Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amy Bishop - An Inside Look at Killer Prof

On of my favorite blogs is "In Cold Blog." This morning I discovered a post written by Caitlin Rother about the professor's  recent murder case, which does a far better job of conveying what might be happening inside Bishop's head than I could.

I am intrigued by this case, especially since I  find people who walk that fine razor's edge between genius and madness are always able to do so for only so long.
The  perspective from which Caitlin views the crime... and the insight she offers on Bishop's motives/excuses puts the whole case in a different perspective for me.

Here's a link to Caitlin's excellent blog post. I hope you find it as fascinating and insightful as I do.

Go To "Amy Bishop - Madness or Murder" by Caitlin Rother.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Patterns In Life And Death

In the course of being a  P.I. over several years, you learn to identify patterns that repeat themselves over time.
Liars remain liars, cheats remain cheats, thieves remain thieves.
These patterns play out over and over again until your response, as a P.I. is almost automatic -- if you think he/she is cheating, they are.
When you think they are lying to your face and they have lied before, they probably are.
When you think your spouse/partner/significant other is verbally or physically abusive, you are probably right.
And when you  think someone is stalking you, they are.

Behavorists know often the truth lies in repeat patterns.
And the most certain predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
It's like a a pattern I first saw, many moons ago, when I first learned to scuba dive.

We were off the beach of Edmonds Washington, a public park with a jetty to the right off the ferry docks. Scuba diving classes and certifications are often conducted there for all kinds of reasons, one being the proximity to everything, including Emergency Response.... another being the Underwater Park there.

The Edmonds Underwater Park is a blast.
Looking from above it, on the ferry, all you see is buoys, lines and markers above water indicating divers or  something else is going on down below the surface. Occassionaly you see groups of divers suited, heads gathered around  an instructor or two, before they begin their descent... or  re-grouping after their ascent.

There are items below the sea surface people have put there for the pleasure of divers and fish.
There's an underwater playground with a jungle gym I love to do whirlies on.
You'll find a whole sunken boat to explore and swim through in the weightless water.
On Halloween, there's an underwater pumpkin carving contest.
It's a great place to play.

On this one day, however, I was playing underwater just a little too long, entertained by a sea otter when I strayed from my dive partner. When the sea other swam straight toward my face, then knocked the regulator out of my mouth, I didn't think it nearly as funny as he thought it was.  He was spinning in circles and my regulator, breathing appartatus,  was spinning with him.

I, careful not to swallow nor panic, instinctively applied "sea otter, seal, octopus counter-measures."

I found, then put my regulator back in my mouth and bit down hard on it.I felt the adrenalin rush kick in as I breathed more than I usually do.
I kept breathing fast and hard until it occurred to me to look at the air I had left, I was low.
I was disoriented.
I was also alone   because I couldn't see my dive buddy and  the sea otter had moved on to other fish in his sea, leaving  murkey waters in his wake to surround me.

It was mid-winter. I was in a wet suit and I began to get cold.
Peeing is always a good for a warm up in a wet suit in the cold  winter waters of the Pacific Northwest. My option in that department was gone the minute the otter got my regulator.
I shivered and got my bearings.
There was a ferry to my left.
I could hear its engines start up, I knew the boat's pull was strong enough in the waters way beyond it to suck me in like a strand of seaweed.

I chose to avoid the path which would turn me to minced meat and swam away from the ferrry.
I used my compass and pointed towards shore.  The water  dark, I wasn't sure how far out I was  and slowed my breathing so my air would hold out. I knew I'd move faster underwater and untlimately the tide, which was in my favor, would assist.
It didn't take long until I saw the familiar, comforting pattern.

The patterns were  lines in the sand... the sea's version of shape shift-shifting footprints.
They look like layers of the same color sentiment in wave-shaped patterns.
Know how to read them and they will  lead you to shore.
Hopefully, friendly shores.

To be a successfull P.I., life is much the same way.
Every person and situation on this planet is unique...
created by a  complex, set of biological components and psychological factors...
shaped into patterns by parents during infancy, thru childhood and beyond.
Some kids have it good.
Some have it very bad.
Inbetween are varying shades of grey.

There is no one pattern to anything when it comes to human behavior.
No one can truly predict what some people will do when they snap.
When they decide indeed they have had enough, they will snap.
They either implode or explode.

