4- مابین دو جهانکتاب: شکارچی ذهن / فصل 5
4- مابین دو جهان
- زمان مطالعه 46 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
Between Two Worlds
It was a hijacking case involving the interstate theft of a truckload of J&B Scotch worth about $100,000. It was spring of 1971 and I had been on the job in Detroit going on six months. The warehouse foreman had tipped us off where they were going to make the exchange of money for the stolen booze.
We were working it as a joint FBI-Detroit police operation, but both organizations had met separately for planning. Only the higher-ups had talked to each other, and whatever they’d decided hadn’t filtered down to the street. So when the time came to make the arrest, no one was quite sure what anyone else was doing.
It’s nighttime, the outskirts of the city, by a set of railroad tracks. I’m driving one of the FBI cars with my squad supervisor, Bob Fitzpatrick, in the seat next to me. The informant was Fitzpatrick’s, and Bob McGonigel was the case agent.
Word comes over the radio, “Bust ‘em! Bust ‘em!” We all come screeching to a halt, surrounding this semi. The driver opens the door, bolts out, and starts running. Along with an agent in another car, I open the door and get out, pull out my gun, and start running after him.
It’s dark, we’re all dressed down—no suits or ties or anything—and I will never ever forget the whites of his eyes as I see a uniformed cop holding a shotgun aimed directly at me and he’s yelling, “Halt! Police! Drop the gun!” We’re less than eight feet from each other, and I realize, this guy’s about to shoot me. I freeze, at the same time coming to grips with the fact that if I make one wrong move, I’m history.
I’m about to drop my gun and put up my hands when I hear Bob Fitzpatrick’s voice frantically shouting, “He’s FBI! He’s an FBI agent!”
The cop lowers his shotgun, and instinctively I take off again after the driver, adrenaline pumping, trying to make up the distance I’ve lost. The other agent and I reach him together. We tackle him to the ground and cuff him, more roughly than necessary, I’m so keyed up. But that frozen couple of seconds when I thought I was going to be blown away was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. Many times since then, as I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes and heads of rape and murder victims, as I’ve forced myself to imagine what they must have been thinking and going through at the moment of attack, I’ve recalled my own fear, and it’s helped me to really understand cases from the victim’s point of view.
At the same time that a lot of us younger guys were busting our humps trying to make as many arrests as we could, many of the burnt-out old-timers seemed to have the attitude that rocking the boat was senseless, that you got paid the same whether you put yourself out on the limb or not, and that initiative was something for salesmen. Since we were encouraged to spend most of our time out of the office, window-shopping, sitting in the park, and reading the Wall Street Journal became favorite pastimes for a certain segment of the agent force.
Being the blue-flamer that I was, I took it upon myself to write a memo suggesting a merit pay system to encourage the people who were being most productive. I gave my memo to our ASAC, pronounced “a-sack,” or assistant special agent in charge, Tom Naly.
Tom calls me into his office, closes the door, picks up the memo from his desk, and smiles benevolently at me. “What are you worried about, John? You’ll get your GS-11,” he says as he rips the memo in half.
“You’ll get your GS-12,” he says as he tears it in half again. “You’ll get your GS-13.” Another rip, and by now, he’s really laughing. “Don’t rock the boat, Douglas,” is his final advice as he lets the pieces of the memo flutter into the trash can.
Fifteen years later, long after J. Edgar Hoover was dead and at least somewhat gone, the FBI did implement a merit pay system. Though, when they finally got around to it, they obviously managed it with no help from me.
One evening in May—actually, I remember it was the Friday after May 17, for reasons that will become clear in a moment—I was with Bob McGonigel and Jack Kunst in a bar where we used to hang out, across the street from the office, called Jim’s Garage. There’s a rock-and-roll band playing, we’ve all had a few too many beers, when suddenly this attractive young woman comes in with a girlfriend. She reminds me of a young Sophia Loren, dressed in the trendy outfit of the times—this short blue dress and go-go boots practically up to her groin.
