journalists, investigators, and people who were acquainted with Algarad, the docuseries pieces together what happened to Pazuzu Algarad and his victims. Before you are captivated by this true-crime series, we’ve got Pazuzu Algarad’s wiki with all the details of his case.
|About Pazuzu Illah Algarad|
|Known As||John Alexander Lawson|
|Birth||August 12, 1978 San Francisco, California|
|Death||October 28, 2015 Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Parents||Timothy J. Lawson, Cynthia Lawson|
|Address||Clemmons, Forsyth County, North Carolina|
|Victims||Joshua Fredrick Wetzler and Tommy Dean Welch|
|Charges||Murder and Accessory After the Fact|
|Schools||Sonoma Valley High, West Forsyth High School|
Pazuzu Algarad’s Real Name Is John Lawson
Born John Alexander Lawson on August 12, 1978, he was raised in San Francisco, California. His Facebook page mentions that he used to attend Sonoma Valley High.
His parents, Cynthia Lawson and Timothy J. Lawson, had married in 1971 before relocating to Forsyth County, North Carolina, where they got divorced in 1990.
Cynthia and her son continued to live in Clemmons in North Carolina, while Timothy moved back to California. In 1998, Cynthia remarried to a Tennessee native, Johnny Larry James. The couple and Cynthia’s son lived in a home at 2749 Knob Hill Drive, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
It was this house that was the scene of alleged gruesome crimes by John Lawson, who would take on the name Pazuzu Algarad.
Algarad Was a Felon and Self-Proclaimed Demon Worshipper
In the two decades after his parents’ divorce, John Lawson set about a diabolic path. He dropped out of West Forsyth High School, legally changed his name to Pazuzu Illah Algarad, and turned into an avowed Satanist and drug dealer.
Pazuzu is the name of the king of demons in ancient Mesopotamian mythology and heavily features in pop culture, most prominently in the Exorcist universe. Under his new made-up identity, Algarad claimed to be of Iraqi descent with a Satanist mother.
For a brief period, he tried to market himself as an Iraqi Muslim, especially on Facebook, but was not a practitioner of Iraqi culture or the Islamic faith. Instead, he proclaimed himself to be a self-styled combination of Charles Manson, Anton LaVey, and Alistair Crowley. But that wasn’t what terrified the people who knew him.
His jagged teeth were reportedly filed to sharp points with a Dremel tool. His tongue was split in the middle and his body had demonic symbols inked on it.
If that didn’t keep people away, his talk about animal and human sacrifices did. Additionally, the interior of his home reflected his demonic tastes.
His former schoolmates say his interest in Satanism began when he started using drugs. His eccentricities were only magnified by his claims that he could control the weather like the demon Pazuzu of legend, as well as his attempts at black magic.
When the Church of Satan philosophy became too tame for his tastes, Algarad began indulging in more hardcore and violent Satanism rituals.
Algarad Was Previously Arrested in Connection with Manslaughter
Algarad’s run-ins with the law indicate his troubled history. In 2008, he was convicted of larceny, for which he was on probation/parole.
In 2011, he was convicted of misdemeanor assault for putting his mother in a chokehold. His girlfriend, Amber Burch, was also accused in a separate assault on Cynthia.
A year earlier, he was arrested in connection to the shooting death of Joseph Emmrick Chandler, then 30, in Clemmons. Emrick was found dead by the Yadkin River where Algarad allegedly indulged in black magic rituals and animal sacrifices.
Nicholas Pasquale Rizzi was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, while Algarad was charged with accessory after the fact of involuntary manslaughter. Algarad was convicted in 2012 and sentenced to probation.
Human Remains Were Found in His Backyard in 2014
Local authorities kept an eye on Algarad after his 2011 conviction. They previously issued a search warrant to investigate the backyard of Algarad’s Knob Hill house. However, without sufficient evidence, the investigators didn’t know where to look. Even a tip-off from Cynthia herself about her son’s supposed girlfriend shooting a man wasn’t enough to initiate a thorough investigation.
