Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle

Doing Time (Chapter 12 of Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: From the September 2015 review by Joe Kilgore in The US Review of Books:
The heinous deed that forms the axis of Rix’s tale takes place in Phoenix, Arizona,1991. A pretty barmaid is found virtually nude; beaten, bitten, and stabbed to death in the men’s room of her place of work. While the crime scene is littered with numerous examples of potential evidence, it is the actual bite marks on the victim’s body that become the central interest of the state. Prosecutors become convinced, based on forensic odontology, that the bite marks could only have come from a particular dart-throwing bar patron who was seen nuzzling with the deceased at a Christmas party prior to the killing. Ray Krone, the hapless young man whose teeth impressions seem to be a perfect match for the victim’s wounds, is arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to die for the shocking crime.
Chapter 12 is the first chapter of Part Two: The Game, which opens with a quotation from Mark Twain, circa 1871:
The jury system puts a ban upon intelligence and honesty, and a premium upon ignorance, stupidity and perjury.]
South Central Arizona’s Valley of the Sun was settled in the late eighteen sixties on the banks of the Salt River around a network of irrigation ditches abandoned by the Hohokam Indians five hundred years earlier. The intense summer’s heat was no doubt a challenge for the early pioneers, who after ten years in the valley, named their settlement after the a mythological Arabian bird that immolates itself every five centuries on a pyre and then rises again from its ashes. Egypt adopted the bird as their sun god, dying every evening to be reborn the next morning. Early Christians adopted this bird as their symbol for immortality and resurrection.
    Phoenix was incorporated in 1881 and became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889 and in 1912 the capital of the forty-eighth state, the last of the continental states to enter the union.

    The city must have begun near present day Patriot’s Park because the park’s northeast corner, the intersection of Washington and Central, is the mathematical origin of the city, address numbers increasing in all directions from this point. Numbered streets and avenues run parallel to Central, streets to the east and avenues to the west. Roads parallel to Washington are named after other presidents in the downtown area. Camelback Road and the scene of the crime are five miles to the north. You learn early on to pay attention to north versus south, east versus west and streets versus avenues when getting around Phoenix. You’re a long way from the CBS Lounge, located at West Camelback Road and 16th Avenue, if you’re looking for it near East Camelback Road and 16th Street.
    Patriot’s Park occupies one square block of mostly brick walkways winding through patches of grassy knolls. Facing north at its south end is an outdoor amphitheater protected from the valley’s sun by a huge canvas tarp. It’s not unusual for street vendors to line the walkways or for a free noontime concert to happen. Under the park is a parking garage accommodating the area. North and east of Patriot’s Park one finds predominately businesses, banks, hotels, restaurants, shops and office buildings. Government buildings are located in the opposite direction. Within a mile and a half of the park are the governor’s office, the state capitol, the state supreme court, the county attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the superior court, the sheriff’s office, city hall, the county jail and the Phoenix police department, with its crime lab.
    The courthouse where Ray Krone was tried and convicted is the government building closest to Patriot’s Park. It stands kitty-corner to its southwest corner. The park was traversed many, many times in the course of the trial. The favorite lunch spot was Tom’s Tavern on Washington Street, facing the park.
    Occupying the square block south of the courthouse is the Madison Street Jail, a monolith of ten stories. It was here that Ray began doing time and here he returned from Death Row to await and endure his second trial. It is one of eight jails administered by the sheriff’s office under its colorful boss, Joe Arpaio. It houses primarily those individuals awaiting their day in court. Once convicted, if jail is their fate, the convicted are usually moved to another Maricopa County facility. Tent City, for example, accommodates non-violent individuals such as DUI offenders. Those going to prison are moved to a department of correction facility in—to name a few—Yuma, Tucson or Florence.

    The sheriff of Maricopa County for three years, Joe Arpaio had become quite the celebrity. He fancied himself, as the title of his book modestly suggested, The Toughest Sheriff in America. Frequently in the press and occasionally on TV, the sheriff promoted his own brand of toughness. One such promotion involved pink underwear. Significant numbers of monogrammed jail underwear were being smuggled out of the Madison Street Jail. Apparently it was prized as a status symbol on the outside…of the jail, of course, not the pants. As a deterrent, Arpaio ordered that all county issued underwear be dyed pink. But this plan backfired big time. The street value for the now pink underwear skyrocketed. Enter entrepreneur Arpaio. I guess part of being tough is recognizing that when you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In three months Arpaio sold $420,000 worth of pink underwear. This money was used to finance other toughness programs, such as the neon VACANCY sign set atop Tent City and full page newspaper ads appearing while the Super Bowl was in town to warn revelers what would be in store for them if they didn’t behave.
