The following is part nine of a completely fictional story illustrating one possible way in which private citizens might address problems stemming from the abuse of prosecutorial discretion using means that are 100% “outside the system.” While not advocating such tactics described, I did try to come up with tactics that make maximum use of leverage, that is, those tactics requiring the least amount of personnel, time, and resources to achieve the most significant result. This story is not about heroes and villains, good guys or bad guys. The characters are NOT intended to be role models, only to be as believable as possible while still doing things that, to my knowledge, have never been done before. Warning: This is not what you expect. It describes dirty, underhanded tactics which
some most will find shocking and revolting.
Tuesday, October 30 – 7:27 AM
As Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Sullivan finished handcuffing himself to the seat back in front of him, Jason put the video camera, still recording, up behind the back seats of the rented Malibu, that way it was facing out the rear window. With the camera balanced there, he reached into Sullivan’s pockets and found his keys. He quickly handed them to Adam, who was standing there outside the car at the right rear door. Once he had the keys, Adam closed the door and handed the keys to Ed, who was standing right behind him. Ed then opened the front passenger door of the Malibu, hit the quick release latch on his AK pistol’s sling and tossed the weapon onto the seat . He then quickly removed his backpack, held it out in one hand and the keys in the other, and started walking in the general direction of Biggs and Brillo. He hit the “unlock” button, and Biggs grabbed the keys and the Bag. Brillo, by now, had Sullivan’s briefcase in his hand and was already almost to Sullivan’s car. Brillo got into the passenger seat, and Biggs got into the driver seat, putting the bag with the cash in it on top of the briefcase which was in Brillo’s lap. By this time Ed was already in his Cherokee and started pulling forward. Adam, who had been waiting in the Malibu behind, started the car and began to follow behind Ed, almost touching Ed’s bumper. Adam wanted to move as far forward as quickly as he could so he would not get rear-ended by Sullivan’s car, leaving a paint trail. Behind the Malibu, Biggs was maneuvering Sullivan’s BMW. Although it looked chaotic, the pattern of cars worked to obscure the Malibu with Sullivan in it, as it was in the middle.
As the Malibu accelerated, Jason steadied the video camera, still recording in the rear window, and panned it a little to the left and right so as to get a good view out the back as they left. Once the Malibu made its first turn, Jason pulled the camera down and stopped recording. As quickly as he could, he pulled a pair of disposable rubber gloves out of his cargo pockets and put them on both of his hands. He then pulled Sullivan’s cell phone and pistol off of his belt and set the pistol on the floor, keeping the cellphone in his hand. Jason clicked around a bit to find the “contacts” list on Sullivan’s Blackberry.
Sullivan would be the first to speak in the car: “I have a wife and kids. I’ll do whatever you guys want; just please let me go back to my family.” he pleaded.
“Just stay calm and do exactly as we say. Don’t try anything stupid, and it’ll all be over soon.” Adam said. “Now what is your secretary’s name?”
“Uh, Erin.” Sullivan responded.
“She’ll be at work today, you think?” Adam asked.
“She should be.” Sullivan answered.
“OK, OK,” Jason said looking through Sullivan’s phone. “OK; found both of them, I think.” Jason opened up the contact labeled “Erin Cell.”
“Here’s the lunchbox, now go with it.” Adam said, passing Jason a plastic kid’s lunchbox. Jason took the lunchbox and set it down on the seat next to him with the video camera. He then pulled a folding knife from his cargo pocket and cut into Sullivan’s jacket sleeve, telling Sullivan, “hold still.”
“Please don’t hurt me,” Sullivan said as Jason cut a long opening in the jacket sleeve, and then a long opening in the shirt sleeve beneath. He then set the knife down on the seat and opened the lunchbox. Inside the lunchbox were several syringes loaded with various amounts of liquid. He found the one labeled H-1, for “heroin first dose,” and held it in his left hand as he opened up the slits in Sullivan’s sleeve exposing the skin of his left deltoid.
“What is this? What is this?” Sullivan asked, sounding very scared and nervous. Jason and Adam both said nothing as Jason stuck the needle into Sullivan’s shoulder and pushed down the plunger.
Jason then put the needle back in the lunchbox and retrieved the knife. He held the knife at Sullivan’s crotch area, causing Sullivan to reflexively cross his legs and draw them up. Jason worked the knife between Sullivan’s legs, not cutting him, but scaring him and definitely getting a reaction. Once Sullivan screamed a little, Jason backed off a couple inches with the knife. Jason then asked Sullivan, “What is your secretary’s name?”
“Uh, it’s Erin, it’s Erin!” Sullivan said.
Jason held up the phone to Sullivan’s face and asked, “Is this her cell phone number here?”
“Yes,” Sullivan replied.
“Call her and tell her you’re sick and won’t be coming to work. Don’t say anything else. Just cut it short if she tries to keep talking. If it goes to voicemail, leave a message.” Adam instructed.
Sullivan called the number and ended up leaving a message. This would buy Adam and Jason some time.
As their two vehicle convoy meandered around Sullivan’s neighborhood just north of downtown Lexington, they passed a small lake and some ball fields and headed south toward Main Street, which ran East/ West through the town. Unfortunately, they would have to go onto Main St. for a bit in order to get from where they were to the safehouse where they needed to go. As they approached Main St. from the north, Ed sped up a little to put some distance between himself and the Malibu. Ed, acting as a screening element now, turned left onto Main Street, heading East. Meanwhile, in the Malibu, Jason undid Sullivan’s cuffs and instructed him to “act normal” as the Malibu approached Main.
