Incarceration

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


Rick Gardner has always claimed his innocence for the slaughter of an entire family over 45 years ago, and is serving a 5-lifetime term in prison. His new cell mate, an 18 year boy who killed both
of his parents, may hold the key to who really massacred the family.

Submitted: November 10, 2017

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Submitted: November 10, 2017

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-1-

  Mike glanced up at the clock on the wall, above the multiple monitor screens sitting in front of him, making him smile, realizing that his shift was almost over, and he was looking forward to the long weekend off, after working ten days straight. With 4 years left until his retirement when he turns 65, he’ll have 25 years in as a prison guard at one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Corcoran. Located in Kings County, California, its notorious reputation, according to the locals, started with the incarceration of Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and currently it houses infamous criminals like Juan Corona, who murdered twenty five people in 1971. And its most recognized of all the inmates, Charles Manson, also resides here after being transferred from San Quentin to Corcoran in March, 1989, one year after the prison opened its doors.

  Organizing the desk for his shift replacement who was due to be here anytime, Mike’s eyes fell on the transfer form, sticking out from underneath a stack of files sitting on the edge of the desk. He had almost forgotten that they’re expecting  a new prisoner who is being transferred from the county jail to begin his life sentence plus 20 years, for the brutal murder of his parents. Jeremy Moody, an average looking skinny kid who just turned 18 during his 6-month trial, was 17 when he was found covered in blood sitting between his parents in their bed. Reading the file, Mike flipped through the gruesome pictures showing how he meticulously carved ‘Asshole’ on his Father’s chest, and ‘Whore Pig’ across his Mother’s breasts, cutting each nipple off stuffing them into her mouth.

  Offering a plea of not guilty, claiming insanity, after months of witnesses and psychological opinions he was found competent to stand trial. Jeremy had been on anti-depressants most of his life, after suffering sexual and physical abuse from his father, who was a convicted pedophile years ago, before Jeremy was even born, and released because he was legally shown to be cured through the eyes of the law, of his molestation tendencies.

  He wasn’t, and he continued abusing his son Jeremy, while his Mother turned away repudiating that it was still going on, and one night his short fuse was lit, and he exploded, killing them both with a sledge hammer while they slept, and methodically began his carving ritual. When they walked into the bedroom, one of the officers stated that Jeremy looked up at them, and asked if he spelled everything correctly, laughing at his own sick joke. Reading that, gave Mike Williams a chill, and he quickly closed the file when the overhead buzzer sounded off making him jump, indicating a request for entrance to the cell block. Looking up at the monitor on the right, he could see two guards with what looked like a young teenager standing between them, hand and leg shackles, which barely retained his hands from slipping out of the cuffs. This young kid had no clue what the rest of his life would be like inside these prison walls. In 1996, a journalist named Mark Arax, claimed the Corcoran prison was the most dangerous of all state prisons, where officers here had killed more inmates than any other prison in the country, with many of the shootings having no proper justification. This kid just didn’t look like he belonged in a prison like Corcoran. Watching this young-looking kid, who reminded him of the neighbor boy who mows his lawn, he just looked totally out of character being sent to this place, where some of the worst criminals in the country are living out their lives in solitude, locked away from society. As he was almost out of view of the camera after Mike buzzed them in, Jeremy shot a glance into the camera, smiling like a kid who couldn’t wait to get on the roller coaster ride. Remembering those dark, almost black eyes driving home, Mike just knew that something was eerily strange, and wrong inside of that boy's head. After 20 years of looking into the eyes of some of the most dangerous criminals in the country, he developed a fairly reliable accuracy in reading the evil resting behind them, and this kid was definitely holding an evil, dark secret. It was like the old wives tale, of getting goosebumps when someone has supposedly walked on your grave. He had something else hidden in his mind, beyond the bloody slaughter and mutilation of his parents, and Mike’s intuition raised the hairs on the back of his neck.

  As Jeremy emptied his pockets, and took the orange bundle of prison clothing which he’d probably be wearing the remainder of his life, he looked into Mike’s eyes, with his dark, black empty glare, “Take care of my watch, sir! My time will start over as soon as I’m free again!”

  The larger overweight guard rolled his eyes, and chuckled, “the rest of your time is going to be within these walls, boy! Now shut-up, and start walking,” he demanded forcing him away from the doorway with his nightstick. “Who has the privilege of sharing his miserable life with this piece of shit, Mike,” he asked, chuckling?

“Let’s see! Looks like, uh,” scrolling down the chart, with his finger, “Rick Gardner gets the pleasure!” Thinking to himself, of the irony of two mass murderers sharing most of their life together in one of the larger 11 foot by 11 foot cells.

  Rick was convicted of slaughtering an entire family of 5, with a hammer and an ice pick 44 years ago, and will never be outside of these prison walls, again.

“You’re a lucky kid,” the guard said sarcastically, continuing his taunting! “You’ll have the company of the infamous, McGuire family killer, Rick Gardner! You boys can share war stories about your sick, disgusting crimes, while you both rot in hell,” he chuckled louder!”

  Neither Mike, or either of the two prison guard observed the stunned, almost shocked expression on Jeremy’s face, when he heard the guard's words. It was as if he was reminded of something in his head, he had never known, or thought of before, but he couldn’t recollect what it meant. As they walked by the other cells, the bellowing and the howling started, along with some of the prisoners christening the new convict with spit or urine, and toilet water thrown on him as they passed their cells. As Mike stood by the guard office door, leaning out watching them walking towards the new home for another mass murderer, the buzzer went off again, making him spill his coffee.

  Shaking his head, and chuckling to himself, he went over, hitting the access button so Connor, his replacement could take over the graveyard shift, and he could get the hell out of here for a few days. After filling him in on the new inmate, and going over the roster, Mike left the prison as fast as he could, climbing into his Ford F-150, breathing a sigh of relief. Smiling to himself, he started his truck and headed down the road away from Corcoran, but then he looked into the rearview mirror, wishing it was 4 years later, and this was the last time he’d be watching Corcoran getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.

-2-

  The interior of the cell was exceptionally clean, compared to the other cells in this block, where the most familiar mass murderers, and killers in the country are incarcerated. There are a few cells where an inmate has regressed into a wild animal, pacing back and forth in their small world, muttering to themselves, and scrawling incoherent messages, bible scriptures, and filthy quotes on the walls, but not in cell #51. This has been Rick Gardner’s cell for the last 30 years, and all but the first 3 years, he was the only occupant.

  When he was transferred here to finish the remainder of his 5 life terms, which would literally be upon his death, there was a small, frail, old man in cell #51. He had killed his wife for over cooking his steak, and after a few days was finally caught, having eaten several steaks carved out of his wife’s ass, perfectly cooked. Now, after 50 plus years in prison, he had become considered completely insane, talking gibberish only to himself, and all the prisoners stayed far away from him during their daily one hour in the yard. They nicknamed him, ‘The Chef’, and nobody wanted to be his next meal. During those 3 years confined together, Rick never felt intimidated, or afraid of this frail old man, who kept to himself never speaking directly to him, which he didn’t mind at all. One morning after his morning constitution sitting on the toilet, he glanced over to the upper bunk, and watched as the last of ‘The Chef’s’ blood dripped on the expanding red pool on the floor. He had slit his wrist with a shank, and with his mouth covered in blood, drank himself to death until he died.

  The shadows of 3 people filtering through the bars, made Rick look up as the cell door slowly opened, and he saw his 2 least favorite guards, standing on each side of some scrawny kid.

  The larger guard grinned, and spit on the floor in front of him as he sat on the edge of the cot, while the other guard pushed the kid through the doorway, with his nightstick.

“Here you go Ricky,” chuckled the larger guard! “Meet B-47155, Jeremy Moody, another piece of shit like all you punks in this cell block,” shoving him hard, almost knocking him to the floor!

“You’re a peach, butterball,” Rick muttered under his breath, as the door slammed shut. Wishing he hadn’t called him that, knowing how much he hated that nickname the inmates gave him.

“Did you say something, scumbag?” He glared back, his face turning red, looking between the bars, as the door slid shut. Rick looked up, shaking his head no, and then back to his new cell mate who was standing in front of him, holding the bag of prison clothes and toiletries they gave him. “Ignore him, he’s an asshole,” he whispered as the guard's footsteps faded away. “I’m B-39442, but you can call me Rick.”

“Most people are assholes,” Jeremy chuckled, cracking a weak crooked smile. “Just so you know I’m not gay, and I’m not a psycho because I killed my parents! They deserved it! They all did,” he continued, throwing his bag on the other cot, and laying on his back with his hands behind his head, closing his eyes.

  “They deserved it! They all did,” echoed in Rick’s head while he slept, waking him up, as he rolled over on his side, in the dark. Looking up at the small clock he had on a tiny table next to his bed, and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, it showed 2:34am. Laying there in the dark, Rick started thinking about Jeremy and the odd thing he said, which played over and over in his head.

  Like it’s a riddle! They deserved it! They all did? “What the fuck,” he whispered to himself! “He killed both of his parents. Only his parents, and that’s two people! They all did? What the hell’s he talking about? Has he killed others, too?”

These thoughts filled Rick’s head the entire night, until he watched the sunrise filtering through the bars onto the floor, and he closed his eyes for another half hour, until Butterball walked by the cells banging his nightstick  on the bars as he did every morning, rather than just have an alarm set, or even play music. Rick’s seen the abuse that’s gone on within these walls, and most of the time, the guards were in the middle of it, either for paid protection, or for favors. Same type of corruption, you see from some of those in law enforcement, on the outside. When he slowly opened his eyes, looking over at the other cot, it was empty, and actually it was already made like a military cot at boot camp. Out of the corner of his eye, a shadow blocked the sun peeking through the bars in the window, and he jerked up on his elbow. Jeremy was standing over him looking strangely at the articles, Rick had taped on the wall next to his cot.

“So where are you from,” Rick asked, looking up at Jeremy, who was reading one of the news articles he had mounted to the wall?

“Why do you care,” he stopped, putting his hand on the wall, turning and looking at Rick? “We’re both mass murderers, and this is home now, right? Don’t need a friend!”

“Chill out bud! Just making conversation,” Rick replied, shaking his head! “If you don’t feel like talking, don’t!” He stood and went over to the cell doors, placing his arms through the bars, looking out.

“Why did you save these news articles about the McGuire Family massacre? Are they, like your trophy’s for killing them,” he chuckled, flicking the article with his hand, and sitting on his cot? “You’re sicker than I am! At least my parents deserved what happened to them!”

  Rick walked over to the wall, tapped the articles, and turned towards Jeremy, who had laid on his back with his hands behind his head. “You’re the sick one kid! Killing your own parents! I didn’t kill anybody, and I don’t give a fuck whether you believe me or not,” he screamed with both hands on his hips! “Yeah, I found them all dead that night, but I didn’t kill anyone,” he replied pacing back and forth, pointing at the articles!

“This happened 44 years ago, and these are a reminder to me, that I didn’t do it,” he answered defiantly! “I found them all dead, and I shouldn’t have panicked and ran away, but when I saw those little children beaten to a bloody pulp, I just freaked out! Hell, I was only 20 years old! ”

“The article read that your fingerprints were all over in the house, and that was all the evidence they needed to prove you guilty,” Jeremy scoffed at him. “Besides, with a face like yours, you had to be guilty,” he started laughing, before Rick ran over and punched him in the mouth, knocking him down on the cot.