    Arpaio seemed to relish his notoriety in an article illustrated with a picture that was captioned “Ray Krone is wearing pink underwear in the jail of the ‘Toughest Sheriff in America’” and showed Arpaio proudly displaying a pair.
    But pink underwear was the least of the toughest sheriff’s toughness. To keep costs down, Arpaio located some baloney at a rock bottom price. No matter that it had turned green and was unfit for human consumption. While it lasted this baloney was lunch day in and day out for the jail population. It made good press when Arpaio boasted that each inmate could be feed for thirty-five cents per meal. At one time or another coffee and cigarettes were banned.
    “I’m tired of hearing about rehabilitation and education. Jail,” said Joe Arpaio, “should be punishment.”
    Indeed, Arpaio had found a way to use education as punishment. He limited TV to only three channels: the Disney Channel, C-SPAN and an educational channel broadcasting a college course given by Newt Gingrich. This cruel and unusual punishment caught the attention of Washington. There was also concern about rumors of beatings within Arpaio’s jails. But the sheriff’s department survived the justice department investigation.
    Sheriff Joe was not without local critics as well. An article in The Arizona Republic, “Innocence No Obstacle for Sheriff,” reported Arpaio’s desire to have the names of the approximately two thousand people arrested and booked into his jails each week published in the newspaper as a deterrent. Arpaio expressed little concern that most of these arrests were for misdemeanors that were usually resolved with a fine or that many were released without ever being charged with a crime, leaving only a handful that would ultimately plead to or be convicted of a felony. When someone suggested that “probable cause” does not equal “probable guilt,” the sheriff replied, “Maybe?”
    The newspaper declined Arpaio’s offer, perhaps concerned about the huge awards Maricopa County had already paid to citizens who had been brutalized while in jail. One settlement in the millions went to the family of an individual who died while in the custody of Arpaio’s deputies. The settlement could have been much higher, but death was determined to have been the result of a beating and unrelated to any adverse reaction to the teachings of Newt Gingrich.
    The public, however, seemed enamored of its sheriff. “Presumption of innocence” is one of those bantered about, lofty phrases that, if practiced by a politician, adversely affects public opinion. The reality seems to be that the public presumes that anyone who presumes innocence is weak. Tough sheriff Joe Arpaio enjoyed an eighty-four percent approval rating.
    For Ray Krone, pink underwear and baloney in sandwiches and on TV were the least of his concerns while doing time in the Madison Street Jail:
    I was confined to a four-man cell about the size of my bathroom at home, 7' x 10'. It had two bunks. There was no privacy at all. The commode was out in the open at the base of the sink. Showers were in a dayroom—rusted, moldy, smelly, with peeling paint…I was in the cell more than twenty-two hours a day. A group of cells called a “pod” shared a “dayroom.” At each mealtime the cell door would open and I and my cellmates would walk twenty feet down a hallway to the dayroom and take seats at one of two four-man tables. We had fifteen minutes to gobble down the food waiting for us on trays before having to return to our cramped cell. Each day each cell received one hour more in the dayroom for “recreation.” There we could make phone calls and shower. I would always wear my slip on shoes when showering. I didn’t want to be barefoot in case something went down. The rubber soles kept me from slipping on the wet cement floor. It was the worse days of my life—worse than being on Death Row! There I at least had some privacy.
    Cellmates changed frequently. There were drunks and druggies moaning and vomiting. They’d stink up the whole cell and wouldn’t get up to take a shower during rec hour. Junkies would have fits and go wild ranting and raving. They’d be incoherent and disrespectful of what little space and dignity a man had in that hole. After causing much trouble they’d get bailed out or released after a few days only to be replaced by another one.
    Time was spent by and large playing cards and sleeping. Mostly I read and kept to myself. I had little or nothing in common with these people. They’d talk about all the trouble they’d been in as if it were their resume. I wasn’t going to tell them I was in the choir and boy scouts.
    Unless bleeding badly, medical treatment was almost non-existent. Grubby guys would come in with lice or scabies only to be discovered at the end of the week when a staff member would exchange the dirty laundry for a clean set of clothes and bedding. One such individual came into the pod with a form of meningitis. He passed out in line waiting for medications—Thorazine was dispensed freely to keep us all mellow. The whole pod was quarantined. Each of us was issued one plastic cup for the duration. There we were about eighty of us sitting around all over the place for a whole week keeping track of our own little Dixie cup while waiting to take three daily pills that produced orange urine to fight a highly contagious disease. Incredible! It was nerve racking. I couldn’t sleep. To cope, I claimed stress. The psych doc prescribed a stronger antidepressant to help me stay calm and be able to sleep. I took it for months on end.
