One of my few disappointments with the 20/20 on ID “Homicide” retelling of the Hendricks family murders and investigation story is that the national TV show did not include something first reported in my book: that McLean County State’s Attorney Ron Dozier and David Hendricks met for an off-the-record discussion just four days before Hendricks’s trial was scheduled to start, with Dozier leaving the meeting very conflicted, believing he may very well be about to prosecute an innocent man.
One of the ground rules for the conversation was that a single cassette recording of the discussion would be made and immediately put in Hendricks’s possession. No one seems to know where that tape is today although what you’re about to read clearly indicates that at some point it was in defense co-counsel Hal Jennings’s possession.
The best (albeit one-sided) contemporaneous record of the Thursday night, Sept. 6, 1984 discussion between Hendricks and Dozier comes from a transcript of a recording of a conversation Hendricks had with Jennings the day after he met with Dozier. It appears that during and after the meeting, Hendricks wrote notes about it and referred to them as he did a “report-out” for Jennings the next day.
I use eight pages in my book to describe the dramatic Dozier-Hendricks discussion, a summary based on interviews with Dozier and Hendricks and the contents of this transcript of the Hendricks-Jennings recording.
It includes an introduction by the transcriber who notes the poor quality of the recording. (The transcriber erroneously reports the trial eventually began in October. Actually, it began Sept. 24, 1984.)
Some of the transcription is missing because the copy I obtained omitted some lines in the copying process. They are identified with the notation “copy missing here.” You will also see that on four occasions I have deliberately omitted some brief moments in the discussion because they are scarcely relevant to the issue at hand but potentially deeply embarrassing to some individuals. I mark those passages with “***” and offer no apologies for the omissions.
If you’ve followed the Hendricks case, you’ll find this very interesting. I remind readers this is a verbal summary of the Dozier-Hendricks discussion just hours after it occurred, that these are Hendricks’s interpretations of Dozier’s comments and even some observation of body language that goes beyond what an audio tape would offer.
The following is a typed copy of a tape made between David Hendricks and Hal Jennings—the date is not on the tape, but it is the seventh day of some month shortly before the trial, which began in Oct., 1984. The tape is very poor in its fidelity, and there were portions which were almost entirely garbled. If a word has a question mark (?) after it, it is because of the poor reproduction of the tape. In the recording, David is presenting some of the points brought out between himself and Ron Dozier the day before this tape was made.
I (David) told him (Dozier) that I did not take a polygraph, and he wanted to know that all through—it was a huge concern of his—and I deferred talking about it, and, finally, toward the end, he seemed to come to a point where he went on a real roll, you know, and he kind of came to a stop; and so, I’m sorry if it hurts me, but I made a decision at that point to simply tell him that in fact I didn’t because he’s just as positive as he can be that I took one somewhere along the line. He says he knows I took one because he knows you, and he knows the way you deal with clients, and that I had to have taken a polygraph, and, in fact, I failed it. And what I asked him repeatedly throughout the conversation when he brought that up is, is, I said, “Well, what can you do for us?” I also said, “That’s specifically an area Hal told me not to you to you about, and so I can’t really comment on it.” He said, “Well, that’s a shame, because that’s kind of what we’re here for today”—that was a big hangup for him; so I did finally tell him that I’d never taken a polygraph. And I told him additionally on the same subject, “by the way, and you can confirm this with Hal, that that was not at my urging, that I argued for it; that he, as my attorney, argued strongly against it.”
And I said, “It’s not till many months later that I really realized the ‘why’—and that, actually, now I’m in full agreement that it’s of no use.” And, while we were talking about the polygraph, he admitted to me flat out that—oh, he just jabbered on about different aberrational results that they’ve gotten—about a husband and wife who—or not a husband and wife, but a rape case where they both took a polygraph—and this wasn’t about whether there was a rape—it was about whether they’d had intercourse—and they both passed it. The man said ‘no,’ and the woman said ‘yes’ and he said it’s got an 85%—then later he said an 80%—reliability rate. He said you get false positives and false negatives. So he talked—he talked a lot about polygraphing. I did say that—uh, what else did I mainly give away? There’s something else I said to him—something I said–oh, at the very end of the conversation, I made him the commitment that, and I made it very clear, I said, “No way am I threatening you.” And he said, “Oh, that’s good because we wouldn’t want that.” And I said, “That’s fine because I want you to know I’m not threatening you with a civil rights suit or anything like this. But I want you to know that, if you see your way clear to, at this point, drop the charges, at this point realize that, ‘I’ve got an innocent man here, and my conscience simply cannot allow me to pursue this, this thing, simply because of the danger of what if I won?’ that there are two things I could do: one, I will guarantee you no prosecution of any kind; secondly, I will publicly exonerate you, and I’ll do it effectively.” And he smiled at that, and said, “That’s funny because, when I first came here tonight, my initial offer to you was going to entail public exoneration if you confessed, and we came up with some kind of agreement of a light sentence for (copy is incomplete here) …I would have felt like…I guess I would have to, politically for me, to justify such a thing.”
