Thursday, June 9, 2011
The Fall (part 4)
On March 8, 1995, we left the motel at 11:00 a.m. and decided to check out the French Quarter. It was not at all what I had expected. A lot of that section of the city seemed kind of run down. The streets were littered and the homeless were everywhere.
Towards evening, we started talking about another robbery and murder. We decided that maybe we should try robbing a convenience store this time with hopes it would have more money than what we had gotten before. Of course, neither of us knew at the time that convenience stores rarely have much money. I was already getting nervous just talking about it unlike the first time. I was not calm at all and unsure I would be able to go through with it again. When I told Sarah this, she said she would do it.
Walking back to the car, we talked it out. As we passed a Radio Shack, I decided to buy a police scanner. If someone in the store hit a silent alarm, we would still know that the police had been alerted. It cost a lot, but I didn’t worry about it because I thought money would no longer be a problem.
The search began. Our first stop was at a nearby city, Hammond. It was around 10:30 p.m. and lots of people were out cruising the streets. We drove around looking for a gas station that wasn't on the main strip, but every place was really busy. There would be little to no chance of getting away without being seen. I told Sarah to find a place to park so I could find the frequency of the local police on the scanner. It took a few minutes until I found it, then we again set out to find a convenience store.
We drove around some more but still didn't find anything. It was nearing 11:30 p.m. when we finally saw a place with no cars on the street. Sarah pulled the gun from under the seat and stuck it in the front pocket of my poncho she was wearing. She got out and grabbed a screwdriver from the trunk just in case she might have to pry the cash register open. Both of us got out, and I went over to the side of the car pretending to get ready to pump some gas into it. Sarah walked towards the store. When she got to the door she jerked on the handle but it was locked. Apparently they had just closed because we had seen another customer leaving just as we pulled up.
When she came back to the car I could tell Sarah was frustrated. She was ready to get this over with. The tension had built up thinking we were about to commit another crime. When it didn’t happen, it was hard to calm down.
We drove out of town hoping to find something more out of the way. I pulled on to highway 55, and it wasn't long before a quick-stop caught my attention. We pulled in and checked it out. It seemed like a good spot. It was near the highway and no one was around. There were different businesses around but they were all closed. There was just one other car in the parking lot, and as we pulled through I saw just one woman working behind the counter. I parked the car at the side of the building, and we waited for the only other car there to leave. While we waited, we went over our plan.
I told Sarah, "Go in and find something from one of the shelves, it doesn't matter what. Take it to the counter, and wait for the woman to open the cash register. As soon as it opens, pull the gun and shoot her in the head as many times as it takes. When you get the money, be sure to look under the tray because sometimes they keep bigger bills under there." I look back on those words many years removed and the lack of humanity still haunts me.
Sarah took the gun out of the front pocket to make sure it was loaded; then stuck it back in. As soon as the other car left, we kissed and she got out and went into the store.
From where I was parked I couldn't see inside, and it was making me nervous not knowing what was happening. I turned on the radio hoping the music might calm me down, but I wanted to be able to hear the shot so I turned it back off. When I thought I couldn’t stand it any longer, I heard the gun go off. I started the car and pulled in front of the store. When I could see inside, Sarah was standing at the counter with the gun in her hand. The clerk was nowhere to be seen.
After a few seconds, she ran outside to the driver’s side window of the car and told me, “Ben, I killed her, I killed a mother.”
I asked her if she had gotten the money and she said no. I told her to hurry and go get it. She ran back inside and went behind the counter. With the screwdriver that she still had in her pocket, she pried the cash register open, and took all the money. She ran back to the car, and I slowly pulled out of the parking lot just like nothing had happened. During the whole time, no one had come to the store or even driven by. Nobody had seen a thing.