Detective BK is called to a grisly murder scene at a local motel. The fact that the victim, himself, has a criminal past has no bearing on how hard detectives work the case, their job is to see that justice is served. As BK drills down on a possible suspect, the search becomes a manhunt across multiple states, and the detectives are reminded that you can never have enough evidence.
The Detective: Detective Sergeant BK has worked in law enforcement since 1998. Over the course of his career he worked patrol. He spent seven years as a detective working Major Crimes: murders, rapes, drug crimes, and felony thefts. Three years ago he was promoted to sergeant and is currently the Detective Sergeant at his police agency. BK lives in the city he works in. His wife is a school teacher and they have four children who are currently attending college.Read Transcript
BK: [00:00:03] It sends me into a rage. So, I go out of the room. He said, “I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’m looking for something.” And he said, “I pick up, what I think is a piece of rebar, and I go back in the room, and I hit him.”
Yeardley: [00:00:18] Hi, I’m Yeardley. This is Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:00:22] Hey, there.
Yeardley: [00:00:22] And his identical twin brother, Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:00:25] Hello.
Yeardley: [00:00:26] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dave: [00:00:30] You will hear detectives from Small Towns around the world discuss their most memorable cases.
Dan: [00:00:34] We cover the intimate details of what went wrong and what went right.
Yeardley: [00:00:38] As these dedicated men and women search for justice and crack the case.
Dan: [00:00:42] Names and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dave: [00:00:48] So, please join us in maintaining their anonymity out of respect for what they’ve been through.
Unison: [00:00:53] Thank you.[music]
Yeardley: [00:01:00] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:07] Good day.
Yeardley: [00:01:08] Good day, sir. And we have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:11] Hello, Team.
Yeardley: [00:01:12] Hello, you. It’s so good to see you both.
Dave: [00:01:15] Ditto.
Yeardley: [00:01:16] [chuckles] Dan stunned into silence. And [chuckles] we are thrilled to welcome one of our new favorite guests back to the podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Detective BK.
BK: [00:01:32] Thanks for having me back.
Yeardley: [00:01:33] Thank you for coming back. Thank you for giving up another day off. We can’t say enough about how generous that is. BK, you have a really interesting case for us today. Tell us how this case came to you.
BK: [00:01:47] I’m a new detective. I’ve been a detective for a whole month when this call came in. I had a partner, I was assigned a Senior Detective as a partner. On October 29th, I’m sitting on my desk, it’s a little after 11:00 in the morning, and my partner comes and says, “Hey, we got to go, we have a suspicious death call.” We hadn’t had a murder in our town in seven years.
Yeardley: [00:02:12] Oh my!
BK: [00:02:13] Yeah, it was unusual. They actually needed a detective to come out and check this out. We hop in the car and we’re driving over to these cheap motels, cheapest motel in our town. It consists of about 15 rooms right off the freeway. I said, “What suspicious about this call?” He said, “This a 911 call. Hotel manager said there’s a man bleeding from his face.”
We get there. There’s paramedics there and there’re two pretty new officers less than three years on. I don’t think they had ever seen anything like this, but when we get there, the first officer starts to brief us and says, “Yeah, when we showed up, the paramedics are coming out of the room. And they tell us that this guy’s dead.” One of the officer says, “Are you sure?” And they’re like, “We’re pretty sure. Do you think we should have taken a pulse?” And they’re like, “Yeah, you should have taken a pulse.”
Yeardley: [00:03:10] This is one of the patrol officers?
BK: [00:03:12] Patrol officer telling a paramedic how to do their job. These two paramedics turn around and walk back into the room to take the pulse of this guy. And then the officers are right behind him. And they’re like, “Oh, my God. Get out of there.” The room is covered in blood. And the guy is laying in most of his blood. They’re describing this to me. So, I go to the room. And this is like a motel style. So, they all open to the outside, all the rooms open to the outside, not into a hallway.
[00:03:43] And they’re really tiny rooms. They’re like 10 by 16 or 12 by 16. They’re small rooms, the TV is attached to the wall on a mount up in the corner of the room. And then there’s a small bathroom off the room. There’s a table and a chair in there and a nightstand and that pretty much fills the room except for the queen bed in there. And I walk in and there is blood spatter on every surface in this room. It’s all over the ceiling. It’s all over the walls. Every wall’s covered in blood spatter. I’m standing as a dark rug, so I’m assuming I’m standing in blood spatter. And I look in the bathroom and there’s blood spatter on the walls and on the floor.
[00:04:28] And then there’s our victim. Our victim’s name is Darryl. He’s a 68-year-old homeless man. He’s a registered sex offender and that does come into play. That’s why I’ve mentioned it. It’s October 29th. Like I said, the TV is on, but muted and it’s playing Halloween themed show, whatever it was. Once I’m in the room, I retch a little bit because of the iron smell. When you have that much blood, there’s a distinct iron smell.