Adam turned the Malibu left on Main once Sullivan was uncuffed; the Malibu was now about 5 to 10 car lengths behind Ed’s Cherokee. They would have to travel about a half a mile on Main before clearing out of the Lexington suburbs and getting into farmland. Ed accelerated to about 10 MpH over the speed limit while Adam remained at exactly the speed limit. As they passed the Moose lodge on their left, both Adam and Ed noticed the Lafayette County Sheriff car parked up ahead on the left. They had expected it to be there, as they had done dry runs and familiarized themselves with the town. The Sheriff Deputy was at the outskirts of Lexington, on the East side of the town, his radar pointing east to catch speeders as the speed limit changed from 45 MpH to 35. He was watching motorists coming east to west entering the town, and Adam’s convoy was heading west to east, so the cop didn’t notice. He saw the Malibu and the Cherokee as they passed by his position and came into view.
“Head down!” Jason said to Sullivan, again pointing the knife at his crotch. The deputy paid little to no attention to the Malibu, and only glanced a little longer than usual at the Cherokee with its “Ron Paul” bumper sticker as the vehicles moved further away from him as they passed where the road changed from “Main Street” to Route 224. Ed and Adam’s vehicles then turned onto Route 13 heading north.
Jason picked up the video camera and switched it from camera mode to playback mode. He looked through the viewfinder on the old S-VHS camera, hit the rewind button and got to the spot where the camera began to film the kidnapping action. He watched the action which had just taken place, double checking to see if he could see any neighbors watching the action, staring intently, picking up cell phones, writing down license numbers, etc. He and Adam wanted to know what their situation was in regards to witnesses, and the camera might have picked up things that they hadn’t noticed on-scene. Jason was able to see one older woman walking a small dog. She looked up and over her shoulder to see what the group with the video camera was doing, but, once Jason turned the video camera in her direction, she quickly turned back around and continued walking her dog. When people see a camera crew, they generally look toward the camera to see what is gong on, but, when the camera is turned on them in a public space, most ordinary people will avert their eyes, not wanting to be filmed themselves. Jason figured that, from her position, this woman must have also later looked up and seen Sullivan’s car when Biggs screeched the tires a little on his way out of the area, but, she most likely had gotten a good look at Adam or Ed’s vehicles. Worst case, she recognized Sullivan’s car and saw Biggs and Brillo inside it, but that was all.
“So, what’s the word?” Adam asked Jason.
“Maybe one old lady saw Biggs and Brillo leaving, maybe a glance at us, but nothing too serious to worry about now.” Jason replied.
“OK. let’s toss the phone at first chance. See anyone?” said Adam as they got onto the newly constructed bridge on Route 13 going over to the north side of the Missouri River.
“Roger, looking out, looking out” Jason looked out the rear and side windows as Adam scanned out the front windshield. Adam hit he button to roll down Sullivan’s window on the right rear passenger side as he veered the car as close as he could to the right side of the road.
“Clear, clear.” Adam said.
“Clear, clear” Jason replied as he leaned over Sullivan and tossed the cell phone, battery removed, out the window as hard as he could and into the Missouri River. At this point, the guns were on the floorboard on the side opposite Sullivan. Sullivan could see them as Jason leaned over him. For a microsecond, Sullivan thought about reaching over for the guns. He might have had a chance, if he could momentarily overpower Jason, to get one of them and put up some resistance. But his practical and cautious side quickly forgot such thoughts; his captors had told him that it would all be over soon. Sullivan figured they must just want money or want someone’s charges dropped. And, he thought, if they were out to kill him, they would have done so by now, so his best course of action at this point would simply be to cooperate until they let him go. At worst, Sullivan thought, they might use him as a hostage to to attempt to negotiate some kind of concession from the state or county, a concession such as $10 million dollars or the release of some organized crime figures, perhaps.
“I’ll do whatever you guys want. Just please don’t hurt me. I have a wife and two kids at home.” Sullivan said as Jason leaned back over and sat down in he middle seat next to Sullivan. Adam and Jason said nothing. As Sullivan drew a breath after this latest plea, he started to feel a pleasant, tingly feeling. It felt somewhat like the time he was once given morphine through an IV when he had his wisdom teeth removed many years back, only it didn’t feel as strong, not at first anyway. “What is this stuff? Just please tell me what you guys just shot into my arm.” Adam and Jason both said nothing. The fearful trembling and choking up that had been a part of Sullivan’s speech pattern so far began to disappear as Sullivan mumbled a few more sentences in calm and relaxed tone:
“Please don’t kill me. I’m a good man. My family needs me.” Sullivan leaned his head back against the window. Jason didn’t want the high-as-a-kite Prosecuting Attorney leaning agains the window, so he pulled Sullivan’s head so it was leaning against his shoulder. A tear dripped down Sullivan’s cheek.
“My boys need their dad. My boys need their daddy.”
“Please don’t kill me.”
As Sullivan’s voice trailed off, Adam continued to look forward, at the road ahead. Focus on the mission, he thought, as his conscience began to scold him for what he was doing. Adam was starting to feel genuine sympathy for Eugene. Come on, Adam, where’s that bad-ass interrogator? What happened to that cold blooded SOB who’s ready to take the gloves off? Come on, Soldier! Focus on the mission! Come on, Intel Operator, operate! Remember that Iraqi insurgent in the interrogation room who gave you that smile? Remember how you wanted to take the gloves off and bash his teeth in one by one with a ball-pine hammer? Come on, you cold-hearted son of a bitch! Come on Operator! Operate!
As Sullivan relaxed, so did Jason. The most nerve wracking part of the mission, for him anyway, was over. ‘Wheww! We made it this far, man, it’s all downhill from here. Hey can he hear us right now, I mean, through the drugs?”
Adam replied, “Well, I think he can, but he’s not gonna give a shit what you say. He’s having the time of his life right now. I’m assuming he’s never tried heroin before, but that’s just a guess.”
“Hasn’t tried it like you have, huh?” Jason said to Adam.
“Uh, yeah……Yep, yep, I’m a druggie, one of those, guilty as charged. But, uh, hey, our man there still might be able to…. process what he hears, so let’s keep the conversation to a minimum.
