Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The main paradox of American political culture

The American presidency is designed to disappoint...
- George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor

The American presidency is designed to disappoint. Each candidate must promise things that are beyond his power to deliver. No candidate could expect to be elected by emphasizing how little power the office actually has and how voters should therefore expect little from him. So candidates promise great, transformative programs. What the winner actually can deliver depends upon what other institutions, nations and reality will allow him. Though the gap between promises and realities destroys immodest candidates, from the founding fathers' point of view, it protects the republic. They distrusted government in general and the office of the president in particular. 

Congress, the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve Board all circumscribe the president's power over domestic life. This and the authority of the states greatly limit the president's power, just as the country's founders intended. To achieve anything substantial, the president must create a coalition of political interests to shape decision-making in other branches of the government. Yet at the same time -- and this is the main paradox of American political culture -- the presidency is seen as a decisive institution and the person holding that office is seen as being of overriding importance...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gatekeeper flacks Demo ex-cop in sheriff's race

Demands interview clearance on Facebook

Charges of racism and on-the-fly rules changes hallmarked the short-lived takeover of media coordination of the Reverend Willie Tompkins' campaign as the Democratic nominee for Sheriff of McLennan County.

Kathy Schroeder, who has mounted a one-woman Facebook campaign against GOP hopeful Parnell McNamara for the past month, suddenly announced on Monday that in the future all media communication with Rev. Tompkins must first be printed on the “Race for McLennan County Sheriff” page.

The fact that Ms. Schroeder is not an administrator on the Facebook page didn't seem to cramp her style.

She also engaged in spirited debate with other participants over whether her mention of Mr. Tompkins' campaign, if successful, would mark the distinction of becoming the first black man elected Sheriff of McLennan County.

Vigorous debate, pro and con, resulted. Mr. Tompkins said nothing about it.

We'd love to provide a sample, but all of her work disappeared – suddenly and without explanation.

Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.

Rev. Tompkins, whose resumé included mention of a long career in law enforcement as a security guard, a member of the Waco Police Department as an undercover vice and narcotics detective, instructor at the police academy, and Chief of Police at McLennan County Community College, demurred when a schedule conflict forced a postponement of an interview.

We had discussed talking over his part as a witness in the murder trial of Mohammed Muneer Deeb, a conspirator convicted of capital murder in the killings of three high school aged Methodist Home residents dubbed the “Lake Waco Murders.”

Rev. Tompkins was working as a security guard at a Skaggs Albertson's store on Valley Mills Dr. when Mr. Deeb got in the habit of dropping in for coffee. He revealed his involvement in a murder-for-hire plot with three men that went tragically wrong when they attacked the wrong youths due to a mistaken identity of one of the young ladies.

When he apprehended what Mr. Deeb was talking about, he turned his knowledge over to Sgt. Truman Simon of the Waco police, who was the lead investigator in the trials of David Wayne Spence and two other parties to the killings. Mr. Spence was later executed by lethal injection.

Mr. Deeb won a new trial in which he was acquitted in 1992 after an appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals resulted in the suppression of hearsay testimony, a reversible error committed by Judge John McLean of the 249th Judicial District at Cleburne, where the case had been moved on a motion for a change of venue.

He died several years later of cancer while he operated a computer repair service in Dallas.

During the trial, Mr. Deeb's attorney objected vigorously to hearsay testimony offered by a jail house snitch who was housed with Mr. Spence in the Brazos County Jail at Bryan. He testified as to remarks made by “Chili, David Wayne Spence, regarding Mr. Deeb's hiring he and his two fellow assailants with promises of a share in the life insurance he took out on his intended victim.

Judge McLean overruled all the attorney's objections, entering a notation of a “running objection” on the trial's record.

When Mr. Deeb requested the Court's permission to represent himself, Judge McLean remarked, “That's kind of like doing your own open heart surgery.”

Whitney killing resembles similar shooting in Valley

McAllen dust-up caused by the same fear

Hargill – In the darkness of night, terror stalks rural homes when an unfamiliar vehicle cruises by, parks in the dark, or its occupants start nosing around an isolated farmhouse.

The tiny hamlet of Hargill, Texas, sits at the intersection of two farm to market roads - FM 490 and 493 - in the rich valley floodplain farmlands just north of the border, about 25 miles northeast of McAllen and Reynosa.

There is an eerie similarity to what Pedro Alvarado's relatives are telling newsmen in the shooting of an ICE Agent who was doing a stakeout for the Department of Homeland Security of his home in a wooded area north of town on July 3, and the fatal deep night shooting of a 15-year-old girl at Whitney in a wooded area of the family's property near the corner of two rural highways - 933 and FM 1713 - on July 24.

In the Hargill shooting, Special Agent Kelton Harrison staked out a rural farm house in an "anticipated drug deal."

Mr. Alvarado and his two sons, one 18, the other 16, piled into the car and cruised past Agent Harrison's Jeep SUV, which was parked near their home.

