Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Arrest (part 2)
After she left, the agents took us back downstairs to the parking lot and drove us to the Muskogee County Jail. We were in separate cars and the one I was in took a longer route to the jail. When I arrived, Sarah was already inside.
There was only one agent with me in the car when we pulled into the entrance. Inside the parking garage, the agent parked the car, pulled his gun out and placed it under the front seat. No guns were allowed in the jail, and I assumed he didn't want to go through the process of checking it in. He then got out and walked around the back of the car to let me out. As he reached the middle of the trunk, he realized his mistake. He had left his gun alone with me in the car. This must have passed through both of our heads at exactly the same time. I turned around to see where he was. He was frozen in his tracks staring. There was no protective grill between the front seat and back and, little did he know, I could slip my hands out of the handcuffs. All I would have to do was jump into the front and I would have the gun.
For a split second I did considered going for it, but on second thought, the jail was on one side of me and the police department was on the other. I wouldn't have a chance. I almost didn’t care. The agent recovered and pulled me out of the car. He almost looked grateful when I was safely out of the car.
Taking the first step through the county jail front door was the official end of Life-As-I-Had-Known-It. It's an odd feeling to know you are no longer free; that you may spend many years in a place that has bars on the windows and doors. All my past problems seemed so small then. The worries that had kept me up at night in the past became inconsequential. I actually felt a bit relieved knowing my former problems were no longer relevant and my new situation was completely out of my hands.
The first few days were a blur. It seemed like all I did was sleep. I had no strength or even enough motivation to stay awake. There were no windows in the section of the jail I was in, so I kept track of how many days passed by the number of times breakfast was served. Three breakfasts has passed before I was brought to court for a bond hearing. The district attorney stood up and began describing how gruesome the crime was and how dangerous Sarah and I were. It was surreal to hear a speech so familiar on TV crime dramas. But knowing they were talking about me. She convinced the judge to set no bond for either of us.
Back at the jail, I was moved to the second floor where they house inmates who are expected to stay for awhile. It was much better than where I had been the previous few breakfasts. There were windows, a television, and we could buy cigarettes and other items from a canteen. There were windows as well.
My first real scare came quickly. A deputy pointed me towards a cell and told me that was where I would be sleeping. The small room consisted of an iron bunk bed and a toilet/sink combination. My cellmate introduced himself as, “Hey, your girlfriend’s dad just sentenced me to seven life sentences.” My stomach sank. I never considered how Sarah’s family would affect me in the jail, but it was at the forefront of my mind now. Many of the people in the jail had been sentenced by her dad, and it was very likely I could be a target of revenge for them. I imagined my new cellmate would now take out his aggression on me, but he didn’t. Later he told me he bore no ill will towards the judge. By all accounts, Sarah’s dad had a reputation as a fair judge. Thankfully, no other confrontations occurred while I was there.
After a few days, I came out of my stupor enough to consider my predicament. The first thing I did was call home. I wanted someone to come and get me. In my mind I knew I had no bond and couldn't get out, but I still hoped there might be someway. My mom answered the phone. She was still upset with me, but she was worried as well. She told me Sarah and I had been on the news every night since our arrest. The newspapers had us on the front pages too. I had known Sarah's dad was a judge, but I learned her uncle was the State Attorney General and her grandfather had been the governor of Oklahoma in the past. It was big news. Neither of us had any idea what to do or even if there was anything we could do. It was beginning to look hopeless, but at least the authorities had not found out about the other crimes yet, I thought.
Over the next weeks, I went to various extradition hearings so I could be returned to Louisiana. Each time I stepped out of the jail it was a circus. Photographers would rush up clicking pictures and reporters would shout a million blurred questions. It was all just so unbelievable, like it was only a dream I would soon wake from. My fifteen minutes of fame had come in the worst possible way.