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Police discover the body of a woman near the bottom of a flight of the stairs that lead to her bedroom. She’s been shot in the head and the main suspect is the man she just broke up with. Her young children are also in the house, hiding in a closet. Detectives Chad and Greg hunt the suspect down and find a pattern of dangerous domestic abuse that had never been reported to police.

The Detectives:
Detective Chad went to school with Detectives Dan and Dave. In high school, Chad started as an Explorer/Cadet with his local police department. He was hired by the Sheriff’s office after college, and has been in law enforcement for 24 years. He’s worked in corrections and patrol and has been a detective for 9 years.

Detective Greg has worked at his current agency for 24 years. During that time, he spent 3 years working in corrections, 13 years in patrol, 3 years in narcotics, and 5 years investigating violent crime. He has also been active on SWAT for 16 years.

Read Transcript

Chad: [00:00:02] It was an impression in the top side of her head about the size of a dessert plate, and it was probably two and a half three inches depressed in. So, that much of her brain was gone. When I think of this case I think of when I first went to see her in the hospital, that was the first thing I saw, and the next thing I recognized or observed was her eye was not there anymore.

[Small Town Dicks intro]

Yeardley: [00:00:23] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.

Dan: [00:00:25] I’m Dan.

Dave: [00:00:26] I’m Dave.

Paul: [00:00:27] And I’m Paul.

Yeardley: [00:00:27] And this is Small Town Dicks.

Dan: [00:00:30] Dave and I are identical twins and retired detectives from Small Town, USA.

Paul: [00:00:34] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.

Dan: [00:00:40] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.

Dave: [00:00:47] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.

Paul: [00:00:54] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

Dan: [00:00:59] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved.

Dave: [00:01:07] Out of respect for what they’ve been through.

In Unison: [00:01:09] Thank you.

[intro ends]

Yeardley: [00:01:16] Hey, Small Town Fam, it’s Yeardley. How are you? I hope you’re all wonderfully well. So, we have a really compelling episode for you today, and I’m eager for you to hear it. I just want to give you a heads-up that our fourth cohost, the one and only Paul Holes, isn’t part of this episode. That’s because we recorded it before we were lucky enough to persuade him to round out the team. However, he will be back next week doing that thing he does so very well. Now, please settle in for The Most Dangerous Time.

Today, on Small Town Dicks, my favorite Small Town Fam, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.

Dave: [00:02:03] I knew you were coming to me first.

Yeardley: [00:02:04] I was looking right at you.

Dave: [00:02:06] I’m happy to be here.

Yeardley: [00:02:07] We are so happy to have you. And we have Detective Dan.

Dan: [00:02:11] Hello, Yeardley.

Yeardley: [00:02:12] Hello, Daniel. I’m always happy to see you.

Dan: [00:02:15] Likewise.

Yeardley: [00:02:16] And, Small Town Fam, super excited that we have another doubleheader for you. We have two returning Small Town Dicks guests. We have Detective Chad.

Chad: [00:02:27] Hello.

Yeardley: [00:02:28] Hello. Thank you for coming and joining us again.

Chad: [00:02:31] Anytime.

Yeardley: [00:02:32] And we have Detective Greg.

Greg: [00:02:34] Hi, thanks for having us all the way back out here.

Yeardley: [00:02:36] We really appreciate you joining us again and more to the point, giving up one of your very precious days off. So, gentlemen, with that, I’m just going to let you take it away.

Chad: [00:02:49] Well, this one is a case that happened back in 2014. It involved domestic violence and some other stuff. It also happened to have occured on my first day back being assigned into Investigations. And so I show up for my first day out of uniform, back in plainclothes again. And I get the, “Good morning. And oh, by the way, this happened early hours this morning, and it’s your case.”

Yeardley: [00:03:12] Can you explain that a little bit what you mean about being back in plainclothes again?

Chad: [00:03:17] I had been in the detective assignment several years prior, and then transferred back to patrol for a few years. And then in 2014, I reassigned back into detectives in my current assignment in violent crimes. And so, it was day one back to investigations and I get this kind of handed to me, or maybe thrust upon me. I guess it depends on who you ask. [Yeardley laughs]

This one started out in one of the smaller cities in our county, where ultimately they asked for our assistance. But it starts off, a gentleman named Tim calls the small town PD requesting them to do a welfare check, check to make sure that his friend is okay. His friend is Kelly. Tim knew that Kelly had recently broke up with her boyfriend, Jack, and it wasn’t a smooth breakup. There had been some domestic violence stuff in their relationship for quite a while, which is what led to the end of the relationship.

[00:04:09] Kelly had three small children that Jack was not the father of, but Tim had been trying to call Kelly throughout the evening, because he was aware that Kelly and Jack had scheduled that afternoon for Jack to come get the rest of his stuff out of her house.

Yeardley: [00:04:25] So Jack was moving out. Don’t you guys always say that the leaving is the most dangerous part in domestic violence relationships?

Chad: [00:04:34] Oftentimes, yes. So, he’s unable to get a hold of her, that’s not normal. So, officers with the police department show up, they meet Tim out in front of the house. He explained situation to him, so they go up. The way this duplex is kind of set up in the middle is a double-bay carport. One carport stall for each side. And then, there’s on the first-floor garages and then you walk upstairs. The main living quarters are the second story of this duplex thing. It was kind of odd. And then, within the house, there’s stairs that lead back down to the garage and there’s a master bedroom built down there. And so, the officers walk up, and they knock on the door. One of the minor children, Helen, she comes to the door, and says she heard a gunshot about an hour ago. Ever since then, she’d been hiding in the closet with her two siblings. So, they get the kids out of there right away.

