Monthly Archives: August 2014

Death Comes Knocking – Season 4, Show 2, 2014

Would you believe this investigation took place within only three hours?  Yet Lt. Joe was already too late, even as he began.  The murderer was already on his way to commit another murder.  “We were on chapter one,” Lt. Joe says, “and didn’t realize chapter two was unfolding.”

Favorite lines:  “What makes humans so dangerous is their emotions.”  “Don’t monkey with someone else’s monkey.”

Summary:  The year is 1991.  On a late afternoon in an apartment complex in Colorado Springs, Cathy Hickey lies napping on her couch.  She awakes to screaming from an upstairs apartment, then footsteps pounding down the stairs.  She runs outside & finds her teenage neighbor lying, bleeding to death.  This is Robert Addison Jr., known as Bobby, age 16.  Upstairs in the apartment is another body.  This is Bobby’s mother, Ernestine Addison, age 40.

Bobby was a nice kid, a good student at the local public school.  Ernestine worked as a nursing assistant.  They were churchgoers.

Lt. Joe is teaching a class at Pikes Peak Community College when he gets the page, “DB” for “dead body.”

He arrives to find a crowd, media in full force, a “Tower of Babel,” with “an enormous amount of emotion.”  Neighbors assume this is a murder-suicide.  Indeed, multiple victims in a private home often indicate that.  But multiple gunshot wounds on the woman have “powder halos” around them.  The gun was fired over & over, from close up.  It’s obvious the woman was trying to get away.  The complicated wound entering the boy’s back under his rib cage also could not have been a suicide.  The sad story the evidence shows is that Bobby heroically died in an effort to save his mother.  Even after he was shot, he ran outside attempting to get help.  Lt. Joe forces himself to appear cold & matter-of-fact, but internally he is hit by the sorrow of these deaths.

The victims knew the killer.  There is no sign of struggle or forced entry.  Ernestine had been preparing dinner, with food already in pots & pans.  This killing was done in an “emotional rage.”  Lt. Joe sees him as Mr. X, a “mysterious demon.”

There’s a witness.  A neighbor, a seventh-grade girl named Darlene, heard a heated argument inside.  Then she saw a man in a suit run to his “truck car” & speed off.  There were only two models of “truck cars” available in that era, so that narrows the vehicle search.

Sharyl, Ernestine’s daughter & Bobby’s sister, talks about Robert Addison Sr., Ernestine’s ex-husband & Bobby’s father.  Here’s the first suspect.

Lt. Joe finds him in his office 15 miles away, surrounded by co-workers who can vouch for his presence throughout the day.  He claims to have had a civil relationship with his ex-wife, & he weeps when he heard the dreadful news.  He is not Mr. X.

Lt. Joe hurries on to find Mattie Wilson. Ernestine’s mother & Bobby’s grandmother.  She is at home with her son Lincoln, who is interviewed for this show.  They have already seen the news on TV.  They are devastated.  Lincoln mentions that Ernestine was involved with an older man, whose name he can’t remember.  Now Lt. Joe is no longer looking for Mr. X.  Now he’s looking for Mr. Boyfriend.

He rushes to the hospital where Ernestine worked & tracks down her co-worker & friend, Linda.  Linda is distraught to hear the tragic news.  She knows a lot about the boyfriend.  He is 15 to 20 years older than Ernestine.  He wears a suit.  He is possessive & controlling.  Ernestine had said she was going to end the relationship.  She has a plane ticket to go to Florida.  This man’s name is Bryant.  There is confusion about whether that’s his first or last name.  But there is no confusion about who is now the number one suspect.

Lt. Joe goes on to Bryant’s place of employment as a salesman in the furniture department of J. C. Penney at a local mall.   The manager there confirms an employee by the name of Herman Coleman Bryant.  He is in his 60’s.  He has a wife Emma, age 69, & has been married more than thirty years.  He had left work that day without permission.  He seemed upset about something.