I call out, “Hey, blue! Come on over here!” So, to my surprise, she and the friend do. Her name is Pam Modica and we start joking around, hitting it off. Turns out it was her twenty-first birthday and she and the friend are out celebrating her legal right to drink. She seems to be into my sense of humor. Later, I find out her first impression of me was good-looking but kind of nerdy with my short, government-issue haircut. We leave Jim’s and spend the rest of the night bar-hopping.
In the next couple of weeks, we got to know each other better. She lived within the city of Detroit and had gone to Pershing High, a practically all-black school where basketball great Elvin Hayes went. When I met her, she was attending Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Things developed pretty quickly between us, although not without its social costs to Pam. This was 1971, the Vietnam War was still on, and distrust of the FBI was rampant on college campuses. Many of her friends didn’t want to associate with us, convinced I was an establishment plant who was reporting back on their activities to some higher authority. The entire notion that these kids were important enough to be spied on was ludicrous, except that the FBI was doing that sort of thing back then.
I remember going with Pam to a sociology class. I sat in the back of the room, listening to the lecturer, a young, radical assistant professor; very cool, very “with it.” But I kept looking at the professor and her gaze kept coming back to me, and it was obvious she was really bothered by my being there. Anyone from the FBI was the enemy, even if he was the boyfriend of one of her students. Looking back on the incident, I realized how unsettling an effect you can sometimes have just by being yourself, and my unit and I used this to our advantage. In a vicious murder case up in Alaska, my colleague Jud Ray, who is black, got a racist defendant to come unglued on the witness stand by sitting next to and being friendly to the man’s girlfriend.
During Pam’s early college years at Eastern Michigan, a serial killer was working, though we didn’t yet use that terminology. He’d struck first in July of 1967, when a young woman named Mary Fleszar disappeared from the campus. Her decomposed body was found a month later. She had been stabbed to death and her hands and feet hacked off. A year later, the body of Joan Schell, a student at the University of Michigan in nearby Ann Arbor, was discovered. She’d been raped and stabbed almost fifty times. Then another body was found in Ypsilanti.
The killings, which became known as the “Michigan Murders,” escalated, and women at both universities lived in terror. Each body that turned up bore evidence of horrible abuse. By the time a University of Michigan student named John Norman Collins was arrested in 1969—almost by chance by his uncle, state police corporal David Leik—six coeds and one thirteen-year-old girl had met grisly deaths.
Collins was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment about three months before I entered the Bureau. But I often wondered if the Bureau had known then what we do now, if the monster could have been trapped before he had been responsible for so much misery. Even after his capture, his specter continued to haunt both campuses, as Ted Bundy’s would haunt other colleges only a few years later. With the memory of the hideous crimes so much a part of Pam’s recent life, they became a part of mine as well. And I think it’s more than likely, at least on a subconscious level, that when I began studying, then hunting, serial killers, John Norman Collins and his beautiful, innocent victims were very much with me.
I was five years older than Pam, but since she was in college and I was out in the working world of law enforcement, it often seemed like a generation gap. In public, she was often quiet and seemingly passive around me and my friends, and I’m afraid we sometimes took advantage of this.
One time, Bob McGonigel and I met Pam for lunch at a hotel restaurant that overlooked the downtown area. We’re both in dark suits and wing tips, and Pam is in perky coed casual. Afterward, we’re taking the elevator back down to the lobby, and it seems like it’s stopping on every floor. Each time, it gets a little more packed.
About halfway down, Bob turns to Pam and says, “We really enjoyed ourselves today. Next time we’re in town, we’ll definitely give you a call.”
Pam is looking down at the floor, trying not to react at all when I jump in, “And next time, I’ll bring the whipped cream and you bring the cherries.” The other passengers are all looking at each other, squirming uncomfortably, until Pam bursts out laughing. Then they look at the three of us like we’re some kind of perverts.
Pam was scheduled to be an exchange student in Coventry, En gland, for the fall semester. By late August, when she flew over, I was pretty sure she was the girl I wanted to marry. It never occurred to me at the time to ask Pam if she had similar feelings about me. I just assumed that she must.