[00:05:26] There was only two officers on duty in this small municipality. And so they work their way through the second story, the main living quarter of the house to make sure there’s no one else in there. And then, they go down the internal stairs and find a locked door that they’re unwilling to breach. At that point, they call the sheriff’s office and ask for assistance. That’s about midnight. They can hear gurgling and moaning on the other side of the door. But they don’t know what else is on the other side of the door. So, they back out.

Yeardley: [00:05:51] Is that the master bedroom door that’s locked?

Chad: [00:05:53] Yes. They didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what it ultimately winds up being.

Yeardley: [00:05:57] If you’re a police officer, and you’ve been called to do a welfare check and you hear gurgling on the other side of the door, what are the ethics behind not going into that door?

Chad: [00:06:09] Their concern was that the bad guy was in there also. Safety wise, they knew they didn’t have enough resources with just the two of them. So, they asked for help from us and our guys got there quick, and they went in the other door.

Dave: [00:06:20] Basically, these officers don’t want to walk into an ambush.

Chad: [00:06:23] Right. Which is becoming more and more common these days. Ambushes, I mean.

Dave: [00:06:27] At the bottom of a stairwell.

Chad: [00:06:28] Right. And someone knows you’re there because you’ve rattled the door already.

Dan: [00:06:31] Their concern is also if those officers get shot and they’re injured or they’re killed, then whoever’s moaning and gurgling, they’re going to have to wait even longer to get help. So, I can understand in this situation, unless you’re in their shoes, standing in that space, trying to make that decision, it’s difficult. You can’t really do it. You don’t have all the information.

Chad: [00:06:51] No. They get out of the house, several deputies show up to help and they make a plan and there’s exterior door also that accesses that first-floor master bedroom area. It has its own exterior door. So they’d already cleared the upstairs part of the house, there’s no reason to go back up there. They had already made their presence known at that internal locked door. They didn’t want to go back and try and breach that on the fear that the suspect’s in there and he would be able to be waiting for them, laying in wait basically. So, they breached that outer door and went in. Like I said, it was a master bedroom. The bedroom portion consisted mostly of a box frame and a mattress on the floor, took up most of the room. It’s pretty small. And then, there was a bathroom.

[00:07:32] They find Kelly on the floor, kind of in the very short hallway space between the bedroom and the bathroom. She’s clearly been shot in the head. They get medics there right away. The bad guy’s not there, Jack’s not there. At that point, they didn’t really have anybody to talk to, well, other than Tim, to try and figure out who Jack is. They didn’t know who Jack was yet. The kids are little and they wind up taking the kids back to this little city’s police department and they get a hold of their grandmother who is Kelly’s mom, Cindy, so she comes out and gets the kiddos. And then, ambulance takes Kelly to the hospital. She was shot in the right eye, and the bullet– we ultimately determined it was a 9-millimeter but the bullet took out probably a quarter of her brain basically, the top of her head blew out, and it was splattered all over the walls, ceiling. And then, there was the accompanying pooling of blood and aspirated blood.

Dave: [00:08:24] Any gun on scene?

Chad: [00:08:26] There were some guns on scene but they were not that one. They were locked up in a lockbox. One of our patrol sergeants did a very brief interview with Helen. Helen says before she heard the shot, her mom, Kelly, and Jack were in an argument. Jack had kind of drug her down the stairs to the bedroom. and Helen said she followed them down. Helen says that Kelly told her, “Go back upstairs with your brothers,” so she did. And it was before she got to the top of the stairs, the door closed, she heard the shot. And then, she hid in the closet with her brothers until the first police officers knocked on the door.

Dave: [00:09:06] Terrifying.

Chad: [00:09:07] Yeah.

Dave: [00:09:07] And kudos to mom for being protective. I think she had an idea of what was about to happen to her.

Chad: [00:09:12] Yeah. The victim obviously wasn’t able to communicate at all. Paramedics get there, she’s in an ambulance, she’s gone. So, the only info we have is that little bit of info that they got from Helen and certainly trying to interview a young kid after she was exposed to this traumatic thing is not the best way to do a child interview but we have to do what we have to do. Then, they interview Tim, get a little bit more info. Ultimately, they’re able to figure out Jack’s name and get Jack’s phone number. So, we get the phone number and they figure out who the cell provider is and we get an emergency or exigency ping to figure out where the phone is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give quite the pinpoint location that TV would have you believe. But it does show that he’s in another one of our small cities in our county. In fact, it’s one that we provide contract law enforcement to through the sheriff’s office. Kind of gets a general area is the best they could do of the ping for this phone. That same patrol sergeant who talked with Helen got some information from Tim about a friend of Jack’s who lives down that area, and then did some police database searching, found an address that fell squarely- like in the middle of where that ping hit. So, we’re pretty confident that’s where he went.

[00:10:22] By that point, some detectives had been called out, the on-call homicide prosecutor had come out and gone up to the scene. Patrol races down to this other location where the cell phone ping was. Ultimately, they do some loud hailing because they don’t want to just go up and knock on the door where a guy just shot somebody because don’t want to get shot through the door. So, they do what we kind of call, surround and call out. They use the PA system, and they ultimately call him out. Jack comes out, there was a pickup truck parked in front of his house. In the back was a bunch of what we later learned was Jack’s stuff, but it had blood transfer on it that you could readily see just standing next to the bed of the truck. So they were confident they had the right guy.

