Monday, February 24, 2014

Kyron Horman, Terri Horman, Kaine Horman, Desiree Young / and the Imponderables

I’ve been thinking about some of the imponderables associated with Kyron Horman’s disappearance.  Agreed, there are many; but here are a few that have been on my mind.  Some of you will have others.

  • ·      Has the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office now relegated the Kyron disappearance to the cold case files?  They can’t possibly have one or more deputies currently assigned to this investigation.  Leads must have long since dried-up.  They just don’t seem to discuss it anymore.  Furthermore, what about some of their past edge-of-the-seat comments?  ‘We’ll have more by August.’  Of course, they didn’t mention what year they were talking about.

  • ·        Why did Desiree give up her civil suit?  It was her one best chance to keep the investigation before the public, as well as develop new information.  Was it about money?  If so, why didn’t she ask for help?  There are attorneys and private investigators who would have probably taken the case pro bono, or on an expense basis only.  But, she seemed to let the opportunity pass without any sort of tangible reason.  I know she seemed to blame it on the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor – and that they wouldn’t turn over their investigative results.  But, let’s be real.  Everyone familiar with the system knew that would be a very long shot.  Also, and I’ve discussed this several times, why didn’t she name the school district in the suit?

  • ·        What about the child custody case currently before the court – Terri Horman and Kaine Horman?  Under the circumstances, any judge would have to be unhinged to give unsupervised custody to Terri.  That’s just not going to happen.  Even a supervised visit by the estranged mother, Terri, would be disturbing to the child.  Don’t you think?

  • ·        Did Terri fail one or two polygraph tests, or did she not?  Do we know that for a fact?  And, if so, what part of the polygraph test was she presumed to be deceptive?

  • ·        Why has Terri Horman refused to consistently cooperate with the inquiry into the whereabouts of Kyron?  Why has she surrounded herself with attorneys and apparently invoked the Fifth Amendment, on more than one occasion, as a shield?  I know she / they claim it is because of the alleged ‘murder for hire’ situation.  I say that is nonsense.   Regarding that particular issue, the SO and prosecutors don’t seem to have any prosecutable case – little more than he said – she said.  No, the MfH claim is a ruse by her attorneys to protect her from talking about the disappearance of Kyron.  If the alleged MfH plot is the sticking point, why doesn’t the prosecutor give her immunity from that charge in exchange for her complete cooperation in the disappearance of Kyron?  No attorneys, no Fifth Amendment, just the complete cooperation of a normally concerned parent of a missing child.  Not a lot to ask or expect.  Is it?

  • ·        Who is paying for all of Terri’s attorneys?  Her parents?  If so, they must be pretty well-set.  And, why would they be willing to sink their life-savings into a situation like this?  Are her attorneys working pro bono or at a reduced rate?  I doubt it.  Steve Houze is one of the most expensive attorneys in the Portland area; and much of his money he wants upfront.  Why does Terri require a celebrity attorney when other very qualified, less expensive attorneys are available?

  • ·        Is the Sheriff’s Office inquiry now prefaced on the recovery of a body?  And, if so, how would that change anything?  The only difference is that there is a factual crime, at that point, but there is not, probably, any additional evidence – at least not at this late date.  Depending upon where, when, and the condition of the body - very little evidence will remain.

  • ·        What’s with the school?  How did they manage to skate free of any involvement in Kyron’s disappearance?  There was no negligence on their part?  None?

  • ·        If they can’t identify a suspect – they being the SO or prosecutors – who have they eliminated?  They don’t have to necessarily name names, but it seems they could give periodic updates – rather than the vague generalities the public is expected to swallow – unchallenged.

  • ·        What were the details with the cell phone pings emanating, reportedly, on Sauvie Island and attributable to Terri Horman’s cell phone.  Mere rumor or fact?

  • ·        Why does the whole issue with David Durham, his shooting of a police officer on the coast, and his subsequent disappearance, without a trace, still hang there like a conspiratorial misfire?  What about his connection to Sauvie Island?  What about Terri’s?  Was there any indication that Terri Horman knew him?  Did they have common friends or associates?  Common habits or pursuits?  Illegal drugs?  Why does ‘disappearing without a trace’ seem like a possible common denominator?  After all, someone, like Kyron or David, disappearing into ‘nothingness’ is rather rare.

  • ·        How long will Terri Horman endure her self-imposed exile to Roseburg?  When will attorneys Houze et al lose interest?  When will Terri’s financial backing be exhausted?  Why does she not leave the State and start a new life elsewhere?  Have the prosecutors blocked her from doing that?  Does she expect to be vindicated?  Then what?