“Alright.” Jason said. “So I guess I won’t tell you that war story this guy just reminded me of. This guy’s bitchin’ about his family reminded me of this time in Fallujah in the big November battle, we came across this Iraqi family, all of them were dead, huddled in a corner of their home. Concussion must have just scrambled their organs, ’cause the bodies were pretty much intact. Ya’ know, dead bodies’ clothes come off when ya’ drag ’em, right? Anyway, I’ll tell ya’ that one some other time. I figure you’re a sick enough bastard to appreciate that one; ’cause normally I’d never tell the full story on that one to an Army fag.”
“Gee, thanks.” Adam said sarcastically, trying to lighten the mood and suppress his nagging conscience.
“Hey, don’t mention it. I mean, I know I’m a cold-hearted SOB, but you, you, man, I wouldn’t want to run into you in a dark alley……..or the middle of the woods.” Jason said with a smile and continued, “Dah-na-new-new, new-new, new-new, new…”
Jason retracted his smile when he saw Adam give him a dirty look in the rearview mirror.
“…sorry, sore subject. I know. I’ll shut up now.” Jason said, finally shutting up and getting back into ‘professional’ mode.
Meanwhile, Ed was still driving ahead of the Malibu. He was speeding up and then slowing down, not quite trying to get stopped by the cops, but making sure that if there was a cop in the area intent on pulling someone over that it would be his vehicle and not the Malibu containing the kidnapped and drugged Prosecuting Attorney. Ed also had his CB radio on and two handheld radio scanners in the seat next to him. As a survivalist, he’d been into radios for a while, but had let the hobby lapse somewhat until he started getting back into the game a little with the current mission. One scanner was set to the Missouri Highway Patrol frequencies and the common local police frequencies. Ed had meticulously labeled these channels as well, so he’d know from looking at the screen whether it was county, town, or highway patrol talking, or whether the frequency was one that was shared. Fortunately for him, the highway patrol and the local boys were still using basic VHF frequencies, no trunking system, no frequency hopping, and no encryption. This allowed them to communicate for further distances on the long stretches of rural road, plus it saved money. If they needed to go secure, the cops would simply say something like, “let’s go to secure comm,” or, if they didn’t feel like using professional cop-talk, they’d just say “call me on my cell.”
The other scanner was set only to federal, interagency, and emergency communications frequencies. These were used by agencies like the DEA or FBI, plus they were also used by state and local agencies to talk to the feds. They were rarely heard, as they were only used when something big was going down, and they were more often than not encrypted. Some of these frequencies were used exclusively by federal and state law enforcement task forces, and some of the frequencies allowed local PD’s to communicate with such task forces. The encrypted frequencies often relied on repeaters to relay messages from one county to another, although the flat and open terrain did make direct line-of-sight communication possible over fairly long distances.
With the scanner he had set to federal and interagency channels, Ed knew he would not likely be able to follow much of the action. If the authorities were on the trail of a kidnapped elected official, those comms, Ed figured, would only be in secure mode. What he was listening for was “chatter;” if the scanner set to federal and interagency frequencies started stopping on channels, it would at least pick up some of the hissing and garbled sounds associated with encrypted comm. If several of these channels started making noise, that meant a situation that he and the rest of Adam’s crew would have to deal with. With the other scanner set to highway patrol and local frequencies, Ed was hearing talk, and he was keeping his ears pricked for words such as “BOLO vehicle”, as in “be-on-the-lookout,” or a dispatcher calling all stations. He was also glancing down at the scanner periodically to see if any of the channels it stopped at were associated with aircraft operations. As Ed’s last electronic line of defense, he could also switch either of his handheld scanners to “seek” mode. In seek mode, the scanner would simply scan all available frequencies, thousands of them, in a couple quick seconds. Ed was fairly confident that if he got the suspicion he were being followed, he could put a scanner in seek mode and replace the regular antenna with a smaller one, thereby being able to get some confirmation that there was surveillance traffic in his vicinity. Surveillance wouldn’t be the end of the world, of course; it would just mean an adjustment to The Plan would need to be made. After all, cops didn’t bother with surveillance if they already had all the evidence they needed.
Ed arrived at the primary safehouse in Carrolton first, slowing down his vehicle and passing by it’s front entrance. He circled around the block, which could be described as a cross between suburban and rural. The house was located on the outskirts of a neighborhood of fairly low cost homes near the town’s industrial district, a neighborhood containing a fair amount of distressed properties with “FOR SALE” or “AUCTION” signs in front. As Ed’s vehicle came back to the house’s location, he saw Adam driving the Malibu approaching from the front. Ed waved to Adam, indicating the “all clear” signal. Adam reciprocated the wave and the signal. Ed drove off. He would continue driving in a rough “spiral” pattern around the safe house, ears and eyes pricked for any sign that they were being watched or had otherwise been compromised.
Inside the Malibu, as they approached the driveway to the safe house, Adam handed Jason his Taser. “Careful with this thing; you know about the tags, right?”
“Yeah” Jason said. Adam had cautioned him many times about he Taser’s anti-felon serial tags. Jason carefully removed the unspent cartridge from the Taser and exchanged it with a spent one kept in a plastic bag. The spent cartridge consisted of the plastic attachment piece and two wires with sharp barbs at the end; all of it’s anti-felon tags had been scattered in a field when the cartridge had been fired about a month ago. It couldn’t shoot the metal barbs, as the propulsion charge was also spent, but it could still be used on someone if the barbs were stuck into someone’s skin manually. This is how many police departments and military training courses train personell, having them feel the electricity and “ride the lightning” without expending a cartridge each time.
