Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Blog Best Served Cold

It sounds like a John Grisham novel or a box office thriller, but this really happened.

She was a self-educated financial analyst and restaurant owner. He was a police detective. Or so he told her. They began seeing each other, and he moved in with her. Then the lies began to surface. He never seemed to work. He just laid around and watched CSI and cop dramas.

Then he raped her.

When she pressed charges, he got out on bail and began an elaborate frame. Using information from her personal life – her photograph, the license plates off her car, cell phone numbers, even names and addresses of her relatives – he influenced people he knew to file police reports claiming to be the victims of armed robbery by a woman matching her description. “Witnesses” were coached with descriptions of her car and license plate, and were shown her picture so they could pick her out of police line-ups.

The real genius? These “crimes” were spread out over time and geographical areas, creating a damning pattern of false evidence. Not even alibis like cell phone calls she made on the dates of the “crimes” from locations distant from the alleged crimes were believed. She was arrested and held on a million dollars bail, all while her former boyfriend remained free on bail. Despite her insistence he had framed her, police were unconvinced. They had evidence in abundance, from such diverse sources they could not imagine it was anything but genuine. Most damning of all, she had motive: her restaurant was not doing well, financially. Armed robbery to save a struggling business? Probable cause, said police.

The plot was pierced almost by accident. An informant tipped police off to contact between the former boyfriend and one of the “witnesses.” An investigation showed how many phone calls had gone between the two, and when confronted, the “witness” confessed to the plot. Now the ex-boyfriend is in jail without bail. He claims he is the victim of a conspiracy.

And her? She lost her restaurant, her reputation, and seven months of her life behind bars. Worst of all, she lost her faith in the justice system. She has active suits against the police and one of the counties in which her alleged crimes occurred. Maybe, some day, she will have a bestselling novel or major motion picture, too.

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