While she was away, we wrote to each other constantly. I spent a lot of time at her family’s house at 622 Alameda Street, near the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Pam’s father had died when she was a little girl, but I took advantage of the hospitality of her mom, Ro salie, eating there several nights a week and profiling her, as well as Pam’s brothers and sisters, to try to figure out what Pam was like.
During this time, I met another woman whom Pam thereafter referred to (though she had never met her) as the “golf babe.” Again, we met at a bar, and when I look back on it, I must have been spending more than my share of time in bars. She was in her early twenties, quite attractive, and recently out of college. We’d practically just met when she insists I come home with her to dinner.
It turns out she lives in Dearborn, which is Ford World Headquarters, and her father is a major auto executive. They live in this big stone house with a swimming pool, original art, fancy furniture. Her father is in his late forties, the image of corporate success. Her mother is gracious and elegant. We’re sitting at the dinner table, flanked by my new friend’s younger brother and sister. I’m profiling this family, trying to figure out their net worth. At the same time, they’re trying to assess me.
Everything is going too well. They seem impressed that I’m an FBI agent, a welcome change from what I’m used to from Pam’s circle. But, of course, these people are as establishment as they come. I’m really getting nervous, and I realize the reason is that they’ve practically got me married off.
The father is asking me about my family, my background, my military service. I tell him about my job running Air Force base athletic facilities. Then he tells me that he and an associate own a golf course near Detroit. He goes on about this fairway and that dogleg and I’m upping my estimate of his assets by the second.
“John, do you play golf?” he asks.
“No, Dad,” I respond without missing a beat, “but I’d sure like to learn.”
That was it. We all break up. I spent the night there, on the couch in the den. In the middle of the night I was visited by the girl, who had somehow managed to “sleepwalk” down to see me. Maybe it was the idea of being in this fancy house, maybe it was my instinctive fear since I’d joined the Bureau of being set up, but I was scared off by her aggressiveness, which matched that of the rest of her family. I left the next morning, having enjoyed their hospitality and a terrific dinner. But I knew I’d lost my shot at the good life.
Pam came home from England a couple of days before Christmas, 1971. I had decided to pop the question and had bought a diamond engagement ring. In those days, the Bureau had contacts for just about anything you wanted to buy. The company from whom I bought the ring was grateful to us for cracking a jewelry heist and gave excellent deals to agents.
With this preferred price, the biggest diamond ring I could afford was 1.25 carats. But I decided if she first saw it at the bottom of a champagne glass, not only would she think I was exceedingly clever, it would also make the diamond look as if it were three carats. I took her to an Italian restaurant on Eight Mile Road near her house. My intention was that whenever she got up to go to the ladies’ room, I’d drop the ring into her glass.
But she never went. So the next night, I took her to the same restaurant again, but with the same results. Having sat on numerous stakeouts by that time, where sitting in a car for hours on end and having to hold it in was a genuine occupational drawback, I really had to admire her. But maybe this was supposed to be some sort of divine message that I wasn’t ready to jump into marriage.
The next night was Christmas Eve and we were at her mother’s house, with the entire family crowded around. This was my now-or-never moment. We’d been drinking Asti Spumante, which she loved. Finally, she left the room for a minute to go into the kitchen. When she came back, she was sitting in my lap, we drank a toast, and if I hadn’t stopped her, she would have swallowed the ring. So much for looking like three carats; she never even saw it until I pointed it out. I wondered if there was a message here.
The important thing, though, was that I had set up my “interrogation scene” to obtain the intended result. Having staged the scene so carefully, surrounding us with her siblings and her mother, who adored me, I hadn’t left Pam many options. She said yes. We would be married the following June.
For their second-year assignments, most of the single agents were being sent to New York or Chicago, under the logic that it would be less of a hardship for them than the married guys. I didn’t have any particular preference and ended up assigned to Milwaukee, which sounded like an okay city even though I’d never been there and had no real idea where it was. I would move there in January and get settled in, then Pam would join me after the wedding.
I found a place in the Juneau Village Apartments, on Juneau Avenue, not too far from the Milwaukee Field Office in the federal building on North Jackson Street. This turned out to be a tactical mistake, because whatever happened, the response was always, “Go get Douglas. He’s only three blocks away.”