[00:04:55] So, my partner and I do a quick inventory of the room like what’s here, what shouldn’t be here, and what’s missing. And one of the things we noticed was there’s no keycard in the room, unless it’s in Darryl’s pants. We didn’t check Darryl’s pants, but we looked through everywhere. And then later the crime scene, forensic people would show up, and they would go through his pants and they would find his wallet. But the keycard was missing from the room.
[00:05:23] The door was locked. We know the door was locked, and the windows open, but the screen is intact. We figure whoever did this to Darryl probably knew Darryl or was at least in the room with Darryl’s consent. I walked over and talked to the manager. His name is Patel, he’s from India.
Dave: [00:05:42] Is he one of the witnesses?
BK: [00:05:44] Only in that he calls 911. We talked to Patel, and Patel says on October 27th, Darryl checks in at the hotel, he gives an ID, they take a photocopy of his ID, which is common. And he looks like the dead guy in the room.
Yeardley: [00:06:01] How does Darryl have money to get a room for two nights if he’s a transient?
BK: [00:06:07] Another transient gives him the money, which we learned later. Darryl rented the room on the 27th for two nights. It’s unseasonally cold in our town. Darryl tells Patel that he just wants to get out of cold. He’s got enough money for two days, and he’s going to stay for two days, and then he’s dead on the 29th. That’s all we know at that point.
Dave: [00:06:28] The 29th would be his expected departure date. I’m guessing he missed the checkout time. An employee goes to clean the room and encounters this scene.
BK: [00:06:40] Right. So, this is a common hotel for homeless people. So, they’re not unused to it. So, yes, he misses his checkout time, which is 11 o’clock. Patel goes to the room, opens the door, sees Darryl, covered in blood. And he calls 911 says, “A man bleeding from the face.” Maybe that’s a translation because English is Patel’s second language, but it’s downplayed, but it’s crazy to me how often, like, when you have such a serious thing, as this guy is literally missing part of his head, he is laying in a puddle of blood. Blood is everywhere. And we get a report of a man bleeding from the face, where you have two people arguing or speaking loudly and it gets blown out of proportion. And you go lights and sirens to that. That’s serious stuff seems to get downplayed on 911. And the simple stuff seems to be up played on 911.
[00:07:35] Anyway, so there’s a pizza box in the room. So immediately we send a detective over to the pizza restaurant, where the pizza was from. We find out that a man with a raspy voice ordered the pizza.
Yeardley: [00:07:51] So, the pizza was ordered over the phone.
BK: [00:07:53] Correct. And that a young man answered the door at the hotel when the pizza was delivered. He was larger build with long brown curly hair.
Yeardley: [00:08:05] So definitely not Darryl.
BK: [00:08:07] Not Darryl. So, in our town, we have a homeless resource center that all the homeless and transient people can go to, and allows them to take a shower, they can use that as their mailing address, they can use a computer there, they can apply for jobs. Anything that they would have, if they had a home, they can get there. And it’s just a daytime drop-in place. You can hang out there only to use the computer and you get time allotted to you, you take shower, but once you’ve done all that, you have to leave, and you have to check in there. So, we send a detective over there.
[00:08:41] And that detective finds that Darryl goes there almost every day. And the person that works there is his love interest. And her name is Suzanne. So, this detective starts talking to Suzanne about Darryl’s dead, not knowing that they are in a relationship. And obviously she’s very upset. We find out that she spoke to Darryl the night before on the 28th. She spoke to him on the phone. She called him at the hotel because she knew he was staying at the hotel and they talked until about 9:30 at night. They had plans to meet up the next day. So, we also find out that Daryll hangs out with a guy named Rich.
[00:09:25] Rich is a person that Darryl doesn’t always hang out with, but it’s not unusual to see them together. The last time that they had stopped by the resource center they were together.
Yeardley: [00:09:36] Is Rich homeless also?
BK: [00:09:38] Rich is a 24-year-old homeless person, he has a drinking problem. And that leads to him being unemployed. He has a very supportive family living in another state, which he talks to frequently. Neither one of these people have a cell phone either. Otherwise, we would be able to track the movement of their cell phones, but we don’t have that. So, now we have the name Rich and we know that they’ve hung out together and that they were seen by Suzanne together on the 27th, when Darryl rented the room, and she tells us that they rented the room together. Darryl had the ID and Rich had the money, but Rich couldn’t get the room because he didn’t have an ID. So, he asked Darryl to rent the room for him. And he allowed Darryl to stay there the second night. Rich stayed there by himself the first night, but he allowed Darryl to stay there with him the second night, and Suzanne tells us that.
[00:10:34] We’re still at the scene processing the scene. We were at that scene. We got there a little after 11:00 in the morning, and we didn’t leave there until about 3:00 in the morning. The crime scene people told us that blood spatter in that room, there’s so much of it, they could teach a class on the different types of blood spatter that are in that room. There’s cast off, which is where somebody is striking a person with a blunt instrument. And this death was a blunt force trauma. Darryl was hit in the head with what the crime scene people think is something like a crowbar, they think it’s a crowbar or something similar. They think it has a hook on the end of it. And Darryl’s laying on his side, he’s got the blankets pulled up to his armpit. One arm is over the blankets and folded up by his face. His other hand is underneath his head. It looks like he’s sleeping, except for he is missing a large portion of the side of his head and he’s laying in a puddle of blood.