The story I am linking you to hit home.
Though she's not my daughter, my sister, my friend, I am familiar with this case.
She, her family did resist him every step of the way.
Still, there was nothing anyone could do to  to stop him.
Because sadly, Dexter is just fiction.

And  while maybe it's only under water where you can find those lines that lead you to shore when you're lost, they don't always lead you to a safe home.

The  following link from the Seattle Times tells you today's story far better than I ever could.
Lesson learned?
Never, ever,  under-estimate the power of a stalker.

Follow this link from the Seattle Times On-Line:

"Infatuated Man Shoots Teacher"

Friday, February 26, 2010

From Dr. Watson's Journey

This is something I have been meaning to post for a few days now. It came to me via  my Facebook friend, David Ruffle. The following is allegedly an exact quote from Dr Watson's Journal.


December 26th 1932

An anachronism, that's how I thought of myself yesterday whilst driving down to pay my annual visit to my old friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. An anachronism in a modern world, hardly flattering I know, but something I always feel quite keenly when visiting Holmes. We both belonged to another age, an age of gaslights and Hansom cabs rattling through a London fog.

The light had gone from my life when Holmes decided to retire permanently to Sussex and I was more aware than ever that at eighty years of age, I was marking time. Marking time down to the inevitable, the one mystery that even Holmes declared he could not solve.

Christmas had a special significance for me in relation to Holmes and with no other distractions to hold me, I made my annual pilgrimage to see Holmes on Christmas day itself. It may be that pilgrimage is the wrong word, but, no, it seems just right to me on reflection. My respect and brotherly love for Holmes did indeed border on veneration.

Driving for me these days is a somewhat onerous task. The pace of modern life on our roads leaves me both breathless and confused and I have resolved to make yesterday's visit the last one, the final visit to my old friend.

As always on these occasions, I thought back to the adventures Holmes and I had shared and for the whole of the journey from my own house to Holmes's, I was young again, revitalised with the years falling away from me.
The snow was beginning to fall as I arrived on that familiar scene. I opened up the weather-beaten old gate and walked over to my friend. I had brought a small Christmas offering of seasonal flowers and these I placed beneath the headstone. I looked down with pride as I read the words.....

Born January 6th 1854
Died December 25th 1927
' Fearless'
' A loyal and good friend'

I tried to put into words that I could visit no more, but speech would not come. Yet, I had made certain arrangements to ensure that my resting place would be my friend's side as it always was. Now, together for all eternity.
As I turned to go, my voice came back to me, " Soon, my friend..soon."

Editor's note:

This was the last entry in Dr. Watson's Journal. His housekeeper found his lifeless body the following morning. It was reported that he was lying peacefully on his side, a smile on his face and an arm outstretched as though in the act of greeting or being greeted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Most Unusual Murder Defense

I recall my days working at the Public Defender. That's where I trained and honed my skills as an intern criminal investigator ...who ultimately moved up the ranks... from misdemeanors, to felonies, to homicides, murders, mass murders and the unspeakable stuff that happens to kids.

In the office I worked there were 90 Public Defenders, so you can imagine the caseloads.

At first, I caught the same fever Criminal Defense Investigators catch when you are representing the poor, the indigent, the voiceless.

Justice is often served to the criminally accused who are rich enough to hire a private Criminal Defense attorney on a silver platter.
To others thrown into the  justice arena called Public Defender or Federal Defender pool, newbie investigators like me, back then, got a big dose of reality fast.

My  initial and natural defense technique was to become an understanding, sympathetic investigator for the accused, our clients.

Key question  I asked every Public Defender in every case: "What's the defense?"

So... sure,  I told myself.... that kid may have killed her father. But wasn't abusing her and her mother? It was self defense,

And yes... I understand our client held up a convenience store and shot the clerk in the arm,  but that was only after the clerk's husband called him a racist name and  hit him with a tire iron.

Okay...  I saw the footage from the bar where  my client slashed your client, the victim, in the face seven times with a razor blade in ront of nine witnesses... however, what you didn't hear was what the victim dissed our client's mama.    `

And sure, our guy walked into the school with a loaded gun and shot a few people, it's just that he was so bullied as a kid... his parents  divorce was so contentious... and his father left his gun collection unlocked.

For every offense, there is a defense.
My favorite  defense, when something close to  credible wasn't a possibility, was and always has been the SODDI defense. Some Other Dude Did It.  That always works well unless the smoking gun is in your client's hand

That is until I came across this link I found through the PI Newswire.