Other than that, anything I said is rather dispersed here—do you want me to just start? (Hal: You don’t think you convinced him of your innocence?) I did think I did, actually, and it will last only as long as Ron __?__ (til he gets home (?), but he left here very confused, he kept saying, “I don’t understand this—I was afraid this would happen.” He said, “You are either a hell of a good salesman or you’re innocent, and I don’t know which.” He said, “I was afraid this would happen when I talked to you face to face. I just got to thinking about this—either you’re that great or you really, really are sincere. You’re coming across as totally honest, and I believe you tonight. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I think about it later.” And I think he was telling the truth. I think he was impressed with my sincerity, my honesty; in fact, I didn’t tell him a single thing that wasn’t true last night, and I think he could see that.
As to the time, they took me up at 9:45, and I came back to my cell at 11:50, and we talked for roughly about two hours. So the first part is housework from 11:55 to 12:40, at which time I made a pot of coffee—that was 12:43, and then I started writing this at 12:45 a.m. and finished it at :15 (?)—that was in the morning of the—let’s see what’s today?—the 7th. He talked a lot about Murphy. I initially said, and this should be on the first side of the tape that you have—and he asked me to open up, and I did, and I opened up with basically talking about—saying that, if Mr. Murphy had asked for this meeting, I simply would not have given it. I don’t trust him at all, and I told Mr. Dozier that I trust him somewhat more than I trust Mr. Murphy—that I had watched his public acts, in connection with this woman, for instance, with the children, etc., on WJBC, and that I think he tries to do his job with something of a conscience, and I basically just told him that I have sat in a meeting with him simply because I have a better feeling about him than I have about Mr. Murphy. And he said, “Well,” he smiled at that, and he said, “I know you think Mr. Murphy is a total liar and a no good person, etc.,” and he said, “You’ve had some justification for thinking that, but I want to tell you about him.” And he told me a lot about Brad, just a whole lot about about (sic) Brad. He told me that Brad is a “gung-ho” guy who just goes after everything with his full force. He said, “You know, the type of a guy at a Sunday School picnic, when everybody is supposed to be out there having fun—Brad’s the type of guy that’s in there TO WIN, and he’ll push people out of the way, and he’ll yell at people for not trying hard, and he’ll totally wreck the whole score of the game. His one intent is to win and he blows it out of all proportion to the game, and that is Brad because he’s that kind of a guy. He’s the kind of guy that “puts on” the girls in the office. He’s brash, he’s overbearing. He yells at people. He even belies his Christian principles in the way he conducts himself around the office: that’s just Brad.” He said, “Brad is just like Jesse Jackson when Jesse said on the platform at a national convention, ‘God isn’t finished with me yet.’ That’s what Brad is. He’s getting there. He’s only recently made a religious turn.” And then he told me a lot of Brad’s background. He said he and Brad had gone to U of I together, although they didn’t know each other there. They started in the prosecutor’s office at almost the same time, and they’ve been together a long time. He said he knows him well. He said that Brad lost his first wife to cancer—that they had a baby (he thinks it was an accident) and, very shortly after this baby was born (copy is incomplete here)…connection with the birth of this baby, Brad’s wife died, and Brad has raised this girl, but never remarried, by himself; so the man has had his own hardships, trials, troubles, and you can understand why he’s got problems.”