Even before I arrived in Milwaukee, the women in the office knew who I was: specifically, one of only two single agents. In my first few weeks they fought to take my dictation, even though I had little to do. Everyone wanted to be around me. But after a few weeks, when word gradually got around that I was engaged, I quickly became like the sixth day of a five-day deodorant.
The atmosphere in the Milwaukee Field Office turned out to be a replay of Detroit, only more so. My first SAC there was a man named Ed Hays, whom everyone called Fast Eddie. He was always red as a beet (and dropped dead from high blood pressure shortly after his retirement), and was always walking around snapping his fingers and shouting, “Get out of the office! Get out of the office!” I said, “Where am I supposed to go? I just got here. I don’t have a car. I don’t have any cases.”
He shot back, “I don’t care where you go. Get out of the office.”
So I left. In those days, it wasn’t uncommon to go into a library or walk down Wisconsin Avenue near the office and find several agents window-shopping because they had nowhere else to be. It was during this time that I bought my next car, a Ford Torino, through a car dealer with whom the Bureau had contacts.
Our next SAC, Herb Hoxie, was brought in from the Little Rock, Arkansas, Field Office. Recruiting was always a big issue for SACs, and as soon as Hoxie arrived, he was already under the gun. Each field office had a monthly quota for both agents and nonclerical personnel.
Hoxie called me into his office and told me I was to be in charge of recruiting. This assignment generally went to a single guy because it involved a lot of traveling around the state.
“Why me?” I asked.
“Because we had to take the last guy off and he’s lucky not to be fired.” He’d been going into the local high schools and interviewing the girls for clerical positions. Hoover was still alive and there were no female special agents in those days. He would ask them questions, as if from a prepared list. One of them was, “Are you a virgin?” If she answered no, he’d ask her out on a date. Parents started complaining and the SAC had to slam-dunk him.
I started recruiting all over the state. Soon, I was bringing in almost four times the quota. I was the most productive recruiter in the country. The problem was, I was too good. They wouldn’t take me off. When I told Herb I really didn’t want to do it anymore, that I hadn’t joined the FBI to do personnel, he threatened to put me on the civil rights detail, which meant investigating police departments and officers accused of brutalizing suspects and prisoners or of discrimination against minorities. This was not exactly the most popular job in the Bureau, either. I thought this was a hell of a way to reward me for my good work.
So I cut myself a deal. Cockily, I agreed to continue producing the big recruiting numbers if Hoxie would assign me as his primary relief, or substitute, and if I got the use of a Bureau car and a recommendation for Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) money for graduate school. I knew that if I didn’t want to spend my entire career out in the field, I needed a master’s degree.
I was already somewhat suspect in the office. Anyone who wanted this much education must be a flaming liberal. At the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where I began pursuing a master’s in educational psychology nights and weekends, I was perceived as just the opposite. Most of the professors were suspicious of having an FBI agent in their classes, and I never had much patience with all the touchy-feely stuff that was so much a part of psychology (“John, I want you to introduce yourself to your neighbor here and tell him what John Douglas is really like”).
One class, we were all sitting around in a circle. Circles were big in those days. It gradually dawns on me that no one is talking to me. I try to become part of the conversation, but no one will say anything. Finally, I just said, “What is the problem here, folks?” It turns out I have a metal-handled comb sticking out of my jacket pocket and they all think it’s an antenna—that I’m recording the class and transmitting it back to “headquarters.” The paranoid self-importance of these people never ceased to amaze me.
At the beginning of May 1972, J. Edgar Hoover died quietly in his sleep, at home in Washington. Early in the morning, Teletype messages flew from headquarters to every field office. In Milwaukee, we were all called in by the SAC to hear the news. Even though Hoover was in his late seventies and had been around forever, no one really thought he’d ever die. With the king now dead, we all wondered where a new king was going to come from to take his place. L. Patrick Gray, a deputy attorney general and Nixon loyalist, was appointed acting director. He was popular at first for such innovations as finally allowing female agents. It wasn’t until his administration loyalties began to conflict with the needs of the Bureau that he began to slip.