“Yeah, and that’s what the media wrote, and some of the jurors said after the trial in an interview,” he responded, shaking, and standing over Jeremy, whose mouth started bleeding, and he was shaking, as if he was going to be hit again. Standing over him, after taking a deep breath, Rick held out his hand. “Hey, I’m sorry! But hearing that from every piece of shit in here, including the guards, I get worked up sometimes. I may be ugly, but I’m not a killer!”

  Jeremy lay there on his back, rubbing his jaw, and slapped Rick’s hand away, rolling over towards the wall on his side. Rick went over to his cot and sat down, putting his head in his hand, wishing he hadn’t lost his temper, especially with his first cell mate in over 27 years. Not a good way to make friends with a roommate, he thought to himself. His thoughts went back to the trial when everybody was staring at him during the proceedings when they displayed the pictures of the McGuire family together, and then each family member before, and after they were beaten to a bloody pulp, with a hammer and an ice pick. How could they not think he did it, he thought.

  He was a product of an incestuous union between his dad and his dad’s  own sister, who lived with them at the time. And because of inbreeding, he had a congenital birth defect, called drastic facial asymmetry. Rick’s face was so severely deformed that each side of his face looked like they belonged to 2 separate people. His mouth had a very noticeable slant, not unlike the result of a massive stroke, his ears were entirely different shapes, and even his eyes were different in size, with one being  blue, and the other one, a dark brown. Although he wasn’t hunchbacked, the other inmates called him, ‘Quasimodo’, after the Hunchback of Notre Dame story. They taunted and teased him for several years, but then it began to wear out when Rick just started ignoring them, and a prisoner had been transferred to Corcoran, who had an extreme cleft palate, so with their disgusting immature ignorance, they all focused on the new guy they started calling, ‘Split Pea’, because he also had a malformed small pea-shaped head. Rick felt sorry for the new guy, but at least they left him alone. A month later, ‘Split Pea’ was found hanging in the shower, committing suicide. Several inmates had raped him the night before, screaming in his ears while taking turns, that they were making split pea soup, until he passed out. The next morning when he woke up still lying on the shower floor, he snapped, and hung himself with the piece of cloth they ripped from his prison jumpsuit, and stuffed in his mouth so he couldn’t scream. The rumors were that the guards were paid to stand watch while he was being raped, and then they just left him on the floor all night, in excruciating pain, in his own blood from the brutal rape. When Rick looked up, he realized that the sun had already set, and it sounded like his new cell mate had fallen asleep, hearing him snoring really loud. Great, he thought! Covering his ears with his pillow he rolled over, facing the wall, and went to sleep, thinking about that horrible event in his life, which determined his destiny.

-3-

  In the dream, Rick was walking by the McGuire’s house on his way home next door, where he lived in an attic above the garage, next to his aunt Carole’s house where she lived with her 9 year old son, Henry. She adored Rick, and after her sister, who committed suicide after the truth was divulged to her and then the entire small town, that the father of her sister-in-law’s baby, was her own husband’s child, she took him into her home. After the tragic suicide, Rick’s dad, and his sister, Rick’s real mom, disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving him at the age of 17, alone in the house. Carole could barely pay the mortgage on her own house after her husband died when she was pregnant with their son, so Rick’s house was repossessed by the bank, and she told him to move in with her and Henry. And being the stronger of the 2 sisters, Carole didn’t give a damn what the town gossip would be.

  Because of his intimidating and misunderstood looks, along with people’s ignorant whispers and gossiping, even crossing the street to avoid him on the sidewalk, or just anywhere in public, Rick couldn’t acquire work anywhere, where he would have to interact with customers. After a couple years, he finally started getting callbacks for night jobs, warehouse positions, and he even applied at a mortuary, figuring that dead people couldn’t stare at his face, or make fun of him. On his way home this particular night after an interview for a security guard position he found online with his aunt Carole’s computer, he was really excited to get home and give her the good news, that he finally has a job, and he can pay his own way, and help with the groceries. His world was coming together, and for the first time in his life, he had hope. Even growing up with an unspeakable disgusting family secret, beyond comprehension, Rick was a very intelligent, and respectful person, and now he can finally prove it to the world, and to himself, starting with his first job.

  He didn’t know the McGuires very well, who lived in the huge 2-story house with the attached 2-car garage next door, but he had seen the little girl and boy riding their bikes up and down the long driveway to the garage, numerous times. He knew a teenage girl lived there too, because he’d seen her and he presumed her boyfriend, sitting on the porch swing, holding hands, talking, and occasionally kissing. He was a little envious watching what looked like the perfect family. They were always doing things together, and he’s seen the husband many times, kissing his wife goodbye in the morning. Whenever they saw him walking by, they would always wave, or say hello. Even the little girl, who was probably around 8 years old would be cordial, not staring at his face, or making fun of him. Respectful kids, brought up right, he always thought!

  The little boy reminded Rick of one of his best friends when he was 5 years old, who was actually the only real friend he could remember. When his best friend moved away, he never really acquired another close friend. As he grew older, the hurtful cruelty that kids can inflict on each other increased, and they all made fun of him, calling him malicious names. This dream he had almost every night is always the same dream, same time in the past, but over the years, something else was added into the dream, like another chapter in a book. It’s always night time in the dream, and he even started seeing the husband mowing his yard, as if it was the weekend when he usually mowed, but in the dream it was late at night. Made him wonder why he sees all these events interacting together, as if every memory in his head of the McGuire’s were thrown on a canvas for a painting, but this isn’t a work of art. It’s the beginning of the same nightmare he always fears having, as little by little, things are added, making the dream more vivid and harder to forget, and it takes place on that same night many years ago. The night, that the McGuire’s world was extinguished! The same night he heard a curdling scream for help, then seeing the same dirty white, battered car backing out of the driveway at full speed, almost hitting him, as he dove into the bushes, with the car missing him by inches. He remembered seeing the car slam to a halt, then a young guy behind the wheel, staring at him lying in the bushes, with dark wild eyes, long black dirty-looking hair, and his face covered in blood, cackling like a madman, with hard rock music blaring out of the open  windows as it backed into the road, squealing its tires, before disappearing over the hill. Then, like every time in this vivid dream, it quickly twisted into a nightmare when he runs through the open front door, seeing the husband, he had just watched mowing the yard, laying by the staircase with a huge hole in the side of his head, where something had been stabbed into it, his body still twitching, like a chicken when it’s head is cut off. A large pool of blood was quickly spreading in a perfect circle as blood gushed out of the side of his head like a fountain. Rick closed his eyes in the dream, and then when he re-opened them, he was in the bedroom of the teenage girl, her head bashed in so hard, there was no face and her brains were splattered on the white pillows and bedspread in a symmetrical pattern, like a wall mural.

  Hearing muffled, moaning sounds from the hallway, running out into the darkness, he almost stumbles over the wife, who was crawling down the hallway, leaving a trail of blood behind her, with her hand and leg marks making swirls in it. The back of her head was missing, as if it had been broken like an egg, and sections of her brain were hanging out. Still alive, she was crawling towards the end of the hallway, moaning, and pointing at the open door, before she collapsed and died, incapable of crawling anymore. Seeing light filtering from the open door, Rick raced into the room where a small Mickey Mouse night lamp was left on, if the little girl got scared in the middle of the night. She had no reason to be afraid of the dark, or of anything. Anymore!

  The pretty little girl who was always kind to him, smiling with her pretty blue eyes, and with the cutest giggle, that always put a smile on Rick’s face, was gone. Her head was almost completely crushed flat against the pillow, as if a truck had run over it. Distraught, shaken, and terrified, he then ran downstairs screaming, and he saw the little boy. The little boy who acted like a grown-up walking next to his dad down the sidewalk, imitating his walk, and trying to use a deeper voice when he would say good morning to Rick, and bow.

  He would bow back, and they would both laugh before shaking hands, and then he’d run home, as fast as his short legs would move, then turn around and yell, “goodbye Ricky!” Only it would be in his shrill, high-pitched voice, and that would make Rick laugh, at this little boy acting like a grown-up.

  His torn beaten little body was lying face down on the floor next to the staircase facing the kitchen. It looked as if he was a voodoo doll, filled with thick puncture wounds in his tiny arms and short legs. The back of his head was also bashed in, but it looked as if someone had scooped out his little brain and smeared it on the wall across from the staircase. Someone wrote “They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!” With quotes as if it was yelled out loud! Turning around, he realized that his bloody footprints were up and down the hallway, and up the stairs, and as he turned to hold onto the wall, because he almost passed out, he threw up all over the wall. And as he bolted out the door, he left a perfect bloody handprint.

-4-

  During the trial, exhibit # 63, was incriminating evidence used against the accused. It was a picture of a bloody handprint on the wall at the crime scene, later identified as belonging to Rick Gardner. His appointed lawyer from the court system, convinced him to request a jury trial after pleading not guilty, so he would have more time to prepare his defense. John Tomlinson JSD, was the name on the business card Rick was given in his cell, by the lawyer sent from the court system. JSD signified that John Tomlinson is a Doctor of Judicial Studies, the equivalent of a law Ph.D. There was no way Rick or his aunt Carole could afford a criminal lawyer, especially for the slaughter of an entire average middle-class family, butchered in their home in the middle of the night, and the only suspect was a young man who lived next door, who some would gossip saying, or comment in the media, ‘he just looks guilty, so he must be!’

  John Tomlinson had his own agenda when he had the extended trial date, and that was to exploit the opportunity of defending what some in the  media dubbed Rick Gardner as ‘Mr. Hyde’, for his startling unnerving appearance. Creating an international media circus, in attesting his commitment to the law, that every person, no matter their appearance, deserved a fair trial. Innocent, until proven guilty!

  There was a state supreme court position opening soon, and he wanted it. He had good intentions, but his greedy careless aspirations, didn’t inspire him enough to spend the necessary amount of time in preparing his defense, unlike the prosecution who had prepared for the family incestuous, deformity defense for those who presume ‘he just looks guilty, so he must be’.

  The professional psychiatrists, historical murder experts, and even a DNA scientist were called in by the prosecution, and after their testimony, showing graphs and figures proving that incest could, and has in the past created violence, and can lead to odd behavior, and serious crime, the jury looked convinced. Armed with this testimony, along with Rick’s fingerprints, shoe prints, and his hand print inside the house, nearby every victim, it left the jury with no doubt. And even without ever finding the murder weapons, the absolute guilty evidence, within an hour of deliberation the jury found Rick Gardner, guilty on all 5 counts, and his sentence was the maximum allowed. John Tomlinson’s wife Nancy, divorced him the year before the trial, after she came to grips that an insatiable appetite for power and success, like a cancer, had taken over the man she fell in love with, and married 5 years ago.

  They also had a daughter together, named Jodie. When Nancy first met John, who had just passed the bar exam, he respected and honored a lawyer's obligations, ‘a lawyer owes certain duties to his or her clients, including a duty to avoid conflicts of interest, a duty of confidentiality, a duty to provide competent representation’. John’s priorities changed from defending a client to the best of his ability, to exploiting them for his own self-interests, left a horrible, disgusting taste in Nancy’s mouth. At first she attributed it to the stress he was under, being over-worked, until she overheard a phone conversation, on speakerphone in his office, between him and his assistant. The door was cracked open, as she was walking by the doorway.