Now, this is going to be a little out of order—I’ve got more on Brad later on, but I’ll stop there. He did mention one thing neither of them—excuse me, that I thought was important. He talked a lot about toxology (sic) and one of the things he said was, “Your toxologist (sic) probably he was trying to convince me that his toxology (sic) was correct and that they had ____?______ –your people don’t even know about regrowth Isotope” (I think was what he said—I thought I’d give that expression to you off the top like that—something that they feel is significant). Oh, at the end, he almost made a commitment to me that (he said he was going to think about it and give it to you) about this polygraph. I continued to ask him for a commitment on a polygraph. I said, “Well, if you want me to take one, make it worth my while. What can you do for me?” He said, “Well, at this stage of the game, it’s kind of late to, uh,” and he kind of, uh, uh, and he finally came out with “Well, I’ll tell you: To dismiss charges at this point, I’d probably need two out of three.” I said, “Well, can you commit yourself to that at this point?” And, no, he wouldn’t quite do that—he said he’d get back to you on that. And he admitted that there were a lot of false positives and negatives—giving this 85% accuracy on polygraphs (and then later he said 80%). He said one of the reasons for this talk is that he has had some problems with his own conscience in thinking me guilty. In other words, as he thinks about it, there are times, all on his own, when he looks at my life history, and he looks at my life, that I may not be guilty. He said that, if, in February or March, I had presented him with two things: a polygraph, another perpetrator, or at least a lead, he would have dismissed the charges. He said, at first, when he arrested me, his motive theory was that I had done this in order to lead a wild life—just gotten them out of the way. And he said that since, he’s thoroughly changed his mind. He doesn’t think it’s even possible of me because of the way he’s studied my life, and he realizes that I very much loved my children. He said, “I guarantee you we’re not going to get up there and try and prove you didn’t love your children or your wife.” He said that this metamorphosis theory, which is now gone, is a much more horrible motive, and he would have no problem with the death penalty in that case, but he thinks that, with his new motive theory, there is significant cause for mitigation—mitigating circumstances, I think he said. He said that initially, about the models (I asked him this question—most of these statements are in response to questions) he said, in finding these models, he fully expected to find another woman, and, when they arrested me, they were looking for another woman, and they thought that she was, in fact, out there. And they haven’t found her, and they fully admit that (I asked him again that question “Don’t you think you’ve put enough research into it that, if she was there, you would have found her?” He said “Yes, she’s simply not there. We know she’s not there.” Also, I said, “Tell me this, do you believe I slept with girls—just personal, so you believe the thought?” He said, “We’re as positive as we can be that there’s no relationship between you and Bev.” And I said,—one of the big points I asked him about—you know, this is one of the things we really got into about Murphy—I said, “Why, then, did Murphy try and get that into evidence? That’s not fair—that’s not morally right—that’s not just—a man’s life is at stake. And why that book ‘The Three Sillies,’ that’s ridiculous.” And he said, “I fully agree. I was surprised that he tried to get that in.” (Hal chuckled—Dave said ‘”Yea, that’s what he told me.”) “I don’t understand why he tried to get that in. It’s because he’s so ‘gung-ho’” and that’s when he went into the way Murphy approaches something. He said, “I’d hate to have Murphy prosecute me if I was an innocent man—or even a guilty man—because, as soon as I put him on a case, he’s crazy—he just goes after it with blinders on–he looks straight ahead ?? (something about motioning with his hands about blinders I think)—and he goes straight ahead. On a case like this, there’s going to be absolutely nothing stopping him.” I said, “Well, doesn’t he think about ‘Is this right or fair’ or does he just rationalize it by ‘the end justifies the means’?” He said, “No, he doesn’t even rationalize it. He doesn’t even even (sic) think about it. He doesn’t go through in his mind that ‘this isn’t quite right, but the end will justify it.’ He simply goes. He goes for it, and that’s one difference between him and me. I have to put a check on it, and I will put a check on it at your trial and limit what he does because he’ll simply do anything whether it’s fair or foul. He’ll do anything it takes to get a conviction. You’ve got to understand, that’s the way lawyers are.” But he was clearly trying to make a distinction between himself and lawyers, when he said that.