Yeardley: [00:11:05] When they come upon Jack and loud hail him out of this dwelling, is that his house?

Chad: [00:11:11] No, it’s his friend’s house. We learned that he had called his friend to come pick him up.

Yeardley: [00:11:15] From Kelly’s?

Chad: [00:11:16] Yep. And the friend had no idea what had happened. He said nothing to him about it at all. They picked him up, he got in the truck, and they drove down to their house. Jack crashed out on their couch until the cops showed up. So, the friends were appropriately shocked.

Dave: [00:11:30] About what Jack had done prior to them showing up to pick him up.

Chad: [00:11:33] It leads to a whole gaggle of cops showing up on their front yard with lights pointed at their house and hollering names out there PA. And that was like 3:00 in the morning, so the neighbors are waking up. Nobody had any idea this is what had happened earlier that night. So, Jack comes out, he’s detained. Then, the friend who actually lives there comes out. He allows the deputies to go in. Jack tells him where his handgun is. It’s in the house next to the couch he was sleeping on. They recover the handgun, his cell phone, all that stuff. They take Jack to the sheriff’s office and back to the interview room.

[00:12:06] One of the patrol deputies that night, Detective Les, very good interviewer. He was the one who was called out when they called detectives out in the morning hours. He interviews Jack. It doesn’t take but just a few minutes of him talking to Jack, and Jack gives it up that he shot Kelly. They were in a struggle. Jack grabbed the gun. His first statement is like, “Next thing I know, the gun goes off.” It’s not so much the next thing he knows the gun just goes off. He shoots her. So, he admits that.

Dave: [00:12:34] Give me your read on Jack’s demeanor. How does he respond to authoritative figures in the interview room?

Chad: [00:12:42] Very like flat affect. Like he’s not crying, he’s not upset, he’s not agitated. He’s just very matter of fact and very flat affect. He came out of the house, gave up. He came out with his hands up and wasn’t a problem. It wasn’t a big fight or a chase.

Dave: [00:12:56] Did you get any remorse off of him?

Chad: [00:12:58] No, none.

Detective 1: [00:13:02] So, let’s back up to last night then. Can you tell me what happened last night?

Jack: [00:13:07] Honestly, there are only a few things that I remember.

Detective 1: [00:13:10] Okay, what was [crosstalk] you remember?

Jack: [00:13:11] I remember drinking.

Detective 1: [00:13:12] Mm-hmm. What were you drinking?

Jack: [00:13:15] Beer, whiskey. Don’t remember going home.

Detective 1: [00:13:19] Okay.

Jack: [00:13:21] I smelled gunpowder and seeing [victim name].

Detective 1: [00:13:24] What do you mean, seeing [victim names] after smelling gunpowder?

Jack: [00:13:27] [victim name]on the ground.

Detective 1: [00:13:29] Dead onthe ground?

Jack: [00:13:30] That’s what I remember.

Detective 1: [00:13:32] Okay. And where was she laying?

Jack: [00:13:35] In our bedroom.

Detective 1: [00:13:36] In your bedroom?

Jack: [00:13:37] Yeah.

Detective 1: [00:13:38] Okay.

Jack: [00:13:39] I don’t even remember holding it up. I remember the gun, the smell of gunpowder. I remember staring at [victim name] and thinking.

Detective 1: [00:13:48] Remember what the fuck you just did?

Jack: [00:13:50] Mm-hmm.

Detective 1: [00:13:52] What do you remember after that?

Jack: [00:13:54] I got all my shit and I left.

Yeardley: [00:13:55] I got all my shit and I left. He is so cold.

Chad: [00:14:12] I come into work that morning at 7:00, this has all been done already. Detective Les had already got this part of it done. So, we started working on it. And DA Steve brings another deputy attorney in, DA Katie, and she ultimately becomes the prosecutor for this case. Well, Jack agrees to do a video walkthrough, the video reenactment of the shooting.

Yeardley: [00:14:33] In Kelly’s house?

Chad: [00:14:34] Yeah, so we go out to the house, video recording it. Jack says, “We started arguing upstairs. We go downstairs where the master bedroom is where this all happened.” They’re arguing, physically fighting a little bit. He grabs a pistol and at one point, one of our partners suggests that DA Katie stand where Kelly had been. Jack reenacted with his finger pistol pointing it right at DA Katie’s eye and shooting her.

Dave: [00:14:59] How far away?

Chad: [00:15:00] They were in arm’s reach of each other. He had a hold of her.

Dave: [00:15:02] One pace away.

Chad: [00:15:03] Not even, half a step away.

Detective 1: [00:15:05] Can you show me where you’re standing when you shoot the weapon? Right here. Okay, that’s when you shot the–[crosstalk]

Jack: [00:15:12] That’s what I remember. The gun went off. That’s when I kind of came to it. I don’t even remember seeing her fall. It’s like I remember firing the pistol at her. But I didn’t think anything of it.

Chad: [00:15:28] So, that’s evidence now. It’s video-recorded evidence. And then, we go to work on creating a timeline of Jack’s events earlier that day. Ultimately, we find all kinds of video evidence of him at different bars in the afternoon prior to the shooting. He was very inebriated.

Dave: [00:15:43] Is Jack a regular at these places?