    Incidents and confrontations were a daily occurrence within the pod. I witnesses one podmate take a backward swan dive from the top tier onto a table below in an attempt to commit suicide. Word through the grape vine was that his attempt failed and he ended up permanently paralyzed.
    The reality of that place is scary and overpowering. I was out of my element but got through it with only a few confrontations.

His first few days in jail after his arrest, Ray remembers being not too worried. The click on the loud speaker signaling that an announcement was imminent would bring silence to the entire pod. He thought that it was just a matter of time before he would hear, “Ray Krone, roll it up. You’re going home.” The click became his only friend.
    His optimism ended after about two weeks, however, with a visit from his assigned public defender. The first thing he remembers her saying to him was, “You’ve been charged with capital murder. You can be expected to be found guilty. We’ll fight it on appeal.”
    This presumption of guilt by this court appointed attorney, who apparently had already thrown in the towel even before talking to her client, naturally agitated Ray. His vehement demands for an explanation and protestations of innocence were met with, “I’m not going to be yelled at like that,” and she left.
    At that point real fear set in. One can imagine that fear is common within institutions of incarceration. There’s the continual fear of confrontations. Ray was not in Tent City, he was in with the big boys, those charged with violent crimes. But Ray could deal with this fear. He was tough enough to handle confrontations, smart enough to adopt lowlife lingo and jail jive and savvy enough to stay neutral when possible. If forced to take a side, it would be that of the inmates. They were more dangerous than the guards. At one point on Death Row in Florence, he was given a cushy job in the library. It allowed him to be out of his cell for a significant part of the day. But it didn’t last long. As he quickly learned, the price to have this job was to become a snitch. He politely declined.
    The real fear for Ray was not knowing what was happening with his case on the outside. He naïvely believed that the justice system actually looks out for the innocent. So he was somewhat relieved to learn that the public defender’s office, because of a conflict of interest, could not take his case. Kim Ancona’s ex-husband was also a suspect in her death. He was at the time also being represented by the public defender’s office, having been charged with molesting one of his daughter’s girlfriends. Maricopa County routinely contracts with private defense attorneys to handle cases when there is a conflict of interest. Ray was assigned a contract attorney, Geoffrey Jones.
    Jones seemed to take an interest in Ray’s case. He told Ray that the evidence against him was not very strong. He interviewed Ray’s friends and called several to testify. An investigator assigned to the case to work with Jones came into the jail and listened to Ray’s story. Ray was encouraged when Jones hired an expert to look at the bite mark but confused when that expert did not testify. He did not know at the time that the “expert” was no expert at all, but merely a dentist who was a friend of Jones. Nor did he know that the real reason this non-expert didn’t testify was that he agreed with the state’s bite mark expert.
    Jones was granted a motion declaring Ray’s case “complex.” This ruling meant that Jones could charge hourly in addition to the fixed contract amount. What he did in those extra hours is still a mystery.
    Ray did not learn until long after his first conviction that “zealous attorneys don’t get contracts,” according to a caption in The Arizona Republic introducing an article critical of the selection process for contract attorneys. It mentioned an attorney who lost his contract after winning an acquittal in a first-degree murder case. Apparently the lucrative contracts (eighty thousand dollars per year) are reserved for defense attorneys who don’t rock the boat. It seems that the way for an attorney to prosper on taxpayer money in Maricopa County is to be a prosecutor or a bad defense attorney. You wouldn’t even have to be a good prosecutor to face one of these contract attorneys. Perhaps this reality explains the attitude of Ray’s initial public defender?
    On court days Ray would wake at 4:00 a.m. His shower was quick. Others needed one too. After a 5:00 a.m. breakfast he was moved to the basement into a fifteen by fifteen holding cell. There he camped cramped in with forty or so others for the next few hours. One open stall and a couple of bunks attached to a wall serviced the lot. After 8:00 a.m. groups of four or five were removed from the cell. When his group was called, Ray would proceed outside the cell where his hands would be cuffed to his waist and his ankles shackled together with a chain just long enough to take small steps. Another chain shackled him to the rest of the group. Then he and his shackled mates would cross under Madison Street through a tunnel into the court building and up an elevator into another smaller holding cell outside the courtroom. There they would wait for a bailiff to take them into court.
