Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Re-liv'n Crime of 20 years ago - Serial Rape Case

Some people live more difficult lives than others. That may sound corny but wait until you read this. This story is not recommended for young people to read without adult consent. It is fairly graphic and adult in nature, but is told to deliver a very powerful message about life, security and the will to live.

Twenty something years ago there was a single young lady who worked as we all do, trying to make an honest living. She had friends and was quite comfortable in her surroundings. She was experiencing a new world out there, enjoying all sorts of new adventures and new people. She tended to children at a day care center from 7 to 7 daily. Her twenty years of life had matured to the extent of being confident and independent. She was reasonably careful and aware of her surroundings, being taught early in life to lean toward the side of caution when it comes to safety. Her apartment had a deadbolt lock to discourage intruders. She felt secure.

Two children in particular attended the day care; this young lady got to know them very well. She also became friends with their parents who after some time began to contract her services as a baby sitter. Over time, she was quite comfortable around the couple and she liked to babysit their children, primarily to earn a little spending money.

One evening she went out with a friend and returned home to her apartment about 10PM. She went through her normal routine, securing the bolt lock and watching outside to make sure no one followed her into the apartment. She would also notice anything inside that was out of place.

This is the place in a story where you instinctively think there may be someone hiding in her apartment unawares, a typical scene right out of a movie. Not this time. She hears a knock at the front door, soon after she locks the door. Someone was close behind her! A familiar voice is heard outside - the mother of the two kids. "Would you help me? I need someone to care for the children this evening. I know it is late, but my husband must go out of town on business and I must go with him. Can you come with me to care for the children in my home?" The young lady thinks nothing about it. "Sure, be glad to help." She grabs a couple of things and off they go to the home of the couple.

Upon arriving, the woman goes into the bedroom and in a few minutes starts fighting with her husband, each yelling at one another. In a few more minutes, it all calms down and the lady goes into the kitchen talking to the young lady, "Men! Sometimes they don't have a clue." She accompanies the woman to the kitchen. As the woman is writing the check, suddenly an arm reaches from behind and covers her mouth. Then the young lady feels the sharpness of a metal knife on her throat. A man's voice, which she recognizes as the husband's, warns her to be still. "You move or yell and you are dead." She looks at the woman and realizes that there is no surprised look on her face. It's a planned setup. The man continues to threaten her. "Come with me to the bedroom and do not try to escape. You are on the edge of death if you do not cooperate." He and his wife proceed to a place in the bedroom and the wife pulls up a piece of carpet where there are tools and materials - handcuffs and duct tape. The young lady is handcuffed and the tape is wrapped around her mouth and head. She can barely breathe. Now the man drags her across the room by her hair and arms. They proceed to take her clothes off and his wife comes back with a broom. They violently rape her with the broom. She is hurt and bleeding. After hours of this, the man takes the girl and hits her head repeatedly on a wooden table. The back of her head is now also bleeding. After a couple of hours or so of this brutality, he starts talking to her in a low soft voice. "I thought you were dead the last time you passed out. You are strong and very lucky to still be alive. If you want to stay alive, you had better listen to everything I say." She had passed out several times with pain and shocking blows to her head. She was bleeding profusely. "I know much about you. No one knows where you are. I can do whatever I want to you and no one will even know. You will just disappear." This was true she realized. She had become so independent that she did not call her mom or sister or any friends. She just left the apartment without telling a soul! A great feeling of fear came over her as the man asked his wife to bring something from the table. A gun? No one knows what that instrument or thing was. The girl does not remember or maybe never knew, because at the same time he told her things about her life, her family, and her friends; these were things she had never told either one of them. They had researched her life in every detail and knew more than anyone could have ever expected a best friend to know, and this couple could not be classified as best friends. He goes on "I am going to let you live, but only if you never tell anyone about this. You will go to work at your regular time this morning and act like nothing ever happened. You will not tell anyone about this. The day will be normal as it was planned at the day care center. If it is not, and you reveal this night to someone, anyone, we will bring great harm to your mother and then your sister. You may never see either one again". She got dressed and the woman took her home. After she went into her apartment, the woman waited outside to see if anyone would take notice and possibly if her room mate or neighbor would return that night. Yes, the couple had waited until they knew that her neighbors would be out of town and her room mate would not be at home when they executed this very detailed hideous plan. The woman finally left. The night was over. Or was it? She got no sleep that night! She bathed over and over again. She lathered. All she wanted to smell was soap. Anything to remove the memory of this experience.

Next day, she went to work as normal. She told no one. She was beat up and her hair was not arranged as neat as it was normally, because pieces were missing due to the tape being violently yanked off of her head, pulling hair out of her head. Her face was red from the tape but not cut. The folks at the day care center thought she had been to a wild party the night before. They did not question it much. Just something single people do. The bruises and cuts on the back of her head were not normal, but not all that visible either. She said she had fallen down twice.