Chad: [00:15:44] Yeah, one of the bars was just around the corner from the duplex. All of them were short walking distance, but one of them was like just right on the corner. So, we’re all still running around working on leads and stuff. As we progress, we take Kelly’s three children to the child advocacy center, where they’re forensically interviewed. We learn that Jack had been pretty significantly physically abusing, beating her oldest son. At this point, early on, we still don’t know for sure if Kelly’s going to live. So, the assumption was Kelly wasn’t going to live because a lot of her head was not within her body anymore. But within the first couple of days, we realized that Kelly’s going to live.

Yeardley: [00:16:27] Kelly survived?

Chad: [00:16:28] Yeah, it’s going to be a different lifestyle, but she’s going to live. Unfortunately, the laws in our state, the most Jack could get for assault 1 for shooting Kelly, and then she lives, is 90 months, 9-0 months, without significant aggravating factors, which we didn’t really have in this case. He didn’t have a whole lot of criminal history at all. We learned he was pretty heavy alcoholic and drug user.

Dave: [00:16:54] Jack likes white dope?

Chad: [00:16:55] Yes, and weed. But really, I think alcohol was his main jam.

Detective 1: [00:17:00] So when you drink normally, do you get upset? Do you get hostile? Do you get aggressive or–?

Jack: [00:17:05] Oh, no.

Detective 1: [00:17:07] Are you more of a calm drunk?

Jack: [00:17:09] Sometimes. It really depends. I’m drinking beer, I’m fine. I’m drinking whiskey, then yeah, I can get hostile.

Detective 1: [00:17:17] Okay. And you were drinking whiskey yesterday, right?

Jack: [00:17:18] That is correct.

Detective 1: [00:17:19] Okay. And you don’t remember getting–

Jack: [00:17:22] One double shot of whiskey, that was it.

Detective 1: [00:17:25] So, can you tell me again how much you had to drink total?

Jack: [00:17:28] Like I said, maybe 10 beers.

Detective 1: [00:17:30] 10 beers. And only one double shot whiskey?

Jack: [00:17:32] One double shot whiskey and some mixed drinks. I don’t remember what the heck I drank.

Detective 1: [00:17:37] What kind of mixtures are you used to drink?

Jack: [00:17:39] Probably can’t name that.

Detective 1: [00:17:42] Adios Motherfucker, is that the tequila?

Jack: [00:17:46] There’s all sorts of stuff in there. I can’t remember all that liquor.

Detective 1: [00:17:50] Okay. How many of those you think had?

Jack: [00:17:52] Probably only one.

Detective 1: [00:17:53] Probably one. So, one double shot and one mixed drink and maybe 10 beers. Okay.

Jack: [00:18:00] It’s safe to say that I had at least 10 beers.

Chad: [00:18:03] We talked with Kelly and her mom, Cindy, at the hospital. Kelly doesn’t really remember much of the actual shooting incident.

Yeardley: [00:18:11] Will Kelly’s memory loss make it more difficult to convict Jack?

Chad: [00:18:15] It’s not a matter of if he gets convicted, he’s admitted to everything. He did a video reenactment. He’s going to be convicted, but the outcome is not super equitable in regard to the very diminished life Kelly’s going to have now.

Yeardley: [00:18:29] So, 90 months is about seven and a half years. And that seems like a really light sentence for such an intentional vicious crime.

Chad: [00:18:39] Right.

Yeardley: [00:18:40] What’s Kelly’s prognosis now that she’s awake in the hospital?

Chad: [00:18:43] She had a huge divot her head. Now, she doesn’t. They put a plate in there now.

Yeardley: [00:18:48] Did she lose all kinds of function, motor function and cognitive function?

Chad: [00:18:52] Yeah, her speech was affected. She could talk but her sentence structure, her vocabulary, her ability to communicate was diminished. She lost the eye that she was shot in, she lost that eye. And then, she also walked with a walker initially and then moved to a cane. She can’t raise her kids. She needs help caring for herself. So, she winds up moving in with mom, with Cindy. And Cindy takes care of her and the kids. Significant diminished lifestyle.

Yeardley: [00:19:22] How long had Kelly and Jack been going out before Jack shot Kelly through the eye?

Chad: [00:19:27] It was about a year, a year and a half. They’d lived together at that duplex for the better portion of that time.

Yeardley: [00:19:35] And we often hear that when a relationship ends up badly, it’s not uncommon for it to start this way where they meet and then literally days later, they’ve moved in together. Is that what happened in this case as well?

Greg: [00:19:48] I don’t recall if this one progressed that fast.

Dave: [00:19:50] We do see this dynamic where you have these relationships where the man jumps in, takes over as the father figure, not saying it’s a healthy father figure, but where you have the male counterpart moves in fairly quickly, assumes control over the house, the discipline of the kids. And then, the tyrant mode turns on, and Jack does whatever he wants in that house, to whomever he wants.

Greg: [00:20:18] And they tell themselves they’re doing that for the benefit of everybody else.

Dave: [00:20:22] But really, they’re just a raging asshole.

Greg: [00:20:24] Yeah.

Dan: [00:20:25] Did Jack react in any way when he found out Kelly was still alive?

Chad: [00:20:29] He didn’t learn she was alive, I think, until charging, because we didn’t know if she was going to make it and we kind of left it open ended. And then, even at the time, we were out doing the video walkthrough, that’s just the next morning.

Dave: [00:20:40] Kelly’s not out of the woods though.

Chad: [00:20:41] Right. We still thought she was going to die at that point. So, we were kind of not committing either way to that. And then, he gets arraigned and he gets a lawyer, so we can’t talk to him anymore. Jack finds out through his lawyer basically that Kelly survived and what her life is going to be like because he gets all of our reports through discovery.