    For pretrial hearings Ray and the group would usually be taken into court still shackled together and made to sit in the jury box. He would stand up when his case was before the court. On trial days he would remain behind in the holding tank. There he would change clothes and wait for court to begin, which rarely happened before 10:00 a.m.
    Ray learned early on how to pace himself in this waiting game. He would eat and especially drink very little for breakfast. Facilities were few and far between. Frequently he would not be able to relieve himself until he was returned to his cell.
    For the second trial, Ray waited in a small conference room outside the courtroom. There he could change clothes in private and relax on a folding chair. He had access, with George’s supervision, to a restroom down the hall leading to the judge’s chamber. George was his bailiff.
    George Schuester and his wife Dottie came to Phoenix some fifteen years earlier from Canton, Ohio. Steelworkers there had been laid off in droves. In his forties, George found his opportunities limited. To get a job in law enforcement it was necessary for him to challenge via lawsuit the county’s age discrimination policy prohibiting anyone over forty years of age from being hired by the sheriff’s department. In the suit George noted that the application for employment as a correction officer stated, “The applicant must be under forty years of age,” but also stated, “We do not discriminate based upon race, sex, age…” George won the suit and at age forty-five, with no prior law enforcement experience, went to work for sheriff Joe as a guard in the county jail. It was dangerous work. It was not unusual for George to be in with a hundred or so prisoners with only a radio as his weapon, which more than once failed to work. George welcomed a new assignment as transportation officer moving prisoners between Arizona’s jails and prisons. When a vacancy for court bailiff became available, George jumped at the opportunity. He was selected because he had studied and understood the rules a bailiff must enforce in the courtroom.
    George mastered the nuances of his new job very quickly. To be a good bailiff, you had to strike a medium between everyone in the courtroom, the judge, the attorneys, the jury, the spectators and the families of the victim as well as the defendant. You had to protect the court from an unruly defendant as well as protect the defendant from those who may wish him harm. A bailiff’s duty is to enforce order in the court.
    George took charge from the beginning. In his very first assignment, the defense attorney wanted his client uncuffed during a pretrial hearing. Recognizing the defendant to be “a bad dude,” George signaled the judge that this was not a good idea. The attorney insisted and the judge again asked for the handcuffs to be removed.
    “Judge,” said George, “if you want those cuffs removed, order me to do so on the record.”
    After a moment’s pause, the judge said, for the record, “The cuffs stay on!”
    Later, Judge Ron Reinstein took George aside and complimented him, “Smooth, George, smooth.” The judge was impressed with how George had shifted the responsibility for the consequences of removing the handcuffs from a potentially unruly defendant away from himself onto the court.
    George had no problem taking control when it became necessary. Years later he was again in Judge Reinstein’s court for a bail hearing. The defendant, a kid, George remembered, in for something stupid like not paying child support, jumps up and goes off at the judge. George immediately calls for backup, which arrives soon but not soon enough for the whole courtroom to hear the kid suggest that the judge wouldn’t be so “up tight” if he would get a date with one of the streetwalkers who loitered on Van Buren Street. George takes it upon himself to have the kid forcibly removed from the courtroom. Reinstein isn’t finished with the defendant and orders him back into court. The courtroom is cleared and the kid is returned kicking and screaming.
    “Before you say another word,” the judge says, quite agitated, “sixty days for contempt of court.”
    The kid continues his outburst. George approaches the bench. “This kid’s totally out of control,” he informs the judge. “He’s not going to shut up.”
    The kid is again forcibly removed to the holding tank.
    When George returns he approaches the bench and says, “I know you’re the presiding judge but, your honor, you can’t sentence this guy for contempt.”
    Now agitated with George, Judge Reinstein asks, “Who in the hell do you think you’re talking too?”
    “I’m talking to you, your honor, and you can’t sentence him.”
    “Are you telling me I can’t sentence some guy who went off like that?”
    “That’s what I’m telling you.”
    “And just what makes you think I can’t do that?”
    “Six years ago I was in your court and you made a ruling that a judge in anger cannot sentence someone for contempt of court. It has to go to another judge. The other judge can sentence him but you can’t because you’ve lost it.”
    “Oh really?” comes a surprised response, followed by a pregnant pause. And then, “I want to talk to you in chambers.”
    While waiting, George thought, Why did I open my big mouth? I’m going to be reprimanded. My captain is going to chew me up one side and down the other.
    “Send George in,” was soon heard from inside Judge Reinstein’s chambers.
    “Have a seat, George.”
    “I’ll stand if you don’t mind”
    “Why did you take the kid out like that?” the judge asked.
