Police Arrest Person of Interest in Murder of Beloved Book Reviewer Penny Terk

Categories: Crime

Penny Terk, 73, was a former actress who'd become the toast of book review clubs across Dallas. In a few weeks, she was set to host her annual Summertime Showcase, a conclave for book club leaders and speakers, where "a LIMITED number of rectangular vending tables must be reserved in advance at $20 each."

Per her website, vendors were advised to bring their own tablecloths. But by Friday, her daughter grew worried. She hadn't heard from Terk since Wednesday. So she drove to Terk's home on Putting Green Drive in southern Dallas at around 4:45 Friday afternoon and found the door unlocked. She pushed it open. The house was in "disarray," according to the police report. Her daughter backed out of the door and dialed 911. When police arrived, they found Terk, strangled, stabbed and shot to death.

Missing from her home: A few leaf blowers, weed trimmers and an appliance described only as a "Magnavox."

On Sunday, a 50-year-old man named Gary Anthony Sanders was booked into a Dallas County jail in connection with the burglary. He's considered a person of interest in her murder, and has a lengthy list of priors, including aggravated robbery and burglary.

Friends described Terk as a bundle of energy, who'd dedicated her life to books and to sharing her opinions of them. A friend told WFAA-TV: "I am having a really hard time accepting that she's gone ... and gone in such a harsh way."

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To all of you who commented on this story and expressed prayers and condolences, I thank you. I am the daughter of Penny Terk and the trial of this animal begins this next week. To the person who somehow found a way to bring politics into this, I pray to God that that is the one thing that is left out of this altogether. North or South (in terms of neighborhood)... none of that matters. The man who did this to my mother was a soulless reprobate that has spent the last year manipulating the system, while giving no consideration to the horrific crime he committed. We are broken people as a result of this; but will heal. But if this man walks out of prison ever again (he had been released from prison, which, had he not been, this never would have happened), I have no doubt there will be another victim to add to his list of victims.

This is not about politics. This is about the kind of evil that disrupts the lives of good, hard working people.

Pray that this man is put behind bars for the rest of his miserable life.

holmantx topcommenter

Today my thoughts are about this woman and that little six year old girl murdered, put in a bag and dumped in the street in Saginaw.


Nearly 70% of the comments pertain to the writer's naming of the area where the crime was committed and we wonder why our elected officials can't get shit done around here. 

holmantx topcommenter

This is FAR more common than some guy going nuts with an assault-style, scary-looking facsimile knock-off of a military issue main battle rifle.

Based upon the listed stuff stolen, it's a drug addict looking for quick cash at the pawn shop.

Life is cheap and when anything goes, its women who lose.


Let's see what City Councilmember Vonciel Hill has to say about the situation, given that she lives within walking distance of the crime scene. DMN reported that Sanders lived next door to Ms. Terk. That should not be the norm.


Sorry for the Families loss .

Putting Green Drive in southern Dallas

Southern Dallas ?

That is OAK CLIFF !

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Poor soul.  I'm so angry about this.  Look at her.  She was a gorgeous doppelgänger for Judi Dench.  RIP.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

@oakclifftownie Southern, an adjective meaning of or in the geographic south.  Oak Cliff, while not South Dallas, is in the southern portion of Dallas.  Lighten up.

observist topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  What kind of poseur would use unnecessary foreign words in their comments?  I just don't understand that kind of weltanschauung.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter


S. Polk Street between Red Bird and Camp Wisdom ... yep that is South Dallas ...

Right next to the Golf Club of Dallas http://www.golfclubdallas.com/

A very pretty part of south Dallas, very much unlike the crack den/chop shop vision around Scyene/2nd Avenue that pops into to people's minds when they hear the phrase "south Dallas"


@MaxNoDifference @texaspainter @oakclifftownie 

You're wrong. Polk Terrace is further South at Camp Wisdom and Polk. This is known to some old timers as the Red Bird Country Club Estates. In the 1960's this was a big deal to live here. The homes are huge, the lots are close to half an acre and have held their value pretty well over  the years. There is some fantastic mid century design in the neighborhood.

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