Okay, so here's the case d'jour:
Man kills wife and mother.
His defense?
Read this link and  then answer the following question:

Are you kidding me?

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Serving Divorce Papers is Never Without Drama Or Humor"

This link  comes to you courtesy of my dear friend and fellow detective, Pandora, who found it in Pursuit Magazine.

Oddly, Pandora sent this to me today while I was trudging my way through a murky blog post I was attempting to write about domestic cases -- which include break-ups, divorces, custody, money, madness and murder.

Every time I begin to blog about a domestic or my theories on domestic cases, I'm bummed even before I start, so ignition is the biggest challenge.
Three paragraphs into it, I'm ready to call it day and lose myself in running a background check.

So this link from Pandora arrived just in the nick of time.

Link to "Pursuit Magazine"
Serving Divorce papers Is Never Without Drama or Humor

 First, though, a word of advice.

Do not divorce until you've exhausted all options including therapy.

When divorce is inevitable, so is domestic war.  There is no such thing as an amicable divorce.

When you have children, they are the greatest casualties of war so your job is to protect them. Everything you and your soon-to-be-ex do, must be in the best interests of the children.

Even without children,  you do not walk away unscathed, undamaged. That's why I'm hoping these books will help.

For those of you with specific divorce questions, here's a broad spectrum of info from Info, which  collectively, will cost you less than and hour of a good divorce attorney's times. Read from these, THEN, you'll know what you need...and who you need... next.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"How Prisoners Harass Their Victims Using Facebook." - A Link

Word in the wind is it started in the U.k. and has already moved here.
So heads up. Read this the link below.
And  know when you send out bulk emails for specific apps, you sign disclaimers which sign away  your privacy rights.
And worse, those unregulated apps unlock a back door to your private Facebook world... which threatens your identity and privacy.

Go here:,8599,1964916,00.html

Looking For a Good True Crime Read?

This is one of my favoritesites when I am hunting out a good book to lose myself in.
The blog is run by Yvette Kelley... and while she's been away from blogging a while, she's got a good reason why... just read her most recent posts.

Link To True Crime Book Reviews

Friday, February 19, 2010

Witnesses and Victims

"Have you ever been shot?" he asked me.
"I've been shot at, but not shot." I replied.
"Well I have... four times." he shouted back. And before I get a word out,  he asked the next question.

"Have you ever been stabbed?"
"No" I answered.

"Jumped?" he asked.
"Just once," I said. "I lost."
"I been jumped all my life. Some times, a couple mtimes a day" he interjected.  "And after I turned 16 I never lost."

"You ever been arrested?"
 "Nope,"  I replied. "And you?"
"Whenever possible" he replied. "Three squares and a bed" he laughed.

"You grow up with a real mama and daddy?" he continued with his questions.
I nodded.
"The same one?"
I nodded again.
He looked at me incredulously.
"I didn't know neither of mine from day one." he said.

"They dropped me off at at the church door, then the church dropped me off into the foster system and I couldn't even begin to tell you how much crap I been through and how many places I've lived in. When I reached 16, I ran away from the system and the rest of the story goes downhill from there."

He described most of the foster homes as a combination of slavery and abuse. His escape from the foster system  brought him to the streets of Seattle, where he acquired a street mom and street dad and street sisters and brothers. He told me how they taught him how to shoot up, hustle tourists, dumpster dive. Work the streets. They lived in parks, under the freeways, in places no one knew about.

"They're all dead now," he said emotionless "every last one one of 'em."

"Wow. I'm so sorry, " I said, "How'd they die? "

"Most OD'd. One jumped off the freeway overpass just over the Convention Center. One died in prison. And two others were killed in fights.

Now, he said, he is alone.
He is homeless.

I study his rotting teeth.
Little black things are moving in his hair.
I asked him how old he is.
He said he didn't know, maybe 45?

 "Do you use?"  I asked him as casually  as I ask cashiers "where's the restroom?"
"Whenever I can" he replied. "You got anything?"
"Just Bayer Aspirin" I said with a smile as I added, "chewable, orange flavored. Prevents heart attacks."

He laughed and I said no more.
Just waited patiently with notebook in hand.

He looked me up and down and then said, "sit down". So we sat under this big tree in this park where the homeless hang not far from the Courthouse, while I interviewed him about the case I was working on or several hours.

He was just one of a list of witnesses I was hired to find and interview. 