Sullivan was still feeling the effects of the heroin very much, but the initial “rush” had worn off and given way to calming and pleasant drunken feeling. “What’s going on?” He asked. “Where are we? What is it you people want? What was in that shot? Morphine? Heroin?” He asked. By this time the car was parked in the driveway, as close to the door as they could get. Adam and Jason started packing their things into bags, including Sullivan’s gun and the Taser.
Adam said to Sullivan, “Can you move? Do you think you can walk?”
“I can try” Sullivan replied.
Adam went first, getting out of he car, walked up to the front door while scanning his head and eyes around. He pulled out his keys and opened the door, waiting there and continuing to look around. “See that door where my friend is? That’s where we’re going.” Jason said to Sullivan. Jason helped Sullivan across the middle seat, out the left side door, and up on his feet. “Now come on, here, let’s go.” Jason said, guiding Sullivan to the front door and inside the house.
Once inside the house, Adam quickly closed the front door. They led Sullivan down a flight of stairs into the basement. Adam flicked on one of the light switches, turning on a single light bulb. Sullivan saw before him several large blue tarps overlapping and covering the floor. In the center of the tarps were two folding chairs, the type pro wrestlers would hit each other on the head with. Jason instructed Sullivan to sit down in one of the chairs. He pulled his pistol out and pointed it at Sullivan, saying “Don’t move.”
“Please don’t hurt me; I’ll do whatever you say. Just please don’t point that gun at me. I promise I’m not gonna do anything.” Sullivan pleaded. His voice still sounded relaxed from the heroin, but he was starting to quickly sober up. Jason held Sullivan at gunpoint while Adam went back to the car to retrieve several bags of gear. Adam set the bags in a dark corner of the basement and came over to where Sullivan and Jason were. Adam had the plastic bag with the Taser and spent cartridge in his hand. He pulled out the Taser with its tangled leads and started untangling them. Sullivan began to speak, but Jason cut him off:
“Shut up! Shut the fuck up! You talk when we say you can and only when we say you can. You do exactly as we say, and don’t do anything unless we say, understood?” Jason barked at Sullivan.
“Yes.” Said Sullivan. “Yes, sir.”
“Now strip, everything. Do it now.” Jason said.
Sullivan took his clothes off and put everything in a pile next to him, including his watch. Adam handed Sullivan an adult diaper, saying “Now put this on.” Sullivan put on the diaper. “Now sit back down,” Adam said, and Sullivan sat back down in the chair. Adam collected Sullivan’s clothes and watch and put them in a garbage bag, setting the bag in the corner with the rest of the supplies.
Adam then took the barbs from the spent Taser cartridge and stuck them in Sullivan’s skin by his lower rib cage. Sullivan didn’t complain, as he was still feeling the lingering effects of the heroin. Adam unravelled the wires to the Taser and stepped back with the unit, untangling as he went. When he had the wires fully untangled, he handed the unit to Jason. “You try anything funny, and I zap you, understand?” Jason asked Sullivan.
Sullivan replied, “Yes, understood.”
Adam went over to the corner where the bags were staged and came back with several sets of handcuffs and a blindfold. He cuffed Sullivan’s hands behind him and cuffed each of his ankels to the chair’s legs. He then put the blindfold over Sullivan’s eyes. Sullivan sat relatively still, squirming a little here and there as the effects of the heroin slowly wore off. Adam took some newspaper and put it under the front of Sullivan’s chair.
Ed had completed his reconnaissance of the surrounding area and was satisfied that the police, at this point anyway, weren’t surrounding the safe house. He drove out of Carrolton and headed back west along the route they came, staying alert for signs of increased police activity.
Eugene Sullivan was still buzzing from the heroin, but he was starting to sober up. He was now feel nauseous and fighting the urge to throw up. Adam had the AK pistol and was standing watch upstairs in the kitchen; Jason remained in the basement, setting up and staging more equipment and bags around the area where Sullivan was seated. Adam and Jason had no communication tools turned on except for their handheld GMRS radios, and any word from Ed would mean they’d have to get out of the safehouse ASAP. In an emergency, they’d leave Sullivan cuffed to the chair and try to save themselves. Also, if they needed to, they could turn on their cell phones and talk directly to Ed, but they didn’t expect to have to deal with any problem situations at this time. If the cops were onto them, they’d most likely be outside by now anyway. This was a vulnerable time for them, though; they had to wait for the effects of the heroin to subside enough so that Sullivan and Adam could have a meaningful conversation
At about 9:40 Sullivan finally vomited his breakfast of instant oatmeal, milk, and coffee onto the newspaper below him. Jason waited until he was finished and wrapped up the newspaper with the vomit and put it in a fresh garbage bag. Jason also put fresh newspaper under Sullivan’s front. A few minutes later, Sullivan heaved several times, spewing liquid onto the newspaper. Again, Jason cleaned it up, put the paper into the garbage bag, and replaced the newspaper under where Sullivan had been puking.
Ed returned to the safehouse area, parking his Cherokee several houses over on the street. He reported to Adam and Jason that there was no activity along the route area to suggest that the police suspected anything was going on. They assumed that the message left with Sullivan’s secretary, Erin, had made it through and that no one was missing Eugene at work. Similarly, they assumed that Mrs. Sullivan just figured Eugene had gone to work, as their surveillance indicated that she was most likely no longer working herself. However, Adam, Ed, and Jason understood that at some point in the morning, even with the car gone and the phone message with the secretary, someone would notice Sullivan’s cell phone not answering and start looking for him. All it would take would be a call from his wife to his work or his work to his wife, and the delay game would be up.
As Adam had previously instructed, Ed went inside the safehouse, down the basement stairs, and made a point for his voice, a new one to Sullivan, to be heard. They wanted Sullivan to hear all three of their voices; the more people he believed were a part of The Plan, the better for them.
“So when are you guys gonna do this thing?’ Ed asked Jason within earshot of Sullivan.