    “Well, Judge, I was watching you this morning. You were red as a beet. You were mad. Twelve other inmates are watching. All their families are watching. You’re getting angry. This kid is getting to you. I don’t blame you for that. But the longer that situation keeps going the more it’s going to escalate. The boy was not going to back off. He doesn’t have any brains. He’s burnt out from drugs or something. He’s screaming the whole time we’re taking him out. I’m telling him, ‘you’re going to do ninety days because of your mouth.’ ‘I don’t care,’ he tells me.”
    After listening, Judge Reinstein picked up a law book with its pages already opened, “I looked it up, George. Six years ago I made a ruling…I can’t believe you remembered it.”
    “Well, I was very impressed when you made that ruling, your honor,” George responded tactfully.
    George had a knack for his job. In another instance George was assigned to a new judge, a lady who had for a short time previously been a prosecutor—all white collar cases. Obvious to George, she had spent her career thus far in an ivory tower. She thought herself well equipped to be a judge. She had little respect for anybody—attorneys, police officers—let alone bailiffs. She had gone through five bailiffs in her short time on the bench.
    George told one defendant before court started not to play silly games, that it would only make things worse. The defendant, a young woman, didn’t care.
    While being sentenced on a drug offense, the young woman began looking up at the ceiling, pointing with her finger, apparently counting light bulbs.
    “Excuse me, young lady I’m talking to you,” said the judge sternly.
    “And who are you?” the young woman asked, still looking up and counting.
    “I’m the judge.”
    “Big deal! You sit up there in a robe. I’m down here in stripes, big deal.” She turned her back on the judge and continued counting light bulbs.
    The judge angrily demanded, “What do you think caused you to be here?”
    She had to ask the question several times. Finally the girl said, “Crack. Crack, man. You know what crack is, don’t you, Judge? Crack!”
    In front of a full courtroom, the judge then said, “I’m going to help you to become a better person. I’m going to put you in a place with a drug free environment,” and sentenced her to three years in the state pen. The whole courtroom burst out laughing. George shook his head and leaned his forehead into a hand.
    When the court recessed, the judge took George aside.
    “You know, George, I’ve gotten rid of every bailiff who’s come into my court. What’s this?” she asked, mimicking George’s head in hand.
    “Your honor, did you hear everybody laugh?”
    “Yes, I did.”
    “Do you know why they laughed?”
    “No, but it made me very angry. I almost found everyone in contempt. And when my bailiff puts his head in his hand like that I am really ticked.”
    “Well, Judge, that girl can get more drugs in prison than she can on the street.”
    “You’re kidding,” replied the judge naïvely.
    “Think about it—built-in clientele.”
    “I’ll remember that,” the judge responded, somewhat enlightened.
    George was excused.
    The next day in court the judge told another defendant that she was revoking his parole. George shook his head once again into his hand. Seeing the signal again, the judge recessed the court and took George into her chambers.
    “Now what?” she asked.
    “Well, Judge, you can’t revoke his parole. That’s done by the state and you’re only a county judge. You can revoke his probation upon the recommendation of the probation officer, but you can’t revoke his parole.”
    “No bailiff is going to tell me what I can and cannot do,” she told George. Then she called a colleague to report the situation.
    George heard, “Yes, sir. Yes. Yes, sir. Yes, I understand.”
    Being as nice as possible, Judge Reinstein had advised her, “If George says you can’t do something, listen to him. He’s been doing this for fourteen years. You just got on the bench.”
    George was aware of everything going on inside the courtroom. He could quickly interpret a person’s demeanor. Defendants were easy. He dealt with them everyday. He knew or quickly found out who everyone was who entered the courtroom. He watched the spectators for potential trouble. For example, with members of the Arian Brotherhood sitting in the gallery while one of their brothers was on the stand describing how he, without remorse, had killed a prison guard, George noticed two burly police officers stand up in the back row with fists clenched. George made the signal to the judge, his flat hand passing back and forth at his neck. The judge, who wanted to be finished with the defendant’s testimony, ignored the signal. George could sense tension building in the courtroom even though the judge could not. “Excuse me, your honor,” was all George needed to say for the judge to take notice and call recess.
    George was preferred and requested by many judges to handle high profile cases. By the time he was assigned to guard Ray Krone, he was in his late fifties, approaching retirement age. He had done close to one hundred murder-one trials.
    George had been advised by his superiors, “Ray Krone is a vicious, vicious killer. You treat him like it!” The bailiff for Ray’s first trial had told George, “He’s guilty. Don’t you forget it!”