The Victim 

The victim was not who I representing.
I was representing the accused perp, the man who allegedly raped and murdered her.
Let's call him "Joe".
This was when I was a Criminal Investigator for a Public Defender.

Our client Joe admitted to having sex with the woman. But only consensual sex, he claimed. He gave the police a statement I had reviewed.  He said she had no clue she was dead before they "done it."

Joe said she was laying in the doorway, " drunk and made up all pretty" he said.
He claimed she smiled at him with "them  bedroom eyes"
He took advantage of the invitation, he said.
"She never once said no" Joe said.

Joe was high on crack that night and also fueled up with Everclear.
So he said he didn't realize when he was having sex with the woman, she was already dead.
He thought she  liked it.

The prosecutor didn't agree.

According to the police report, police logs and 911 tapes I studied, shocked tourists believed they witnessed Joe raping a woman in the alley.

One 911 operator  asked, "Is she fighting back?"
The man on the other end answered, "No ma'am, she's not moving."

Once the policea and paramedics arrived, arrested Joe and realized the victim was deceased,  the Medical Examiner did an autopsy.
It was determined the woman was long dead from a heroin overdose before she was raped by Joe.

I recall the Public Defender who handed  me the case telling his legal assistant to research charges for necrophilia vs. rape.

My job as a Criminal Defense Investigator back then was to find witnesses, hopefully favorable to Joe. That's why I was sitting under the tree with the homeless guy.

The Witnesses
Finding witnesses is always a challenge.
Sometimes all I have is first or strange names. Like Scabby Abby. Female.
Other times I get lucky and get photos.
That's how I found this guy.
The grey dreadlocks and long gray beard were a dead giveaway as I wandered through the parks of Seattle where the homeless congregate.

We sat under a tree in the park that day for three hours.
Other homeless folks wandered by, he introduced me... the Investigator...
and they all sat down and shared stories about Joe.
None of them had seen the actual assault, everything was "here say."
They were primarily witnesses to Joe's character.
And in that area, Joe's character could not be more exemplary.

When Joe had a bottle of Thunderbird, someone else got half.
When he cooked Meth, he always  did it clean and stashed a third for his friends.
And they all felt strongly, each and every one of them, that Joe would never rape a live woman, let alone a dead one.

The End

The criminal justice system is very busy at the moment. It was especially so back then.
Jails and prisons are overloaded.
You walk into any Public Defender's office and each Defender's desk is piled sky-high with thick case files.

Courthouses could benefit from revolving doors for the number of folks who come and go.
Unfortunately,  America's court houses need big thick doors and metal detectors and guards with guns  for the amount of human ticking time bombs who pass thorough our sacred portals.

In Joe's case, the prosecutor dropped the charges. I never found out why.  I do have my theories.

It could be that no one could identify the homeless woman. She was buried as "Jane Doe."
It could be all the witness statements I got on behalf of Joe were persuasive.
Maybe the M.E. thought since she was dead, and Joe had no intent to commit a crime, no harm done.
Or it could be Joe's case simply did not warrant enough money or attention to rise to the surface in a sea of sludge that outweighed his case.
Bottom line, just when you think things can't get any worse in your life, think about Joe.
Or better yet, think about the lady in the alley.

Then... repeat after me:
"There but for the grace of God, go I."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Haleigh Cummings Case

I just posted a link to the Levi page Blog Radio Show on my Facebook Page. The show tnight, discusses  the Haliegh Cummings case, which is is a current investigation. And a fascinating one.

Now here's here's yet another link to Haliegh's case with important new info so you can get some background on what's going down, just in case you're out of the loop.

Amy Bishop- Professor, Mother, Murderer

On Friday just past,  a  mother of four, Amy Bishop, a University of Alabama biology professor, shot six people... killing three teachers.... when she was denied tenure.

Years prior, she shot her brother.

I'm wondering why the university's background check on her didn't come up with  her brother's murder?

Still,  even if if she didn't snap there, it's likely she would've snapped elsewhere.
Some people are train-wrecks waiting to happen.
If only we could see them before hand.

Here's a great link to many facets of the case. Clicking on the title of this post will also get you to the link.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hacking or Social Engineering?

David Emery on, wrote a comment on a post on RE: Facebook and other social network hacking.  I'm cutting and pasting David's original words below because I think he's spot-on with his advice. To get to the original article, just click on the title of this blog post.