“We’re ’bout to get started right about now.” Jason replied. In addition to Jason’s voice, Sullivan also heard the sound of a gas stove being lit.
Ed left the house, this time taking the Malibu to do one last reconnaissance of their trail leading back to Lexington and the route they would soon be taking to the decoy safehouse in Richmond. Once Ed left, Adam came down the stairs, grabbed a few bags from the corner, and sat down across from Sullivan, who now seemed sober enough to engage in conversation. Adam took off Sullivan’s blindfold.
Sullivan looked up and saw Adam sitting directly across from him. A Wal*Mart bag and the lunchbox he’d seen before were near Adam’s feet. Immediately behind Adam, Eugene Sullivan could see a video camera mounted on a tripod facing him; it appeared to be pointing directly at him. Further behind Adam, Eugene could see the flame of a camping stove with a large stockpot over it. Jason was pacing back and forth a little, between the stockpot and the video camera. Sullivan could also see that Jason had a small but deep saucepan in his hand that he was twirling around a bit. Eugene turned his head to look around and noticed that, in addition to the camera in front of him, there was a camera on his left side, his right side, and directly behind him. All of these cameras were on tripods as well, and they all appeared to be focused directly on him. Their red lights were not on, so Sullivan assumed he wasn’t being recorded a this point. He fought back the urge to speak, knowing he wasn’t supposed to; the cameras, the lit stove and Jason with his small pot were making Sullivan very, very curious, and not in a pleasant way.
Adam pulled the Taser barbs out of Sullivan’s skin. Sullivan grimaced as he did so, indicating that the heroin had worn off enough to proceed with the dirty business that needed to be done. Adam then said to Eugene, “You’re probably wondering what this is about, now, right?” Sullivan nodded his head. Adam then said, “What this is about, is this, Eugene, and, by the way, before we get started here, is it ‘Gene’ or Eugene?”
Sullivan replied,”Eugene is fine.”
“Well, what does your wife call you? Let me put it that way?” Adam asked.
“She calls me Gene.”
Adam said, “Well, Gene, my name is Adam, and here’s what this is about: you’re here because of an incident in which someone assaulted and battered someone else on the side of the highway in Lafayette County.” Adam paused. Sullivan showed no reaction, and Adam continued, “It was about two or three months ago. Someone assaulted, battered, and electrocuted another person on the side of the road. There was a videotape of the incident. The person who did the assaulting lied about it. Then, a second videotape came out showing that this person did, in fact assault and batter the other person, and, furthermore, this video showed that the person who did the assaulting also lied about it. Ring any bells here?!?” Adam said, noticing the anger building in his voice.
Sullivan began to feel more nervous and afraid as he heard the anger in Adam’s voice. In his mind, Sullivan put this together with the fact that Jason was standing over a stockpot being heated by a camping stove, and Sullivan knew that he now had to choose his words very, very carefully. He finally opened his mouth and began to answer Adam’s question. Sullivan said, nodding his head, “OK, OK; I think I know what you’re talking about, the highway patrol incident….” The gears in Sullivan’s head began to turn, despite the lingering effects of the small heroin dose. He wisely decided to keep his answers to a bare minimum and say as little as possible. As a prosecutor for the county, he’d received some security briefs from the Sheriff, so he knew not to engage his captors in political discussions, if at all possible.
However, as an interrogator and intelligence operator in the Army, Adam had received such briefings as well, several times in fact, and he would not be letting Sullivan off the hook. Adam said, “Now, Gene, let’s cut to the chase here, you did wrong. And you know you did wrong. Now we all make mistakes, and you made yours here. You could have convened a Grand Jury and put officer Michael Garges in front of it with some charges. You could have done that weeks,…months ago, but you chose not to…….Now, you done wrong, you got caught, and now here you are.”
Gene thought for a second about lying, about telling Adam that he was about to charge Garges, but he stopped and figured it would be best not to try and lie. He told himself that he would simply just do what they told him, say what they wanted him to say, and wait for them to either release him or for he cavalry to come. At this point, Sullivan thought that maybe the cameras were there to record some kind of statement, and he’d make whatever statement these kidnappers wanted him to make. Sullivan then nodded his head in agreement, saying to Adam, “OK, you’re right. I have done wrong. I should have charged the officer with a crime, assault and battery, making false statements to police..”
“Attempted murder?” Adam chimed in.
“Attempted murder, yes, sir.” Sullivan said. “I should have thrown the book at him. As officers of the law, those men and women have a special responsibility to follow it, especially while in uniform. That officer was a disgrace to the force; he ought to be in jail.” Sullivan started o get into his political groove, telling Adam what he thought he wanted to hear. “I give you my word, my sacred honor, that if you release me, I will throw the book at Garges. I’ll put him in front of a Grand Jury, he’ll be indicted, and, if found guilty, he’ll do some real hard time. I give you my word. I’m an honorable man, and you gentlemen seem like honorable men. I mean you’re not doing this for money or anything; you just want to see some reforms, and I assure you, I’ll make things right.”
Adam leaned in and focused his eyes on Eugene’s, saying “I wish it were that easy. I wish it were that easy.” Adam didn’t have to tell Eugene that he wasn’t stupid, that he didn’t believe Eugene would just go out and do the prosecution if only he’d let him go. Eugene knew that Adam and Jason meant business. Jason turned on the rest of the light switches, illuminating the entire basement. Sullivan could see Jason holding his hand over the stockpot, looking at it intently, and adjusting the flame. What Sullivan didn’t know was that the stockpot contained canola oil, a common frying oil used for deep frying. And Jason was checking the heated oil to see if smoke was beginning to come off of it, as canola oil had a high smoke point. It is commonly used as a frying oil at about 350 degrees Ferenheit to cook french fries. For sauteing things like steaks, fish, or scallops, in a shallow pan, however, canola oil is typically heated further, until it starts to smoke, somewhere in the neighborhood of 425 degrees or so, depending on the quality of the oil. That way, the meat, or whatever is being sauteed, gets a nice crust to it within a minute or so.