True Nelson

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dave Dahl, Co-Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread headquartered in Portland, OR / New Criminal Charges

On February 14th, Dave Dahl appeared in Washington County Circuit Court to enter a plea in the melee of November 14th, last year.  During the November dust-up, he rammed Sheriff’s Office vehicles with his Cadillac Escalade, fought with deputies (injuring same), was high on intoxicants and was generally a bad boy.

I’m not making light of this.  But, the judge seemed to think the incident was rather minor, subsequently releasing Dahl on a mere $20,000 bail of which Dahl put up $2000 to a bail bondsman.  This was the designated bail given to a previously convicted felon and currently a rather well-heeled man.

Please refer to my posts of November 16th, 17th, and 21st for background.  Reading the earlier posts, it will be clear to all that I was not particularly sympathetic with Mr. Dahl.  I referred to the $20,000 bail, ordered by the judge, as mere ‘chump change.’

Well, to the point:

Dahl appeared in court on Friday, February 14th, with his attorney Steve Houze, for the preliminary hearing involving the aforementioned crimes.  At that time, prosecutors nailed Dahl with 14 additional counts (nine felonies and five misdemeanors).  Crimes included multiple counts of ‘assault with a dangerous weapon’ – presumably the Cadillac Escalade.  Yes, a vehicle can be considered a ‘dangerous weapon.’  Dahl was handcuffed and taken to jail.  Bail, this time, was set at $520,000.  Don’t worry, he has posted the bail and is now out again.

I know it is becoming increasingly clear that I have little regard for many attorneys, particularly those in the criminal justice system.  Why?  The whole system is often little more than an inside joke – perpetuated by defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges.  They play their legal games with an alarmingly straight face.

So, what’s my gripe?  After being kind of down on Mr. Dahl, I hate to see this kind of ‘pile-on’ justice or whatever you want to call it.  Washington County prosecutors took three months to decide what to charge Dahl with.  Three months, can you imagine?  In other words, the prosecutors spent the last three months reading their code books before they decided on just what crimes Dahl had committed; and finally, exhausted by their professional efforts, pared the charges down to 14 additional.

'Whoa,' they might say.  We had to wait for the sheriff deputies’ reports.  Well, they should have had them within a day or two.  'But,' they might counter, 'the deputies were injured.'  OK, how about someone conducting an inquiry, interviewing the deputies, and presenting prosecutors with the facts?  After all isn’t "justice delayed, justice denied?"

So, what’s the game here?  Well, prosecutors pour through the elements of every conceivable crime associated with a given situation.  After they have drawn up the list, they have no half-baked illusion that they will receive a conviction or a guilty plea on each charge.  Of course they won’t.  It’s just how you play the game.  Houze will negotiate and 'deal-down.'  Some concessions on charges will be made by the prosecution in exchange for a guilty plea on others.  Dahl will go to jail for a short period of time - plus a sizable fine.  Houze and prosecutors will go to lunch.  Game over.

True Nelson

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dwayne Ferguson, Gun Control Activist, Faces Felony Gun Charges / Buffalo, New York

You might have read about this case.  I found it interesting.  “Gun Safety Activist Causes School Lockdown and Faces Charges after Carrying Gun on School Property.”  (Thursday, February 6th)

Dwayne Ferguson, age 52, licensed to carry a concealed weapon in the state of New York, was arrested and charged with two felonies when he ‘accidentally’ carried a handgun into an elementary school where he was mentoring young children.  Someone, anonymously, reported to the police that an unknown individual had brought a gun into the school.  (Sounds to me like Dwayne was set-up.)  The school was locked down, countless police and a SWAT team responded, and after some time, reportedly hours, the police discovered the person ‘packing’ was Ferguson.

Ferguson, a prominent figure in the community, and a proponent of strict gun laws for the state of New York – much like the ones for which he was arrested – was, during the extended search and lockdown, allegedly protecting children while police searched the school.  He was apparently not aware that the gun-toting individual the police were looking for was, in fact, he.

This is both amusing and troubling.  Amusing from the point of view that a strong gun control activist could be arrested for violation of laws that he publicly supported, and that his defense is that he was unaware that he was carrying a gun on his person.  On the other hand, troubling in the sense that violating some of the new gun control laws is extremely easy to do.  I’ll explain.

As a general rule, there are two elements to a crime – particularly felonies:  the mens rea or criminal intent and the actus reus or guilty act.  Both of these elements are normally required for the most serious crimes.  In Ferguson’s situation, if the facts are as reported, he has completed the guilty act (actus reus), but he has not shown or demonstrated criminal intent (mens rea).  Now there are exceptions.