"Email warnings about alleged hackers capable of stealing your personal info if you merely reply to their messages or add their names to friends lists are a dime a dozen and based on a false premise, namely that it's just that simple to hack into someone's email or Facebook account. It isn't.

That said, such break-ins do occur, so there are two real threats every email user or member of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter should beware of:
  1. Messages from strangers asking you for personal information (e.g., user name, password, phone number, etc.)
  2. Messages from strangers containing links to unfamiliar file attachments or websites
Both are methods often used by actual hackers and identity thieves to steal personal information online. The first, often referred to as "social engineering," is self-explanatory, and, obvious though it may be, seems to work extraordinarily well on naive and unsuspecting users.

Don't reveal your passwords or other sensitive data to anyone!

The second method, which lures users into clicking links that download malicious software onto their computers, is just as effective. Said malicious software might contain, for example, a keystroke logger which records user names and passwords and transmits them to identity thieves on the other side of the world, or a program which turns over control of the victim's computer to a hacker (or to a "botnet" which can take over a vast number of computers at the same time), or both.

Don't click on any links sent to you in online messages unless you're familiar with the source and confident the link destination is benign.

Also, for security's sake:

Don't use passwords that would be easy to guess based on other information available on your website, in your Facebook or MySpace profile, or anywhere else online.

And, last but not least:

Do maintain adequate antivirus and/or Interent security software, including a firewall, on your PC."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Brake Into A Pothole

I  drive hundreds of miles most days traveling from people to scenes to collision yards.
Breaking down somewhere remote is not a good thing.
You know this as well as I.
For many people, especially we P.I.'s, who are essentially road warriors, the car is an extension of our bodies.
So when we hit a pothole in life, or on the highway, it's important that pothole not bring us down.
I found this article  re  that very subject on AOLtoday both surprising and informative today.
I thought I'd share it with whoever finds their way here.

One additional safe driving tip?
Try not to drive in front of  a semi  when you can.
Especially a fast moving semi on the freeway.
80% (and that's a low estimate) have faulty brakes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Calculating Or Space Cadet?

The Lisa Nowak case fascinates me.
If you  recall, she's the astronaut who went over the edge in the name of love,.
Her case shows, vividly, how hormones, illusions and delusions can make a  person so crazy they will destroy their life in the name of love. And I think when it comes to craziness in love, women can be far crazier than men.

Here's a link to that story and Lisa's sentence, which was surprisingly light.,2933,573623,00.html

The challenge for a P.I. is to determine whether the person who is hiring you is giving you the truth or their version of it.

I had a close friend once who I believed was just about the most kind-hearted soul you could meet.  Her husband was the same way. they were good people with two wonderful little kids. They had an affluent lifestyle and appeared, no shortage of money or energy.

So when she showed up at my door sobbing and said her husband pushed her out their moving car, I was taken aback and perplexed as I listened and asked questions. She was bruised and hysterical.  As I took pictures of the huge  bruises on her side and lower back. I noted they were consistent with a fall from a car.

She said she and her husband had a fight, he pushed her out the car. I asked why she didn't call the police. She said something like, I don't want trouble.

And it was then I was fairly sure  there was more to the story because her husband wasn't the push-you-outa'-the-car-type. He was more the kind of  lead-me-around-on-a-leash guy. he is, how you say, "whipped."
It always appeared to me, she had him on loose leash, but a leash nonetheless.

While she went to her doctor, I called him up, told him we need to talk.
We met at Starbucks. I told him what she said. I showed him the pictures. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Well I might as well let you know now. She's nuts."

I asked him to define nuts and the stories began to flow from his mouth. A cascade of woes about how she controls him.  How  before she jumped from the car and she was going to have him arrested. I will spare you the details. Suffice to say, over time, I discovered, he was right when he brought me some indisputable evidence.

He came to my home with a recording of one of her tirades directed at him. I could hear their two children in the background  asking mommy to to stop yelling at daddy. Stop hitting Daddy.

And what she called him, her husband, blew me away. It was vulgar, foul and does not merit publication here. She cut every aspect of him down, from his looks, to his intelligence, to his manhood, in front of the kids.... who by this point were sobbing. The tape ended when he picked up the kids said, "No more, it's gonna' be okay kids," and I heard the door slam as he took the kids to the grandparents.

I has him to play that tape for her parents, his parents and their marraige therapist. She was exposed. I  was no longer her friend. An ultimately, they divorced.