Lt. Joe calls the sheriff in El Paso county where the Bryants live.  He almost drops the phone when he hears law enforcement officials are already at the scene.  There’s been another murder.  Emma is lying dead in the yard.  According to neighbors, a “mysterious madman” has barricaded himself inside the house.

“We didn’t get it done fast enough.”  El Paso County is not Lt. Joe’s jurisdiction, not his crime scene. But Lt. Joe notices evidence in the driveway, a Chevrolet El Camino “car truck,” just as Darlene had described.  Lt. Joe knows the man barricaded in that house is Herman.

Force is the only option.  A SWAT team has already arrived.  The entry team charges inside, only to find a closed bedroom door.  Now they must make a second entry.  Lt. Joe worries, “What if he isn’t done making people dead yet?”  Inside the bedroom, a shot rings out.  The entry team enters to find Herman kneeling by the bed & dead, with a gunshot to his head.  There is no arrest to be made.

This turns out to be murder/suicide event after all.

The Trajectory of the Bullet:  One bullet killed Bobby.  In an effort to protect his mother, he flung himself over her body on the bed.  He was almost horizontal & still moving when the bullet entered his lower back, traversed through his chest, tore into his throat, cut his tongue, & stopped inside his mouth.  He lived long enough to run outside.  Of course, the meticulous Lt. Joe had the gun & the 38-caliber slugs analyzed to make sure that the weapon in all four deaths was the one & the same.

Domestic Violence:  The most dangerous time in a domestic violence relationship is during a breakup.  The victim attempts to get away.  The bully objects.  He wants control–or else.  Herman Bryant was a control freak.  When Ernestine decided to go to Florida, perhaps to take up again with an old flame, it was clear he had lost control.  He took control again, death’s total control.  Was his wife Emma also trying to get away?  Was he losing control of her, too?  We don’t know.  Lt. Joe could find no friends, no acquaintances, no contacts to tell him about her.  She seems to have been unusually isolated from the world, & that of itself tells us something.

Eyes Wide Shut -Season 4, Show 1, 2014

Dear family & friends,

Here we go on the fourth season of Homicide Hunter.

You’ve probably noticed improvements.  The production company is working with a bigger budget, more experience, & an investment in new cameras.  Image quality is way up.  There’s a cinematic look that wasn’t there before.  The new cameras give a feel of film rather than video. We’re getting dramatic shots of sky & mountains as never before.

Some improvements are less visible, such as actual Colorado Springs police uniforms & accurate police car markings.

Maybe best of all: No more voice-over narration.  Now Lt. Joe does all the narration.  No more annoying recaps after every commercial.

Eyes Wide Shut

Do you believe that murder will out?  Even after five years?  Lt. Joe believes so.  As he says in this first show:  “Dark secrets are extremely destructive.”

Summary:   It’s 1989 in North Cheyenne Canyon park, Colorado.  A park ranger is picking up trash.  But the trash he spots is clothes.  Nearby, in a creek bed, he sees a bloody body, dressed only in underpants.

Lt. Joe had just finished testifying in court, when his pager goes off.  It’s the code for murder.

The body in the park is a young black man, in good physical condition.  The body has been bludgeoned & stabbed repeatedly in what appears to have been a high speed attack.  Despite a few defense wounds, the body lies with one eye open & one eye shut, sign of a quick death.  Nevertheless, there are no blood splatters around & no blood on the nearby clothes.  Lt. Joe concludes that the park is not the crime scene.  He believes that, for whatever reason, the man voluntarily took his clothes off before the attack.

How does he identify the victim?  In the clothes, he finds a paper cut in strips, each hand-written with the same phone number.  (You’ve seen strips like this on public bulletin boards.  They invite you to take a strip & call for something like babysitting or lawn work–or for a more nefarious service.) The phone number leads Lt. Joe to a pager company, & the pager company leads him to the owner of the pager.