    This type of advice is not unusual. But George quickly saw that things were different with this trial. First there was the accused. George did not see in Ray what he saw in other defendants. Ray looked rough and tough but didn’t act it. Residing for any length of time in prison or jail, you have to become rough and tough to survive. Ray, however, could, in court, once again be himself. He politely obeyed George’s rules.
    George did not treat Ray any differently or give him special favors. He did, however, talk with Ray. When asked, Ray affirmed his innocence but unlike most other defendants did not elaborate. There were no claims that it was a bad rap or that he’d been railroaded. As George watched the evidence unfold, he would draw his own conclusions.
    Then there was Noel Levy. George had watched him prosecute some two dozen cases. For other murder trials, Levy was full of fire and brimstone. Not this time. He’d never seen Levy employ so many delaying tactics trying to figure out how to counter the endless roadblocks defense attorney Plourd effortlessly placed in his path: exposing the police criminologist’s shoddy analysis of the pubic hairs, having Levy’s own DNA expert exclude Ray as the source of the saliva taken from the bite mark, tongue-tying Levy’s star witness by asking this expert odontologist to find in a crime scene photo the nonexistent scratch he’d identified as having been made by Ray Krone, on and on.
    Whatever wind was left in Levy’s sail disappeared during his cross-examination of Dale Henson when Henson confirmed that Ray Krone was not the one he had seen entering and leaving the murder scene about the time the murder occurred. From that point, as if caught in the Sargasso Sea, Levy floundered through his cross-examinations of the remaining defense witnesses.
    George had never seen Levy give such a subdued closing argument. Yet it was polished and precise. As he had throughout the trial, Levy emphasized that the exculpatory evidence didn’t mean anything and that the only evidence of importance was the bite mark.
    To George, however, the most unusual thing about this trial was the defense attorney. He had never seen anyone like Chris Plourd. He was very impressed to see the gallery fill up with crime lab technicians and public defenders taking notes whenever a DNA expert was on the stand. DNA was new to Maricopa County justice. Plourd was giving lessons not only on DNA technology but also on how to question DNA experts.
    Most surprisingly, George had never seen a defense attorney so insistent on his client’s innocence. Most defense attorneys in Maricopa County simply went ahead and did the trial. It was a shock to George to see Plourd continually in Levy’s face. “On Levy’s best day,” George remembered several years later, “Plourd chewed him up and spit him out.”
    From its beginning the trial seemed bizarre to George. On its second day George confided in Dottie, “Something’s wrong with this trial,” unknowingly prophesying the verdict. He had to restrain himself from giving her any details. As are jurors, he was prohibited from discussing court proceedings with anyone, including his spouse. But this case disturbed him. George recorded in a diary notes on each day’s proceedings. He’d never done that before at any other trial.
    George couldn’t sleep the night before the verdict was read. He had a bad feeling about it. It had arrived in the afternoon. Judge McDougall decided to wait until morning to announce it. He admonished the jurors to keep it secret over night.
    Chris got word less than an hour before the verdict was to be read and called me from his hotel room. I arrived some thirty minutes later, hurried down the sidewalk past TV cameras sprouting tripods near Ray’s Corvette, which was conspicuously parked in front of the courthouse, climbed steps while dodging members of the press milling about, entered the foyer, where I waited impatiently for my turn at the metal detector—this day patrolled by twice the usual number of deputy sheriffs—then rode in a packed elevator, passed between more deputies stationed outside the courtroom and finally squeezed through the crowd blocking the double set of double doors leading into the ceremonial chamber.
    Entering the courtroom was not unlike entering church. The center aisle separated three rows of backed wooden benches differing from pews only in that there were no padded rails for kneeling. Padded rails were not needed because prayers in this room were silent, private and personal. Like a wedding in which the center aisle separated the bride’s family and friends from the groom’s, this aisle separated the accused’s family and friends from the victim’s. Unlike a wedding, however, it separated adversarial prayers. The fence facing the congregation was divided in the middle by a pair of swinging gates, which allowed participants to enter the ceremonial area. Beyond it to the right, like a choir stall, was a box accommodating twenty chairs facing a small pulpit, empty now but on previous days occupied by witnesses. Instead of being mounted on the far wall, the symbol of this ceremony rested on a larger pulpit furthermost from and facing the congregation. The gavel conspicuously awaited the appearance of the individual clad in a robe who would preside over this ceremony. When he did appear, seemingly out of nowhere, he took the symbol in hand to signal the beginning of this, the final phase of the proceedings. Until now the choir had been silent observers. Today was their day to sing.