[00:11:35] We pulled back the blankets and he’s naked underneath the blankets. His clothes are put on the chair. So, it looks like he was maybe attacked while he was asleep. There’re portions of his skull and brain on the wall. Cast off is where you’re swinging the weapon and blood’s on it, and it’s being thrown back. There’s blood dripping, where it’s dripping from the thing that’s being used to hit with. And they end up luminoling the room. And there’s actually a blood shadow where this guy was standing as he attacked Darryl. So, we called it a blood shadow, because there’s blood spatter everywhere. And it’s pretty consistent as it goes through the room. The blood shadow is where the person was standing. So, the blood that would be traveling through the air in that direction is actually landing on the person who’s attacking Darryl, there’s no blood behind that person. So, it’s a blood shadow, as a negative space of where there’s no blood. We know where the suspect was standing while he was attacking Darryl, but we don’t know what he was attacking him with.
[00:12:41] We do a grid search of that entire area. And this is interstate interchange area. So, there is three gas stations, there are two nice hotels near this cheap hotel. And one of the gas stations has a minute market store in it. So, there’s a receipt from that convenience store as well in the room. We go over and we talked to the clerk and say, “Hey, this guy has a receipt in his room, do you remember him coming in?” And the clerk remembered Darryl and Rich coming in, and she knew them because they frequent the store. She didn’t know them by name, but she knew who they were. And she said, they actually talked about how they had a room at the hotel, and that they were going back to the hotel. And she said that Darryl left first and she saw him walking towards the hotel and then Rich left and saw him walking towards the hotel. And this was the night before.
Dave: [00:13:38] They have video?
BK: [00:13:39] They have cameras. But guess what?
Dave: [00:13:42] They don’t record.
BK: [00:13:43] They weren’t even working at the time.
Dave: [00:13:45] A convenience store off a major freeway.
BK: [00:13:48] No working video.
Dan: [00:13:49] That’s a bad move.
Dave: [00:13:50] Right sitting ducks for armed robberies and all kinds of stuff. I had a question about the pizza. Was the pizza paid for with cash or credit card cash? That’s not helpful either.
BK: [00:14:02] We do a photo lineup, and a photo lineup is we get six pictures of people that look similar to each other, but not too similar, so that you can tell them apart. And we show them to witnesses and victims to potentially identify suspects. We show a photo lineup to the pizza delivery guy. He picks out Rich, 100% positive, that’s Rich, who bought the pizza. We show a photo lineup to the clerk at the convenience store and she picks out Rich as the person that’s with Darryl.
Yeardley: [00:14:33] Have you encountered Rich before as police officers? Is that why you have a photo of him that you could put in a lineup?
BK: [00:14:40] Yes, he’s been arrested many times, but for small stuff. The biggest thing he ever did, he stole a car, and that was a crime of convenience more than anything. It’s all small stuff. Nothing violent, like property crimes, like theft and shoplifting. And sometimes he got in little arguments with people when he was intoxicated, which would cause the police to be called. Darryl was also known to the police and my partner actually knew him well, because my partner is the sex crimes detective for department. Darryl being a registered sex offender, my partner knew Darryl and had talked to him in the past. We also show a photo lineup to Suzanne, even though she knows these people personally, we still show a photo lineup, and she picks out Rich, as well, says, “That’s the person was with Darryl.” So, we have a pretty good idea that Rich was in the hotel room with Darryl.
Yeardley: [00:15:43] Does anybody like the clerk, I guess it would just be the clerk at the convenience store who saw Rich and Darryl together. Does she sort of think “Oh, they seemed like a couple,” or they just seemed like pals? Is there any indication of that?
BK: [00:15:59] Yeah, they just seemed like buddies. While we’re at the crime scene, the news has shown up, and they’re broadcasting live that we’re out there, we have this homicide. They’re all twitterpated and excited that we have this homicide because we haven’t had one in so long. They actually have news to report. We have a man show up saying he’s friends with Rich, his name is William. William tells us that he was drinking and partying with Rich the night before, the 28th, and they hooked up around 1 o’clock in the afternoon at the liquor store. They just happened upon each other at the liquor store and started chatting, and Williams like, “Hey, I’m just going to hang out in my trailer.” He lives in a trailer behind one of these dilapidated gas stations that we have at that end of town. “Do you want to come over and hang out?” Rich says, “Sure.” Rich goes over and hangs out with William and they end up going to one of our local dive bars.
[00:16:58] The bartender actually remembers Rich because he was bumming money to try and buy a pitcher of beer. Of course, we show her a photo lineup. The bartender picks out Rich as the person hanging out with William. William is concerned that the person that’s dead in the room, because only thing of being reported is a homeless person. He’s concerned that Rich is the dead person. He doesn’t know that Darryl is the dead person. He knows Darryl but not as well as Rich. William has a broken down fifth wheelout in the middle of a field that he lets Rich stay in. Rich can stay in there anytime he wants. William doesn’t know when Rich comes and goes. He just allows him to stay there.