On another subject, he said that “Tonight—” (I asked him, this was toward the end of the conversation, I said, “You’ve been with me for a long time—we’ve been talking”—oh, and he continued to make the point that he’s a real perceptive person, and he has good insight—he said, “Now I’m not saying that I’m clairvoyant or anything, but I’ve got real good insight—I have a knack for seeing ____?____, for understanding, for ferreting out the truth, and I’m good, and 80% of the time, I’m right. And, in this case, my gut feeling was from the very start, you’re guilty.” So I asked him toward the end of the conversation, “You say you’re perceptive, etc., what does your perspicacity tell you about me at this point in conversation?” And he said, “Frankly, I believe you’re telling the truth, but I don’t know if you’re just a good salesman, and I want to get home and think about it. Right now I’m all confused because I came in here to convince you to tell me you’re guilty, and that’s totally impossible from the context of our conversation. I’m almost going to have to let you off. I’ve got to go home and think about it.” He made a big point about whether I’m a good salesman or not. He asked me to point out who did it. He asked “Do you have any idea of anybody else who may have done it? I don’t care how wild the imagination is. That’s something we’re going to have to approach at the trial—I don’t know what you’re planning on doing with that, but we’re a little concerned with that aspect of things. We don’t think there’s anybody else out there. We haven’t found anybody.” I told him that, on that issue, that’s definitely a specific detail, and that would be something my lawyers asked me not to comment on, and I told him I’m very sorry because I’d like to. I told him that, “of course, I have my wild suspicions, and I have suspicions that are less than wild, but I can’t go into that with you.” And he kind of laughed and said, “That kind of frustrates our purpose.” He really wanted to get me to say more about that, and that’s something I never did say anything specifically about it. Oh, in that context, he brought in Ralph Storrs. He said, “The reasons we polygraphed Ralph Storrs is because of Bev and Roger Crutcher. They told us that he often had been on you to move to Kankakee and bring your business in with his, and he felt that your family was hindering you from moving to Kankakee, and their opinion was that he killed your family so that you would then feel free to move to Kankakee.” And he smiled as if that was an impossible scenario as he said it.
At the beginning, we began our conversation that will be on the tape with a prayer. He said, “I’d like to put this in a context as being before God,” and he began with a nice prayer. And so, at the end of the conversation (I finally ended it—he would have talked—I believe he would have still been talking). But I finally said, “Well, I think we’ve both—we’re about getting nowhere,” and, by that time, he was just talking about, I think, his family; so I said, “You started this with prayer, I’d like to end this with prayer, and I prayed something to the effect that God would give us the ___?___ love, that justice would be done, etc., and, after the prayer, he shook my hand firmly two times (and, when we started the conversation, we did not shake hands). I just wanted you to know that he offered me his hand twice—that seems to be—wouldn’t that be an unusual thing to do for somebody who thinks that I’m guilty of such a crime? He had to go home and pray about it—he’ll get back to us. I asked him to do that. I asked him “Do you pray?” And he said, “Well, not as much as I should.” And I said, “Well, pray about this.” He said, “I will.”
I asked him (this is one of the points I asked him a lot during the evening). I said, “if your motive theory—–.” He’s got his motive scenario on the tape—that part of it—I think most of the important part of the conversation took place first and is on the tape…
…what I asked him was, “In view of this religious motive, don’t you think it’s very much out of character for me, at this point, to be consistently lying about it? The way I understand your motive, you think that it’s not like I went nuts and I don’t know that I did anything, but I’m fully aware that I did it, and that I’m just lying about it. He said, “Yes, that’s right.” And I said, “Don’t you think that, if a man is so religious as to kill the people that he loved and wanted to be with, that he would consistently lie about it? Don’t you think I want to go to heaven?” “Oh, I do think you want to go to heaven—I don’t know anything about your religion—I don’t know anything about what you believe. But, yes, that is a little inconsistent. I really don’t know exactly what to think about that. Could you consistently lie about this and go to heaven?” I said, “No, certainly not. I couldn’t—we can lie—we can commit all types of sin and be forgiven, but consistently lying about an act of murder like this would not constitute what a Christian ought to ____?____ right now. Isn’t that your philosophy too?” “Well, yes, I would agree with that wholeheartedly, but we often see this in a crime, like a sex crime on children, for instance, and then later they know they committed the crime, all the evidence is there, they’re conclusively proven, much more than you have in this case, and he denies that he committed that crime. I’ve seen that happen often.” He said the purpose in having this conversation was to get me to talk about an easy sentence—to get me to talk about it so he could talk about agreeing to some kind of easy sentencing for me—his indication of the word—because he didn’t understand WHY I did it.