The victim is Corey Edge, age 20, a Golden Gloves boxer.  At Corey’s house, Lt. Joe finds his mother & Lamar Edge, Corey’s brother, then just 14 years old.  Interviewed for this show, the adult Lamar emphasizes how devastated his mother was & how much Corey had to live for.  Corey had the potential for a professional boxing career.  Corey also had a reputation as a ladies’ man.  His mother says there were so many phone calls to the house, supposedly from Corey’s female admirers, that she had the phone taken out.  You don’t have to have Lt. Joe’s experience to think that sounds suspicious.

Lamar mentions that Corey spent the night with friends. So Lt. Joe visits the Sanchez home where two brothers, Jason & Daryl, ages 16 & 19, live with their parents.  Jason & Daryl say that Corey planned to stay overnight with them, in their basement retreat. Then, about midnight, Corey went out to a convenience store.  He didn’t return, & they were allegedly concerned about him.  Later, they decide to mention that Corey was selling crack cocaine at the store’s parking lot.  Corey was a novice at selling drugs, very early into the game.  But already, there were 152 calls on his pager.  To Lt. Joe, that translates to 152 suspects.

The story the Sanchez brothers tell is consistent & believable.  They claim Corey was not there when they woke up the next morning. Indeed, his gym bag is still in the house, with the pager & clothes inside.  (A drug dealer is apparently always on call.  Pager had gone off at 2:30 AM.  But it went unanswered.  Corey was already gone by then.) Perhaps a disgruntled customer is responsible, or perhaps the murder was part of a “drug rip,” a robbery of drugs.

Lt. Joe interviews clerks at the convenience store.  They do not remember either Corey or the Sanchez brothers.  They see nothing, know nothing.  He interviews others of Corey’s associates.  One Jimmy Van gives him a glimmer of hope.  Jimmy has an extensive criminal history, especially considering that he’s still in his teens.  He’s had confrontations with Corey, who once beat him up in front of other would-be alpha males.  Did that incident embarrass Jimmy enough to lead to murder?  But Jimmy has an alibi that checks out.  Besides, Corey was good with his fists.  Police think that Jimmy, even with a knife, could not have taken on Corey & done all this damage on his own.

Lt. Joe is looking for what he calls multiple offenders.  That makes sense.

The case draws media attention.  Anonymous tips pour in.  One tip leads Lt. Joe to two men with long criminal records, Barney & Rat.  Rat is such a weirdo that in his living room, he keeps a live rat in a cage.  The carpet is full of suspicious coppery brown stains.  Are Barney & Rat lying?  “If you’re going to lie to me, you’d better be exceptionally good at it,” Lt. Joe intones, “because I’m exceptionally good at finding out.”  But lab tests find no blood in the nasty carpet stains.

Lt. Joe says he’s “getting madder by the minute.”

Next comes Jimmy Stevenson.  Police have charged him with breaking & entering.  Jimmy wants to negotiate a deal.  He offers up information.  He tells a tale that involves a mastermind, Big Daddy, hit men & guns. Lt. Joe recognizes a fantasy story when he hears one.  “Been reading a lot of comic books?”

Then Lt. Joe has an epiphany that will eventually solve the case.  Perhaps Corey never went to the convenience store that night.  Perhaps Corey was in his underwear because he had been sleeping–in the basement, near the Sanchez brothers. Lt. Joe canvassed the apartment complex.  A neighbor saw something suspicious–men carrying away a large tarp about 3 AM that night, a tarp large enough to contain the body of a boxer.  As Lt. Joe puts it, “I’m starting to like this.”  He’s sure he now knows the crime scene, the Sanchez place, & the perpetrators, the Sanchez brothers.

Lt. Joe shows up at the Sanchez apartment, once again, this time with a search warrant.  Technicians spray to find hidden blood.  But to Lt. Joe’s shock & surprise, they find nothing.  The place is clean.