I was recruiting in Green Bay a few weeks after Hoover’s death when I get a call from Pam. She tells me the priest wants to meet with us a few days before the wedding. I’m convinced he thinks he can convert me to Catholicism and score some points with the Church brass. But Pam is a good Catholic who’s been brought up to respect and obey what the priests tell her. And I know she’ll badger the hell out of me if I don’t surrender peacefully.
We come to St. Rita’s Church together, only she goes in to see the priest by herself first. It reminds me of the police station back when I was in college in Montana, when they separated all of us to check our stories. I’m sure they’re planning the conversion strategy. When they finally call me in, the first thing I say is, “What do you two have in store for the Protestant kid?” The priest is young and friendly, probably in his early thirties. He asks me these general questions, such as “What is love?” I’m trying to profile him, trying to figure out if there’s a particular right answer. These interviews are like the SATs; you’re never sure if you’ve prepared properly.
We get into birth control, how the kids are going to be raised, that sort of thing. I start asking him how he feels about being a priest—being celibate, not having his own family. The priest seems like a nice guy, but Pam has told me St. Rita’s is a strict, traditional church and he’s uncomfortable around me, maybe because I’m not Catholic; I’m not sure. I think he’s trying to break the ice when he asks me, “Where did you two meet?” Whenever there has been stress in my life, I’ve always started joking around, trying to relieve the tension. Here’s my opportunity, I think, and I can’t resist it. I slip my chair closer to him. “Well, Father,” I begin, “you know I’m an FBI agent. I don’t know if Pam told you her background.”
All the while I’m talking I’m getting closer to him, locking in the eye contact I’d already learned to use in interrogations. I just don’t want him to look at Pam because I don’t know how she’s reacting. “We met at a place called Jim’s Garage, which is a topless go-go bar. Pam worked there as a dancer and was quite good. What really got my attention, though, was she was dancing with these tassels on each of her breasts, and she got them spinning in opposite directions. Take my word for it, it was really something to see.” Pam is deathly quiet, not knowing whether to say anything or not. The priest is listening in rapt attention.
“Anyway, Father, she got these tassels spinning in opposite directions with greater and greater velocity, when all of a sudden, one of them flew off into the audience. Everyone grabbed for it. I leaped up and caught it and brought it back to her, and here we are today.”
His mouth is gaping open. I’ve got this guy totally believing me when I just break up and start laughing, just as I did for my phony junior high school book report. “You mean this isn’t true?” he asks. By this point Pam has broken up, too. We both just shake our heads. I don’t know whether the priest is relieved or disappointed.
Bob McGonigel was my best man. The morning of the wedding was rainy and dreary and I was itching to get on with it. I had Bob call Pam at her mother’s house and ask if she’d seen or heard from me. She, of course, said no, and Bob offered as how I hadn’t come home the night before and he was afraid I was getting cold feet and backing out. Looking back on it, I can’t believe how perverse my sense of humor was. Eventually, Bob started laughing and gave us away, but I was a little disappointed not to have gotten more of a reaction out of her. Afterward, she told me she was so shell-shocked about all the arrangements and so concerned about having her curly hair frizz up in the humidity that the mere disappearance of the groom was a minor concern.
When we exchanged our vows in church that afternoon and the priest pronounced us husband and wife, I was surprised that he had some kind words to say about me.
“I met John Douglas for the first time the other day, and he got me thinking long and hard about how I feel about my own religious beliefs.”
God knows what I said to make him think so deeply, but sometimes He works in mysterious ways. The next time I told the tassel story to a priest, it was the one Pam had called in to pray over me in Seattle. And I got him believing it, too.
We had a brief honeymoon in the Poconos—heart-shaped bathtub, mirrors on the ceiling, all the classy stuff—then drove to Long Island where my parents had a party for us since few people in my family had been able to come to the wedding.