I told you about the polygraph—he was positive that I had taken a polygraph—he knows that I took it because, two reasons: one, he knows Hal well enough to know that one would have been run off for Hal’s internal purposes, and two, if it had been positive, it would have been “sitting on my desk before the ink was dry on it.” I’m sure he’s right on that. (I didn’t say that to him!) He said, “I don’t know if you’re responsible or not for this, but, among your friends, etc., they’re saying it’s like we’re bringing out the models to testify, and they’re saying what they’re saying and they’re saying all kinds of things about the prosecution that simply aren’t true.” And then he said, “I can tell from your letters, etc., that they think, for instance, you’re being persecuted, and they think I have some control over for instance, where you are in the jail or with regard to your jail commissions. It’s totally not true. I have never said word one about any inmate in the jail. Hal knows that. Hal can tell you that. Hal can tell you that I have no control over anything that happens to any inmate in the jail.” Then I said, “Well, I’m not going to contradict you. No, but I’m not sure Hal has that much confidence in you.” He said, “Well, I think he does.” And I said, “Well, maybe he does, but I really don’t know.” Then he said “If you’re responsible for the people in the meeting, that they’re talking about us paying people off and supporting perjury, that’s ridiculous,” and I said, “Well, I tell you what. If you don’t blame me for that, I don’t blame you for all the crazy and wild rumors that are floating all over town about virtually saying ‘anything’ about me.” And he kind of smiled, and he said, “Okay, I understand. But let me tell you about that. You caused half of that, and I caused half of that—well, part of it. You caused part of it when you got on TV and gave those interviews. I caused part of it when I got on TV and asked you to come forward.” I asked him, “Wasn’t that unethical?” And he said, “Well, I know you think it was. I don’t think it was. I don’t think there’s anything in the canon of ethics which would preclude me from doing that. Hal may think so—he may differ with me on that, but I don’t think so. And, even if I did think so, I still would have done it, I think. I would have had to make the decision. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And you ____?___ by dragging it before the review of education board, or I don’t know what, and we’ll hash it out, and see if I could have done it—ethically!” He said I’m laying a huge guilt trip on him, and he’s really being ____?____. And I told him this over and over again, “Well, that is my purpose for being here. My whole purpose for coming to talk to you is to lay a guilt trip on you, is to make you realize that, if you succeed in this, you’re convicting an innocent man. And, if you do that, how are you going to live with yourself the rest of your life? That actually that result to you personally would be worse than any political problems that would result from losing the case. I think you’re a loser if you lose, and you’re a loser if you win. And I want to lay a guilt trip on you. That’s my purpose.” And I said that over and over. I must have said that twenty times during the course of the conversation. I said, “Doesn’t the fact that you’ve changed motives, that you’ve looked for a woman that’s not out there, that you’ve basically changed your mind on several of the major issues since you arrested me, doesn’t that give you pause? Doesn’t that make you wonder? And you continue to say you’ve got the right man, but you continue to change your scenario to fit the evidence as it comes in or your new thoughts as it comes in?” He said, “Yea, that is a problem—that’s one of the reasons I’m here tonight.”
I told him (we were talking about positive lawyers, but not about Mr. Murphy, and he more-or-less admitted that Mr. Murphy lies, does all kinds of things to, to, well, he’s not a moralist—he admitted straight out—well, I’ve told you what Mr. Murphy would do. I made the comment at that point, only because I thought it would be something to talk about at that point only, because he stopped talking. I said, “One thing I’m actually amazed at in this case, and this is totally the truth because personally, excuse me, I thought all defense lawyers were ¾ crook, and I said Hal was the exemption (sic) (to which Hal says: thank you, thank you), and I’m frankly amazed at my attorneys—they’re very ethical—they’re very concerned with ethics, morality, and truth, and especially Hal. I’m amazed! That man, I’ll tell you straight out, he hasn’t done one thing in this case that has been anything less than fully the truth, that has been anything less (that I can see (than fully ethical according to his perceptions of ethics.” Then he said, “I know. In your case I admit that—he’s handling your case differently. I’ve seen him on a lot of cases of drug dealers and stuff like that. He’ll do anything to get a conviction—I mean to get an acquittal. But in your case, he seems to be approaching your case totally differently. I have no argument with you; he is approaching your case on an extremely ethical basis.”