Many violations of law, such as traffic violations, do not require criminal intent – as we all know.  Nonetheless, most felonies do require intent.  And, this started me thinking about possible exceptions to that standard.  Negligent homicide might be one exception.  It is based on the premise that an act of violence has been committed wherein an ‘average’ citizen should be aware that his or her actions were dangerous and likely to cause harm (an element of intent).

This is, I suppose, the long way around to address the question as to whether or not Ferguson, clueless as he may very well have been, should be charged with a felony.  A fine perhaps, but a felony?  I don’t think so.

A personal observation:  I ‘carried’ for quite a few years while in law enforcement.  I don’t think there was a moment when I was not fully aware that there was a gun strapped to my waist.  How someone could forget they were carrying a gun and walk into an elementary school, particularly after supporting and advocating for that very same law against bringing guns into schools, is hard for me to believe.  More likely, in my opinion, Ferguson decided that the law didn’t necessarily apply to him.

Now to the troubling aspect.  Many laws have been recently enacted making it a felony to possess a gun on your person within 1000 feet of a school.  Laws similar to the one that ensnared Ferguson.  Practically speaking, this makes it difficult to navigate any town or city without violating the law if you are a shooting hobbyist or hunter.  Those licensed to carry ‘concealed’ are not exempted from these restrictive laws.  Ignorance is no excuse.  So, if your car happens to break down near a school, and you have a concealed permit, the police officer’s first question will be, ‘do you have a gun with you?’  Why would they ask that?  Because when they run your license plate, they are informed that the registered owner of the vehicle has a gun permit.  So, what do you do?  Well, you could lie.  God help you if the police discover you were lying.  Or, you could say, ‘yes, I have a permit and the gun is in the glove box.’  It’s nice that you are honest, and very commendable I might add; but, nonetheless, you will be on your way to jail in handcuffs - possibly charged with a felony.

The laws vary from state to state, so do your research.  Oh, I should say, good luck with that.  The gun laws, you will find, are complicated, redundant and deceptive – not always as they might first appear.  Remember that state gun laws are often enacted by marginally employed lawyers who have the time to run for state office, have never owned a gun and can’t understand why anyone would want to own a gun, and who take considerable joy in creating laws that are so unintelligible that a lawyer is required to interpret.

True Nelson

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I, Watson (February 2014)

Just a note to all my fans – both of them, ha ha.  I’ve been well and am enjoying life with the boss.  The boss often wonders out loud what my life was like before I ended up in the joint, aka dog control facility.  It is a subject I don’t really care to discuss.  Anyway, I’m happy now.  I must say that where I was born, Los Angeles, it is a tad warmer than Portland.

It’s been very cold here in Portland.  Life has been pretty routine, but that’s the way I like it.  Usually, we are up at 6AM, breakfast is served, and then I’m off for my morning constitutional.  Boy, that early morning walk was a real trial today.  I’ve attached some photographs.  We have received 6 to 8 inches of snow.  And, we’ve had sub-freezing temperatures for the last few days.

Perhaps this is a little indiscreet, but in 8 inches of snow it’s very hard to do your business – especially when you are as short as I am.  But, I make do.  That aside, it’s a blast running and rolling in the snow.

The attached pictures are of me and the boss returning from my morning walk and a picture of me warming my buns by the fireplace.

Stay warm and pet a dog – it’s good for your well-being.

Signed:  Watson (as dictated to True Nelson)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mark 'Meezilini' Miles / Ivancie 'Ivy' Harris / Prostitution, Murder and a FBI Informant (Conclusion)

The years since I was a FBI Agent have now morphed into decades.  I did not retire from the Bureau; but went on to other law enforcement related and investigative pursuits.  Nonetheless, I’ve followed the evolution of the FBI from outside the Bureau through friends and acquaintances.

The Bureau and the typical Agent are very different now than during the 70’s.  For some of us old timers, the changes were not for the better.  For current Agents, I’m sure, they feel we were dinosaurs – and good riddance.  Some say current Agents are more intelligent.  I’m not so sure.  How does one quantify intelligence?  I worked with Agents who were very intelligent and highly educated.
Admittedly, modern Agents are often computer savvy.  The older guys, on the other hand, might describe the new guys as nerds.