After we were married, Pam moved to Milwaukee. She had graduated and become a teacher. New teachers all had to do their time serving as substitutes in the roughest inner-city schools. One junior high was particularly bad. Teachers there routinely were shoved and kicked, and a number of rape attempts had been made against the younger female teachers. I’d finally gotten off the recruiting detail and was putting in long hours on the reactive squad, mostly handling bank robberies. In spite of the inherent danger of my work, I was more concerned about Pam’s situation. At least I had a gun to defend myself. One time, four students forced her into an empty classroom, pawing at her and assaulting her. She managed to scream and break away, but I was furious. I wanted to take some other agents down to the school and kick ass.
My best buddy at the time was an agent named Joe Del Campo, who worked with me on bank robbery cases. We would hang around this bagel place on Oakland Avenue, near the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee campus. A couple named David and Sarah Goldberg managed it, and before too long, Joe and I became friendly with them. In fact, they started treating us like sons.
Some mornings, we’d be in there bright and early, wearing our guns and helping the Goldbergs put bagels and bialys in the oven. We’d eat breakfast, go out and catch a fugitive, follow up on a couple of leads in other cases, then go back for lunch. Joe and I both worked out at the Jewish Community Center, and around Christmas and Hanukkah time, we bought the Goldbergs a membership. Eventually, other agents started hanging around what we simply called “Goldberg’s place,” and we had a party there, attended by both the SAC and ASAC.
Joe Del Campo was a bright guy, multilingual, and excellent with firearms. His prowess played the central role in perhaps the strangest and most confusing situation I’ve ever been involved with.
One day during the winter, Joe and I are in the office interrogating a fugitive we’d brought in that morning when we get a call that Milwaukee police have a hostage situation. Joe’s been up all night on night duty, but we leave our own subject to cool his heels and head out to the scene.
When we get there, an old Tudor-style house, we learn that the suspect, Jacob Cohen, is a fugitive accused of killing a police officer in Chicago. He’s just shot an FBI agent, Richard Carr, who tried to approach him in his apartment complex, which had been surrounded by a newly trained FBI SWAT team. The crazy guy then ran through the SWAT team perimeter, taking two rounds in the buttocks. He grabs a young boy shoveling snow and runs into a house. Now he’s got three hostages—two children and an adult. Ultimately, he lets the adult and one of the kids go. He holds on to the young boy, whose age we estimate at about ten to twelve.
At this point, everyone is pissed off. It’s freezing cold. Cohen is mad as hell, not exactly helped by the fact he’s now got an ass full of lead. The FBI and Milwaukee police are angry at each other for letting the situation degenerate. The SWAT team is pissed off because this was their first big case and they missed him and let him slip through their perimeter. The FBI in general is now out for blood because he’s taken down one of their own. And Chicago police have already gotten out the word that they want to come get him, and that if anyone’s going to shoot the suspect, they should have that right.
SAC Herb Hoxie arrives on the scene and makes what I consider a couple of mistakes to compound the ones already made by everyone else. First, he uses a bullhorn, which makes him come across as dictatorial. A private telephone linkup is more sensitive, plus it gives you the flexibility of negotiating in private. Then he makes what I consider his second error: he offers himself as hostage in exchange for the boy.
So Hoxie gets behind the wheel of an FBI car. The police form a circle around the car as it backs into the driveway. Meanwhile, Del Campo tells me to give him a boost onto the roof of the house. Remember, it’s a Tudor with steep-sloping roofs that are slick with ice, and Joe’s been up all night. The only weapon he’s got is his two-and-a-half-inch-barrel .357 magnum.
Cohen comes out of the house with his arm wrapped around the boy’s head, holding him close to his body. Detective Beasley of the Milwaukee Police Department steps out from the circle of cops and says, “Jack, we’ve got what you want. Leave the boy alone!” Del Campo is still creeping up the pitch of the roof. The police see him up there and realize what he’s up to.
The subject and the hostage are getting closer to the car. There’s ice and snow everywhere. Then suddenly, the kid slips on the ice, causing Cohen to lose his grip on him. Del Campo comes up over the peak of the roof. Figuring that with the short barrel, the bullet may rise, he aims for the neck and gets off one shot.
It’s a direct hit, an amazing shot, right in the middle of the subject’s neck. Cohen goes down, but no one can tell whether he’s been hit or if it’s the boy.