He said that their initial theory was—the reason that Crowe initially asked me and then nobody else at the police station asked me about my activities earlier in the evening was because their initial theory was that I had actually left when I said I left and then returned to the house and gone in the back patio door and committed the crimes after everybody was sound asleep, etc. Then he said, “I want you to know this. We didn’t go up to Spikes and try and get him to say that it was done before you left. At that point in time, when we went to Spikes, and when Spikes saw it, we thought that you had come back and done it later. And that’s why we were asking you about your trip up to Wisconsin. We checked your trip up to Wisconsin thoroughly; we timed it; we checked everything. We were baffled at that time because you didn’t have time to do that. That’s why, when Spikes’ results came back, THEN that’s why we came back with the questions wanting to know what you did earlier in the evening, etc. I had a change right there at that point about when you actually did it.”
I asked him, “On the toxology (sic). Do you think our people are lying?” He said, “No.” I said, “Do you think they’re ‘whores’?” He said, “No, they’re highly qualified people, and they’re not, and I accept the fact that there’s some honest difference of opinion on toxology.” (sic) And then later he was talking about them, and he said, “Even Stone, and what’s the name of the other guy in Texas?” “Petty.” “Yea, Petty. Even Stone and Petty told me that, in this case, (this is ____?____ in point in time we’re talking about the fact that there’s nobody else; the main reason I’m on you is that there’s nobody else—we’d be off your case if we had somebody else at all to follow.). Even Stone and Petty said that they’ve never seen a case like this where there’s so much evidence and yet so little evidence. I mean there’s so much blood—all kinds of things around—yet, there’s nothing, there’s absolutely nothing.” He said at a different point in the conversation, “I was at a political party recently, and a lady came up to me and took me aside, and she said, “Do you know how to get this guy?” And he said, “We went around a corner, and she told me, ‘Get witnesses who have had a grief in their family, and get them to get up in court and testify as to their response. His grief response that I saw on TV was totally out of character.” He also said “I met a guy who was in here on something else—an expert—he looked at the tapes and said, ‘That man is lying’—the TV tapes.”
Oh, he asked me, “If you want us to let you off the hook, give us somebody else.” He said that a lot of times. About as many times as he said, “Why haven’t you taken a lie detector test?” So I said, “Well, let me put it this way to you. I don’t know for sure of anybody that I can say, ‘That’s who did it,’ and I’m not at liberty by my lawyers’ instructions to give you any of my speculations or anything possible, but I will tell you this: for just a general motive theory, in order for me to work up a scenario or theory for someone else to have wanted to do this, it would have to be almost as bizarre or screwy as the motive you’ve come up with to say why I did it.” He smiled, and he said, “I know what you mean. Yea, it is kind of absurd. Maybe you’d have to come up with one even more absurd to justify that. That’s my problem.” What I wanted to tell you was that he smiled, he nodded, and he admitted that point did disturb him. Absurd was a good word for it.
Uh, I already told you this—I told him he has a problem creating a man in his motive theory that is so totally committed to arranging to kill the people he loves and wants to be with for their own good, and, on the other hand, lying on the stand after swearing on the Bible–.” “We don’t use a Bible anymore.” I said, “Well, swear to tell the truth.” He said, “Yes, I agree, that is a problem.” Then he paused and then he went into the part I told you earlier about “I’ve had a lot of people who have committed crimes and then had a terrible time admitting it even when confronted with incontrovertible evidence.” He told me he’s glad that I admit to the models’ testimony being correct. Because, if I hadn’t, he wouldn’t even want to talk to me because he’d know I was a liar. He said that he has no doubt that the models had inaccuracies in places, don’t remember some things correctly, and that I can probably remember some things better because I have a better mind than any of the models, etc., but, in the main, he thinks they are telling the truth and he’s glad that I admit to it. But, in fact, I didn’t admit to it, and I just nodded when he said that. All I told him about the models, when he was talking about the models, was “the fact is, I have made some mistakes. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I have committed murder or even whether or not I have motive to commit murder.” And he said, “Well, I understand that. I’ve often wondered about that. That’s bothered me because, when I think about what you(ve (sic) done with the models, it’s nothing that an ordinary man might not have done, and it’s not—well, it’s kind of like Jimmy Carter (?) when he did that interview with Playboy, he said, ‘We’re all alike in that way,’
Now I’m not going into his theory simply because I think that’s on your tape. My general impression (and then I’m done here) is that he’s thoroughly sincere (he was last night…I don’t think he’s putting me on) was that, if he had to prosecute me tomorrow, he’d have some serious problems with guilt, but, by the time he gets to court, it will be all rationalized and all well taken care of. My general impression is that his two big huge problems are: polygraph and, if not me, who else? This is nothing new to you, but I’m giving you general impressions. And I think he has HUGE questions about his motive theory and actually has frequently admitted that. But he’s got nothing else, and he thinks that his problems with his motive theory would cause him less problems than at this point are ____?____ his prosecution of me. He told me probably that I’m overestimating the politics of the situation. He said, “If I lose this case, I’m going to be elected next time. I’ve got no one running against me. This is an uncontested election. It won’t help me any right now. In fact, if this trial was just before an election, I would have it postponed until after the election. I wouldn’t deal with a matter like this before an election, for two reasons: #1 – I wouldn’t have time, and #2 – because of the election politics. But I’m not concerned about this politically. You’re over-playing (he was talking about the lawyers) that aspect of it. (You must have made some comments to him in the past.)