Older Agents were all required to know how to shoot.  The shooting requirement for present day FBI Agents has been so diluted that many of the older guys could successfully shoot the new course blindfolded.  Current Agents often spend their day transfixed by a computer screen.  Older Agents were required to get out of the office and talk to people.  Older Agents were often what might be considered generalists, or at least potential generalists.  Present Agents are more specialized.  And, maybe this is how it should be.  I suppose the new guys and gals are a product of their times.

New Agents are paid much better than in the old days.  Perhaps, because of that, they hire and hopefully retain a better product.  That said, many of the older guys considered their position as a FBI Agent to be a ‘calling,’ and pay be damned.  On a personal note, I did not leave the Bureau because of the pay or benefits.  No, my decision to resign was more due to the hectic life in a big city, and a yearning for something more like what I was used to.  I took a big gamble leaving government employment; but, ultimately, life has treated me well.

Another difference, perhaps, is that the modern day FBI has a lot of money to throw around – offering million dollar rewards and lucrative payments to informants.

Which brings me to Meezilini.  It appears that an uncover Agent or operative for the FBI was offering to engage Meezilini in some sort of music business.  Of course, this was all a ruse to gain his association and trust.  The FBI never had any intention of entering into any aspect of the music business.  They just wanted to get someone close to the target.  The target, in this case, was Meezilini.

Today’s FBI has Agents, and the operatives under Agents, who do nothing other than informant development.  Meezilini was targeted, I imagine, because Portland’s FBI administrators decided that the Mann Act was an appropriate priority for this area, and that Meezilini was an important player.  Subsequently, the assigned Agents had to make a plan of action as to how they might get next to him.

Rap music was a focal point.  Therefore, it would seem appropriate to assign a Black Agent as the principal case agent – even if that required bringing that Agent in from another Field Office.  As they say, ‘money talks.’  So, someone had to get next to Meezilini and get him to accept money under a contrived pretext.  It’s as simple as that.  Once the money starts to flow, the FBI expects something in return – namely information.

Finally, it must be said, that informant development may sound exciting; but it can be a distasteful and a corrupting pursuit for someone in law enforcement.  It requires befriending individuals that represent the darkest underbelly of humanity, as well as succesfully making those miscreants believe you are one with them.

True Nelson

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mark 'Meezilini' Miles / Ivancie 'Ivy' Harris / Prostitution, Murder and a FBI Informant (Part 2)

Informant development by FBI Agents has always been an important part of the job.  In my time, part of your performance rating was based on how successfully you acquired ‘informants.’  This was both more difficult than you might think, and easier than you might think.  Easier than you might think because an Agent could open a case on almost anyone as a Potential Criminal Informant or PCI.  The process involved an Agent developing background on an individual over a period of weeks or months, and then, usually, closing the case citing the PCI’s inability to furnish information of value.  Where does a FBI Agent find PCIs?  Almost anywhere.  The supervisory pressure often made the Agent very creative in developing ‘potentials.’  It might be someone simply living in a bad section of town, or in a commune, or a college student who attended some rally.  I even knew of a First Office Agent who opened a case on a person buried in a local cemetery.  He did it as a joke – more or less.  The Agent did a background on the name, and then reported a few weeks later that the person had suddenly died.  As far as the clueless supervisor knew, said Agent was at least trying.

An actual CI or Criminal Informant was decidedly more difficult to develop.  In that situation, the ‘source,’ who theoretically started as a PCI, had to furnish information of value in at least two criminal cases.  As you might imagine, the cemetery was not going to help you out in that regard.

I developed a CI in my first office, which was rare for a First Office Agent.  I would gas-up my Bureau car at the end of the day – and almost always stopped at the same gas station.  The station owner was a nice guy and had free peanuts in a large jar for customers who were interested.  I would buy a Coke, eat some peanuts and chat with the owner when he wasn’t pumping gas.  One time, he told me about a guy who stopped for gas the previous day.  The owner was certain that the guy's Cadillac was stolen, so he had jotted down the vehicle plate number.  I ran it for him and sure enough the car had been stolen.  As we were talking, the owner said, “And, I’ll be damned.  There he is now.”  I went out and got in my car, followed the suspect’s car out of the station and called for backup.  The suspect was stopped.  The car was stolen in a burglary of a car dealership.  And, the suspect had a loaded gun under the front seat.  The local PD took him away.

Bingo!  I went back to the office.  I opened a PCI case on the station owner.  The next day I reported the station owner had assisted me in solving three crimes:  auto theft, burglary, and a felon in possession of a gun.  Instantly, I had a CI, plus a pat on the back.

Next, I’d like to give you my impressions of the modern day FBI and their informant development tactics – as those tactics might apply to Mr. Meezilini.

To be continued…

True Nelson