Adam continued, “Well, the good news, Gene, is that we’re going to let you go, and let you go pretty soon, in fact, if you cooperate with us.”
“I’ll do whatever you want,” Eugene quickly said. If this was the good news, what ‘was the bad news?’ he wondered. His mind began to race.
“But you’ll have to cooperate with us fully, 100%, do you understand?”
“OK. What is it you want me to do?” Eugene asked. Good, Adam thought, Eugene was asking questions on his own initiative and expressing an interest to cooperate. Eugene was at least paying attention so far.
Adam answered, “First, what we want you to do is to mislead the disappearance or kidnapping investigation once we release you. You don’t give the investigators anything that will lead them to us. And, if it comes to where you see me or any of my associates in a lineup, you don’t point us out. Whatever you do, you’re going to lead the investigators away from us once we let you go. It’ll be a the feds that do the investigating, but, I’m sure as the county prosecutor, you can pull some strings to make sure me and my boys don’t even make it to a lineup. You’ll be the primary witness, the only witness, as the victim of this kidnapping. We’ll release you, far from here, and you’ll tell the investigators a little fib: you’ll tell the investigators that you escaped. You’ll be a hero. You’ll be all over the news. You’ll be national news for a few days, maybe even a week. This will definitely help your political career. Think about it, you’ll get to go on Anderson Cooper, O’Reilly, Hannity, Greta. You’ll use your few days of fame not to tell all about this kidnapping, though. It’ll be too traumatic, and plus, you’ll tell ’em all you don’t remember much because of the drugs. No, what you’ll do with your 15 minutes of fame or however much fame you get, is you’ll use it to announce your state senate run. You’re going to run for state senate, and you’re going to use your candidacy and your 15 minutes to push for reforms, reforms that will make it more difficult for so-called bad apple officers like Garges to vicitimize people and get away with it. You will push for some laws. We’ll get into the specifics of these laws later. And, by the way, me and my boys will be communicating with you once you’re released, in order to make sure you’re doing the right things.”
OK, this is good news, Eugene thought. Maybe he wasn’t going to do all the things Adam wanted him to, but Sullivan could definitely tell Adam what he wanted to hear at this point. But Eugene was still very, very nervous as he continued paying close attention to what Adam had to say.
“But you’ll really have to do all you can, as both the witness and as the celebrity prosecutor, in order to mislead the investigation as much as possible. Now when they find you, you’ll have your suit back on, minus the shoes and tie. You’ll have some residual drugs still in your system, so you can feign a little memory loss and over-exhaustion at first. They’ll take you to a hospital to be evaluated. Don’t talk to them at the hospital; just act groggy and get some sleep. You’ll need some time to go over your cover story. Once you’ve gotten some rest, they’ll inevitably come at you with the questions. You won’t know any of them. As far as you let the investigators know, you were blindfolded and drugged the entire time. At the hospital, they’ll do blood and urine tests. They’ll find heroin and LSD in your system. You might even still be feeling the lingering effects of these drugs, depending on how long things take. You’ll play up the effects, acting as stoned and wigged out as you can.”
Adam continued, “But, eventually, you’ll have to answer some questions, like ‘how many of them were there,’ ‘what color vehicles did you see when you were picked up and when you escaped out of the safehouse,’ etcetera, etcetera. Feign memory loss as much as possible, and, if necessary, keep a couple of lies in mind. If the vehicle was white, say it was black, you know? You know how this stuff works, right?”
Sullivan answered, “OK; I’ll mislead the investigation. I can do that. I promise none of you guys will get caught. I got it. I got it. I can do that. I’ll do all those things and then some. You guys don’t get caught; I’ll mislead the investigation, I’ll pull some strings. And, I make the reforms. Yes, just please, please let me go home to my wife and kids.” Gene said, choking up as he started to think of his family. Gene had just made these promises, but he didn’t think that he’d actually have to keep them. He was glad to hear these guys would be letting him go, but he was very scared and nervous, especially when he noticed the expression on Jason’s face. It was disturbingly lifeless, as if he were in a waiting room bored to death and waiting for something to happen.
Adam, starting to feel a little empathy for Sullivan upon seeing him choke up, but Adam quickly settled back into his manipulative interrogator role and kept going. Adam forced a smile, as his role demanded, and delivered his lines:
“Now, Eugene,” Adam said, lowering his voice, “You don’t think we’re just going to trust you and let you go, do you? Do you really think we came all this way to just trust you, take you at your word?”
“I guess not,” Eugene conceded, now feeling an overwhelming sense of fear and dread. He didn’t know what would happen next, but he knew it would not be good. He thought a few seconds more and blurted out, almost in a panic, “Please, please don’t hurt me! I’ll do whatever you guys want; I promise I’ll go along one hundred and ten percent.” Sullivan paused, thought a little more, and then pleaded, “And, please don’t hurt my family; there’s no need for that either. Please, just trust me, trust me, I’ll go along with whatever you want.”
“Now Gene, unfortunately we can’t just trust you, and you know this. We’re going to have to take out a little insurance policy”, said Adam, giving Gene a an empty, I’ve-heard-it-all-before stare as he spoke. This stare was not an act; Adam’s real, honest face now came to suit the role he was playing. In this instant, Adam was actually feeling eerily comfortable in his skin, the skin of an ice-cold, devious and manipulative intelligence operator, and the skin of an absolutely shameless blackmailer. He didn’t even feel the subtle change as he continued reciting his lines:
“You see, now, Gene, if you don’t cooperate with us, if you don’t make the reforms, and if anyone on my team gets arrested for this, we’ll do something that you really, really won’t want us to do. If you do not cooperate, we will release an extremely embarrassing video of you, a video so humiliating that it would change your career, your life, and your family for the worse if the video ever saw the light of day. Each member of my team will have copies of this video; and if any one of them is nabbed, the other members will blast their copies all over the internet. And, how many of us do you think there are?”