He obviously said a few more things than that, but that’s what I remember immediately after, and I scribbled as fast as I could. (At this point on the tape there is a whole section—4-5 sentences—which is almost impossible to understand…something about David’s perception of the motive theory.) Oh, one thing about the models. He said, “You have a big problem with those models because, in fact, they got a lot worse right up to it, and he said “____?____. That’s going to cause you huge problems.” And he said, “For instance, those models in Phoenix, what you did to them was the worst.” He named both of them. He said, “both Libby and Tammy.” Now, I haven’t seen Tammy’s statement, but I didn’t do anything to Tammy, not anything. (Hal: Tammy said you did.) What did you say? (Hal: Yes, she said, when you fitted her with a back brace, you gave her a back massage and rubbed her breasts) –LONG PAUSE—I don’t remember doing that. But how about any overt passes to her—trying to get her into bed, she doesn’t say anything like that? (Hal: No.) The way he said it, he said, “By far, you did the worst things to Libby and Tammy.” (Hal: He makes it sound like some sort of overtly sexual contact whereby you could get her to take her top off. You had her lay on a couch and rubbed her back and had her turn over and rubbed her breasts—but you didn’t say anything else, you were just—-). Well, I was very concerned about that because he said—because I didn’t do anything with Tammy. Libby I took for a ride, and there were some problems there, but, with Tammy, nothing. And he said, “Those two are by far the worst two,” and that’s simply not true at all. Carla was worse than Tammy as far as what actually happened, I can tell you that right now. He said, “If what happened with Libby or Tammy had happened in McLean County, and they had come to us, we would have prosecuted you.” Oh, one of the things he mentioned—he said, “I, like all prosecutors, I’m constantly afraid that one day I’ll successfully prosecute an innocent man. That bothers us. That bothers me in this case.” When I was trying to lay a guilt trip on him, he came out with that. Oh, I said, “Let me present something else to you—something I’ve just thought about all by myself, but I think might be valid. What about the fact that your house is one block away from mine, you’re about my age, about the same position in life, have a family that’s about the same, and you live right there in the same neighborhood. Didn’t that make it much easier for you to believe that I was guilty? He said, “No, I don’t think so—I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think so. Other people have suggested that to me, but I don’t think so because I thought you were guilty before I ever had any other thoughts about the case at all. I thought you were guilty from the start; so I never thought about anybody else entering your house.”
He said it’s been pointed out to him by several people what he’s given in his crime motive theory that, if that’s a valid motive theory, then to carry it out, I ought to have committed suicide. And he said (copy is incomplete here) theory. Basically he said that, when he was a young boy, he had an older brother who was better than he was at most things, more out-going. He said he was kind of an introvert, he was kind of unsure of himself, and he said he basically had some social adjustments and problems. He was brought up in the Christian Church in a small town in Southern Illinois, and he said he had some rigid teachings about sex.