Dave: [00:20:56] And you’re not privy to his reaction?

Chad: [00:20:58] No, I wasn’t there.

Dave: [00:21:00] Going back to the walkthrough, there’s no way in this world that Jack can say, “I didn’t mean to kill her”? He was meaning to kill her, correct?

Chad: [00:21:08] We can infer that but he never comes full circle and admits that, but he does say he shot her, he pulled the trigger, he shot her.

Dave: [00:21:15] Deliberately.

Chad: [00:21:16] Deliberately shot her. So obviously, Kelly and her mom, Cindy, are not real thrilled with what has seemed to be a fairly light sentence. It just didn’t seem equitable to any of us. DA Katie really didn’t think it was equitable. So, we added the child abuse charge. That only gave him a couple more years. And it still didn’t seem right. So, he’s in jail, there’s the whole like we’ve talked about, in other cases, the lawyering time. So, you got your bad guy in jail, we’ve done the background on Jack, we’ve done the background on their relationship. There was a fair amount of unreported domestic violence that family members knew about but Kelly had never reported to the police, which is super common, unfortunately. And unfortunately, it oftentimes results like this, because that just builds and builds and builds. And Kelly’s had time to heal and stuff and so she remembers some stuff that was never reported.

[00:22:09] Jack had been sexually assaulting her throughout their relationship also. So not only was he physically abusing her, he was forcing her to have sex with him whenever he wanted, whether she wanted to or not. It had kind of got to the point where she just didn’t resist anymore, and she would just go downstairs with him, and she can’t remember that afternoon, evening when the shooting happened. That’s probably how it started when they went downstairs together, which is another one of the times and maybe he wanted one last time with her before he moved out, and they ended their relationship because she was the one that chose to end the relationship, not him and he was not super pleased about it. There had been some other things that happened earlier in the day before the shooting that probably was fuel for the argument and ultimate fight and shooting. Jack had taken some of Kelly’s and her children’s property to a pawn shop just down the street and pawned stuff that very clearly belonged to her. Like I said, she doesn’t remember the content of the argument and the dispute this started but we went and recovered that stuff from the pawn shop. Most of it was her kids’ stuff that Jack’s selling because he needed a little bit of money.

Yeardley: [00:23:11] He was selling Kelly’s kids’ stuff?

Chad: [00:23:14] Yeah, there was some Xbox games and some other stuff. He needed a little bit of money because he didn’t have a place to live anymore because she kicked him out. So, Kelly was able to give us some pretty clear detail, testimonial evidence of these historical sex assaults.

Yeardley: [00:23:27] So, tell me if this is right. Jack has already been charged for the shooting. But because of the way the laws for attempted murder are written in your state, DA Katie is looking for a way to legally add weight to Jack’s 90-month sentence, right? And maybe the sexual assaults that Kelly discloses are the ticket?

Chad: [00:23:49] Yeah. That’s the way DA Katie found to get him 25 years.

Dave: [00:23:55] I love it.

Yeardley: [00:23:56] What kind of hoops did Katie have to jump through to make that happen?

Chad: [00:23:59] She basically contacts his attorney during negotiations like they do. We filed the sex assault charges, indicted him on them. Jack didn’t want to go to prison as a sex offender. He really didn’t. That was the main impasse the attorneys came to. So, they negotiated a deal that if he pleads to the assault 1 with enhancements and the criminal mistreatment for physically abusing the boy, they would dismiss the sex assault charges and he would take a 25-year sentence.

Yeardley: [00:24:27] So, they’d rather have him do the time in prison but in order to make that happen, they agree that Jack doesn’t have to register as a sex offender?

Chad: [00:24:35] Yeah.

Yeardley: [00:24:36] I imagine that’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

Chad: [00:24:40] Yeah, focus on the equity because the rest of Kelly’s life is not what it was supposed to be and it just didn’t seem right to any of us that 90 months, seven and a half years. And we see this a lot in shooting cases, but it’s the laws we have to work with. We don’t get to make the laws.

Dan: [00:24:54] Well, you look at some of these other states where they have attempted murder charges on people and the suspect gets convicted of attempted murder and they get sentenced to life in prison.

Chad: [00:25:04] Some places. Yeah.

Dan: [00:25:05] That doesn’t happen in our state. And like you said, I don’t always think that it’s equitable. I think there should be a different charge than the one that is used in these cases. I think attempted murder is the charge and it should carry–

Chad: [00:25:17] Something more than assault 1.

Dan: [00:25:19] Yeah. Nobody can tell me that he didn’t mean to kill her.

Chad: [00:25:22] Right. Just because Jack doesn’t admit it, but why else do you point your pistol at someone’s eye and pull the trigger?

Dan: [00:25:28] And then leave?

Chad: [00:25:29] Not even the courtesy effort to call an ambulance.

Dave: [00:25:30] Left her for dead.

Chad: [00:25:32] Yep. I have no doubt in my mind he thought she died that night, and she didn’t.

Dave: [00:25:36] And the friend that picks him up, I’m guessing Jack’s affect outside is, “Ho-hum, thanks for the ride.”

Chad: [00:25:42] Yeah. He said that when we interviewed him.

Yeardley: [00:25:42] When you interviewed the friend?

Chad: [00:25:45] Yeah. He’s like, “We didn’t know any of that. He had just called us for a ride.” That was the other thing, was that that ride had been prearranged. And Jack was going to do some work at his friend’s house. And then, Jack’s plan was to get out of state the next day.