    Because I’d arrived late, the benches on the left, behind the table at which the defendant and counsel waited, were packed. Ray’s mother and Jim Leming were in their usual spot, the front row directly behind the defendant’s table. Sister Amy sat next to her mother near the door where Ray entered and exited the courtroom. Behind them were most of Ray’s Phoenix friends, who had supported him from the beginning, Bob Lewis, his lady Selina, Nick and Bonnie Meyer, Robert Cooper and Steve Junkin.
    The other side of the aisle was equally packed. When everyone stood as the jury filed in, I was able to squeeze into the last row behind the prosecutor’s table. Except for today, I preferred this side, sitting against the right wall adjacent to the jury box, because it was the most advantageous spot for a spectator to observe the drama. For some testimony, especially the complicated DNA testimony, Judge McDougall would leave his bench and join me there—although he would take one of the vacant chairs inside the jury box.
    As soon as the jury walked past the defendant, who was facing them, George knew what the verdict was going to be. Experience had taught him that a jury carrying its verdict into the courtroom will make eye contact with the defendant when it has acquitted. This jury looked straight ahead as it passed Ray Krone. George inconspicuously leaned over and whispered something into Ray’s ear. Then he returned to his normal position behind the defense table, glancing in the direction of Ray’s mother Carolyn, who was standing between her daughter Amy and her husband Jim Leming. George thought, This is going to be the worst day of their lives. Amy’s really going to hate me today.
    Amy and her brother had always been close. Though Ray had left home some fifteen years earlier, they continued to support each other during their ups and downs. Amy remained in Pennsylvania. A few years before, she had come out west and stayed with Ray for some months to avoid an unpleasant situation with a former boyfriend back home. No one was more in touch or supportive of Ray during his ordeal than Amy. She had come to Arizona for the first days of Ray’s trial but had to return to her job back home. She’d returned for the verdict fully expecting to walk out of the courtroom with her brother. She looked daggers at George every time he cuffed Ray and led him the other way.
    As the moment of relative truth approached, only Chris Plourd’s head was bowed. His left arm was around his client. His right hand grasped his client’s right arm above the elbow. Had Chris Plourd too sensed the devastating outcome about to befall? He seemed ready to restrain his client. It would not be necessary, for George’s whisper had been, “Whatever happens, don’t lose it.”
    All other eyes were focused on the judge.
    The wailing began as soon as the word “guilty” was heard. It came from the right side of the aisle. Understandably, the victim’s mother, Patricia Gasman, began sobbing amid the rustling of the spectators who surrounded her. More crying was to come not from the left side of the aisle but from an unexpected direction. Those sitting behind Ray Krone bowed there heads in unison, silently holding onto their emotions. Ray remained stoically still as Chris Plourd rose seemingly unaffected by the verdict. Before the gavel’s final fall, which would release the jurors from their duty, Chris, a warrior to the end, wanted to interrogate them, a custom usually allowed the losing attorney after the verdict.
    Chris first asked the court to poll the jury. When it did, nearly all of the ten female jurors joined Mrs. Gasman’s sobbing as each in turn repeated the word “guilty.” Then, wanting to know what facts the jurors considered in reaching their verdict, he questioned them briefly in open court. As he did, the events of the last three years raced through my mind, especially those of the last eight weeks. I had sat religiously through the trial. I’d witnessed the witnesses the jurors had witnessed and now I witnessed this strange verdict. What happened? How had the jurors missed the obvious—at the very least—the abundance of “reasonable doubt”? What jurors, I wondered, cry almost in unison when affirming their verdict?
    “Ever see that happen before?” I would ask before leaving Phoenix that evening.
    “Never,” said Chris.
    The court adjourned, George allowed Ray some extra time to say good-bye to those who had begun the day expecting to escort Ray to his waiting Corvette. The group was by and large a dejected lot. An independent person, Ray was always a bit embarrassed by the attention and help he was getting from others—some who barely knew him. He thanked everyone. I believe he felt sorrier for these others at that moment than he did for himself. He was the only one who attempted cheer.
    “Take care of yourselves. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine,” he said with a big smile. Then as George ushered him out of the courtroom, he added, “I know how to do time.”
    Ray’s smile was one of two I remember that day. The other one came from prosecutor Noel Levy as he faced the news media and expressed his delight at the verdict. He never smiled much. As I passed him speaking into a TV camera, I could remember only two other occasions in which I’d noticed him smiling.

Ray Krone had more time to do. But he wasn’t the only one doing time for the murder of Kim Ancona. One cannot know the extent of the suffering a victim’s family goes through. The conviction of someone—anyone—for the crime perhaps alleviates their suffering somewhat by offering closure.
