So whadaya know about murder?

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Biddlin, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Until a few years ago, I had been fortunate enough to not know any murder victims, personally. Although I have lived in literally lawless logging camps and boomtowns and later in LA around the time of the Patty Hearst SLA affair, played biker clubhouses and parties and lived less than a block from squeaky fromme, it had not taken anyone i knew well until my friend Marian. I had learned a few days before it happened that she was homeless and feared the worst, which happened, we believe, suddenly and ended quickly in the night along the banks of the Sacramento river. There are as yet, some 12 years later, no suspects or theories, the case folder has the same two sheets of paper that were enclosed on the first day. The detective assigned to the case has been retired for 6 years, he never actually went to the crime scene,"What do think I'd find out there in the tulies." Not much if you don't look.
    This started me researching and writing articles about local murders, solved and unsolved, talking to survivors of the victims and families of the murderers. Some of the interviews were disturbing because of the casual way the subjects could talk about the the most awful day in their lives. Others because of the horror that someone was still going through every day years after the event. A young lady who worked at my pharmacy approached me after she heard I was writing a book about murder and told me the story of her 9th Christmas morning, when her uncle walked in on the family opening presents and shot her father dead with a revolver. She has to take leave from work every year because of the songs and decorations everywhere. She told me, "I go to my dad's old cabin near Santa Cruz and stay there until Jan 20th. Sometimes I think about just staying out there and wasting away and no one would come looking for me, if I did." 26 years old and model good looks, she is unable to connect on a meaningful level with another soul. "Gave up on relationships, I'm too toxic."
    The other thing that became evident after a brief look at these stories is that murder is a communicable disease. Your chances of being murdered increase seven fold if a close family member is murdered or murders another. Murder victims' survivors are also more likely to commit suicide and to commit a murder themselves. While researching all of this I was/am acutely wary of bringing the virus home and am also aware of how the research has affected me. The two murderers that I interviewed in a nearby prison were disturbing in different ways. One was a stone cold sociopath, who had murdered his elderly neighbors because their loud tv disrupted his musical listening. The other was 15 when he killed a store keeper who had pulled the gun in self-defense and got shot in the ensuing struggle. The first fellow is securely held in maximum security and will remain there for the rest of his days. The second had a parole hearing this week and I was asked to appear to speak to his truthfulness about the crime and his expression of remorse. I brought my notes and uncomfortably went to the hearing. He sat at a table with his attorney and I sat in a witness box next to the panel of three hearing the case. After affirming that I would promise to tell the truth, a board member asked me general questions about who I was and how I came to interview the prisoner. Then, to my surprise the second member asked me to simply give my recollection of the interview. I gave a very brief and dry summary, hoping that that would be enough, but the third board member asked, "What did you think about *****'s profession of guilt and remorse?"
    "I thought how sad it was that the fifteen year-old wasn't as reflective as the guy in front of me."
    "You believed him?"
    "I did."
    We learned today that he will be paroled later this month. He has spent nearly 12 years locked down, earned a high school diploma and completed firefighter training as well as some university courses. I don't know how he'll do on the outside but I wish him well. Statistically he is unlikely to re-offend, but there is always that communicable disease model in the back of my mind........................
     
  2. Rox

    Rox Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing that Biddlin, it's both fascinating and heartbreaking all at once.
     
  3. Tiboy

    Tiboy Member

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    Where are your articles published? Available online?
     
  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I'm working on a book about Marian's murder as well as a second book on the murder of two senior citizens by a local kid in a small town and the aftermath. I occasionally get space in the local "free press." I started Marian's book as a cathartic exercise, but found so many people who are forever changed by these events and NEED to talk about it that I have taken on this second story, but will not get as personally involved, I hope.
     

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