“I think you passed a very similar crisis, being much more deeply religious than I, and coming from a much more conservative and austere type of upbringing. I think that you with all of your conservatism—I think you fully loved your family—and loved your children and your wife, but that you were doing these things with these models, and that you didn’t want to, but that you couldn’t stop yourself. That was getting worse and worse, and you were so bothered by the fact that somebody with as much religious upbringing as you had couldn’t stop himself from being corrupted by this horrible corrupting world that you thought that it looked for the children the best possible thing you could do for them was to kill them and send them on to Heaven now before they would be similarly corrupted by this world. Then I said, “Well, that theory has a wife that was a year older than I am—she was 30 years old at the time, who was as pure as pure can be, totally uncorrupted by this world and I killed her too. WHY? And he said, “Well, basically for the same reason.” He said, “To keep her from being corrupted at some point in the future.” It was essentially the motive theory (Hal: Is that the ____?____ when he told you that?) I told him, “I can’t really respond specifically point by point, but I’ll respond in general, that that’s absolute nonsense! My religion could never guide me to do such a thing. My religion is against murder. My religion is against lying about it.” That, “if I was that religious, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, if I’m a guilty man.” That’s basically—-those are the points I made, and I said them over and over and over again. I hope it’s worth your while coming in today, but I thought I wanted to get this stuff down, as much as—-. (Hal: Did he give you any indication as to exactly how you managed to accomplish this miraculous act of murder and concealment?) He said, when he was talking, yet, he was talking about that for a while. You might ask me some more questions because there was more than I haven’t told you. I just can’t think of it all. When he was talking about this, he said, “This theory that we mentioned before the Grand Jury about doing it in the nude and then taking a shower, etc., we believed that. And we’re still not sure how whoever did it got rid of the clothes. We don’t know.” The whole time, whether out of deference to me or not, he was very careful not to talk about me as doing it—he always talked about the ‘perpetrator’ or ‘whoever did it” etc. But he said, “At that point we thought you did it and you did it in the nude, and we even considered the thought that you might have had baggies on your feet, and you took a shower. That’s why we tore the plumbing out of your house.” He said, “When we found negative results as to the plumbing—we were baffled as to how it was done, etc.” Oh, I asked him this, “According to your theory, the way I understand it, the way I see the evidence, I’m just (copy is incomplete here) days in advance, and that I lived with my family through those days, and that I hugged and kissed and slept with my wife, hugged my children, taught Becky how to play the piano, played baseball with Benjy, all whom I loved dearly, knowing that I was going to kill them, is that correct?” He said, “Yeah, that’s what we’re thinking—that is our theory.” And I said, “That’s preposterous!” He kind of nodded like ‘it is,’ but he didn’t say that. At that point I asked him “Do you think that somebody who loves his family—Do you think that I could have picked up an axe and raised an axe and crashed it down on the heads of my wife, my children?” He said, “Well, the only way I can justify that is that you just figured they would die painlessly, and, if you did it fast, efficiently, that the method didn’t matter, and this was a good way to conceal the crime.” He said, “Whoever did this carefully planned it out and concealed it.” He said, “You fit that too because you think about things, you plan them out, you’re methodical in your ways, you’re very intelligent.” So he did go into that. Then I asked, “Wouldn’t I have used a more humane method,” and he said, “Well, actually, even though it looked so bad, it’s pretty humane.” He said, “And I do have problems with thinking that you did what was done to Benjy, but I can justify that only in that you must have thought, ‘well, what difference did it make—no pain, no problem, once he’s dead, what does it matter what I do to the body?’”
That’s really about all he said. (Hal”: Did he indicate to you at any time ____?____ said about you ____?____?) No, in fact, I get the impression that most of them did not. (Hal: Did he indicate to you that the one comment that he made about having the expert on the TV tape consult with the prosecution?) No, and I didn’t want to ask him because I didn’t want to bring it up; yet I don’t think—I dearly wanted to ask him, but I didn’t do it. But I don’t think that to this (copy ends here).
todd baker says
We don’t convict people by default. They decided he was guilty and then cobbled together a motive and put a good story behind it. Flirting with or even inappropriately touching a model is one thing, but it’s a big leap between that and slaughtering your family. With that said, I wasn’t there and don’t know if he did it nor not. Maybe he really is that mentally different from the norm that he was able to rationalize it to himself and was intelligent enough to somehow do it while leaving no evidence behind. That seems just as bizarre as some unknown person deciding to walk into the Hendricks family home one late evening or early morning and ax to death a mother and her three children, though. Either way, there isn’t any logic to this act. The standard for conviction in a criminal trial is beyond a reasonable doubt for a reason. The first jury in this case ignore that, as did the prosecutors.
Todd, you’ve summed up the basic question so many of us have been struggling with over the years. As I said in the book, I don’t think I would have voted to convict him in the first trial, but the question of true innocence or guilt remains an open issue for so many.