Jul 13, 2008

The other day I got a note from K, the ex-wife of a serial killer named D. He's been on death row at San Q for more than 20 years. I wrote about D years ago, trying to raise questions about his case.

K writes me from time to time and just the other day, with no seque, to say that she was "fascinated by the Jesse Jackson kerfuffle": "His comment, as far as I'm concerned, was bright green envy showing itself."

K got her divorce from D in the mid 90s. They were married on death row and divorced after nearly 10 years? Or maybe it was less. In any case, a marriage of convenience for both. The advantage to the wife, as that old prison adage goes, 'you always know where your husband is at night.' For him, she became his 'gopher' and go-to girl. She believed he was innocent and so justified the bargain.

I had also gotten involved with D's case in the belief that he might be innocent. Guilty of many crimes but not murdering 6 young prostitutes in the spring of 1980. I have told you this story. The trial was a sham. The defense attorney was too drunk to make the case. The jury convicted a man who seemed to be exactly what the prosecution claimed. But was he?

Was he the killer or the woman he lived with occasionally, Carol — a slovenly wreck of a woman, a nurse by day, a devilina by night — who had done the murders with her other acquaintance, Jack. In court, Carol was cast as a defenseless widow from the San Fernando Valley, in the clutches of a panting satyr — which was true about D. In fact, she was defenseless and in a separate trial after D's was convicted in the murder of Jack whom she shot, stabbed and decapitated. She admitted that and also admitted being in a car with D when he killed one of his victims. One of D's crimes involved a girl who had also been decapitated but no one did a forensic analysis to see if the two decapitations had anything in common. And then there was a bloody scalp in Jack's van... Who did that belong to? In the end, were the real killers, Jack and Carol, or D and Carol.

I interviewed Carol twice. She was down east of Los Angeles, in a correctional facility for women. She has since died by the way. Of diabetes. And general collapse. Her spirit is pressed against the bottom of a slag heap in some uninhabitable industrial area in New Jersey.

She and I spent two long sessions together. Alone, in a room. The second time we were abandoned by prison staff who went home at 5 on the nose, forgetting that Carol and I were in a small room off a far hallway in the administration building. This second time I wanted to get the goods on her once and for all, and it came down to whether she would confess that she had been in the car Doug claimed they were in, or the one she had claimed. The difference was vital. Even if she said she couldn't remember or changed her story; that would be enough to encourage efforts for a new trial, which was never had.

And at one point she did seem to admit that the murder had occurred, if I remember correctly and I may not, in the Buick not in the compact. Her story had always involved the compact, and her story was that D was in the driver's seat with a prostitute giving him a blow job and took the gun from Carol who was sitting in the back seat. I always thought the idea that any man, much less D, would shoot a woman with his penis in her mouth, was madness. Especially, D who was a satyr and a coward. He worshipped sexual pleasure, loved prostitutes and was insatiable but not kinky to that point.

His story was that he was in the backseat getting a blow job, a birthday present from Carol, that much was kinky, and that Carol suddenly pulled out a gun and shot the girl. The body was never found. But Carol remembered the whole incident very well, and after seeming to cry for a moment about the murder, suddenly began laughing and purring about what "beautiful tits" the victim had.

There was no darker persona than Carol's and to be around her was to infect yourself with her broken personalities.

Nevertheless, in the end, I got Carol's very damaging story on tape. Carol sat there, trying to seduce me, promising me still more information, careening along with one lens fallen out of her glasses, and so the one eye was magnified, the other with no lens, tiny, a slit. The owl and rat, I always thought.

I got back that night and K insisted I give her the tape with this very damaging story. Later, that night she went to listen to it in her car stereo. Then left the tape in the player which was stolen before the next morning. The loss of that tape was a disaster, and all these years later, although I have all the rest of the interview, I can't remember the details of Carol's admission. I remember that she slipped up and that what she said was very damaging, but that's all.

For her part, K no longer cares about whether D is innocent or not. She last saw him in 1996 and that was enough.

1 comment:

Anjuli said...

It is sad about the stolen tape.

No one will ever know if it held something significant for D's appeals.