Dave: [00:26:01] Oh.

Chad: [00:26:02] So it’s super fortuitous that we got his phone number, able to ping it, track it down and got cops down there right away because if we had been not persistent and not working all through the night and hours like we do, we would have missed him. He would have probably got out of state which we would get him eventually but it complicates things.

Dave: [00:26:21] And you’ve got all these kids worrying about where the monster is that hurt mommy. And that’s a big deal to just their security.

Chad: [00:26:29] Right.

Dave: [00:26:44] Knowing DA Katie, I’m picturing her in the walkthrough, the reenactment. I’m also picturing Katie during these negotiations with Jack’s defense attorney. Katie is not one to be fucked with. And we have another prosecutor in that hall, Joanne, who is also someone not to be messed with.

Chad: [00:27:03] Joanne scares me a little bit. [chuckles]

Dave: [00:27:05] Yeah, they’re pretty ferocious when it comes to prosecuting assholes. And I love working with them. When you mentioned that Katie was on this case, I was like, “Jackpot.” I know it’s going to get handled well.

Chad: [00:27:15] That was her first case that would have been assigned to major crimes. Now, she’s one of the members of the major crimes team for the DA’S office upstairs.

Dan: [00:27:22] Was there any talk with Katie about where someone is dragged away against their will of possibly making it a kidnapping charge?

Chad: [00:27:31] That often happens. That wasn’t really the case in this, Kelly went down with Jack because he told her to, because he wanted to have, we believe, one last fling with her before he moved out.

Dan: [00:27:42] And she’d rather just appease him.

Chad: [00:27:44] So, the kids didn’t see more violence or anything like that.

Detective 1: [00:27:48] So, when you were arguing with her when you shot her or after you shot her, the kids were never in here? Were the kids–

Jack: [00:27:54] Not that I remember, like I said.

Detective 1: [00:27:56] Were the kids outside this door here where they could see you arguing initially?

Jack: [00:28:01] Quite possibly.

Detective 1: [00:28:02] Okay. Which one do you think might have been out there?

Jack: [00:28:05] Both of them. They’re both pretty nosy. The baby would have followed them down.

Detective 1: [00:28:09] Okay. Did you ever see them out here?

Jack: [00:28:11] No.

Detective 1: [00:28:11] All right. Did you ever put hands on [victim name]?

Jack: [00:28:14] What do you mean?

Detective 1: [00:28:16] Did you grab her?

Jack: [00:28:16] No.

Detective 1: [00:28:17] Did you push her?

Jack: [00:28:18] No.

Detective 1: [00:28:18] You sure about that?

Jack: [00:28:20] I’m pretty darn sure, yes.

Detective 1: [00:28:21] Pretty darn sure isn’t sure. If you grabbed her, let me know right now. All right?

Jack: [00:28:25] I don’t remember grabbing her.

Detective 1: [00:28:27] You don’t remember grabbing her, are you sure about that?

Jack: [00:28:29] Yes. Because the adrenaline would kick in and I would remember something like that.

Detective 2: [00:28:34] So, when you have your hand out with a gun, you pull the trigger, what does she do?

Jack: [00:28:39] I don’t remember her falling or anything. It’s like I fired, I was there and then, poof, gone, like it never even happened. That’s how I treated it. That’s not right but that’s how probably it was.

Detective 2: [00:28:53] And you’re really sure?

Jack: [00:28:54] I believe.

Yeardley: [00:28:58] What’s Jack’s demeanor in court?

Chad: [00:29:00] In court when he did the change of plea and sentencing, flat affect, didn’t have anything to say when the judge asked him if he had anything to say, just took his sentence and off he went.

Dave: [00:29:08] Any victims’ impact statements?

Chad: [00:29:11] Kelly wasn’t able to communicate very effectively. So, Cindy, her mom gave her statement and read a statement for Kelly. That talked about just what a horrible person he is and how Jack’s forever changed all of their lives. The little kids that witnessed this. I mean they heard it, horrible thing for kiddos, and Kelly can’t hold a job anymore. It just completely upended this whole family.

Yeardley: [00:29:34] If Jack was known by Child Services to be wailing on Kelly’s oldest child, how come there aren’t parameters put in place like, “If this doesn’t stop, we’d take your kids from you,” or there’s no restraining order, not that restraining order necessarily prevents somebody from actually crossing the threshold of a home, but why those failures?

Chad: [00:30:00] No one knew about that until after the shooting.

Yeardley: [00:30:03] Oh, I thought they’d been called to the house several times about domestic violence on the kids.

Chad: [00:30:09] No, we didn’t learn about the kid thing until the kids were interviewed at the Advocacy Center following the shooting. And so that’s when that came to light right away we had that charge. Certainly, if there had been reports ahead of time, the youth services folks would have been involved in that.

Dave: [00:30:23] Safety planning, removing Jack from the household.

Chad: [00:30:26] Yeah, he can’t be around the kids and all that stuff.

Yeardley: [00:30:29] Got it.

Chad: [00:30:29] Like I said, we learned after the shooting and learned the background of these folks that there was substantial domestic violence and sexual domestic violence, but it had never been reported. Kelly had never really told anybody.

Yeardley: [00:30:40] And was there only sexual violence between Jack and Kelly, or was it between Jack and any of the children as well?

Chad: [00:30:48] Just physical violence with the oldest child, but the sex assaults stuff was only with Kelly.