[00:17:38] William shows us where this fifth wheel is. So, we go out there and we search for Rich and Rich is nowhere to be found. So, we assigned somebody to start looking into who does Rich know in the area. Where’s he from? And where are we going to find Rich. I should also mention that the bedspread from the bed is also missing from the motel room. When we do our grid search, we’re looking for a murder weapon, basically a piece of metal that has blood on it, and we’re looking for this bedspread, and we’re looking for bloody clothes. We do a grid search. We search every dumpster on that end of town. We do a grid search all the way to the fifth wheel, from the murder scene to the fifth wheel looking for that stuff. We don’t find anything. Where’s Rich? We get a temporary felony warrant for his arrest, charging murder.
Yeardley: [00:18:35] How and why is it a temporary arrest warrant? Why isn’t it just an arrest warrant?
BK: [00:18:41] A judge can order that temporary arrest warrant, but a grand jury has to indict for the permanent one, is for emergency things like this. It was issued on a Sunday.
Yeardley: [00:18:53] So they don’t get away.
BK: [00:18:55] So, they don’t get away. Yeah, so you have something to grab ahold of them. So, you can say to anybody in the United States, “If you see this guy, grab him.” You can’t just go on our probable cause.
Yeardley: [00:19:05] Got it.
BK: [00:19:07] We find out that Rich’s mother used to live in a town about an hour and 15 minutes from our town. We send detectives to that address and find out she no longer lives there and she lives in another state, and his father lives in another state as well. They’re divorced. Father is remarried. So, we talked to his dad. And dad says, “Yeah, I talked to Rich on the 29th, the morning of the 29th, he called me from a payphone asking me to wire him some money because he got in a fight and he hurt a guy and he doesn’t know how bad he hurt him, but he thinks he hurt him pretty bad.” “Dad says, “Yeah, I’ll wire you some money.” So, dad tells us that he wired Rich $180. And he does not know where Rich is. I said, “Okay. Will you call us if he contacts you and tell him to be in contact with our police department?” Dad says, “Yeah, I will do that.”
Dave: [00:20:02] Does he ask, “Why are you looking for my son?”
BK: [00:20:05] We don’t tell him that Darryl is dead. But we tell him, “Yeah, it’s over this fight.”
Dave: [00:20:08] Where did dad wire this money? Was it your town or some other town?
BK: [00:20:12] He wired it to the town next to ours. That was about 15 miles away.
Dave: [00:20:17] And this is the morning of Darryl being discovered, is this phone call to dad?
BK: [00:20:24] Yes. It’s around 10:30 in the morning. So, it’s before we even know Darryl’s dead.
Dave: [00:20:28] What was Rich’s demeanor on the phone with his father?
BK: [00:20:31] I think he shook up. Dad did say he was scared, because he thinks he hurt the guy pretty bad. He didn’t think he killed him though. He didn’t say that.
Yeardley: [00:20:40] It’s curious to me that dad doesn’t go, “Son, you need to call the police. I’m not wiring you any money. Where are you? I will come get you.” Or, “Stay put,” or something not, “Sure, here’s some money to get away.”
BK: [00:20:54] You’d think, but it continues. The wiring of money continues.
Dave: [00:20:58] And no call to the police?
BK: [00:20:59] No call to the police. Dad wires him money. So now it’s November 1st, dad wires him money again, and now he’s in the same state as dad, but not near dad, he’s probably still another six hours from where dad lives. But he’s in the same state as dad now. And mom lives in that state as well. Mom says, “I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know where he’s at. Why are you looking for him?” We say, “He hurt this guy. He assaulted someone and we need to talk to him.” Mom doesn’t cooperate at all. Mom lies to us the entire time. She wants to protect her boy, but because we know that this is how they get money to him. We contact Western Union and we talk to their security people. We need to know if any of these three people wire money or receive money. And we give them mom’s name and dad’s name and Rich’s name.
[00:21:52] The next day, I get a call from Western Union. And they say the mom has just wired money and it’s to be picked up in yet another state by Rich. So, one of the things that’s happening is Rich doesn’t have ID, and Western Union requires ID to pick money up. Unless you use a code word. You can ask a code question and ask to be answered correctly. And that bypasses the need for an ID. So, that’s what they’re doing.
[00:22:25] Mom wires this money. Western Union calls me, and my partner contacts the police department in the jurisdiction where this money is being wired and says, “We have a murder suspect that is going to pick up money Western Union in your city, and we need your help in locating him.” Same day, murder arrest warrant comes out. No longer a temporary warrant. Rich gets indicted through grand jury and we get our warrant.
Dave: [00:22:57] So that’s like a rush subpoena for the grand jury indictment.
BK: [00:23:00] Yeah, it happens right away. I don’t know how this PD does. It is a big city, and hundreds of thousands of people there, I believe.
