So. Why did I write Pat in the first place?
And why did I wait 4 years to do it?
My family members have asked these questions. My friends have asked these questions. The guards at the jail where I visit Pat have asked these questions.
Why I Wrote An Alleged Double Murderer
The first reason: This! What I am doing right now: writing.
I won’t deny it: this guy is FASCINATING!
I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand. It’s obvious that there is one hell of a story here, and I wanted to write about Pat. What I’d write was still beyond me, but I wanted to write.
I decided the best way to get this going was to write him a letter.
I didn’t know how to send a letter to someone in jail, but I figured there was some type of protocol.
It took a little searching, but I found out Pat’s birthday (he’s about to turn 31), his full name, his arrest date and his booking number. The booking number is most important. You need to put it on the mail you send, and you need to give it to the guards when you visit.
During this Internet searching, I discovered Pat’s trial still hadn’t happened! I occasionally wondered why I never heard any news or gossip about him. I had no idea he’d been sitting in jail… waiting… all this time.
Right now, he’s in a sort of holding location where most of his fellow inmates will be in and out in a couple of months. They will either finish their trials and be moved to a prison to serve out their stay, or they are only in jail for a couple of months for some relatively innocuous crime (drug possession or something like that).
Yes, this means I can actually go to Pat’s trial!
This brings us to my second reason for starting this relationship.
I love crime shows!
I don’t mean CSI type dramas. I’m an ID Addict.
Investigation Discovery is a cable channel that shows non-stop true crime shows like Dateline.
I’m a huge fan of Dateline. I also love Homicide Hunter, Murder Next Door, A Crime to Remember, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, Most Evil, 20/20 (when it’s a crime episode and not some boring “my neighbor from Hell” story), Murder Book, On the Case with Paula Zahn… etc. etc. If a show has the words “Evil,” “Murder” or “Homicide” in the title, it’s on my TiVo list.
The contents of my bookshelf include The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers, Welcome to Hell: Writings and Letters from Death Row, Helter Skelter, Last Meals (yup, just lists of final meals of inmates before being executed) and many worn out paperbacks about Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), Zodiac, BTK, Jeffrey Dahmer… well, you get the picture.
So, I have this (possibly unhealthy) obsession with crimes and killers, and BAM: here is a possible killer who I’ve actually met!!
I’m super fascinated with what makes a person confess to a crime they didn’t commit. I’m in no way saying that this is the case with Pat, but let’s keep an open mind here, people. If any of you are familiar with the case of The West Memphis Three, then you know sometimes people really do confess to doing some pretty horrific stuff, even when they didn’t do it.
Anyway, I wrote a letter to Pat.
Keep in mind that we had only met briefly before his arrest; I wasn’t exactly writing to an old friend. I was nervous about it, too. I had no idea if he would remember me or write me back, and if he didn’t write me back… how in the world would I ever be able to write about him?
Also, what do you say to someone who is in jail and being accused of some seriously heinous stuff (double murder and dismemberment of one of the victims)?
Well, I talked about how crappy the dressing rooms had been at our theatre. I also mentioned that he’d been a huge topic of conversation around the place after he was arrested. I asked some questions about the truthfulness of Orange is the New Black (LOVE that show and wouldn’t care if it was all lies… but it’s not).
It wasn’t a long letter. Only 3 paragraphs.
He replied to me right away!