Dan: [00:30:54] Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for these things to not be reported. Law enforcement were reactive. So, it kind of puts us behind the eight ball of intervening in these situations before it gets to this point where Jack’s pulling out a gun and shooting Kelly in the face.

Dave: [00:31:11] Nobody’s aware of what’s going on inside the house.

Chad: [00:31:13] Right. So, it was another good team effort. All of us put a lot of work into it. Detective Les has now retired, but he did a very good interview with him. He was a stellar interviewer.

Dave: [00:31:23] Has the powerful mustache.

Chad: [00:31:24] Yeah.

Dave: [00:31:25] Greg, you got one, does it work?

Greg: [00:31:27] Oh, works great.


Chad: [00:31:29] I had to shave mine off.

Dave: [00:31:31] Greg, what was your role during this investigation?

Greg: [00:31:33] Just in background, we’re taking reports, canvassing around. Again, there was a shots fired, we got to canvass the neighborhood see who might have seen or heard anything that would be useful while they’re putting the pieces together. They meaning Detective Chad and the others he was working with at that point. And then in the canvassing efforts, finding out what they’ve been seeing or hearing coming from that house. Because it’s been going on for a while, so maybe this is an instance where other neighbors nearby are hearing and maybe saying things, but they’re not calling the police. They’re saying, “Oh, they’re fighting again.”

Dave: [00:32:07] So, kiddo, the boy that was being abused by Jack is interviewed, I’m guessing by Nicole.

Chad: [00:32:14] Yeah.

Yeardley: [00:32:15] Ooh, Forensic Interviewer Nicole?

Dave: [00:32:16] Yeah. We’ve had Nicole on. She’s awesome. The interview, I’m guessing you got a solid disclosure from the son about the physical abuse. I’m guessing that they probably ventured into the environment in the house, the DV type stuff that was happening between Jack and Kelly. Kids are amazing sponges when it comes to both eyewitness and earwitness to fights and hearing loud bangs behind closed doors. They are great for corroborative info on investigations like this because they are the source of the history and the relationship.

Chad: [00:32:56] Yeah, so the two older kids, Helen and her older brother, were interviewed. The third child was too young to be interviewed. But Helen corroborated Jack physically abusing, beating on her brother. They both talked about the obvious domestic violence going on in the home, the way Jack treated everybody basically. And then, Helen also retold the story of following them down the stairs and Kelly telling her go upstairs and then hearing the gunshot. So, that was all captured in the secondary interview on video at the Advocacy Center.

Dave: [00:33:24] Jack, during his reenactment, does he corroborate Helen’s recollection of going down the stairs, Helen following them down the stairs or is Jack more focused on him and Kelly and getting her secure?

Chad: [00:33:38] Yeah, he left that out. He was tunnel vision, channel locked on him and Kelly’s interaction.

Dave: [00:33:42] Right. And so, that probably would have been one of the aggravating factors that this domestic violence is also occurring in the presence of juveniles.

Chad: [00:33:50] Yeah. DA Katie did a great job on leveraging those sex charges because as you guys know, nobody wants to go to prison with a sex jacket because things don’t work out very well for him.

Dave: [00:33:59] No, they don’t. But it’s impressive that Katie was resourceful enough to get up to 25 years in a lawful way.

Chad: [00:34:06] Yep.

Dave: [00:34:06] She’s a badger.

Yeardley: [00:34:07] Was there any pushback or disappointment from Kelly’s family that he was not going to have to registering as a sex offender after sexually abusing her?

Chad: [00:34:17] No, they weren’t concerned about that because he’s going to be in prison for 25 years.

Yeardley: [00:34:36] So, Chad, I first want to tell our listeners that you and Detective Greg work a jurisdiction that’s about the size of Connecticut, and there are four detectives in your department, which is mind boggling. I assume that means that when you have a case like Kelly’s, it’s all hands-on deck. Which brings me to the question I like to ask all our guests, what is it about this case that sticks with you?

Chad: [00:35:05] Part of it is that it was my first day back into investigations but over the years, have become very good friends with DA Katie. I know that she thinks very highly of this case. This is one of her, like gems. She’s very proud of the work that we all did on this case.

Dave: [00:35:19] And you mentioned that you’ve had some contact with Kelly and Cindy in the years since the conviction?

Chad: [00:35:24] Yeah, it was about a year ago, Cindy brought Kelly down to the sheriff’s office and I get a phone call from the front counter. “There’s somebody here to see you.” “Hmm.”

Dan: [00:35:32] It’s not always a good thing.

Chad: [00:35:33] That’s a double-edged knife sometimes. “Ah, I wasn’t expecting anybody,” but went out there and I recognized them right away and said hi to them. They just wanted to come by and say hi, and show me that they’re doing well. That was rewarding. The kiddos weren’t with them. It was just Cindy and Kelly. But the other thing when I think of this case I think of and I mentioned earlier is, early on before they were able to put a plate in her head. It was an impression in kind of the top side of her head about the size of a dessert plate, and it was probably two and a half three inches depressed in. So, that much of her brain was gone. And when I think of this case, I think of when I first went to see her in the hospital after she was out of ICU, that was the first thing I saw, and the next thing I recognized or observed was her eye was not there anymore. But that depression in her head, it just sticks with me. It’s amazing that she survived.