Dan: [00:23:08] And the other thing you’re dealing with here is, there’s not just one branch of Western Union in this city. There’re tons of them. They’re everywhere.
BK: [00:23:15] They’re everywhere.
Dan: [00:23:16] You can go to, like Walmart has Western Union terminals where you can get money.
BK: [00:23:21] Most grocery stores have them.
Dan: [00:23:23] Yeah, it’s a needle in a stack of needles.
Yeardley: [00:23:25] So, you can go to any Western Union in that city, give the code word and get your money. They don’t say, “Oh, you have to go to store number 582 to get your dough?”
BK: [00:23:35] So, what we learn is that they can pick it up anywhere in the state in which you send it to, so Rich didn’t even have to pick it up in that city, but that’s where mom designated it. She designated it to a specific city. So, I don’t know how this police department functions and how they did it. I don’t know how many Western Union terminals they surveilled. But about 40 minutes later, this police department arrest Rich after he picks up the money at a grocery store. And I’m assuming that there’s probably something that was near a bus station or something like that. We later learn that Rich does take the bus. He takes the city bus from our town, to the town 15 miles away and gets on a Greyhound bus in that town, goes to the other town where he spent two or three days, and then he goes to yet another state in town where he’s arrested. And he’s arrested four days after the murder.
Yeardley: [00:24:45] Okay, so Rich has used money that his parents wired to him, to take a bus from your state to this other state that’s quite far away. And it’s there that the police pick Rich up while he’s collecting more money that his parents just wired to him?
BK: [00:25:03] Yes. So, they take him into custody, they notify us he’s in custody. Rich no longer has curly brown hair, he has shaved his head. And he’s taken to the police department there and he’s put in holding. We send two experienced veteran detectives to interview Rich.
Dave: [00:25:21] Did they drive or fly?
BK: [00:25:24] They flew. And they go down to interview him. After the interview, they call us and they’re very excited because Rich has confessed to the murder. So, we’re like, “All right, that’s awesome.” Rich waves extradition and they drive him back and now he’s in our jail. Then we meet with the DA and we haven’t seen the interview yet. We meet with the DA to watch the interview. My partner and I, the two detectives that did the interview, and the DA and the deputy DA who’s going to prosecute the case.
Yeardley: [00:25:58] You’re all in the same room watching this interview together?
BK: [00:26:01] Yes, it’s in an interrogation room at that large police department. And it’s a standard interview room, nothing on the walls, one table, three chairs. It’s what you would expect. And it’s recorded by the room’s recording system. They start out and they do the, “let’s get acquainted” introduction. I’d say they spend about 10 minutes just talking to Rich rapport building. They haven’t Mirandized him yet. Once they’ve established, they all like each other. And I’ll tell you, Rich’s very casual. He doesn’t seem nervous at all. He seems very comfortable with these two detectives. And he says he’s willing to talk about whatever they want to talk about. So, they read him Miranda and they start talking to him about Darryl. “How do you know, Darryl?” “He’s somebody I met in lockup.” “Do you hang out with Darryl?” “Not really.”
[00:26:57] He’s distancing himself from Darryl and all his acquaintance with Darryl. “When’s the last time you saw Darryl?” “I’m not sure.” Rich talks about how he hadn’t seen Darryl for about a week prior to leaving and he left about a week ago.
Dave: [00:27:13] All provable lies.
BK: [00:27:14] Yes. So, Rich’s doing a really good job of making it very confusing dates and times. They start talking about Halloween. “Where were you on Halloween?” He says, “I was in this other state on Halloween. And I was there for two days.”
Dave: [00:27:33] Does Rich confirm that it’s the other state where this money was wired to?
BK: [00:27:36] Yes and he confirms that he received $180 from his father.
Dave: [00:27:40] Good corroboration.
BK: [00:27:41] Yeah. Rich says that he took the Greyhound bus to another state. Rich is really fuzzy on the day when he left. He ended up leaving the day the murder was discovered. Rich says, “I got up in the morning and I went to the bus station. My dad wired me the money. And then I went to the bus station and I left, and went to this other state.”
Yeardley: [00:28:00] And that’s the morning of the murder?
BK: [00:28:01] That’s the morning of the murder. They asked him where he slept. He said, “I slept in the city park.” “Do you ever stay in a hotel?” He’s like, “I never stay in a hotel. I like sleeping outside. I always sleep in the city park.” Rich said, “A lot of people do and there’s other people that were there who will tell you I was there.” And they ask him about William’s fifth wheel. “Will you ever stay in William’s fifth wheel?” “Sometimes I do stay in William’s fifth wheel.” “Did you stay in William’s fifth wheel that night before you left?” He said, “No. I stayed in the city park. I slept in the city park. I did not go to that fifth wheel.” “What were you doing the day before you left?” “Actually, I was drinking with William. We were out partying and drinking. We were drinking pretty hard. And that’s what I did the day before.” “Were you hanging out with Darryl?” “No, I was not hanging out with Darryl.” And they go back to, “When’s the last time you saw Darryl?” “I’m not sure probably about a week before I left.”