I  know today her husband and children, now young men, are okay. However, she is on Meth,

She went from earning 10k a month, with a wonderful husband and two kids. and a house with a pool and view in Seattl... to a Meth addict in a trailer in  the woods of Oregon.
What a waste of so much.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When Love Hurts

I have to head outb head out now on my rounds and do not want to leave the blog empty for long period of time. Among, the blessings and burdens of being a P.I. are the hours. You never know when you will be called out, where you go until you are sent there, or how long you'll be gone.

One case I am working on involved a woman who has seriously gone over the edge after her husband's recent exit from their marriage. He  filed for divorce, he said, because she is nuts, but covertly so...
and after so many years of her controlling, demanding, negative ways, he wanted a life for himself.

According to dad,  mom is both boozing and using  pills.  Dad wants full custody because he feels the kids aren't being cared for properly by mom ---  who has  added one more ingredient into the volatile mix -- a boyfriend is 20 years younger than mom. He is 24 mom is 44. The youngest child, a girl, is 5.
The eldest, a boy, 7.  It appears mom, is now officially a cougar.... and dad is worried either the cougar or her mate will harm his children.

This prompted me to think about another domestic case I know a whole lot about that turned to into a horrific murder. In this case, however, the victims were the married couple.

Two soldiers killed, Timothy and Randi Miller,  were killed not overseas, here on  a base at Ft Lewis, Washington.

I got to Fort Lewis alot on business. Also the Naval Base at Bremerton, the McChord Air Force base, Whidbey Island and more.  I live nearby the Bangor Sub Base.

You'd think once our soldiers come home, they'd be safe.
Not so.

I am linking you now to a true crime case that you'll be hearing more about in the days ahead. The story's a little old, though it's a great summary of the case.

Here's the link. The title of this blog post will also take you there.

As you investigate you may want to look into the National Equirer (they're online) this week. They've got a picture of the couple, their baby, and the murderer in custody.
Excuse me... "alleged" murderer.
Though between you and me,  Ivette is guilty as sin.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sinking Ships

As the economy continues to tank and the unemployment level continues to inch up, (some communities are now at 20% unemployment rate), people who were normally a little unstable are being much more unstable.

And those used to a certain "bigger-than-your-average bear" lifestyle are no longer luxury cruise liners, they are sinking ships riddled with holes.

Drowning people resort to desperate measures and P.I.'s are often called in to help the people with the strongest survival instincts, the ones who do not want to go down with the ship.

Sometimes, by bailing water and and plugging holes, a P.I. can help.
Other times, the damage is done to a point of no undoing.
The ship is officially sinking, the rats have left the house and  Davy Jones is calling.
At this point, it's simply a matter of clean-up, if there is any to be done.

It is always better to hire a P.I. sooner  rather than later.
When you've got a cheater, spouse beater, fraudulent book keeper, a stalker,  thief,  meth head, bigamist,  whatever unsavory character or force in your life, or the life of someone you care about....
When you have psycho in your world who could be a neighbor, stranger, spouse, partner, current or ex...
When anything and everything is screwed up in your life and you need help...
that help is more likely to arrive when the cavalry is given enough time to get there.


That said...  I have been hearing strange truths/stories all week.

A favorite came through this morning over coffee with a friend who stopped by for an assist from my husband, who is good with engines.

The friend, who agreed I could blog his story.... provided I didn't use his real name or the town he lives in... started talking, as all these guys do, when they stop by the man cave  for some kind of  mechanical assist. 

So let's call this friend Mark.
Mark lives out here on the Olympic Penninsula, in an extremely remote town in the middle, literally ,of nowhere.
There are enclaves of small communities off Highway 101.
These communities are built at the end of mile long  dirt roads that lead to more dirt roads.
Then  there are clusters of cabins,  RV's, Campers, whatever people live in.

The people who choose this lifestyle  hate the city, love the rural way. They hunt and fish for all their food. They talk a lot about guns and shoots, fishing, generators and tell stories about the crazy people who live in the middle of nowhere like they do.

So Mark lives in one of those small towns and we have known him a while.

I like Mark a lot. I love his stories because where he lives, the police tend not to respond to  certain calls and it's like the old west. Civil justice of a different variety.

So what brought him to our house this morning was the water his female neighbor, a "tweeker" (meth head), got in his  beloved diesel  truck's engine.

