Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
MURDER: It could have been "all she wrote"Imagine coming home after a late shift and finding your family barricaded in a back bedroom, afraid to answer your knock, afraid to let you in. I found myself in such a situation several years back and rethinking the details is still unsettling.
My son Barry, age 22 at the time and an Army veteran, was the first one that I was able to communicate with. This son was more likely to be found looking for a fight than running from one but he was terrified. As the story unfolded in spurts I learned that Barry was convinced that his 17 year old brother Colin had participated in a murder and it didn't take him long to convince me that it might be true. In fact, I did believe him. Further, he thought that Colin might try to kill him and the rest of the family as well. This to eliminate potential witnesses.
I had seen a lot of misery in my life, even murder, but this was my kids! Barry and a group of his friends had driven into a secluded woods where boys went to be boys. On the way in they observed Colin and a group of his friends exiting the area . Barry and his group then came upon a scene that they interpreted as a gang killing. A man's body was found with a rope around his neck , kneeling with his arms outstretched as if pleading for his life. There was blood on the ground and foot and tire prints clearly associated with Colin near the body. We didn't find out until later but Colin himself had placed an anonymous phonecall to the police reporting a murder.
Barry had written down everything he saw and everything he assumed in very graphic terms. He had also described Colin's heavy involvement in martial arts and the game Dungeons & Dragons which was popular and much feared by parents at the time.
I felt I had to take the situation seriously. To protect Barry and by association myself and other family members, I requested a detective meet me at a neutral site to report what I had been told.
Fortunately the situation had already been investigated by a very professional detective. What had actually taken place was a suicide. A man had hung himself from a tree that was not strong enough to support his body for much longer than it took for him to die. Rather than breaking, the tree had bent over slowly, which action combined with advancing rigormortis had caused the body to take on the kneeling, arms outstretched position. Further, the body had cracked open because of the stress, the heat of the day and bloating, leaving the apparent signs of a beating.
A little bit of sloppy detective work coupled with the work of a much too overworked public defender could have easily set my son up for a long prison term or worse. I had him gone before I even talked to him, so I have no room to criticize anyone else. This might have been an easy score for an aggressive state's attorney if it had come to that.
-- Warren Faulk
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