[00:28:55] And they say, “Well, Darryl, rented this hotel room. Were you ever in the hotel room with Darryl?” “No, I didn’t know he had a hotel room. I’m never in that room.” A crucial piece of evidence, which was part of getting the warrant for Rich as the rest was, the crime scene team recovered a fingerprint that was in blood on the inside handle of the hotel room. Quick analysis of that fingerprint, it ended up being Rich’s right pinky finger. That puts him in the room.
Dan: [00:29:28] That’s the holy grail of evidence.
BK: [00:29:30] Yes. You can’t argue it.
Dave: [00:29:31] Right. It’s not under the blood. It’s in the blood.
BK: [00:29:34] Yes. We have that. When Rich says, “I was never at the hotel. I was never in that room.” We know that’s a lie. And the guys we have interviewing him. “No, that’s a lie.” So, they eventually get to, “Hey, we have your fingerprint inside the room.” He does the involuntary affirmative nodding of the head. He’s agreeing with them. When I interview people, I watch for that. When I’m saying things to someone, sometimes we want to present the facts to the people that you’re interrogating. When I say interrogation, interrogation is not yelling at somebody.
Dave: [00:30:09] Dark room with one light in the middle.
BK: [00:30:11] No. Interrogation is an interview where you’re trying to gain their trust, so they will trust you to tell you something that they don’t want to tell you. You can’t be confrontational, it’s usually not. So, they present Rich with the fact that his fingerprint is inside the room where Darryl is found dead. And he’s doing the involuntary affirmative nodding of the head. And then they tell Rich that his fingerprint is in Darryl’s blood. And they said, “We need you to tell us the truth. You’ve been lying to us. You need to tell us the truth. We know you were with Darryl. We know that you received a pizza. We have the pizza guy who has already identified you as being in the room.” The whole time that detectives are saying this, Rich’s nodding his head, agreeing with them.
[00:31:00] His response is, “Are you trying to pin this on me?” “We know that you were in the room, we just want you to tell us truth.” “Feels like you’re trying to pin this on me. I feel like I need an attorney now.” And the detectives immediately changed gears. They’re like, “We’re going to stop the interview and we’re not going to ask you any more questions. But we want to confirm you’re asking for an attorney no longer want to talk to us.” “That’s correct. I want an attorney.” One detective reaches back for the doorknob and the door is locked. Now they’re waiting for somebody from that police department to come unlock the door to let them out. In the meantime, they continue to talk to Rich.
Dave: [00:31:39] After a clear invocation.
BK: [00:31:41] They’re not asking any more questions, but it is still a violation of his right. He’s invoked his right to an attorney, and they’re continuing to talk to him.
Yeardley: [00:31:50] Even if they’re just talking about the weather, that’s a violation of his invocation?
BK: [00:31:55] Yes. Anything you say to that person, that could invoke incriminating statements is a violation of his rights. We’re sitting in this conference room watching this video of this happening, I look over at the DA, and the DA is like, “This is going to be a problem.” And they said, “Well, we tried to get out there and you see, we wanted to leave the room, but the door was locked. So, we’re waiting for somebody to come let us out.” And it’s like 10 long minutes where they continue to talk to him. And then finally, Rich says, “You know what, I’ll talk to you guys. I know you know what’s up.” And they said, “Okay, but since you asked for an attorney, now we have to go over your rights again.” They do all the clarifying questions again. They read each of his rights under Miranda. He says he understands each of them, and then he tells them what happened.
[00:32:48] He tells them that he asked Darryl to rent the room for him. He said, “I had the money, but I didn’t have any ID to rent the room.” Rich says Darryl asked me if he could stay in the room one night, and I told him he could. Rich says, “I was out drinking. I was super drunk. When I got back to the room that night, I come in, Darryl is in the bed. So, I just pull the bedspread off the bed. And I lay on the floor. He said, I’m laying on the floor, I’m drunk.” And Darryl lifts up the blanket and shows me his penis and says, “Why don’t you come lay with me?” And he’s laughing about it. Rich says, “It sends me into a rage. Rich says, “I go out of the room.” He said, “I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’m looking for something” and he said, “I pick up what I think is a piece of rebar, and I go back in the room and I hit him.”
[00:33:44] They asked Rich how many times he hit Darryl. He said, “I don’t know how many times I hit him, a couple of times.” The ME says Darryl was hit somewhere between six and eight times and Darryl’s missing a large part of his skull.
Dave: [00:33:58] Again, you’ve got Darryl in this pose that makes you believe that he was asleep when he gets hit, and he’s rendered unconscious so he doesn’t move from that position.
BK: [00:34:07] There’s no indication he ever moved. He was probably dead on the first strike. That would be my guess because he never moves.
Yeardley: [00:34:28] Do you suspect then that Rich is not telling the truth about Darryl showed me his penis and invited me to lay with him?