He said he just discovered she had  been stealing his gas, which he kept in cans near his home. When she opened up the can with diesel in it,  she  realized it was different,  and left the cap off, which let water into the can.

Ms. Meth Head confessed to Mark she was the one who did it when she saw him trying to start his  diesel powered pick-up, heard three explosions and then the truck died. Mark said he came out, looked at his engine and just started freaking out. He said he worked on it four five hours before she came out and confessed what she did.

Now... that truck is Mark's pride and joy.
Mark never had kids.
Nor does he currently have a woman.
This truck, which he bought maybe six months ago, is his baby.  Love of his life. Pride and joy.
And now, because of said meth  head,  the engine is currently dead.

As the guys explained to me what happens when you mix diesel with water then put it in an engine, I could almost see the black cloud hanging over poor Mark's head. He was so ticked off.  He said he wanted to kill the tweeker when she confessed.

He said it was a wonder he controlled himself, but she got one hell of a tongue lashing.
And he said next time she comes to him with a black eye, broken arm, hair torn out of her head because her meth head boyfriend beat the crap out of her, he's just gonna' laugh in her face.

Meantime, he's got to pull his engine and save his truck and that's why he's here. To do a pre-surgical consult with the engine meister.

Before they go out to talk, I asked Mark how many meth heads are in his town.
He said, "Heck they're all over the place, we got a bunch living along the two dirt roads we're on. They're mixed in with really good stable people who've lived here all their lives."

He released a torrent of meth related stories.
And then came my question about  what the police do about the meth heads.

He said they don't even respond anymore unless it's meth manufacturing or  murder.
No one wants to be out on the roads after dark so after 10 pm, he said, you don't see the cops.
There are so many drunks and meth heads, driving  the two lane highway around Mark's house, that stretch of road has worse survival odds than a round of Russian Roulette.
I told Mark I'd done two cases in his area and no way I would drive those roads after sunset.

Mark told me that was wise because his good friend was killed on the highway near his house last month.

"He'd been drinking" Mark said, "Was drunk to the gills. Got in his car, drove it round the bend and missed the curve. Flew off the embankment, hit a huge tree, flipped upside down and lets just say..." Mark said slowly, "my friend had to peeled out of that car"

Mark said the community built a memorial to his friend. They took the dead guy's favorite saw  (he was a lumber jack) and sawed it right into the tree he crashed into... and now, there's a cross, balloons, flowers and it's huge.

I said something about how his buddy chose to drive drunk and in essence killed himself. I also said what a good thing it was he didn't take someone else out.

Mark said, "We all drive drunk round there.  Most start drinking in the morning. So you know at night when you get in your car, you might not come home."

While he is saying that, I am thinking about some tourist taking the scenic route home and getting stuck late after dark on the particular spot of 101. Those are the folks who, when hit,  deserve the memorials. Not the drunk drivers.

However, I chose not to debate. Just listen. And on went the tales of lunacy amid meth heads, gun fire in the night, bullets zooming past Mark's head. Semi automatic rifles. And I am thinking.... this is America?

Mark left and headed home in his spare car while I was writing this post.


Next, Carl, the guy I wrote about a few blogs back... the guy with a bullet in his head, he stopped by. He came in for the coffee  and said his hellos. I asked him about a woman he'd been dating. How that was going?

One word answer.


My interest, as always, was piqued.

"Psycho how?" I asked.

"Cute gal, " he said, "Great body. It's just she's a raving alcoholic. Also flat broke. She lives on one of those floating homes near the water.

I told him I didn't know there were floating homes there.

He said, they're more like shacks. A lot of homeless people have taken them over.

"Yep, I dated my share of psychos." Carl said. "Don't know why I can't find myself a sane woman."

"Well you're a good looking guy Carl," I said, " And you"re single. You might as well have a target painted on your back. Everyone's after you. You're just not good at picking out the right ones."

He laughed  and said  every woman he meets lately turns out to be  batty.

"Last one before this one, " he said, " she left a butcher knife stuck in the pillow next to me. Woke up to it in the morning and she was gone."

"A butcher knife?" I asked, wide eyed. 

"Yep, he said, "and a damn big one too."

"What'd you do to her to deserve that?" I asked.

"That's the whole thing, " he laughed, "Nothing. Next day she calls me up, asks if we want to get together like nothing happened."

"You didn't?" I asked.