    But Ray’s family would continue doing time. It had begun at almost the same time as the suffering of the victim’s family, when they first learned of his arrest more than four years earlier. Amy was the first in Dover to hear about it from Ray. At Ray’s insistence, she kept it to herself initially. But after the visit from the public defender, when Ray began to grasp the seriousness of his situation, he reluctantly allowed Amy to tell their mother.
    There is no good time to hear that your son has been arrested and charged with murder. But that particular time of life was especially difficult for Carolyn. She was three years into a divorce from Dale, which would take another year to settle. Although Ray assured her that he would be all right, she would have helped him if she could but her assets were tied up in divorce court. For the second trial she and her new husband, Jim, would spare no expense to help Ray. While it’s one thing for a distant cousin with a moderately successful and not too encumbering computer business to gallivant about the countryside pursuing Ray’s cause, it was quite another to pay for the defense of one charged with murder. This burden rested on Jim and Carolyn’s shoulders.
    Jim Leming moved from Colorado to York in the fall of 1989, the same year Carolyn initiated her divorce. He joined his son Scott, who was already there working in construction. Jim rented a house with Scott and went to work as a heavy equipment operator for the same construction company. Jim worked his way into a position supervising the excavation of land being prepared for construction. Jim met Carolyn at church the next year. They were in similar situations—both were going through a divorce after more than twenty-five years of marriage. Eventually they moved in together and were married soon after Carolyn’s divorce became final.
    Although he would meet Ray for the first time on Death Row, Jim had no doubt about Ray’s innocence and shared Carolyn’s distress. After Ray’s conviction was reversed by the Arizona Supreme Court and granted a new trial, the Lemings began to raise the money they knew would be necessary. They literally mortgaged the farm. Jim sold his house in Colorado and donated the proceeds. Gifts from family and friends who heard of Ray’s plight helped. From her divorce Carolyn had received just forty percent of the assets, which included what was left of Grandpa’s original property, a farm. Carolyn mortgaged it and borrowed against everything else she owned, including two retirement plans.
    Jim and Carolyn had left home some weeks earlier, leaving behind no viable collateral unencumbered but with high hopes that it would be well worth it. With these hopes and their prayers, they religiously attended the eight-week murder trial of their son. Now they were returning without Ray, hopes shattered, prayers unanswered, to face enormous debt. Both were approaching sixty. The prospect for retirement in the foreseeable future was gone. Jim would return to his job, Carolyn to her’s as assistant billing director for York Hospital. They would spend their time doing what was necessary to recover from their disappointment and to pray that somehow someway it would work out for them and Ray. Others would be praying for Ray too.
    George fully expected Ray to be acquitted. If he had been convicted of a crime he didn’t commit he would have gone ballistic upon hearing the verdict. The last surprise of this strange trial for George was that Ray did not. As George led him from the courtroom, all that Ray said was, “I’ll change my clothes and get back into my stripes.”
    “I don’t claim to be a good Christian but I will pray for you every day,” George confided as they rode together down the elevator to the tunnel. “This bothers me badly. Keep you eyes and ears open. Someone did this murder. You know how inmates talk. There’s a network in there that will blow your mind.”
    Ray already knew about the “network” and he well understood the truth of George’s last words to him: “The only way you’re going to get out is to find the real killer.”
    George expected never to see Ray again. He had done something he was cautioned against. He’d gotten involved. George openly criticized the police for their rush to judgment and the prosecutor for ignoring solid evidence in favor of a hokey bite mark. Word spread that George was defending someone accused and convicted of murder. To his colleagues, George had become an “inmate lover” who was “getting soft.” It wasn’t long before he was transferred away from the courts. He retired soon thereafter.
    Ray’s “only way” was obvious to everyone else as well. Perhaps Ray would hear something through the grapevine while doing time? Perhaps the blood on the victim’s panties, which had been overlooked by the Phoenix police crime lab only to be discovered during the trial, harbored the identity of the killer? Perhaps finding the car that Henson saw transport the killer to and from the crime scene would be the key that would unlock Ray’s cell door?
    To Maricopa County, Ray Krone was the “official” murderer of Kim Ancona. But we who were rocked by the enormity of this injustice would keep looking for the real killer.

[Editor’s Note: Jingle Jangle is still in print and can be ordered through Amazon. (The author’s Amazon vendor’s name is “The Book Abides.”) Autographed copies can be arranged. Let us know.]

Copyright © 2015 by Jim Rix

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