BK: [00:34:35] No, we believe that. We believe that that happened, we don’t know how long between that happening and Rich going and getting the piece of rebar to hit Darryl with it. We don’t know what the time difference is there. Rich can’t clarify that for us either because he’s so drunk. I believe him at this point that he was in a rage over this, that he’s intoxicated. So, it’s difficult for him to control that rage.
Dave: [00:34:59] Is Rich aware that Darryl is a registered sex offender?
BK: [00:35:03] Yes, he is. He brings it up. He’s like, “He’s a registered sex offender. He’s hitting on me.” Rich is clearly disturbed by this whole thing. We had a witness come forward who said that, they saw Darryl and Rich arguing at one of the homeless shelters. And they were arguing because Rich had found out Darryl was a registered sex offender. We were unable to corroborate that statement, but we had it out there that it was a problem for Rich that Darryl was a registered sex offender.
Yeardley: [00:35:32] What did Darryl do to become a registered sex offender?
BK: [00:35:35] He had sexually abused every minor female in his family.
Dan: [00:35:41] Oh my gosh.
BK: [00:35:43] So, one of the other things that Suzanne had told us, when she told us that she had talked to Darryl and they were planning their future together. She had also told us that two nights prior to that, Rich had walked her home, they had been hanging out in a bar, and Darryl wanted to stay, and so Rich offered to walk Suzanne home. When they got to her house, he started kissing her and groping her. And she said, “I could tell that he wanted to come in and have sex.” Suzanne said, “Rich, you’re a young man, you need to find a girl your own age, you need to go.” And she said he was completely fine with that, and left.
[00:36:25] Prior to learning about this, where Darryl shows Rich his penis and says, “Come lay with me,” there was some part of us that thought maybe this was over Suzanne. When the detectives bring this up to Rich, he’s dismissive of it. He said, “No,” he was shocked that we actually knew that he had kissed Suzanne. Rich said, “It has nothing to do with what happened. It has everything to do with Darryl hitting on me.” They ask him, “What happened next?” And they asked if he hung out in the room at all. Rich said, “No.” After this happened, he is as pretty drunk. He said, “I think I left.” They asked Rich where he stayed. He said, “I walked back to William’s fifth wheel. He said he didn’t sleep. He got up the next morning after laying awake and walked to the nearest bus stop, caught the bus to the next town, so he could catch the Greyhound out of the state. He said he talked to his dad, his dad sent him 180 bucks, starts to confirm all this. We ask where the piece of rebar is, he said, “I can’t tell you. I don’t know.” Rich said, “I don’t know where the bedspread is. I don’t know where the piece of rebar is.”
Dan: [00:37:38] What about his clothes?
BK: [00:37:39] That’s good question. Rich said, “I went to the Goodwill, I bought new clothes and I changed them in the fast-food restaurant that was right there by the Goodwill. It’s Carl’s Jr.
Dave: [00:37:52] He stuffed the bloody clothes in the trash in the bathroom.
BK: [00:37:56] So, they said to him, “Your clothes must have been pretty bloody.” “Actually, I could barely tell there was any blood on them. I did have dark clothes on. I did have it all over my face. That was the big thing is when I first saw myself in the mirror, I was shocked I had that much blood on me. I did not know the extent of the injuries.” The detectives showed him pictures from the hotel room of Darryl laying in his own blood. Rich was like, “Why are you showing me that?” And they said, “We want to know is this what the room looked like the last time you were in it?” Rich said, “I don’t remember it looking like that.”
Dave: [00:38:30] It gives you an insight into his state of mind, his sobriety level. And you also have to ask that question because you don’t want a defense attorney saying, “He only hit him once. Somebody later on came in after Rich had left and finished the job.” It eliminates additional suspects.
BK: [00:38:49] Right. Rich’s at the Carl’s Jr, he changes his clothes. He says he just stuffed them in the trash there. Those were never recovered, obviously.
Dave: [00:38:58] They’re in a landfill.
BK: [00:39:00] Right. They ask him about his shoes that he was wearing when he got arrested. And Rich says, “Yes. These are the shoes I was wearing when I was in the room with Darryl.” “You haven’t changed your shoes.” “I have not changed my shoes.” Those shoes were never processed for DNA, but they were available to do it.
Yeardley: [00:39:17] Why not?
BK: [00:39:18] It was never needed.
Yeardley: [00:39:19] Is that because you also had Rich’s confession?
BK: [00:39:22] So, the defense attorney files a motion to suppress that.
Yeardley: [00:39:26] [gasps] How come!
BK: [00:39:27] Because it was a violation of his Miranda rights. Both those detectives, I learned a lot from those guys. I think they got caught in the moment–
Yeardley: [00:39:35] When they were stuck in the room and kept talking to Rich?
BK: [00:39:39] Yes, and the DA was prepared for the motion to suppress and was prepared to take this to trial without it. And honestly, we didn’t need Rich’s confession. There was enough evidence to put him inside the room and the fact that he lied about being in the room prior to asking for an attorney, because everything prior to him asking for an attorney was admissible. We didn’t lose that part.
Dave: [00:40:01] You’ve got the provable lies and you’ve got eyewitnesses.