Exactly three seconds later, the car is riddled with bullets. In the crossfire, Detective Beasley is hit in the Achilles tendon. The boy scrambles on his hands and knees in front of the car, which rolls forward on him because Hoxie’s been hit by flying glass and has lost control. Fortunately, the boy’s not badly hurt.
True to FBI form, the local TV news that night shows the special agent in charge, Herbert Hoxie, on a gurney being moved out of the emergency room with blood trickling from his ear, and while they’re wheeling him away, he’s giving his statement to the press: “All of a sudden I heard gunfire, bullets were flying everywhere. I guess I was hit, but I think I’m okay . . .” FBI, God, motherhood, apple pie, et cetera, et cetera.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Fistfights nearly break out and the police almost beat up Del Campo for taking their shot. The SWAT team isn’t any too pleased either because he’s made them look bad. They go to ASAC Ed Best to complain, but he stands up for Del Campo and says that Joe salvaged the situation that they let develop.
Cohen had between thirty and forty entrance and exit wounds but was still alive when they took him away in the ambulance. Fortunately for all concerned, he was DOA at the hospital.
Special Agent Carr, miraculously, survived. Cohen’s bullet passed through the trench coat Carr was wearing, into his shoulder, ricocheted off his trachea, and lodged in his lung. Carr kept that trench coat with the bullet hole in it and wore it proudly from that day on.
Del Campo and I were a terrific team for a while, except when we’d get on these laughing jags we couldn’t get off of. We were at a gay bar once, trying to develop some informants on a homosexual murder fugitive. It’s dark and it takes our eyes some time to adjust. Suddenly, we become aware of all these eyes on us, and we start arguing about which one of us they want. Then we see this sign above the bar, “A Hard Man Is Good to Find,” and we just lose it, cracking up like two goofballs.
It never took much. We broke up once talking to an old guy in a wheelchair at a nursing home, and again, interviewing a dapper business owner in his mid-forties whose toupee had slipped halfway down his forehead. It didn’t matter. If there was any humor anywhere in a situation, Joe and I would find it. As insensitive as it may sound, this was probably a useful talent to have. When you spend your time looking at murder scenes and dump sites, especially those involving children, when you’ve talked to hundreds, then thousands, of victims and their families, when you’ve seen the absolutely incredible things some human beings are capable of doing to other human beings, you’d better be able to laugh at silly things. Otherwise, you’re going to go crazy.
Unlike a lot of guys who went into law enforcement, I’d never been a gun nut, but ever since the Air Force I’d always been a good shot. I thought it might be interesting to be on the SWAT team for a while. Every field office had one. It was a part-time job; the five team members were called out as needed. I made the team and was assigned as the sniper—the one who stays farthest back and goes for the long shot. All the others on the team had heavy military backgrounds—Green Berets, Rangers—and here I had taught swimming to pilots’ wives and kids. The team leader, David Kohl, eventually became a deputy assistant director at Quantico, and he was the one who asked me to head up the Investigative Support Unit.
In one case, somewhat more straightforward than the Jacob Cohen extravaganza, a guy robbed a bank, then led police on a high-speed chase, ending up barricaded in a warehouse. That was when we were called in. Inside this warehouse, he takes off all his clothes, then puts them back on again. He seems like a real nut case. Then he asks to have his wife brought to the scene, which they do.
In later years, when we’d done more research into this type of personality, we’d understand that you don’t do that—you don’t agree to this type of demand because the person they ask to see is usually the one whom they perceive as having precipitated the problem in the first place. Therefore, you’re putting that individual in great danger and setting them up for a murder-suicide.
Fortunately, in this instance, they don’t bring her inside the warehouse, but have her talk to him on the phone. And sure enough, as soon as he hangs up, he blows his brains out with a shotgun.
We’d all been waiting in position for several hours, and suddenly it was over. But you can’t always diffuse stress that quickly, which often leads to warped humor. “Jeez, why’d he have to do that?” one of the guys remarked. “Douglas is a crackerjack shot. He could have done that for him.”