“It doesn’t matter whether he’s found guilty or not. I really don’t give a damn,” John was saying emphatically, pacing back and forth in front of his desk! “This case is my ticket to the Supreme Court! Understand?”

“We put this incestuous, deformed, murderous bastard all over the media, and then we change the plea to not guilty, for reason of insanity, to play the sympathy angle, exploiting his family sick demented history! That way if we win the insanity case, we’ll at least, save his miserable, worthless life!”

  He took a pause sipping on his coffee, and leaned over his desk near the speakerphone. “Any more questions Tom?”

“What if he’s found guilty,” Tom asked, timidly?

“You don’t get it,” John yelled, sounding a little irritated! “It doesn’t matter! He can rot in hell for all I care! We’ll still be in the international media, and it’ll exemplify my commitment, and integrity of the law, that everyone deserves an honorable defense. Even a deformed monstrosity, who just looks guilty! It’s a win, win, Tom!”

  Walking quietly away from the office door that night, and climbing into bed, Nancy had made up her mind to file for divorce, and within 60 days, she and her daughter, Jodie was living temporarily with her sister. Jodie never really knew her father, but hearing about him as she grew up from her mom, and the pain he caused her, she decided to go into law, and after passing her bar exam, she was hired by a small firm. After losing the case that he was convinced would propel his career to the California Supreme Court, John Tomlinson JSD started drinking heavily, dropping pills and snorting cocaine, and after Jodie turned 24 years old, he was killed in a car crash by himself, driving his new Maserati 150 mph, into a tree.

  There was speculation that he committed suicide, because he was found to be bankrupt, and owed millions of dollars to some really bad people. It was only a small, quiet funeral, as John didn’t sustain any of the friendships, or family ties, he shared with Nancy and his daughter. They sat alone quietly in the back of the funeral home, to pay their respects, and the 15 or so people attending the service, had no idea who they were. Jodie was given the opportunity to assume her father’s position as a court appointed attorney, and along with the upcoming cases, she also retained his old cases and clients, including Rick Gardner!

-5-

  It had been almost 6 months, after Jeremy Moody was incarcerated into cell # 51 with Rick Gardner, when Jodie’s office received a call from the Corcoran prison. She hadn’t spoken to her client, inmate B-39442 in over 10 years, when she inherited her Dad’s cases, and Rick Gardner had his 3rd parole hearing, after spending 34 years, in prison. Like the past couple parole hearing’s every 10 years, he was denied. After hanging up the phone, agreeing to meet with Rick next Friday, she glanced through his court files, noticing that he was up for another parole hearing in 60 days. She assumed he probably wants to discuss his chances for an early release appeal, but yet there was an unusual, almost anxious tone in his voice on the phone, which didn’t sound like a guy who’d been beaten by the system, and had accepted his fate. And who is this Jeremy Moody, his cell mate, he talked about who’s having strange dreams, mumbling things in his sleep, and writing words on the walls, only the real killer of the McGuire family would know. Jodie knows that long term prison incarceration can unravel a sane mind, let alone the brain of a psychotic killer, so she started reading all of the trial transcripts of the case against Rick Gardner. She also had her assistant research everything on Jeremy Moody, so she’d be fully educated on both of these mass murderers sharing Cell# 51, when she drives the 80 miles to Corcoran prison.

  After she opened the transcript on Jeremy Moody’s life, showing the gruesome crime scene photo’s of his mutilated parents, along with his gleeful admission of guilt, and then looking into those black, almost empty eyes in his arrest photos, Jodie was not looking forward to meeting this young killer. His first bout with the law, was at the age of 7, when he was caught with one of his mom’s canning jars, filled with water, and he had thrown live baby birds into it, shutting the lid. When the next door neighbor, a retired police officer, opened the garage door to return the mower he borrowed from Jeremy’s dad, he witnessed Jeremy giggling, and watching his new Timex watch he wanted for Christmas, to see how long it would take for them to all die. After he had turned 13 years old, he had already accumulated numerous charges in his arrest record, throwing rocks through windows, shoplifting, cursing at strangers, and random acts of vandalism and destruction of property. In almost every instance, his parents were able to negotiate a simple warning, or to just release him into their custody to be disciplined, at home. According to a psychiatrist's testimony, Jeremy’s abuse started at an early age, when he was left alone with his father, and after his mom came home there would be bruises on his 18 month old body, she would find when she changed his diapers. His father’s sexual and physical continued, because his mother refused to believe that it was going on. His defense appointed attorney pleaded not guilty, for reasons of insanity, attributed to the sexual and physical abuse, he proved during the trial, but in an unprecedented incident in the courtroom, Jeremy pleaded guilty to the charge of premeditated murder, and that he was competent, and not insane. And he would do it again! After reading both of these court transcripts, and the backgrounds of both of these two convicted mass murderers, a portion of the conversation she had with Rick when he called her, came to mind.

“This sounds crazy but, he says it all the time when he talks about killing, and he talks in his sleep saying it, and it was written on the fucking wall, when I woke up last Saturday morning, above his cot,” Rick’s voice starting to choke up, “he doesn’t remember writing it!”

“What is it Rick? What did he write” Jodie asked?

“They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!” As he took another deep breath. “You’re the only one who I can talk to about this on the outside. I need you to believe me. Please come!”

  A chill went up Jodie’a arm, after reading the crime scene report of the McGuire family massacre. Some of the details were omitted during the trial, and have never been released, and one of the details known only to the killer, was the exact wording written on the wall next to the staircase, using the little boy’s brain as a sponge soaked in his blood. The crime scene immediately turned really sloppy, and out of control, as the wall was cleaned before pictures were taken, and what was written in the report, was from the memory of one of the forensic scientists, who stated for a fact that it read; ‘They had to die. They had to die. They had to die!’ During the trial, these words written in blood were testified by several forensic personnel who were at the scene, and agreed with their colleague. What really disturbed Jodie, was that 10 years after his conviction, which sent Rick Gardner away forever, a photo emerged from an old crime scene camera that was taken before the evidence was washed from the wall. It showed blood, mixed with brain matter that dripped down from the words, “They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!”

-6-

  Mike had just started his early morning shift, relieving the new guy, Dominic, who would be taking over his position, after he retires in a few years. As they said their good mornings to each other, and after going over the daily docket, Dominic walked out of the office. Mike glanced over at the desk, that looked like a windstorm blew through the tiny office. It was trashed, and he just shook his head, deciding to get his first cup of coffee for the day, and then tackle the mess. Some people are just slobs he chuckled, shaking his head. After doing this for all these years, he knew how he wanted his own space, and so the first thing he did was pull over the trash can and swept off the fast food bag, with fries laying on the desk, an empty coffee cup, and wiped up a little spilled coffee from the table. After he straightened the desk calendar, placing the walkie-talkie on his left, and his fresh coffee cup to the right of the desk calendar, with his pen and pad next to the phone, he heard screaming radiating out of the cell block. Not just a scream, but one of terror! A bloodcurdling scream, “They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!” then silence, before the prisoners started reacting, yelling, and throwing trash out of their cells. Mike jumped up and ran down to cell# 51, where the screaming originated. Shining his flashlight into the cell, he saw Rick Gardner collapsed, sitting in the middle of the floor, shaking his head convulsively, pointing at the wall above Jeremy Moody’s cot.

  The words Mike heard screaming had been crudely written on the wall. “They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!” Even the quotes, and punctuation marks added, as if it’s meant to be read, out loud. Whatever was used to write the words, was dripping down the walls, still wet, and when Mike opened the cell door, and walking over to the wall, he touched the letters. Rubbing his fingers together, and smelling the red color between his fingers, he glanced down, seeing  that Jeremy had blood dripping from one of his wrists, lying on his back with his eyes open, staring at the ceiling.

“Hey,” Mike asked, shaking Jeremy’s shoulder! “Can you hear me? Are you alright?” His eyes closed, and he rolled over towards the wall, and taking a deep breath, fell fast asleep. Mike turned his head towards Rick, who hadn’t moved from the floor, squatting with his hands on his head.

“I-I didn’t do that,” rocking back and forth, pointing at the wall. “You have to believe me, Mike!” Rick was obviously distraught, and freaking out, and Mike believed him, immediately. He had never really thought there was a mean bone in prisoner B-39442, and he was the only guard in the cell block, who voiced his personal opinion several times, that he never thought that Rick Gardner killed anybody, and was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The other guards would always make fun of him, whenever he’d would state his belief, and they’d tell him that being a softie, will get him killed by one of these pieces of trash, sometime if he’s not careful. They would tell him that they’re all killers, rapists, and child predators, with the same sick, evil gene, and if there was a way to rip out their evil genes, they wouldn’t have to put them in here to die. Mike pushed the button on his walkie-talkie.

  “Yeah, this is Mike Williams, cell block D! I need a gurney to cell#51, his voice was slightly shaking, as he walked over putting his hand on Rick’s head.

“You better wake up the doctor on call, also. We have a prisoner who apparently cut himself, and another who might need a sedative,” he replied, waiting for a response. “It’s ok, Rick, I believe you! Let’s relax and lay down on your cot,” helping him stand, and walking over, he plops down on the cot, exhausted.

  Hearing the gurney being wheeled down the quiet, echoing hallway, his walkie-talkie beeped, “The doctor’s been in the infirmary for a couple hours. One of the prisoners was found hanging in his cell, but was cut down before he died. He’ll be waiting for your prisoner!”

  After they strapped Jeremy Moody to the gurney, with his wrist tightly wrapped with gauze, it had already stopped bleeding. He was still acting incoherent, as if he wasn’t in reality.  Thankfully, he had slit his wrist across his arm, instead of along the veins in the forearm, which would have made him bleed out by now.

  Rick had calmed down considerably, with Mike sitting on the stool next to the cot. He had placed one arm across his forehead, and the other one behind his head.

“Thanks guys,” Mike responded as they wheeled Jeremy out of the cell, to the infirmary in the next building. “Tell the doctor, we don’t need a sedative for the other prisoner. He’s fine,” he looked back to Rick, as the cell door slid shut. “Now, take a deep breath, and tell me what happened.”

  Rick’s eyes widened, as he turned his head, gazing over at the empty cot, with spots of blood on the sheets, his eyes changed to a look of pure terror. “I’ve been dreaming about that night almost 45 years ago, when I found the whole family butchered. I know I’ve been found guilty, and my life’s path was chosen for me, but I didn’t kill anybody,” he started hyperventilating, and sweating, biting his knuckle.

“Calm down Rick, it’s me, Mike!” He patted his shoulder. “Take a few deep breaths. Go ahead, tell me what happened next!”

“I had just run back downstairs after finding the daughters and their mom lifeless, seeing the dad still laying in the same pool of blood, and turning around the stairway towards the kitchen, there was the little boy lying face down, with his head caved in, but this t-t-time,” Rick had to stop as his voice cracked, looking into Mike’s eyes! “There was the killer, a young guy, facing the wall, with the little boy’s brain in his hand. He was writing those words,” he paused, pointing at the wall across the cell. “My dream from that night, has always been the same dream, and it happened exactly like that, all those years ago! I know this sounds like I’m admitting to doing this, but I’m not.”