Eugene was about to ask what video when Adam continued, “’What video,’ you may be asking,.…well,…
…the video hasn’t been made yet.”
Eugene’s feeling of dread and fear came to the forefront and started to reveal its underlying roots as his mind quickly connected the dots. He knew right away what the video cameras were for, and, he had a feeling what the stockpot and stove were for and what Jason’s role would be. Gene began to tremble as Adam continued speaking, slowly speaking with deliberate pauses for effect:
Adam said, “You, Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Sullivan, you are going to make the video for us. You’re gonna be the star; in fact, you’ll be the only person in the video. You see,……” Adam said, reaching in the Wal*Mart bag behind his chair, “You’re going to make this little movie for us, captured on four cameras, from four angles on both digital and analog formats…..,” Adam continued, as he pulled out a can of Vasaline and a large carrot from the bag, “A movie starring you, this carrot, and this Vasaline. We’ll untie you here, start the cameras, and when I yell ‘action,’ you’ll, well, ………’” Adam trailed off, nodding his head toward the carrot and then to Eugene.
Eugene felt instantly very ill. He fought back the urge to vomit as he listened to Adam speak. He lowered his head and stared at the ground. Then he dry heaved and vomited nothing but a few drops of liquid. He was in fear, extreme fear, but, despite his fear, he had a decision in front of him and he had to decide quickly what to say or do. His manhood-preservation and pride instincts told him that he should resist; make them torture him for real before he’d do such a vile and humiliating thing, on camera, no less. His pain-avoidance and life-preservation instincts, however, were telling him to just comply with his captors’ demands and to keep begging for his release. He had only seconds to make a decision, but he would have to live with his decision for the rest of his life. After a few seconds, he thought that he simply would not be able to live with himself knowing that he didn’t go down without a fight. His pride and manhood overrode his other instincts, if only for a moment, and he shook his head to indicate “no” as he kept staring down at he floor.
“No. No.” Sullivan said, continuing to shake his head and look down at the floor. “I can’t do that. Isn’t there some other way?” he desperately begged, looking up at Adam. Adam knew where the man was coming from, but tried not to sympathize too much. Believe me, I wish there was, Adam thought.
“No, I’m sorry, there is no other way.” Adam said honestly, giving a look and a nod to Jason, who was by now standing directly behind Sullivan and holding a rag. Jason grabbed Sullivan’s head from behind and forced the rag into Sullivan’s mouth holding his head back. With Jason holding Sullivan in position, Adam took the other rag and wrapped it to form a gag and then wrapped duct tape around Sullivan’s mouth as well. Adam and Jason leaned Sullivan’s chair back so that Sullivan’s back and the seat back were on the ground and his feet in the air. Adam reached into one of the bags next to his chair and pulled out a pair of oven mitts, putting them on. Sullivan heard the flare of the camping stove, and he knew what was coming next. It would take a little bit more time to heat up the oil to the temperature they wanted. Jason went back to the stockpot and took a close look at it, waiting to see if smoke would come up. As Jason was watching the pot and adjusting the flame up to its highest position, Sullivan was screaming and whimpering through the gag.
Adam said to Sullivan, “Now you had your chance to agree to make the video, and you said no. You knew this was coming. Now I hope you realize by now that you’re going to make this video one way or another; this is not a damn choice! This is not a game, and we don’t have a lot of time. I understand you don’t want to go down without a fight, that you want to play tough, but, you see, the thing is, we don’t have time to take care of your pride and your ego. This isn’t some touchy-feely, boo-hoo, group-hug time kind of thing here; we’ve got business to handle. I’m sorry, we just don’t have the time to play around.” Sullivan continued to whimper, beg, and plead through the tape. Adam held his hand over Sullivan’s gagged mouth, trying to hold his jaw closed. Adam didn’t want to hear any of what Sullivan had to say at this point. He’d already initially said ‘no’ to the video, and Adam didn’t have time to negotiate back and forth. He needed to hurt Sullivan and instill pure terror in him quickly and get him under their complete control.
Sullivan knew he was going to be tortured, it was just a matter of how much. He hoped they’d just give him a taste and then go back to threatening him. That way, he could save what he could of his pride and say to himself that he’d resisted, that he didn’t just give in. Eugene already understood that his eventual participation in the blackmail movie was all but a foregone conclusion, but he held out a glimmer of hope that a hostage rescue team might bust in the door and save him before it got to that point. He also understood that, if and when the video was made, he would do whatever it took to prevent the video’s release. But right now, in the front of his mind, he feared the pain of the hot cooking oil, and he temporarily set aside his concerns about the video and hopes for rescue. He whimpering, trying to beg for mercy through the gag. He was not yet verbally surrendering and agreeing to do the video, but simply begging for mercy as the process played out.
Once the oil was hot enough and he could see a little whisp of smoke coming up, Jason turned down the camping stove. He quickly took the small saucepan and dipped it in the stockpot full of 400 degree-plus canola oil, scooping up a good bit of it in the saucepan. He walked over to where Sullivan’s feet were; Jason continued to maintain his bored, waiting-room look on his face. He placed the saucepan of oil over Sullivan’s right foot and poured about a cup or so of oil over the top of Sullivan’s right foot. The oil first hit the tops of his toes and then between the toes as Sullivan’s foot jerked back and forth in a vain attempt to avoid the stream of oil. Sullivan’s body tightened up and he began writhing and screaming at the top of his lungs.