But Algarad’s luck ran out on October 5, 2014. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State University Forensic Anthropology Unit, and the Medical Examiner’s Office from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, executed a search warrant that uncovered shallow graves in the backyard containing skeletal remains.
Pazuzu Illah Algarad, then 35, and his self-proclaimed wife, Amber Nicole Burch, 24, were arrested and charged with murder. They weren’t legally married, though each had written on their Facebook that they’d been married since November 1, 2009.
Both Algarad and Burch were charged with murder and accessory after the fact. Krystal Matlock, then 28, was arrested the following day and charged with accessory after the fact.
The victims were initially unidentified, but authorities said that the remains were of people not connected to the house. The victims were later identified as two men, Joshua Fredrick Wetzler (born 1977) and Tommy Dean Welch (born 1977-1978).
They were buried in the backyard around five years before they were found. Wetzler was last seen alive in 2009 and reported missing in 2010. Welch’s last known whereabouts were also reported in 2009.
Algarad’s House Had Symbols of His Demonic Rituals
The 2749 Knob Hill Drive home was owned by Cynthia and her second husband, Johnny. Algarad was living there with Burch when they were arrested.
Before his arrest, Algarad and his house had gained a terrifying notoriety in the neighborhood. Not only was it marred with Satanic symbols and ridden with signs of demonic practices—the house was rank with the stench of urine, body odor, animal feces, and alcohol, much like its Satanist owner.
The house stood out in the neighborhood, with its jet-black painted front door. Inside, there were pictures of demons, inverted crosses, animal carcasses, and moldy walls.
Cynthia used to live with her son and Burch. Her whereabouts aren’t known at the moment.
The house was deemed uninhabitable and demolished. The empty lot was up for sale following Algarad’s arrest. It was reported in 2015 that neighbors Stephen and Vicki Brewer had acquired the empty lot.
Algarad Had a History of Mental Illness
His 2010 run-in with the law prompted a judge to order a mental health evaluation for Algarad. Psychiatrists interviewed him to determine whether he was capable of standing trial.
Algarad confessed his excessive drinking habit during the interview and said that he didn’t bathe more than once a year, nor had he brushed his teeth in years. Doctors also noted he shook uncontrollably, had poor hygiene, and bad odor.
Psychiatrists concluded that Algarad suffered from schizophrenia, agoraphobia, and alcoholism. Agoraphobia added to his depression and caused him to turn to alcohol to cope. Nonetheless, they said that he was treating his conditions with medication and deemed him fit to aid his own defense.
Algarad’s Story Is Covered in The Devil You Know
After being arrested, Algarad, Burch, and Matlock were detained in prison. Algarad was moved to Central Prison, Raleigh, in May 2015 on a Safe Keeping Order, owing to his mental health issues.
On October 28, 2015, at around 3:00 a.m., he was found unresponsive in his cell with a wound to his arm. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and he was pronounced dead at 4:20 a.m. Officials said he died of severe blood loss caused by a deep wound to a major blood vessel in his left arm and ruled his death as an apparent suicide.
Algarad is survived by an alleged son with his ex. According to a Facebook user, Algarad was briefly engaged to a woman but wasn’t part of hers or their son’s lives. The last known whereabouts of Cynthia were unclear at the time of his arrest.
Prosecutors said the two men were shot dead by Algarad and Burch, with each killing one of the men, and buried in the backyard. In 2017, both Burch and Matlock pleaded guilty and were convicted for their roles in the murders.
Algarad died without giving closure to his alleged victims’ families. At the time of his death, Wetzler and Welch’s families were still awaiting answers as to why the men were killed.
Now Viceland’s docuseries, The Devil You Know, interviews journalists, investigators, and people who knew Algarad and his victims to get to the bottom of the story of Pazuzu Algarad.