“What are you telling me Rick?” Mike sat up, scratching the side of his head. “It sounds like a bad dream, gone bad,” trying not to sound judgmental.

“You don’t understand Mike,” Rick answered, grabbing his forearm! “I stepped on a loose board, making it creak, and when the killer turned around, it was Jeremy! And that’s when I woke up, and saw those words on the wall. Mike, I swear the writing is exactly the way I saw it 45 years ago. What the hell’s going on? He’s an 18 year old punk, who butchered his own parents! How is any of this possible?”

  “It’s not possible Rick,” Mike tries to re-assure him. “I mean, maybe he’s playing with your mind. You have the articles all over the wall in the corner, you know?”

“Don’t you think I would have thought of that,” he responded? “There never was a picture showing the bloody words on the wall posted in the media. And there weren’t any pictures of the wall shown, during the trial. Only the testimony of the forensic people, verified what was on the wall!”

  “Listen, why don’t you take it easy and rest,” Mike suggested, as he stood to leave the cell. “Anything I can get you?”

“Yeah,” he said, turning on his side, propping up on his elbow. “I’d like to call my lawyer!”

“I can do that,” Mike answered, walking over to the wall, and taking a picture of the words with his cell phone. “I’ll let you know when the call is set-up. Oh, we’ll get this washed off the wall later today,” he turned towards Rick, who had already fallen asleep.” He stared at the wall, as it went out of view, getting a chill up his spine, as he walked back to the guard office.

-7-

  She’d never get used to the insolence, and the nasty comments, from the prisoners, whenever she had to visit an incarcerated client. As she walked out of the main office building accompanied by a guard, she shielded her eyes from the morning sun peeking over the top of the building, where the most notorious killers and rapists in the country are imprisoned, in cell block D, at Corcoran prison, and didn’t want to be here any longer than she needed to be.  

  It was Friday morning and Mike had just poured his 2nd cup of coffee, when movement caught his eye coming from the upper right monitor. The young well-dressed woman, probably in her 30’s was standing next to Butterball, whom he’d never call to his face, but it seemed to fit Duane Budford perfect, whoever came up with his nickname. Mike never cared for Duane! He’s one of those people you meet, and right away, it’s easy to calculate an accurate opinion about him. He’s arrogant, abrasive, obnoxious, and a total disrespect for anyone not like him. In other words, he should be within these walls, away from society, and real American’s. He was checking out the young ladies cleavage, as she reached into her purse for something, and she caught his invasive stare, as he quickly looked up, pushing the entrance buzzer.

“Yes, I’m here to meet with my client, Rick Gardner,” Jodie smiled, handing over her credentials. “I’m his lawyer.”

“Good morning, Ms. Tomlinson,” Mike responded, reading her card! “We’ve been expecting you! I was the guard on duty that morning, when the incident with the wall graffiti, happened, if you have any questions. I’m Sgt. Mike Williams! It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m in charge of cell block D, here at Corcoran prison!”

“I’d like to consul my client first if you don’t mind, Sgt. Williams, and I hope we can talk later,” She smiled shaking his hand.

“Would you like to meet with your client in one of the visitor rooms? I can have one of the guards take you there, and I’ll bring Rick, I mean prisoner B-39442 over in a few minutes,” he suggested, smiling. “These convicts are a little rowdy in the morning,” grinning nodding his head towards the main entrance to the prison cells.

“I appreciate your concern, Mr. Williams, but a few hundred horny guys, imprisoned behind bars, don’t give me worry at all,” Jodie slightly giggled, “now a few hundred horny guys, drinking shots of courage in a bar, with no restraints, now that give’s me concern!” She first looked at Mike with a serious stare, and then they both broke into laughter.

  “Absolutely, I understand” Mike smiled, opening the door to the cells! “ I apologize in advance Ms. Tomlinson, these guys aren’t gentlemen!” As they started walking into the huge open room where there were cells on 3 levels, and on both sides, the whistles, and vulgar remarks escalated, and then slowly de-escalated, becoming just an annoying background noise, when it didn’t develop the reaction it was intended for. Rick was writing in a notebook, sitting at the desk in the back of the cell, when the cell door slowly slid open.

“Rick, Ms. Tomlinson, your lawyer is here to speak with you,” Mike stood aside, waving Jodie into the cell. “I’ll be right outside Ms. Tomlinson!”

“Please Mr. Williams, call me Jodie,” she smiled, then turned towards Rick. “And you can call me Mike, Jodie,” he hollered back, walking out of the cell, as the door slid shut behind him!

  Rick stood up quickly, dragging over the other desk chair from the corner, and placed it near the small desk, next to where Jodie was standing. “Please, sit down Ms. Tomlinson,” he stood like a gentleman, pointing at the chair. “Thanks so much for coming so soon! I didn’t know if you’d really come, or just blow me off. Please, don’t take that personally, but everybody in here, thinks I’m losing my mind for good. A little over 6 months ago, if someone told me there was a chance to prove my innocence, I would have knocked them on their ass, excuse my french, but then my new cell mate arrived.” He started to whimper, and sob, rubbing both of his eyes with his hands, as they started to water.

“Rick, that’s why I’m here,” Jodie stated, patting his arm. “Now, where is Mr. Moody,” she asked, glancing over at the perfectly made cot?

“He’s in the yard, and won’t be back for another hour, or so. Are you going to want to speak to him, too?” He had a short pile of notebooks in front of him, with one he was writing in, open on the desk. “I’ve been taking notes, and writing down everything that’s happened, or was said over the past 6 months after Jeremy arrived.”

  They sat in cell#51, going over Rick’s note’s and Jodie referenced the court files, and transcripts as she took notes on their conversation. Beside’s the obvious eerie writing on the wall, in Jeremy’s own blood, Rick had maintained a chronological chain of events, including the times and dates of comments Jeremy made, mumbling in his sleep, or just simple things he has said over the past 6 months that took Rick back to that night years ago, when his personal nightmare began. Except from Rick’s absolute assurance that what was written on the wall in blood, was the smoking gun that somehow Jeremy was hiding the truth of what happened in the McGuire household that horrific night, Jodie wasn’t convinced there was more to the story. Having a masters degree in psychology, and understanding to some degree how the mind of a serial killer works, she just couldn’t see any aspect of how a serial killer thinks, calculates, or eager to give nauseating details on how he has killed, in Rick Gardner. Still not convinced there was anything to Rick’s accusations, that there was something about his cell mate, that could benefit his case, she had just placed her paperwork and notes back into her briefcase, when the cell door slowly slid open and Jeremy Moody walked in and laid down on his cot.

“Hey Jeremy,” Rick yelled over towards him! “This is the lawyer I told you about, Jodie Tomlinson. “We’re going over what happened last week, and over the past few months.”

“So why should I give a fuck?’ He turned on his side, propping his head on his raised elbow. “Did you see what your client did to me,” he shouted, holding up his bandaged wrist?

“Not according to Mr. Gardner,” she replied, looking over at him. “Do you ever sleepwalk, Mr. Moody? It’s not uncommon for those who have murdered, to have episodes of sleepwalking, or to relive another killers crimes during sleep because of the esteem of a sensationalized mass murder.”

“I know what you’re doing lady,” he scoffed, sitting upright on the edge of the cot. “I only killed who needed to die, and I’m good with that. Hell, I’d even take a lie detector test!”

“Mr Moody,” Jodie leaned forward in her chair, “you ever been hypnotized? I know an excellent hypnotherapist, that has an impeccable record in uncovering the truth.”

“Go for it, bitch,” sounding irritated! “I didn’t do this, and your boy there, is out of his fucking mind! And if he ever comes near me again, I’ll kill him,” he threatened, as he rolled over facing the wall.

“Thank you, Ms. Tomlinson,” Rick whispered patting her hand. “There has to be an answer to what this all means.”

“Listen Rick, I know how determined you are in finding out whatever you think is truth here, but I have to be honest,” looking seriously into his face, “there’s nothing in your notes, or what you’ve told me that is enough evidence for anything to change,” she stated placing her hand on his notebooks. “I’ll make the arrangements for a hypnosis session, but please do me a favor. Stay away from Jeremy, and don’t create any more tension, ok?”

  Rick nodded, standing up, and enthusiastically shaking her hand. “That’s all I can ask, Ms. Tomlinson. I just know I’m not wasting your time. I feel it!”

  As Jodie called the guard, that she was ready to leave, and the cell door slid open, Rick had sat back down at the desk pouring over his notes. She walked into the guard office, where Mike had been observing the monitors, and had just hung up the phone. He stood, smiling, as she walked over towards the other door to leave the cell block.

“Oh, Ms. Tomlinson,” he replied, noticing her glare, “I mean Jodie, before they washed the blood from the wall in the cell, I took a picture of the writing.”

“Thought you might want to see it,” he started pulling out his cell phone and scrolling through his saved pictures. “Oh, here it is!”

  As Jodie glanced at the picture, a memory flooded her brain, as she put her briefcase down and opened it pulling out the McGuire family case file. She flipped through the crime scene gruesome pictures, until she found what she was looking for. The wall from the crime scene, with the words, “They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die!”, with blood dripping down from each letter. Mike turned his phone, so it was sideways expanding the picture he took last weekend from the cell wall. As he put it next to the crime scene picture taken over 45 years ago, they both looked at each other, with their mouths open. They were exactly the same, just not exactly the same wording, but even the blood dripping down the wall from each letter, was a mirror image of each other.

“How is that possible,” Mike asked, looking oddly at Jodie, whose face showed the same baffled expression? “I was told there wasn’t a crime scene picture of the wall, and the wall had been washed off prematurely!”

“I’d like you to please keep this between us Mike,” she asked, looking directly in his eyes. “This picture remained unknown for years after the trial, and was never admitted in the trial as evidence,” she stated, still shocked by the impossible coincidence, that was in front of them.

“Don’t worry about me Jodie, I sincerely like Rick Gardner, and he’s never seemed like a guy who would do the horrific heinous act, he was accused, and convicted of!”

“Could you text me that picture from your phone,” she asked? “I’ll be in touch. This isn’t over, by a long shot! And thanks!”

-8-

When Jackie Batson listened to her voicemails in the office early Monday morning, it was good to hear Jodie’s voice. She and Jodie had worked several cases together, but quickly realized they had a lot in common, developing a deep professional respect for each other, and becoming fairly close friends. Not unlike a lot of close friendships, their dedication to their own work and personal situations, they hadn’t spoken in several months. The urgency in Jodie’s voice displayed a tone she couldn’t remember ever hearing from her friend, so she returned her call as soon as she listened to the rest of her voicemails. Jackie became a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), after she received her doctorate degree in psychology and had hundreds of hours of training in hypnotherapy. She was the author of a successful book  on serial killers, and had been called as an expert witness in numerous trials because of her knowledge in overlapping disorders like schizophrenia and psychopathy. On the 3rd ring, Jodie answered her office phone.

“Jodie Tomlinson,” she responded!

“Jodie, it’s Jackie! Jackie Batson. I just listened to your voice mail.”

“It’s so good to hear your voice, Jackie,” sounding anxious! “Been too long since we’ve had lunch, or just chatted.”