The father of the two brothers, Daryl Sanchez Sr., laughs in triumph.  Lt. Joe dramatically confronts him: “Maybe you should write this down. There will be a judgment day. I don’t forget, & I don’t forgive.”

Nevertheless, the case goes cold for five years.

Then the “magic moment I’ve been waiting for” arrives.  Ralph Sanchez, the brother of Daryl Sanchez Sr., in this unpleasant family, is under arrest for assaulting his brother.  Agitated & angry, he decides to cooperate.  He talks about how the murder happened.

The family is difficult to track.  They moved to California right after the murder.  (Why would that be?)  But of course, Lt. Joe locates all four of them.

Facing judgment day at last, they confess.  As Corey slept in their basement that night, Daryl Jr. decided to steal drugs from his pants pockets.  Corey awoke & threatened them with a gun.  He shot at them, but the gun jammed.  Jason rushes to Daryl’s “rescue,” with a knife. They beat Corey with a pipe.  They stab him repeatedly.  Corey tries to get away, but collapses on the staircase.  The Sanchez parents arrive just in time to see him draw his last breath.

Naturally, they are eager to cooperate.  All four go to work to get rid of the body & clean the apartment.  They clean with bleach.  They repaint.  They replace tiles.  Lt. Joe points out how rare it is to see a family of criminals work together so well.

Daryl Jr. & Jason strike a plea deal.  They are found guilty of second degree murder & sentenced to 22 years each.  Father & mother go away for six & four years.

The (Non) Motive:  Note that the Sanchez brothers confess in such a way as to make the murder seem like self-defense.  There was zero evidence that Corey had a gun. Corey was asleep & without defense other than his fists.  His supposed friends didn’t just quietly steal from him.  They set upon him like a pack of wolves.  As with other murders in this series, there appears to be no understandable or logical motive.

Cleaning Up Blood:  This clean up wasn’t easy.  But all four of the remarkably cooperative Sanchez family had jobs as custodians.  They had the materials, experience, & expertise to do a superlative job.

Family Dispute:  On “judgment day,” Daryl Sanchez Sr. was in the ICU, attacked in a brotherly dispute over $200.  When Lt. Joe arrived to arrest him, he cried.

Judgment Day:  Lt. Joe’s dramatic prediction about judgment day took place in court & in the presence of an attorney.  Claiming police harassment, Daryl Sanchez Sr. had hired a lawyer.  He requested & received a restraining order.  That held the police at bay–for a while.

Lesson Learned: Don’t bring a fist to a knife fight.  That’s what Lt. Joe says, but you knew that already, didn’t you?

The Sentences:  Even murder cases are plea bargained.  That avoids trial & saves the tax payers money.  It keeps up the win statistics for prosecutors.  But the result is that murderers can receive a lower charge & a lesser sentence than they deserve.  You’ll agree with Lt. Joe that there are those who should not be walking free amongst us.  (Read on for a purely emotional statement:  If the Boston bomber, that creep & coward, gets a plea bargain, you’ll hear me scream all the way to Texas.  He comes to trail in November.)

The Aftermath:  All four members of the Sanchez family are out of prison at this point.  Lt. Joe doesn’t know where they are now, but they’re among us some where.  Lamar Edge, Corey’s brother, interviewed for this show, lives in Detroit & works as an auto mechanic.

The Link:  How popular is this series, now in its fourth season?

The ID channel has put in two copycat shows–No Where to Hide and Cry Wolf.  (Of course, neither matches up to Lt. Joe. Need I say that?)  Lt. Joe is off to San Francisco this weekend to film a Toyota commercial.  He’s negotiating a book deal.  The ID store is selling Lt. Joe merchandise.  (Ask if I want a life-sized cardboard Lt. Joe figure glaring at me day & night?)  And see link below to a video of the all-time cool accessory, a Lego Lt. Joe.  (But, no, this boy who created this figure should not be watching shows like this.  They’re too gory for me, much less for a child.)