This went on for about 10 seconds before it even started to to subside a notch. Sullivan’s body went from an extreme tightening to more of a shaking. And the screaming and ‘grrrrrrr’ sound Sullivan was making changed to a more pitiful, dog whimpering sound, with heavy breathing. Adam had never seen or heard anything like this. Adam saw a little bit of vapor coming off of where the oil hit Sullivan’s toes. At first Adam told himself this was only steam, but soon Adam could smell the unmistakable stench of burning hair and flesh and came to realize the bit of vapor he saw was, in fact, smoke coming off of the Prosecuting Attorney’s burning flesh.
Jason then poured hot oil on Sullivan’s other foot, still maintaining his bored, emotionless expression on his face.
The sound that came next from Sullivan was a panicked, hybrid of the screaming and the dog-whimpering, only with heavier breathing. Sullivan’s face was turning bright red, and the veins in his neck were showing. Sullivan tried to turn his head back toward Adam as if to surrender. Adam saw him doing this, but he had to let Sullivan know that he was in complete control, that Sullivan did not even have the choice anymore as to when he could surrender. Adam needed Sullivan to understand that this was not a game about trying to be macho and take the pain. A little dose of pure terror would impart this lesson. Jason picked up the saucepan of oil, and knelt over Sullivan’s face while Adam used his oven-mitted hands to hold Sullivan’s head as still as possible. Sheer terror in Sullivan was quickly achieved, as Adam had hoped for. He needed that complete control; he didn’t want to waste precious time negotiating anything with his prisoner. Sullivan closed his eyes and tried to move his head out of the way as Jason started tilting the pan around slightly and following Sullivan’s abbreviated head movements with the pan.
Adam looked on and noticed the deadly serious expression on Jason’s face as he held the saucepan. The words, “absolutely diabolical” automatically came to Adam’s mind as Jason’s facial expression went from a stone-cold “game face” to a more furrowed and angry “war face”. That look on his face wasn’t in the script, Adam thought. He was supposed to be smiling, doing ‘Joker-from-Batman’ and here he is with a serious war face. This wasn’t in the script! He’s gonna do it! He’s gonna burn this man’s face off right here in front of me. Looking at Jason’s face, Adam knew that despite the fact that he was “officially,” the “leader,” it was Jason who was the baddest man in the room, and thus, in charge.
Adam’s felt a shudder come over his body. But he had to remain calm and stoic, even though he felt like he might literally throw up right then and there. Mentally, this was by far the most intense and significant experience of Adam’s life, like bungee jumping, armed combat, and LSD rolled into one. He was full of the impulse to do something, but could not decide what to do. In the properly executed “good-cop/ bad-cop” interrogation method, things were getting fairly close to where the “good cop” was supposed to intervene. Adam and Jason had practiced this routine before, but Adam was temporarily overwhelmed and forgot his lines. He tried to calm himself, remember, and think. Don’t look away! Don’t look away! Stay focused!
Adam channeled his energy into holding Sullivan’s head in place. Adam had never held down a pig or other animal to be slaughtered, but he figured this was something akin to it, not a comfortable thing to do. It wasn’t an easy thing to do either: Sullivan was trying to move his head and body as much as he could and trying to scream as loudly as he could through the gag and tape. It was no use, though.
Sullivan began wetting his diaper. As Sullivan’s tone changed slightly from sheer terror back to the pitiful dog-whimpering, Adam said to Jason, “Jason, stop, stop! OK, I think he’s gonna do it.”
Adam then said to Sullivan, “You’re gonna do it, right?” Sullivan nodded his head, still whimpering. Jason finally pulled the saucepan back. Adam was relieved to see he was still in control of the show. Now he just had to control his own emotions and tone of voice. Every fiber in his being wanted to just stop the whole routine right there and tell the poor guy that it was going to be OK and that they weren’t going to hurt him anymore. Adam nipped those thoughts in the bud and thought: You’re a fucking intelligence operator! Now operate! Be professional!
Operate, operator, operate!
Adam opened his mouth and began to operate: “Now you’re gonna do it, right?!? Right?” he asked Sullivan. “Or do we have to get really nasty here?” Sullivan opened his eyes and began nodding his head. Despite the gag and the tape, Adam and Jason could both hear the words “Yes, Yes, OK, OK, OK.” Sullivan began crying profusely, mumbling the words “I’ll do it. I’ll do it” through the gag and tape.
Adam spoke again: “Do not fuck around with me! Do not waste my time! This is not a game. You waste my time, and I’ll leave you alone with my friend here. You’re going to do this video one way or another, with a face or without a face!”
Then Jason gave Sullivan an honest-to-goodness full smile with wide open eyes, making a genuinely sadistic looking expression that would have made Ghandi himself question his faith in the underlying goodness of all mankind. Sullivan again wet his diaper a little.
“I’ll do it, I’ll do it”, Sullivan said again, continuing to cry.
“I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”
Adam then pushed Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Sullivan’s chair back upright, and Eugene’s head collapsed down as he continued to cry, now crying uncontrollably.
Adam paused and listened to give Sullivan a little bit of time to regain his composure…..but not too much composure. Striking such a balance was the essence of Adam’s craft. 30 seconds or so would do. Jason continued playing his part, removing the stockpot, adjusting the camping stove’s flame, and setting the saucepan on the camping stove so the oil would regain some of it’s heat which was lost during all the drama and trauma. Jason would have dumped the hot oil in the man’s face if necessary. Jason had his own, albeit briefer, moments of weakness in the past few minutes, but he managed to stay focused on the mental imagery of all those videotaped police beatings and the accompanying “banality of evil” shown by so many prosecutors, including Sullivan. Jason had been, and still was, ready to dish out some evil of his own, minus the banality, of course. If Sullivan had remained steadfast in the face of (literally) hot oil and still refused to go along, Jason would have respected the man for it. But that respect still wouldn’t have saved him from a face full of searing-hot oil, a face full of Pure. Liquid. Hate.