I was in Milwaukee for a little more than five years. Eventually, Pam and I moved from the apartment on Juneau Avenue to a town house on Brown Deer Road, away from the office, near the northern city limit. I spent most of my time on bank robberies and built up a string of commendations clearing cases. I found I was most successful when I could come up with a “signature” linking several crimes together, a factor that later became the cornerstone of our serial-murder analysis.
My only notable screwup during this time was after Jerry Hogan replaced Herb Hoxie as SAC. Not many perks went along with the job, but one was a Bureau automobile, and Hogan was proud of his new, emerald green Ford Ltd. I needed a car for an investigation one day and none was available. Hogan was out at a meeting, so I asked the ASAC, Arthur Fulton, if I could use the SAC’s. Reluctantly, he agreed.
The next thing I know, Jerry’s called me into his office and he’s yelling at me for using his car, getting it dirty, and—worst of all—bringing it back with a flat. I hadn’t even noticed that. Now Jerry and I got along well, so the whole time he’s yelling, I can’t keep from laughing. Apparently, this was a mistake.
Later that day, my squad supervisor, Ray Byrne, says to me, “You know, John, Jerry Hogan really likes you, but he has to teach you a lesson. He’s assigning you to the Indian reservation.”
These were the days of the Wounded Knee incident and the groundswell of consciousness over Native American rights. We were hated on the reservations, as much as in the ghettos of Detroit. The Indians had been treated terribly by the government. When I first arrived at the Menominee Reservation up on Green Bay, I couldn’t believe the poverty and filth and squalor these people had to live in. So much of their culture had been stripped away from them, they often seemed almost numb to me. Largely as a result of the deplorable conditions and the history of government hostility and indifference, on many of the reservations you saw high incidences of alcoholism, child and spouse abuse, assault, and murder. But because of the utter mistrust of the government, it was nearly impossible for an FBI agent to get any type of cooperation or assistance from witnesses.
The local Bureau of Indian Affairs representatives were of no help. Even family members of victims wouldn’t get involved, for fear of being seen as collaborating with the enemy. Sometimes, by the time you would find out about a murder and get to the scene, the body would have been there for several days already, infested with insect larvae.
I spent more than a month on the reservation, during which time I investigated at least six murders. I felt so bad for these people, I was depressed all the time, and I had the luxury of leaving and going home at night. I had just never seen people who, as a group, had so much to overcome. While it was dicey, my time on the Menominee Reservation was the first concentrated dose of murder-scene investigation I’d had, which turned out to be grim but excellent experience.
Without question, the best thing that happened during my time in Milwaukee was the birth of our first child, Erika, in November of 1975. We were to have Thanksgiving dinner at a local country club with some friends, Sam and Esther Ruskin, when Pam went into labor. Erika was born the next day.
I was working long hours on bank robbery cases and finishing up my graduate degree, and the new baby meant even less sleep. But needless to say, Pam bore the brunt of this. I felt much more family-oriented responsibility as a result of fatherhood, and I loved watching Erika grow. Fortunately for all of us, I think, I had not yet begun working child abduction and murder. If I had been, if I’d really stopped and thought about what was out there, I don’t know that I could have adjusted to fatherhood as comfortably. By the time our next child, Lauren, was born in 1980, I was well into it.
Becoming a father, I think, also motivated me to try to make more out of myself. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to be doing my entire career. Jerry Hogan advised me to put in ten years in the field before I thought about applying for anything else; that way, I’d have the experience for an ASAC and eventually a SAC posting, then maybe eventually make it to headquarters. But with one child and, I hoped, more to come, the life of a field agent, moving from office to office, didn’t seem terribly appealing.
As time went on, other perspectives about the job began to evolve. The sniper training and SWAT team exercises had lost their appeal. With my background and interest in psychology—I had my master’s by this time—the challenging part of the work, it seemed to me, was trying to manage the situation before it got to the shooting stage. The SAC recommended me for a two-week hostage-negotiation course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, which had only been in operation for a couple of years.
There, under the tutelage of such legendary agents as Howard Teten and Pat Mullany, I got my first real exposure to what was already known then as behavioral science. And that changed my career.