“I know,” she answered! “We’ll have to catch up. Your voice mail sounded urgent, so I called you right away. How can I help?”

“It might be easier if I forwarded the documents on a case I’m working on first. Well, actually it involves the two cases of mass murderers who are sharing a cell in Corcoran,” Jodie stated!

  After receiving Jodie’s email with several attached documents on the trial transcripts of Rick Gardner, whose case she was fairly familiar with, because he was one of Jodie’s clients, and Jeremy Moody, who she was, only aware of through the media, she spent the afternoon becoming knowledgeable with both of their past and violent atrocities. Along with the attachments, Jodie had given her the details of the events over the past several months, according to Rick Gardner’s journal. At the end of the day, she called Jodie’s cell phone, and she agreed to meet in her office the following morning.

“Ms. Tomlinson,” her assistant's voice came over the speakerphone. “Jackie Border’s is here!”

“Please, send her right in, and hold all my calls. Thanks Carole!” Jodie stood, walking towards the door as Jackie walked in. “I’m so glad you could meet with me on short notice,” she said, as they hugged each other. Jackie could feel the tension in Jodie’s body as she hugged her, and then she could see the exhaustion in her face. They sat at her desk, looking over the documents and crime scene photo’s from both murder’s. Then Jodie showed her the photo of the bloody writing on the wall, at the McGuire’s massacre, and the picture taken in cell#51, on her phone. Jackie leaned forward, and then sat back with a bewildered look in her eyes.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” she stated, picking up both photo’s, looking at them again! “So your theory is that Jeremy Moody knows the real killer!”

“That’s impossible! The murders happened before he was even born. What’s your thoughts, Jodie? Why am I here,” she asked?

“Do you think,” she asked, looking into Jackie’s eyes? “I mean is it even possible that Jeremy could be psychic, and he’s somehow channeling this murder from the past?

“That sounds crazy, but I know you! You’re serious,” Jackie responded! “I’m a hypnotherapist, not some psychic. I’m assuming that you’re swayed into thinking that Rick Gardner didn’t kill the McGuire family, and you are confident that he isn’t using you in some desperate attempt to be released. According to all of the evidence, he was at the crime scene, probably wrote the bloody message on the wall, and would know exactly what it looked like!”

“Jackie, I know everything points to him, but I want to show you something else,” Jodie walked over to the table next to her desk, placing the original crime scene photo on the projector, and then  placed a copy of the picture from the wall of cell#51 over the photo, taken over 45 years ago, and turned the overhead projector light on. “How do you explain that,” pointing at the screen on the wall? The two photo’s were exactly the same, same writing, same blood drippings from each letter. It looked like one picture! Jackie felt a chill as she walked over to the screen, mouth open, and turned back towards Jodie.

“Now, you have my attention!” she responded, walking back and sitting down in front of Jodie. “First; is Jeremy Moody agreeable to being hypnotized? Now, if he is, I’ll still have to determine if he’s receptive to it.”

“He pretty much told me in his words, to run with it bitch,” she answered, looking over the notes she took during the session at the prison. “Seemed extremely agitated about the whole event, and blames Rick on the episode, but you know what,” looking up?

“I still have a sensation in my gut, that he knows something, or rather has the answer in his head.”

“I can tell you Josie that there’s no guarantee that hypnosis will be successful, but I can tell you that forensic hypnosis has been used in high profile cases in the past,” Jackie reacted, sitting back in her chair. “There was Albert DeSalvo (The Boston Strangler), Ted Bundy, and Sam Sheppard, whose hypnosis sessions provided constructive results. In Sam Sheppard’s case, it saved an innocent man, and actually his case is the one on which the movie, ‘The Fugitive’ was based. Under hypnosis, he described the killer, remembering feeling his neck crushed under someone’s foot, and hearing someone talk about whether to kill him, or not. He said the person walked with a limp, and the jurors’ votes in the case were for acquittal.” Jackie noticed the beaming smile on Jodie’s face, as she leaned forward, placing her arms on her desk.

“Now, that’s not an absolute guarantee, even if your client is innocent of the crime, because there are 4 dangers that have to be met, before hypnosis testimony may be used in court,” Jackie paused, taking a sip of coffee that Carole had given her when she came in the office. “(1) Suggestibility! A hypnotist could suggest a race, height, eye color, etcetera, which the subject accepts as truth; (2) Loss of critical judgement! Under hypnosis personal beliefs and prejudices may influence how an event is interpreted during recall; (3) Confabulation or lies!

  A person who has a reason to lie may create lies while under hypnosis, or gaps in the memory may be filled in with false material that supports a self-interest, and last, but not least; (4) Memory cementing! A false memory seems so real to the witness that he develops false confidence in it.”

“But if all of these conditions are met, then the testimony from hypnotizing Jeremy Moody can then be used in court,” Jodie affirmed, “to reevaluate Rick Garder’s conviction for the murders?”

“Absolutely,” Jackie responded, “but that’s generally a big if!”

  For the next several hours, Jackie explained to Jodie some serial killers were abused as children, either emotionally, physically, or sexually, as in the case of Jeremy Moody, which was fully revealed during his trial. Many are compelled by sexual fantasies that have gotten out of control, sometimes driven by overlapping psychological disorders like psychopathy and schizophrenia. She told her that many serial killers are in fact psychopaths, and murderers who rank high on the hare psychopathy scale, which is a tool used to professionally assess cases of psychopathy. It’s a 20-point checklist that is the single best predictor of violent behavior available, and those who position high on the scale, are often motivated by an overwhelming desire to control things and exert their will on others by whatever means possible. For some, this leads to periodic violent behavior, but not all serial killers are psychopaths, and vice versa.

“You did read Rick Garder’s hare psychopathy scale results, then, Josie interrupted her?

“That was highly unusual, I’ll admit,” Jackie responded, nodding her head. “He actually, huh” flipping through the court transcript notes, Jodie had sent her, “scored very low on the scale!”

“Correct, and his lawyer at his trial, my self-interest father, entirely missed the opportunity to pursue a stronger defense, using professional witnesses with these results,” Jodie’s voice, now livid! 

“I know Jodie,” she responded compassionately, rubbing Jodie’s forearm. “Do you want to take a break, you look exhausted?”

“No, I’m good Jackie! Please, go on,” she said, assuredly.

“Perhaps the broadest and most telling of the profile categories is in determining whether or not the killer is “organized” or “disorganized.” Organized killers typically have an above average IQ, 105-120 range, and are very discreet and careful about their crimes. They are known to be sociable, have friends, a stable job, and even close ties with families. The kind of person no one would suspect, and by and large, the hardest killers apprehend, and bring to justice,” she paused, looking up at Jodie. “Of course, this doesn’t apply to either one of these men!”

“The disorganized killer has a below average IQ, socially inadequate, absent or unstable father, experienced family abuse, nocturnal habits, and also feels the need to return to the crime scene for reliving memories,” pointing at bloody picture, on the screen,  “and leaves a chaotic crime scene, along with physical evidence!”

“I know what looks like,” Jodie agreed! “Rick Gardner is of low intelligence, history of sexual abuse in the family, abandoned by his father, and was caught after the massacre in the middle of the night, but that alone, doesn’t prove guilt.”

“Jodie, I’m not disputing your assertions! Actually, I’m practically  convinced that there is a piece of this that can’t be explained,” she responded. “Just informing you what we’re up against, and we have a massive task ahead of us, if Jeremy Moody is even receptive to hypnosis.”

“If we can prove to a judge, we have enough facts, to readdress a 45 year old murder case, and if we can provide the evidence to exonerate your client,” Jackie finished, closing her files!

“Do you think I’m just grasping at straws, Jackie,” Jodie asked, somberly? “Honest opinion!”

“Set everything up with the prison, Jodie,” she stood up, closing her briefcase, “and I’ll make the preparations on my end. That‘s my opinion. Let’s find out what’s in Mr. Moody’s mind!”

“Thanks so much Jackie,” she stood, shaking her hand! “You don’t realize what that means to me!”

“One more condition,” Jackie seriously commented!

“What’s that,” Jodie asked?

“It’s a little after noon,” looking at her watch. “I’m taking you to lunch! I’m starving, and you look like you need the energy. No arguments!”

-9-

  Along with Jeremy Moody’s signed agreement to be hypnotized, and the fully supported declaration from Mike Williams, that these sessions could be relevant in revealing the facts of what happened that night in cell #51, it was only a matter of making the preparations, along with the date and time to start the hypnosis sessions. Jodie met with Rick Gardner, who was ecstatic in finding out the truth, and his entire disposition changed pending the date, which was scheduled two weeks later. After she received Jeremy’s signature authorizing his agreement to being hypnotized, during the next two weeks, Rick would wake up in the middle of the night, and witness Jeremy just sitting at the tiny desk between their bunks, staring at the wall above his bunk, where the bloody message had been several weeks ago. Just staring, as if he could see through the walls into the next cell, or beyond the fabric of space and time. His eyes, jet black, unaware of Rick, or any of his surroundings, as if he was entirely somewhere else. Since that night, when this creepy event transpired, and Jeremy warned Rick to stay away from him, or he’d kill him, the guards made more passes by their cell checking on them. It wasn’t necessary, because Rick was careful to not even being on the other side of the cell. Not being afraid of Jeremy, or his threat, but he didn’t want to effect the only positive aspect he’s experienced in almost half a century, which could change his entire future.

  The room used for the sessions, was one of the meeting rooms for lawyers and their clients, except the big desk in the middle of the room was pushed against the wall, and was replaced by a chaise lounger along with two leather chairs.

  A smaller table was between the chairs, where Jodie and Jackie would be sitting, and they could each take their own notes. There was a small video camera on a tripod at the end of the chaise lounger, so every detail could be recorded, as potential evidence. It was early Friday morning, when Jeremy was brought into the room wearing the required hand and ankle cuffs, with a connected chain between them dragging the floor, because of his short stature. After the shackles were removed, the guards indicated to the prisoner, not to try anything, as they were right outside the door. Jeremy just snickered at them, spit on the floor, and stood staring at the two women sitting in front of him on the chairs. His black piercing eyes, also made Jackie shiver, as this was the first time she’s met him in person, and she glanced over at Jodie, who was still visibly unnerved by his presence, even though she’s met him a few times.

“Please Mr. Moody, lay down on the lounger,” Jackie spoke calmly, but assertively. “Before we begin, I’m going to ask you a few questions and explain how things are going to work, as well as answer any questions you have for me.”

“You have nothing to fear from me, Ms. Tomlinson,” he snickered again, with that crooked evil grin, glancing over at Jodie, undressing her with his eyes. “I can literally smell your fear, and the sensual perfume you’re wearing that’s giving me such a hard-on,” he chuckled out loud!

“Mr. Moody,” Jackie leaned forward, looking into his eyes! “Are you through, or do you want to keep acting like an immature child? We can send you back to your cell, and forget the whole thing!”

“Ok, ok! Chill out! Just having fun with her,” he stated, looking back at Jackie. “Now what,” he requested, edgily?

“Jodie, would you turn on the video camera,” she asked, turning back to Jeremy, who had laid back placing both hands behind his head?