"I didn't" he said. " I told her what I found in my pillow and she denied it. Said it was someone else.
I broke it off right there. But she didn't let go so easy."

The story continued, how he had to separate from what truly became a psycho stalker.
Never got a protective order, never involved the police or a P.I.
Did it all on his own.

Some people go through their lives without an ounce of real trouble.
Others are followed  by it.
Morale of these stories is this:
within each of us lies the ability to control our problems before they control us.
If you need an assist from an attorney or investigator, don't hesitate to ask.
Key is accepting you've got a problem.
That's where alot of people run into trouble.
The river of denial runs deep as the ocean.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Burning Love

The story ends like this.
He was dead.
She, his wife, was the accused.
And for good reason. Being, she did it.

At first, they thought it was the fire that killed him while he slept on his back, in bed.

That's because, in the beginning, no one knew about the green antifreeze she mixed with green Gatorade and green Jello she fed him while his stomach grew increasingly upset. The antifreeze alone should have killed him, but it didn't.

The autopsy revealed the smoke hit his lungs, so he evidently was alive when he breathed in the smoke. It was the smoke that finally shut down all systems.
It was the fire that sealed the deal.

Why he remained prone in his bed when the smoke came, was another puzzle solved post mortem.

He'd been injected with a drug usually found only in surgical units because it's almost exclusively used in surgical procedures. It causes a slow body paralysis without affecting consciousness.

She, his wife, was a nurse who worked in the surgical unit at the nearby hospital.
She was at work when the fire started.
To others at work, the first she heard of the fire was when she was called at the hospital and told her house was engulfed in flames.

When she arrived at the house, she told the police to look in the garage for her husband's car. If the car was there,  she said, he was home.  She told firemen he'd been home sick earlier, maybe he left to get some medicine.

His car was in the garage.
The firemen eventually found the husband, still in bed, literally burnt to a crisp... his gold fillings and gold rings laying where they should be, body parts turned to ashes.

She played her part to a tee. While no one witnessed actual tears,  there were moans, groans and whines of despair. Still there were crucial errors.

Killing him was her first mistake.
Willingly coming to police headquarters without counsel for an interview was her second.

First thing the police asked was whether she left work the day of her husbands death.
"No" she replied, without hesitation. She'd answered the question before.

Everyone believed her story... until a security camera in the hospital lobby, one outside the front door and one in the parking lot, showed her coming and going.

The little trip, which she denied taking during the taped police interview, took just enough time for a quick stop home and back to the hospital where she worked.

When the police showed her the footage of her leaving the hospital, she "suddenly" remembered she had to leave the hospital  to move her cart to change parking spaces.

Then the police asked if when she left the hospital, did she go home?

She said, no, she moved the car, that's all.

That's when  the police told her a witness across the street from her house saw her  car enter her home's driveway and saw her exit the car, enter the house, and exit, then drive away rather  quickly,  just a few minutes later.

This  neighbor sighting was about the same time she left the hospital, the police told her.

That's the thing about lies.
You tell one,...just one... and it starts a tiny ball rolling that grows bigger and bigger until it trips you up in  your own deception.

If the small town the allegedly grieving woman lived in had pillars, she was certainly was one of those pillars until this happened. Noble nurse, devoted mother, loyal wife.

She went all the way to trial believing her saintlike stature in her small town community would outweigh the evidence.
Not so.

It's said "people with nothing to hide hide nothing."
The inverse is also true.

People with something to hide, hide everything.

So they talk more to prove their innocence by weaving what they believe is a credible web of lies. They say more, they act out more, they reveal more in an effort to convince you they know nothing.

And inevitably, if there is an affair there, it will be found... in text messages, on computer hard-drives, or cell records; on motel registers, in pants pockets or in witness sightings.
She, said grieving widow, was having a full blown fling with a co-worker prior to the fire and death.

Ultimately it all comes out in the wash... or in the courtroom.
In her case, it was the latter.
She was  convicted and given a life sentence instead of the death sentence she gave her husband.

And the family of the dead husband filed a civil suit against the nurse.
Unfortunately, there was nothing left to collect.
Between the time of the killing and time she was convicted, she'd received and spent nearly 500k in insurance money. What didn't go to her defense attorneys, went up her nose.

Today she rots in a prison cell for life.
All appeals have failed.
All hope is gone.
Yet still, she denies her guilt.
Evidently, for psychopaths, killing is far easier than telling the truth.