Dan: [00:40:04] And that fingerprint.
BK: [00:40:06] And that fingerprint is damning. And you got those witnesses saw them going to the hotel, you’ve got one that puts him in the hotel room.
Dan: [00:40:12] The pizza guy, the delivery guy IDs him in a photo lineup and he flees.
BK: [00:40:16] “What are you fleeing from if you didn’t do anything?” So, they file a motion to suppress, and it’s granted, but then the defense is insanity by extreme emotional distress for Rich. Rich’s attorney, how he’s going to get Rich off is temporary insanity by extreme emotional distress, because he was so offended by Darryl hitting on him. So, it goes to, “Have you ever been a victim of rape in your history or child sex abuse or anything like that?” “Nope. Never.” It’s hard to get to that.
Yeardley: [00:40:52] As though if Rich had been raped or sexually abused in his past, and then Darryl hit on him that would trigger some kind of PTSD in Rich?
BK: [00:41:03] Yes. So, that’s the case they present. So, to present that case, they have to say that Rich killed Darryl. That has to be stipulated. You can’t argue that without stipulating that Rich killed Darryl. So, they stipulate that Rich killed Darryl, but it was because of this extreme emotional distress. The jury does not buy into that, and find him guilty of murder. Rich is sentenced to 25 years to life.
Dave: [00:41:29] Did Rich give any sort of statement at sentencing?
BK: [00:41:33] He did not. He had nothing to say. His attorney argued for a shorter sentence given the fact that Darryl was a registered sex offender.
Yeardley: [00:41:42] Do you think they were saying that because they’re basically saying Darryl deserved what he got because he’s a registered sex offender?
BK: [00:41:48] I think maybe they were implying that, yes, it can be taken that way. I mean, why else bring it up? And the judge said, “Nope, 25.” Rich was stoic too. He didn’t have any outbursts or anything.
Dan: [00:42:02] Other than Suzanne, did Darryl have any family that was in town?
BK: [00:42:06] Suzanne ended up leaving our town. I never saw her again. Darryl’s family came forward during the trial of Rich. And they actually were grateful that Darryl was dead.
Yeardley: [00:42:20] Was that because of his past sex offenses?
BK: [00:42:22] Yeah. So, they were happy to see him go. I would say that Rich’s attorney played on that, tried too, anyway.
Dave: [00:42:30] Rich’s family, were they at the trial and how did they take the guilty verdict?
BK: [00:42:34] The parents were extremely upset.
Dan: [00:42:37] Were there any consequences for Rich’s mother and father because of their assistance?
BK: [00:42:42] No. We did not go after them.
Yeardley: [00:42:43] BK, you said at the beginning of this case that this was your first murder investigation. Was it also the first time you’d seen a dead body in the condition that Darryl was in?
BK: [00:42:55] It was. It was my first autopsy as well.
Yeardley: [00:42:58] How was that for you?
BK: [00:42:59] The autopsy is nothing like what I expected it, because there is no blood basically in the body. So, you’re just looking at– basically, it looks like an anatomy chart, but it’s in real life. There’s two parts where I was a little bit put off, is when they do the skullcap. They use that saw, you’re like that’s creating dust and we’re standing in that. I had a mask–
Dan: [00:43:22] But it’s still there.
BK: [00:43:23] It’s still there. And then the other part was, when they open up the stomach to see what the contents are, my partner didn’t have any menthol underneath his nose. And he said, “You smell that?” And I said, “Nope, I got the menthol.” And he’s like, “Oh, you cheated.” He didn’t know I put it on. And he’s like, “You cheated.” “Dude, you don’t want me throwing up.” That smell will make me throw up. And he’s like, “That is the worst smell is when they open the stomach or the intestines.” But otherwise, I don’t think they’re horrible.
Yeardley: [00:43:51] I think it’s an underappreciated fact that all of you, your purpose is singular, and that is to get justice for the victim. Whether or not that victim is a registered sex offender or a convicted felon in some other way, shape or form, your job is the same. And because justice is supposed to be blind, you all don’t get to cherry pick which victims you’ll go to them at for, and which ones you won’t. And I just think it says everything about the way you do, what you do, and why.
BK: [00:44:28] Yeah. We’re human beings.
Yeardley: [00:44:30] Thank you so much for bringing that to us.
Dan: [00:44:32] Thank you, BK.
Dave: [00:44:33] Thank you, BK. Appreciate it.
BK: [00:44:35] My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Yeardley: [00:44:37] Thank you for coming.
And Small Town Fam, this marks the end of Season Nine. I know. I know. We wish we could bring you fresh content 52 weeks a year, but, well, we haven’t figured out how to do that yet. And I’m pretty sure our editors Logan and Soren would quit. So– [laughs] Anyhoo, you guys are the best. Thank you so much for taking us along this season. Please stay well and safe. And instead of goodbye, let’s just say. à bientôt. We will see you next time.[music]
Yeardley: [00:45:22] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and co-produced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty, and Alec Cowan. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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