“The big secret of hypnotherapy is you’re the one who is in control, and my role is to serve as, for lack of a better term, your tour guide. In other words, Mr. Moody, you decide where we go, and my job is to get you there. Understand,” she asked him, as he nodded his head in agreement? “Ok, now let’s begin. First place your hands by your side, and close your eyes. Now start taking slow, deep, long breaths.”

“Hey Jodie, would you turn off those overhead lights,” Jackie whispered, pointing to the ceiling? “This lamp on the table should be enough lighting for our needs, and also for the video recording. Thanks!”

“Now, before we begin,” she spoke softly, leaning closer to Jeremy’s ear. “We’ll start with what’s called the induction, which is the process where I’m going to lead you into a very relaxed state, but you are going to hear everything and be aware of everything that is taking place. Does that make sense?”

“Let’s do this doc,” he immediately responded! “Before I change my mind,” his black eyes staring into hers!

“Close your eyes, and start taking deep, slow breaths,” speaking softly. “I want you to focus on your breathing, and start taking deeper longer breaths. As you listen to my voice, relax your whole body from your toes to your face,” Jackie took a sip of water. “Do you feel a little dryness forming in your mouth and throat? Nod your head if you do.” Slowly Jeremy nods his head, as she continues, “you can also feel your eyes fluttering behind your eyelids, can’t you,” she asks, as he nods his head again.

“I want you to concentrate on making your entire body relax. Starting from your feet and your legs, you can no longer feel them.  It’s as if they aren’t there. Now you can’t feel your hands and arms, and your entire body up to your head. Concentrate on your deep, slow breathing, and only my voice,” Jackie glanced over at Jodie, who’s been anxiously observing and leaning forward in her chair, and mouthed the words, “Here we go.”

“Focus only on my voice,” she whispered near his ear. “You feel as if you’re falling asleep, but you can still hear my voice,” she looked down, over her notes on Jeremy’s life. “Do you remember when you were 7 years old, and your neighbor caught you putting baby birds in one of your mom’s canning jars filled with water,” Jackie winced, having had contemplated not going directly to this event, but they had been given only two sessions, by the courts.

“Mr. Hansen was a nosey asshole,” squeaked Jeremy with the high-pitched voice of a little boy. “He shouldn’t have done that,” his face snarled, with his eyes still closed! “I paid him back! I buried his cat alive, and nobody ever found out!” Jodie placed her hand over her mouth, in disgust, almost gasping out loud.

“Could you speak up a little louder? You were mumbling. Whenever you got in trouble, were your parents always there for you Jeremy,” she asked? “Like when you were caught shoplifting several times, and cursing to people in public.”

“All fucking lies,” he blurted out, in his 13 year old, after puberty voice! “I wasn’t stealing anything, and mom always told me to tell people what I think!”

“Did you love your parents, Jeremy?”

“I had to love them,” he stated, still in his young teen voice, but in a whisper. “My dad told me I had to, or he’d hurt me. Besides, they told me that they loved me all the time, so I had to love them back,” his hands started trembling slightly. Jackie noticed it, and touched his hand closer to her, telling him to take another deep, slow breath, as she patted it.

“Now you did spend a couple weeks in a youth detention center for throwing rocks through several of a neighbor's windows, after been witnessed by several people, correct,” she asked, as he jerked his head affirmatively? “You broke out 6 of their windows. Why did you do that?”

“They make me sick,” his face contorted, exposing his clenched teeth, as he made a fist with both hands at his side! “The perfect little family! Always smiling, and acting like they’re better than everybody else. I’ve always hated them! They deserved it.”

“Do you remember when you were 17 years old,” Jackie asked, waiting for a violent response, leaning back from the lounger in her chair? “The night the police found you, between your parents in their bed, covered in blood.”

“How could I forget,” he chuckled, in the voice of a young man? “One of the most rewarding times in my life,” his face now displaying a big smile, holding his hands together on his lap.

“You must have hated your parents much more than the neighbors across the street,” Jackie retorted.

“You don’t know anything,” he jeered, eyes still closed. “My parents had to die! They were evil, and I had to show the world the truth!”

“What happened that night when you killed your parents and carved the words into their bodies,” she asked?

“Nothing! They had no idea of my plans for their end. Since I was a little kid, I thought about how to kill them! I used to dream about ways to do it, and I’d wake up, lying in bed, wondering how long it would take for them to die, in different ways,” he grinned, shaking his head side to side.

“Had you ever killed anyone else,” Jackie asked, holding her breath? “Who was the first person you ever killed?” For the next couple minutes, Jeremy started mumbling names rapidly, as if he was reading them from a list, and his voice occasionally changed from a deep gravelly voice, to a high-pitched voice.

“Could you speak louder,” she recommended? “And start over what you were saying?” He stopped speaking as if he ran out of air, and started taking deep breaths, again. “Do you ever dream about killing people?”

“Dreamt once about killing the family across the street. There was a teenage girl, who would always smile and wave at me, but I know she was making fun of me because we were poor, and my clothes came from garage sales in the neighborhood. And her stupid little sister, always getting her way. A new bike! Anything she wanted. Spoiled brat!”

“What did you dream about them,” she logically asked?

“That I killed all of them you bitch,” he answered irritably! “What the fuck you think I dreamed about? Fuckin’ McGuire’s,” he mumbled.” Jackie and Jodie stared at each other, with their mouths open, not entirely sure what they heard.

“What was the name of the family, again” Jackie asked, for verification? “Please speak up.”

“The McGuire’s,” he screamed! “Are you deaf? The perfect family. The girls and their little brother dressed in new clothes all the time. And the mom and dad always looking down on us across the street! THE PERFECT FAMILY!” Jeremy screamed louder, as his heart rate increased considerably, and he violently started shaking on the lounger. Jodie jumped up along with Jackie, as they held both sides of him down.

“Jeremy,” Jackie yelled! “Listen to my voice! I’m counting to 10 and you will wake up! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!” His body collapsed, as his breathing slowed down almost immediately, and his eyes fluttered open. Sweat was running down into his eyes, as he looked around confused, and apparently unaware of what transpired.

  They called the guard to return Jeremy to his cell, after he had calmed down, totally oblivious to the whole hypnotic session. Returning to his arrogant sordid behavior, he yelled back to them in the room, that he hoped they finally believed him about Rick Gardner being the one who made all this crap up to get released from prison. His yelling echoed as they led him down the hallway and back to his cell in the other building.

  Jodie looked down at her notes while Jackie checked on the video recorder, shutting it off. After she sat back down across from Jodie, she looked at Jackie, in shock.

“What the hell just happened,” Jodie asked, bewildered by what she had just witnessed? “Jeremy was born after the McGuire massacre, and for that matter,” she flipped through his file, then held up his background check from the trial, “There was no house across the street from the Moody’s house, when he killed his parents! They lived across from undeveloped wilderness. A forest!”

“I have to admit Jodie, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jackie responded, as she sat back down, looking through her notes. “When I pressed him for the family’s name, he went ballistic, as if he had been duped into revealing something he didn’t want to divulge. Did you notice when he mumbled, he sounded more mature, but when he was answering my questions in reference to his life growing up, his voice changed from a young boy, to a teenager?”

“So what does that mean,” Jodie asked, with a baffled look on her face?

“I’m not completely sure, but I do have a theory,” she reacted, as she stood up. “Let me take the video recording, along with my notes back to the office, and I’ll call you later. If I’m correct, the next hypnotic session will be something I’ve never done or seen, but there are cases where it’s been done effectively,” she continued, closing her briefcase, and packing up the camera. “Sorry if I am sounding mysterious Jodie, but I promise to call you before the end of the day.”

“That’s fine,” Jodie responded, still shaking, as she gave her friend a hug. “Remember, we have the last session scheduled for early Monday.”

  Over the weekend, Jackie spent the entire time preparing for the type of hypnotic session she’s never been involved in. When she had returned to her office on Friday after the explosive hypnotic session, and researched her notes, and watched the video recording several times, she called Jodie.

“Have you ever heard of the term, ‘regressive hypnotherapy’, Jackie asked Jodie, who hesitated, then taking a deep breath?

“Are you talking about reincarnation,” she answered? “Isn’t that a religious belief, like Hinduism? He doesn’t seem the religious type,” she lightly scoffed at the idea, but felt a nauseating emptiness in the pit of her stomach.

“Not necessarily! Past life regression is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover, that some believe are memories of past lives, or reincarnations,” she exclaimed. “Though most practitioners regard them as fantasies or delusions, or a type of confabulation, but, there have been records of hypnosis, where a subject has revealed historical accuracies, and have even found the location of buried bodies, only the killer would know.”

“Are you telling me that you think Jeremy is reliving a previous life,” Jodie posed? “And he was the mass murderer of the McGuire family over 45 years ago? Sounds really far fetched! I mean you’re the professional Jackie, but couldn’t he have just interjected the McGuire name during his hypnosis, because of Rick Gardner’s articles on the wall in his cell?”

“Possibly, but in a 1976 study it was found that 40% of hypnotizable subjects described new identities and used different names when given a suggestion to regress past their birth,” Jackie countered.

“So if we proceed to this theory, what do you intend to reveal, or attempt to discover that could benefit Rick Gardner’s case,” Jodie asked?

“I’m not sure, but it’s the only thing we have to go on,” she responded, and then paused. “Seriously though Jodie, what do we have to lose?”

  Sitting in her office researching the history of past life regression, she wasn’t feeling overly confident of them finding anything relevant in providing evidence to have Mr. Gardner’s conviction re-addressed in the court system, and possibly overturned. It was a stretch and Jackie knew it, but she respected her good friend Jodie, and spent her entire weekend researching, and preparing for what could be the most important hypnotic session she’s ever administered. Or it could be a total waste of time, but she had to finish what she started.

-10-

  On the way to the prison, Jodie pulled into the drive-thru at a Dunkin’ Donuts to get another cup of coffee, and a breakfast sandwich. Her stomach was tied in knots all night from stress, and she woke up periodically with her head swimming in thoughts about what this day would produce. She was awakened around 3am from a terrifyingly vivid nightmare, where she was in the McGuire household that night as a helpless spectator while the killer, whose face at first, was only a blur, methodically killed each of the family members with an ice pick, and a hammer. And when he turned towards her, standing where Rick Gardner was, according to his testimony in the trial, it was Jeremy with his dark evil eyes staring at her asking, “Did I spell everything right?” That impression stuck in her head the remainder of the night, and was still vivid in her memory when she entered the prison parking lot. As she walked towards the prison wall entrance, a familiar voice came from behind her. It was Jackie!

“Hey you, I’ve been yelling at you since you got out of your car! Did you not hear me,” she asked, walking up to her?

“I’m sorry,” Jodie apologized, turning around, and dropping her purse. “I didn’t sleep well! Every time I closed my eyes, I could see the horrific crime scene at the McGuire’s.”

“No need to apologize to me,” Jackie replied. “I’ve been up since 4am, completing my session format of questioning. Again, I’ve never done anything like this before. Being honest, I’m a little anxious myself,” she slightly laughed, as they passed the entrance, walking towards the building.