Dave: [00:36:21] I remember being in college, Dan and I went to junior college together. And we lived in a strip of four tiny two-bedroom, one-bath apartments. They’re all connected. We all share a common wall and the heating was horrible. But I remember one day being in the bathroom and the bathrooms shared a common wall with our neighbors, and I hear screaming through the plumbing, I can hear it through the sink. It’s clearly in the bathroom, because it’s so loud. I hear a woman screaming for help, and she’s saying, “Don’t hurt me.” And then I hear, doom, sounds like somebody got slammed against the bathtub. So, we call the police. And I remember feeling guilt about calling 911 because I was like, “I’m interfering with their life.” And later on you go, “No.”

Chad: [00:37:11] Maybe saved her life.

Dave: [00:37:13] Right. And so, the police are so used to responding to welfare checks and disputes that our listeners, if you have any concerns, call the police.

Chad: [00:37:24] Yeah.

Dave: [00:37:25] That’s what we get paid for.

Chad: [00:37:26] We can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on.

Dave: [00:37:28] Right. So, a lot of people don’t want to get involved. There’s children involved here, there was children involved in the case where I was in college. The bigger picture is, let’s get an intervention.

Dan: [00:37:38] And the police aren’t diming 911 callers out either. Going into these DV calls. The male most of the time is the aggressor, but males will say, “Who called you?” We got good poker faces, and we don’t give it up. And say, “Hey, do you realize how loud you were? We could hear you from the street.”

Dave: [00:37:56] So, we’re pretty good at disguising who made the actual call.

Chad: [00:38:00] Yeah. At some point though, if there’s an arrest made, they’re going to find out through their attorney who the caller was, but that’s a whole different issue.

Yeardley: [00:38:06] Why is that?

Chad: [00:38:07] Because they have the right to discovery. When they’re charged with a crime, the defense gets copies of all the evidence, reports, statements taken.

Yeardley: [00:38:17] Like every interaction.

Chad: [00:38:18] Yeah. So, at some point, they do find out, just no way around that.

Yeardley: [00:38:21] Do you all find that there’s a common denominator or pattern of behavior that makes a domestic violence call escalate from arguing to the point where someone is gravely injured, like Kelly was, or worse, even where the victim ends up being murdered, what does the postmortem in a case like Kelly’s tell you about trends in these domestic violence cases?

Chad: [00:38:46] Certainly, the longer it is allowed to happen and/or the more frequent violence events are, it’s more likely to ramp up I think, and then alcohol and controlled substances play a huge part in that.

Dave: [00:38:57] Right. I remember even working the child abuse caseload, those forensic interviews are a goldmine for this type of information because you get a sense of the escalation, how it started out, like a pushing or shoving match or just yelling to strangulation, to now, “I’m controlling every aspect of your life, your finances. You get to leave when I say you get to leave. We only have one car and you don’t get to drive it.” There’s a tie between domestic violence and abuse of domestic pets. That was always a huge thing for me, is if a child would say something like, “Oh, yeah, he used to throw our little dog off the wall.” Gives you a little bit of insight into where the suspect is coming from and how comfortable they are with violence. So, there’s ways of ferreting that out, but it has to be on our radar. It has to be part of our attention.

Dan: [00:39:52] Yeah, and I think if you’re the victim of domestic violence, you need to recognize some monumental events. When it progresses from yelling to something physical like that first shove, that first punch, the slap, that is a monumental event. And in our experience, it gets more violent, it doesn’t go the other way.

Greg: [00:40:12] It’s true. There may be even a period right at the get-go after that first slapped or that first push, where there’s profuse apologizing and buying gifts and, “I’m sorry that’ll never happen again,” until it happens again.

Dave: [00:40:26] It’s the classic cycle. It’s complicated for women and their children. It’s tough to get out of those situations. We’re not trying to minimize how easy it is to walk away. We understand it’s complicated.

Greg: [00:40:40] Very dynamic.

Dave: [00:40:41] We just want people to recognize these big warning signs.

Chad: [00:40:45] Well, it’s like in this case, when we were talking with Kelly’s family members and friends’ circle, different ones had little pieces. They were all aware of different things. I don’t think any one of them knew the whole story. But they all had little domestic violence pieces that they’d either witnessed or that Kelly had told them about, and nobody reported it.

Yeardley: [00:41:02] Sadly, that seems to be quite common.

Chad: [00:41:06] The calls that patrol deputies got to that involve not theft and not property stuff, but disputes or welfare checks, a huge percentage of them have that domestic violence component to him. And as cops, we have very clear benchmarks that are the statutes, that are the elements of a crime. If you don’t cover the elements of the crime, you can’t make an arrest. Whichever person in the relationship is the victim, we can give them resources and places to contact but we can’t make anything happen. It’s only when a crime occurs that we can force anything. We forcibly take someone to jail and start the criminal justice system that gets the youth services people involved if there’s kids in the home and that gets all the other components. But we first have to hit those thresholds of the elements of the crime or we can’t put that stuff in play. So, it’s a very complicated thing.

Yeardley: [00:41:54] Right. It is remarkable that you all were able to save Kelly’s life. Of course, though, I mean, we wish that her life hadn’t been so incredibly, brutally altered. But at least she’s alive. She has a good mom who is willing to take care of her. And Kelly could still be a mom to her own kids. So, you know, little miracles.

Dave: [00:42:18] We didn’t think she was– I mean, how could she? How could someone survive that? But we’ve seen it more than once now.

Yeardley: [00:42:24] Thank you both so much for joining us again.

Chad: [00:42:27] Thank you.

Dave: [00:42:28] Thanks, guys.

[Small Town Dicks theme playing]

Yeardley: [00:42:36] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. And our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.

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