Each parent was supposed to bring in fruit that day for the children. In came the woman with her two kids and asked her, "Where do I put this?", nodding her head towards the plate she was carrying, as if nothing had ever happened. The girl leads the woman to the kitchen and receives a message from her, "you know what will happen if you tell anyone." Seemed like a routine day in the center, but not so for this poor suffering young lady. Later in the day, she made an appointment with a doctor who found that she was in trauma from the night before and the doctor reported it. A victim's advocate came to see her. For cases like this, we have a law that provides this young lady with assistance from local law enforcement agencies. The victim advocate worked on her over the next few days until the girl finally revealed that something bad had happened. However, she had to tell the story in a way to prevent the identity or specific deed from being revealed, so she would protect her family. After some weeks, the story became more evident, because the advocate just would not let it be. The advocate knew very well that the young lady had been raped, even though there was little evidence. Parts of the story was told, enough for the police to have some idea of the severity of the problem, although no charges were ever to be filed.

The couple continued to remind the young lady about her commitment to remain silent. The man rode past her apartment twice daily and made sure she saw him. She started to drink alcohol in the afternoon to ease the mental anguish. After about one year, he stopped coming by and the couple moved away. The young lady had grown mentally and was strengthening her resolve to overcome this adversity in her life. Finally, it was over! They were gone!

But was it over? One day the young lady received a phone call. "Please come to the police station to talk to us about your case." She did not want to start this all over again. It took a great deal of coercing to get her back there. "We need you to help us with another case." So she went. "We have another case that is similar to yours. We need to know more detail." It turned out that one key item left out was the turning point on linking another case to hers. That case had the same carpet square with the tape and tools. The police had managed to link the two cases. The new victim had experienced even a worse beating and rape. This one too had a man and wife involved and was carefully planned like hers. Two cases in two cities but the same profile of criminality.

As it turned out a third case later was brought forward and it was even worse. The third victim tried to commit suicide. The man and wife were charged and sentenced to life after some plea bargaining. So it was finally over for the young lady! She would never have to see this man again.

But was it over? Now it is 20 years later and the young lady is a forty something police woman. Yep, she went back to school and to the academy and joined the law enforcement team. This is where she could make a difference in this world. There is yet one more not-so-incidental fact about this case you ought to know at this point. The heinous crime occurred on her 20th birthday. So for the last 20 years, she celebrates her birthday with the memory of this crime. Yes, she is liv'n and reminded of how terrible some people are in this world. But at the same time, she can celebrate her birthday as a reminder that she is a survivor and there are many people who love her.

Guess what? The guy has been a model prisoner over the last 20 years in prison, involved in bible teachings and helping the chaplain. He is up for parole this year and may get it. The detectives had said that this case was a classic serial rape, marked with the same routine. Each time the victim suffered a worse fate than the one before, with the last victim nearly committing suicide. The next time, it is likely to be murder.

There is an effort underway today to petition the court to not allow this man to be paroled. Will he do his evil deed again? Will the next victim even live to tell the story? Three people have been severely hurt physically and mentally by this man. How can he paroled - essentially pardoned from such a crime?

Mr Michael Hall Smith, I am sharing your heinous crime with whomever will read this and with what understanding I have of your case. I hope others learn that there really are humans like you in this world, that is if you qualify to be called a human being; we need laws and sentencing to keep your kind behind bars. It does not seem to me that your crime has been avenged nor have you paid a fair price for what you have done to others. Justice would not be served by your release. Living is for those who respect the rights of others; the god-given right to life is not for those who destroy the lives of others. And you seek to be paroled, forgiven for crimes where you attempted to destroy the lives of others. Yes, living is difficult, more so for some than it should be, due to the likes of you.

Oh yes! Did I tell you? Mr Smith's profession was a computer programmer and his wife, a pharmacist. The couple was a typical middle income family, seemingly quite normal, just like the family next door to you and I. No, I do not advocate distancing ourselves from our neighbors. Quite the opposite. We must know our neighbors well and learn to love them. True liv'n cannot exist without true lov'n. If something should happen to one of our friends, I hope we will help them through it. The way out for the victim is not to lie and pretend it never happened. It is through counseling and revelation. Take the burden off of your friend's shoulders.

Many thanks to the victim's public advocate who got this young lady out of her shell before she exploded from within. Not everyone is so lucky. Indeed, she was lucky, just as the criminal said, "to be alive", even though at the time and afterwards, she had to internally reconcile that fact. She is now liv'n and lov'n. Hopefully she will not face that criminal ever again. But then again, is it over?

Postscript to the story:
It was found that both of the kids were being sexually abused and were taken from the couple by Child Protective Services. They were given to the wife's mother who lived in another state. It is unknown after that what happened to them or how their lives subsequently developed. The wife helped the prosecution out in convicting the defendant and for that she reaped the benefits of a plea bargain. She was sentenced to 7 yrs in prison for kidnapping. She served 2 and was released back into society.

Please support the denial of this man's probation by signing and obtaining others' signatures on this petition and sending the document to the designated address below. You can fax it or send by mail.
Petition Document click here

Send your signed petition to Tamara Young at the Montgomery Sheriff's office.
Fax: 936-760-4494

Mailing address:
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office
Tamara Young
Criminal Investigations Division
#1 Criminal Justice Drive
Conroe, TX 77301

Every signature counts! You can play an important role to prevent this man from doing this again. Tamara is the Victims Advocate in the Montgomery County Sheriff's office. Her dedication and enthusiasm for our safety is greatly appreciated. She is a true life advocate for criminal victims.