  When Jeremy was brought into the room for the last hypnotic session, Jodie and Jackie were already sitting in their chairs. He looked like he hadn’t slept well himself. His hair wasn’t combed, and he hadn’t shaved over the last couple days. His dark, black eyes were still piercing, but he had bags under them, indicating the lack of sleep. Knowing the drill, he plopped down on the lounger not saying a word, placing his hands by his side, and he closed his eyes. Jackie then started the same process she used several days ago, by suggesting to Jeremy to concentrate on his deep breathing, dryness in his mouth, and being aware of the fluttering behind his closed eyelids.

  After his body attained the state of complete relaxation, still conscious, but now in a state of mind of increased suggestibility, she commenced her first regressive hypnotherapy, diving into unfamiliar territory.

“Concentrate on my voice,” she started. “I want you to visualize when you were a very young boy, around 5 years old, Jeremy. Maybe playing in your room, or just watching tv. Remember a good time! Where are you, and what are you doing,” Jackie asked, then stopped, waiting for his response?

“My mommy just made my favorite cookies, and I’m sitting at the table eating them with a glass of milk. Oatmeal cookies right out of the oven, still soft and warm! I love to dip them in my milk when I eat them,” his voice softly mumbling, but sounding like a little boy.

“Now go back, to when you are 2 years old. What are you wearing, and tell me what you’re doing?” After she asked him this, his face cringed, and he started crying.

“Daddy took all my clothes off, and is hurting me,” he sobbed! “Please, daddy don’t hurt me,” he started screaming as if he was being tortured, reaching between his legs!

“Shhhh! Now Jeremy, go back to when you were a tiny baby, in your mommy’s arms. Can you see her,” Jackie asked softly, rubbing his forearm as he settled down?

“So warm,” he whispered, barely hearing his soft high-pitched voice. “I’m drinking my bottle, looking up at mommy smiling at me. This is when I was so happy.”

“You feel safe and secure in your mommy’s arms, don’t you,” she asked, as he nodded his head cooing like a little baby? “Now go back before you were born, inside your mommy’s tummy, in the womb. Your body not quite developed, but you can feel your heart beating.” His body went very still as he rolled on his side, and brought his arms and legs together, in a fetal position.

“That’s a good baby,” she encouraged him, looking over at Jodie, who was staring in awe, at what she’s witnessing.

“Now, go farther back in time, before you were Jeremy,” she requested, as he returned to his original position, lying on his back, arms at his side. “Tell me where you are!”

“I’m in a car under water,” his face expressed terror, but his eyes were still closed. His voice wasn’t his own, but a deep, gravelly, hard to understand voice, as if he was a heavy smoker. “Water’s coming into the car, and I can’t open the door! OMG! I’m going to die,” he started screaming, hysterically!

“Go further back in time! What are you doing? What do you see,” she calmly asked, not wanting another seizure ending their last session.

“I’m driving my car down the road, and turning onto another street,” his voice mumbling, incoherently.

“Please speak up, Jeremy,” Jackie requested! “I could barely understand what you said.”

“Who the fuck is Jeremy,” he snarled? “I’m Eric, and who the fuck are you!”

“I’m sorry Eric,” she responded, remorsefully. “I’m Jackie Borders, and you are Eric..?”

“Eric Batson,” he interrupted! “If it’s any of your business bitch!”

“Tell me Eric,” she demanded. “What’s the name of the street you’re driving on, and what are you doing here?”

“Who cares about the street,” he turned his head, as if he’s looking to his right. “I’m driving by some rich bastards big fancy house, with white shutters, and flowers around the porch!”

“What are you doing here Eric,” Jackie asked, barely able to comprehend every word? She motioned to Jodie to turn up the volume on the video recorder.

“Been watching this family for a couple weeks,” he slightly grinned. “They look like some family out of a catalog, or like out of a TV show, like “The Brady Bunch.” Better than everybody else, like their shit don’t stink! Assholes,” he sneered!

“What are you doing now,” she demanded?

“Sitting in front of their house, staring at it! It’s late at night, and there aren’t any lights on,” he mumbled, chuckling. “It’s time!”

“What do you mean it’s time Eric,” she asked? “Time for what?”

“I can’t hold it any longer,” he started shivering, as if he was cold. “I’m going to kill them, of course!”

“What did they ever do to you? Who is this family to you, anyway, ” she asked softly, already contemplating his response?

“Nothing to me! Their name is right on the mailbox, next to the car,” leaning over spitting, as if he was spitting out of his car window. “The McGuire’s!”

  Jody and Jackie both sat upright in their chairs, eyes glued to Jeremy, who seemed to be reliving a past life. Another life of a killer. The real killer of the McGuire’s! Of course, this isn’t enough evidence to accomplish any of their goals in releasing an innocent man, yet. They needed real evidence, to convince a judge to overturn a guilty verdict, from many years ago.

  Before continuing, Jodie showed Jackie how she highlighted various portions of the crime scene transcript, that was administered into courtroom testimony during Rick’s trial.

  In other words, information that only the killer, or for that matter, Rick Gardner, who had knowledge of, being present in the house after the brutal slaughter of the entire family. She didn’t want to miss anything that could be admissible in a courtroom, in front of the judge. Jackie winked at Jodie, patted her hand, and taking a deep breath, she turned back to Eric Batson.

“Tell me what you’re going to do tonight! Unless you’re lying to us, and you’ve never killed anyone,” Jackie sounding sarcastic, hoping he’d take pleasure in describing every detail! Her assumption was accurate!

“You have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about bitch,” he reacted, with disgust in his gravelly voice!

“I want you to start from parking in front of the house, next to the mailbox, and tell us your thoughts, and what you are going to do,” she suggested. “You’re in control Eric, and I want you to access all of your senses. Sight, smell, touch/feel, taste, and intuition. You are there, and you can do anything you want!”

“I notice that it’s completely dark along the side of the house, and in the back, so I’m slowly driving the old white Ford LTD, I stole yesterday from an old man who left his keys in the car, parked in the garage next to his house. The old idiot even left the garage door open. It’s really quiet, and as I’m getting out of the car, I grab the pillowcase from the passenger seat,” chuckling, sounding energized, and euphoric. “I decided the best way to end their miserable lives, was to use what I could find in this old assholes garage.”

“There was an old dirty pillowcase, lying crumpled on a tool bench, with an ice pick laying next to it. As I turned there was a  hammer hanging on the wall. Perfect! They clanked together when I grab the pillowcase, and I turn my head to listen. No sound, so I quietly shut the car door, and walk up to the back door. The door’s locked, but when I check the window next to the door, it opens easily. After I climbed through the window, I hear the sound of a television coming from a room, door closed, by the front door. Slowly creaking it open, I can see the dad, fast asleep in a recliner with the TV remote in his hand,” Eric was silent, as if he was thinking.

“Are you ok,” Jackie whispered? “Go on, you find the dad sleeping and…”

“Give me a minute! I want to do this right,” he answered! “I’m going to kill his family first, and they’re all upstairs sleeping in their fancy beds. As I walk up these stairs, I’m just going to go to each bedroom, and kill whoever’s in there. Opening the first door, I can see the teenage girl lying on her back with her hands over her head. Softly, I close the bedroom door. Perfect! Raising the hammer, I’m beating her face in. So much blood! She didn’t even flinch. Stupid bitch! As her skull is opening up, her brains and blood are splattered all over the wall above the bed. I can’t believe how good this feels, and, oh shit, I hear the door opening behind me,” Eric’s face started sweating, in panic mode.

“What do you see? Who came in the room,” she posed?

“The mom, in her little nightie standing in the hallway, with the door open. Her mouth’s wide open with her hand over it, unable to speak, and she looks terrified. What a turn-on that is! She’s turning around, so I’m chasing her into the hallway.

  Not so fast, bitch! Where do you think you’re going? I’m hitting her hard in the back of the head, and without a sound she’s falling in front of me, so I’m straddling over her body, hitting her again, over and over. Her brains are leaking out, and the bitch is still crawling, but I’m going to leave her alive to die slowly, why she listens to her kids die, and there’s nothing she can do. She’s pointing at the door at the end of the hall, so I’m opening the door. There’s that little spoiled brat who gets everything she wants. Lying on her side, away from the door, so I’m just going to bash in her tiny head. Raising my hammer, blood dripping from it on the pillow, she’s mumbling in her sleep, as if she’s dreaming. Enjoy your last dream little bitch! I only have to hit the back of her head a few times. It’s breaking like an egg,” he starts shaking, and laughing hysterically!

“Take some deep breaths Eric,” Jackie whispers, her eyes wide with terror, as he calms down, becoming silent. Glancing over at Jodie, she notices that she’s rocking back and forth in the chair, with her hands over her mouth. “Are you alright Jodie,” Jackie whispers to her?

“Yeah, I’ve never experienced anything like this, in my life,” her voice shaking, speaking softly. “It’s almost like we’re really there during the slaughter of this innocent family, you know?”

“Actually Jodie, in a way, I think we are reliving what really happened that night, 45 years ago,” Jackie answered!

“Eric, tell me what are you doing now,” she continued, after noticing frustration in his face?

“I opened the last door, and the little boy isn’t here. Where the hell did the little bastard go? I’m going back downstairs! Maybe he’s with his daddy, asleep on the couch, or something.

Walking quietly down the stairs, so the steps don’t creak. Oh shit, there he is, looking up at me! The little bastard is standing in the hallway by the stairway with a glass of milk. He’s running to the kitchen. Got him! Hit him with my hammer, and he fell face down. Have to hit him again. He’s trying to stand up. I’m taking out the ice pick so I can pin him to the floor. It’s so easy sticking him in his little arms and legs. He’s flopping around like a rag doll. Cracking me up! Oh, shit the doors opening. Here comes the dad trying to save the day! The hammer’s still stuck in the boys head, so I’m stabbing the ice pick in the side of his head. Dumbass, didn’t see that coming! He fell down, grabbing his head, and screaming like a little girl, as his blood is starting to gush out of it. I need to leave my message,” he stopped talking again, looking on both sides of the lounger, as if he’s looking for something!

“What are you doing Eric?”

“Here we go! I’m scooping some of the kids' brains and blood, out of his head, to write on the wall,” he said, and raised his arms above him, as if he was writing in the air, and he was cackling like a madman.

“What are you writing Eric,” Jackie asked, as Jodie leaned forward, grabbing her arm?

“They had to die. They had to die. They all had to die,” he boasted, in a nauseating, raspy laugh! Then he started breathing rapidly, as if he was out of breath.

“What are you doing now,” she asked?

“I’m running to the car! Someone may have heard the dad screaming,” he answered. “Backing out of the driveway. Oh shit!”

“What's happening,” she demanded?

“I almost hit this asshole, who’s running up the driveway, but I think he fell into the bushes,” his voice sounding panicky, then he started cackling again. “Man, he’s one ugly son-of-a-bitch! Looking at him lying in the bushes. He's lucky I’m not in the mood to take the time, and kill him, too. I’m cranking up my hard rock music, opening all the windows, and getting the hell out of here!”

“Go on,” she suggested! “Where are you going now? Tell me what you see. Smell! How do you feel right now!”

“Going as fast as I can out of dodge, bitch! What do you think? Once I go over the bridge into the next town, I’ll be ok. Then I’m going to watch the news on TV, about what I did. I’m so excited,” he confessed, cackling out loud!

“Tell me what road are you driving down,” she asked? “I’m not familiar with that area. What town are you in now, and where are you going? Help me out!”

“Rt.19! Gotta drive over the New River Gorge Bridge, to get to Victor from Fayetteville,” his voice, sounding increasingly annoyed, by Jackie’s questions! They watched him as he kept looking from side to side, and moving his right foot up and down, as if he’s driving his car, towards the bridge.

“I’m almost to the bridge! I can see it,” he yelled! “Oh shit!”

“What’s wrong, Eric,” Jackie asked?

“Did I get the hammer and ice pick,” asking himself, then he looked down at the floor behind the passenger seat? Silence!

“Eric? Eric,” she asked louder? “Where did you leave them?”

  A blood-curdling scream exploded out of Eric’s open mouth, as he started flaying his arms, out in front of him. “I missed the bridge! The water’s pouring through the windows! I’m gonna die. Not fair. Not fuckin’ fair. Aaahhhhh!”

“Eric, you’re going to wake up when I count to ten! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!! Wake up,” she slapped his face, and his eyes flew open! Shaking his head, and rubbing his face with his hands, he looked at Jackie and Jodie. “Are you alright, Eric,” Jackie asked?

“Who the hell you calling Eric,” asked Jeremy in his usual sarcastic attitude? “Think you’re confusing your patients, Doc,” he answered? “My mouth’s so fucking dry!”

“Do you remember anything at all Jeremy,” she asked, reaching for a glass of water, and handing it to him?

“Not really,” he reacted, sounding a little confused, gulping the entire glass of water. “I’m so fucking tired though. Feel like I was run over by a truck! Are we done? Find what you’re looking for,” he responded, sounding unusually sincere?

“Possibly, Jeremy,” she answered, helping him sit up. “First, we need to evaluate everything that’s happened this morning. And I want to thank you, for agreeing to these sessions. You didn’t have to consent to being hypnotized.”

“We both really appreciate it,” she said, looking at Jodie, who walked over to the door.

“Guard,” Jodie yelled through the door, knocking 3 times!

“Oh wait, I do remember one thing,” he recollected! “New River Gorge Bridge! Whatever that means,” he scoffed, walking to the door, as it opened and the guards put his shackles back on him. Jodie smiled at Jackie, as they led him back to his cell, while they packed everything up, including the video recorder.

-11-

Barely able to contain their exhilaration, they both had a considerable amount of work ahead of them, from the evidence they’ve obtained. Jodie visited Rick Gardner, to follow-up with some more questions relevant to what Jeremy, aka Eric Batson described during his methodical, detailed, slaughtering of an entire family. After leaving cell#51, she was confident that only two people could identify the gory carnage accurately when it happened. Rick Gardner, who’s always admitted to being there that night, but didn’t kill anyone; and the killer! She was absolutely convinced, that she and Jackie were also in the McGuire household on that night, 45 years ago, along with Eric Batson’s mind. The real killer! Now she had to convince a district judge in West Virginia, to issue a court order, utilizing state funds, to dredge the New River, underneath the New River Gorge Bridge, searching for a white Ford LTD, which was driven by Eric Batson, that night almost half a century ago. A little over 4 miles away, traveling Southwest is the little town, Fayetteville, WV, with a current population of under 3,000 residents, where 45 years ago, the McGuire family massacre, put them on the national map, through the media. Going the other direction from Fayetteville, across the New River Gorge Bridge, approximately 8 miles is where Eric Batson was heading that night, but Victor wasn’t really a town. It was an unincorporated community, which means that it's not governed by its own municipal corporation, but rather is governed as part of larger administrative divisions, such as townships, parish, borough, etcetera, etc. In other words, like finding a needle in a haystack, that anyone after all these years, would remember, or might have even known Eric Batson, at all. And more importantly, if he was rotting at the bottom of the New River, in a stolen car, why wasn’t his disappearance ever reported, as missing?

  Jackie returned to her office, and immediately called another therapist, a mentor of hers who’s been involved with regressive hypnosis for years, to hopefully concur with her feelings on this case, or could at least, give her opinion, on the relevancy of what the video recorder shows, and if any of her questioning could’ve possibly tainted the session, thus opening a Pandora box of fantasies and hallucinations, in a mass killer's head. She didn’t think so, but wanted absolute certainty that what was captured on audio and video; was actually a real past life memory. After reading through her notes, she turned on the monitor to watch what they had both witnessed earlier, although she was physically disgusted listening to Eric Batson reliving his callous, bragging perversion to slaughter, she was convinced that she missed something. During both sessions, there was an audio problem because of the acoustics in the room, with all the echoing, and then there was his constant mumbling, making it difficult to understand him, and when asked to repeat what he said, he would just stop talking.

  She enhanced the audio, cleaning up any of the static in the room, and was able to even filter out most of the echo sound, and fast forwarded to the low quality audio, and mumbling segments of the recording. There was one incident, while encouraging him to repeat names, he just started rapidly mumbling names incoherently, but there was something she thought she had heard. It was going to be a long night, but she didn’t care.

  When Rick Gardner looked down at his feet, a tear fell from his eye; not because he was crying, but he hadn’t experienced the sunlight this intense since he was brought to Corcoran prison, years ago. He had accepted that he would never see the outside of the prison walls, which bordered his existence, for over 45 years, but here he was, waiting for a ride. A ride into  the rest of his life! He’ll never forget the day when his lawyer, Jodie Tomlinson came to meet with him, exuberant in relating the most incredible news he had ever dreamt, was even possible. He was being released for the crime that he never committed, which consumed most of his life, but now he had a future. Looking down at the bag of his belongings he had turned over when his incarceration began at the young age of 20, his body started shaking, as he started sobbing.

  Two weeks before Jodie visited Rick, to give him the incredible news of his overturned conviction, he remembered how passive Jeremy seemed to be after that last session, as if he had found religion, or just came out of the hypnosis, a completely different person. He seemed at peace with himself, and those around him, including Rick. If that’s all that would change after this entire ordeal, he’d be alright with it, because when you’re forced to live like two animals in a small cage, it’s always better when there’s no extra stress and tension, on top of being confined, together.

  When Mike came to his cell that morning after breakfast, telling him he had two visitors, and one of them was his lawyer, Rick had prepared himself for the worst news, after being denied early release, 4 times over 40 years, in front of the parole board. When he entered the visiting room, he noticed that this was the first time, the guards didn’t chain his shackles to the bar in the middle of the table. He sat down in a chair, on one side of the table across from Jodie, and another lady he’d never seen before, sitting next to her.

“Rick,” Jodie smiled, shaking his hand. “It’s so good to see you again! This is Jackie Borders, a good friend of mine, who administered the hypnotherapy sessions with Jeremy.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Rick,” Jackie, also smiled, and shook his hand! “Jodie has some amazing news for you, and she wanted me here to explain everything about Jeremy’s hypnosis sessions, and what we’ve accomplished.”

“You’re being freed Rick,” Jodie blurted out, with tears streaming down her face! He put his head down on the table, in his arms and started crying, unable to believe what he just heard.

“Please tell me what all that means, and how is this even possible,” he asked, looking up, wiping out his eyes?

  Jackie briefly explained how hypnosis works, and the process utilized in making people suggestive to commands. She then went into detail, starting with Jeremy’s 1st hypnotic session, how he relived his entire life, answering suggestive questions, up to the point of when he killed his parents, but then they had to end the session, because he went into convulsions.

  She turned on a small recorder, and played a portion of the session where she asked Jeremy if he’s killed anyone else, besides his parents. As Rick leaned closer to the recorder, a garbled, rapid mumbling of names came out of it. She told him that this gave her cause to alter their initial plan for the next session, which she felt required regressive hypnotherapy. Exposing Jeremy Moody’s previous life as Eric Batson, the real mass murderer of the McGuire family! Hearing every in depth, and gory detail of how he entered the house, and systematically slaughtered every family member, made Rick nauseous, almost vomiting, reliving his own personal nightmare from that night, as he listened to the real killer’s version.

Jodie told Rick how lucky she got finding a district judge in West Virginia, who was familiar with his case, and always felt something wasn’t right about his guilty verdict, so he was easily persuaded to issue a court order for dredging the New River. When the old rusty white Ford LTD, was lifted out of the New River, covered in mud and debris, they found a skeleton in the driver's seat, covered in soiled shreds of clothing, still clinging to the body. In its lap was a soiled, almost black pillowcase tied together with a couple knots, and inside they found the hammer, and an ice pick, which was proven to be the murder weapons used on the McGuire’s. Also found, was a wallet, which the forensic scientific lab determined, belonged to Eric Batson.

  Nobody in the Victor community had ever heard of an Eric Batson, but he had been staying in a cheap dirty motel, for a couple weeks, and when they opened the door to the room, it was trashed. Food lying all over the floor, full of cockroaches, and there was writing all over the walls with hateful gibberish, along with various sizes of Nazi Swatzika’s scrawled on every wall. There were pictures he had taken of various houses, where families lived throughout Fayetteville, and a couple other neighboring small communities, as if he just picked an innocent family by random, to kill. A picture of the McGuire family home, taped to the wall, above the bed, had arrows pointing to the house from all directions, and next to it were the words. The same words he had scrawled on the wall, using a small boy’s blood and brain matter, but these words were written in Eric Batson’s blood, it was later determined. When Jodie presented this evidence, along with the murder weapons, and the detailed confession, during regressive hypnosis, it took the courts only a couple days to overturn Rick Gardner’s incarceration, for a crime he didn’t commit.

  Rick started smiling as he recollected everything that happened that day, when he noticed a cloud of dust in the distance on the horizon, getting closer. The car was speeding towards him down the highway; as he turned around for the last time, looking up at the prison walls, where he was convinced would be his last home until he died. When the car slowed to a stop in front of him, the passenger window rolled down, and a familiar face smiled at him. Older, but still having the same silly grin, with his now salt and pepper hair, Henry unlocked the passenger door. His mom, Carole, had died several years ago, still convinced of Rick’s innocence, and visited him, twice per month. Henry was 9 years old when his cousin went to prison for life, and now he’s 54, but as the car turned around, driving back up the long highway, away from Corcoran, they both talked and laughed like the last 44 years never happened.

 

 

Epilogue

A couple months had passed since Rick Gardner took back control of his life, and Jodie had gained infamous reputation as one of the most honored, and respected lawyers in California. Jackie expanded her practice as a hypnotist, dwelling more into regressive hypnosis, and had acquired national fame for solving a half century cold case. Jodie had just put some files in her briefcase, and reached over to shut down her computer, when an email came through from Jackie. She almost shut it down, figuring she’d read it tomorrow, but changed her mind, so she clicked on it. When it opened, there was an attached audio along with the email. It reads:

Hi Jodie,

  I’ve been able to entirely filter out the static interference on this audio portion of Jeremy’s 1st session. This is a section of the audio, when I asked him if he killed anyone else, besides his parents, and he starts rambling off several names, which were unintelligible. Most of the names you’ll hear are unknown, but there is a name that stands out, because I recognized it. You can hear it for yourself, starting at 1:23 on the audio clip, when I ask who he killed first, and he clearly answers, in an old English accent, “Mary Ann Nichols!” If you’re not familiar with her name, she was also known as “Polly”, and she was murdered early on the morning of August 31, 1888. She was the first victim of Jack the Ripper!

Jackie

END

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Kerry ONeal. All rights reserved.

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