The 16-year-old boy shot an estimated 6 rounds with a .22 rifle, shattering both the rear and front windshields of the vehicle.

The rifle shots wounded Agent Harrison in his back.

He put his Jeep in gear and fled, driving down the highway in an effort to escape the deadly onslaught.

Mr. Alvarado and the older brother, Arnoldo, shot numerous times with 9 mm handguns as the agent fled down the arrow-straight farm to market road that leads to the crossroads at Hargill.

When Agent Harrison lost control due to the shock of his wounds, his Jeep veered into another wooded area at the roadside.

Mr. Alvarado and his elder son are both charged in U.S. District Court with assault of a federal officer and knowingly carrying a firearm during a violent crime.

The younger son, whose name was witheld because of his youth, is charged with attempted capital murder in State District Court. It remains to be seen if he will be certified by a juvenile court as an adult.

Sentiment in the Hispanic community is running high. The local press has carried stories that assert juveniles are tried as adults in state courts because of a desire to punish them, while federal judges rarely if ever try juveniles in federal courts for their offenses.

A U.S. Magistrate declined to set bond on Mr. Alvarado and his son, noting for the record that the father's behavior showed “dangerous traits.”

In the Whitney case, when Edwin Odell Collins, a 40-year-old truck driver, saw the approach of flashlights focused on the ground, he assumed it was a band of people coming to get him and possibly harm his family.

He told investigators at the Hill County Sheriff's Department that he loaded a 12 gauge semiautomatic shotgun and urged his two sons and his daughter to get in the family's mini-van with him and flee.

They headed for the back door of the family's convenience store, which is located at the front of the family's home place and open 24 hours, but for some reason he changed his mind. The four of them alighted from the vehicle and began to run across the pasture for the perceived safety of a heavily wooded treeline.

He ordered his kids to fall back a hundred yards while he waited with the shotgun to kill the people with the flashlights.

But when he heard a scream, he turned and fired in the dark.

The blast struck his daughter in the back; she died at the scene of the shooting, where Mr Collins and his two sons hid in a state of terror for the rest of the night.

At daylight, they approached the store, where he asked his father if police had responded to a dropped call he had attempted to place to the 911 emergency line.

He didn't tell his father, the children's grandfather, that his daughter lay dead in the woods. According to Chief Deputy S. Girsh, Mr. Collins did not appear to be intoxicated by alcohol, under the influence of drugs, or suffering from a psychiatric emergency.

When his father said no, he had not heard anything from police, he and the two boys continued to the Hill County Sheriff's Office in Hillsboro, where he told investigating officers that he had shot his daughter and left her body in the woods without calling in for emergency medical assistance.

He is charged with the murder of his daughter, and has been released on a $500,000 surety bond.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shrink calls "Joker" shooter a Grade B underachiever

Buy the ticket; take the ride - Hunter S. Thompson(click below for minority report)
...By the year 1968, it was apparent these elections were to be determined by killers... ...poor pre-morbid social competence...
...a weak bone...a clockwork timeline...

UN small arms treaty fails on US, Russian opposition

Joker to Obama and Hilary - back off - or else...
Penny postcard of Dirty Harry's visit to United Nations Plaza

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. - The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Gotham City – The Joker sent a message to the White House; it said it's an act of political suicide to support regulation of gun sales, either domestic, or international.

A majority of U.S. Senators joined Batman's arch-nemesis; they sent their own message.

When a coalition of 51 Senators delivered a letter to the White House asserting they would never vote to ratify a United Nations treaty aimed at curtailing the international trade in small arms, the Obama Administration backed off its support for the measure.

Russian representatives at the United Nations echoed the opinion, and joined the U.S. by voting against the final version of the treaty at the end of a week-long conference on gun control on Friday.

According to Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and 50 others, the effort to regulate a $60 billion a year global commerce in small arms - much of it illicit - “restricts the rights of law-abiding American gun owners.”

That sentiment echoed the position of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers who lobbied long and hard against the proposal, which had earlier gained the enthusiastic approval of the President, Barack Hussein Obama, and the Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton.

In a similar writing, former UN Ambassador John Bolton said the treaty advocates “hope to use restrictions on international gun sales to control gun sales at home.” Ambassador Bolton and President George W. Bush had opposed the notion of international control of arms sales during the previous Administration, saying they preferred national laws to international laws to control the commerce in small arms across borders.

An Associated Press Fact Check pointed out that if the terms of an international treaty are counter to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, the nation cannot ratify any such agreement.

The terms of the proposed treaty contained nothing that would infringe the right of the people of the U.S. to keep and bear arms, according legal experts versed in international law.(click here to read the text of a proposed Organization of American States regional arms control treaty opposed by the U.S. and Canada)

World opinion expressed in news dispatches throughout the globe attributed the sudden policy shift by the Obama Administration to public reaction to a mass shooting of theater patrons attending the premier of a Batman movie by an assailant costumed as The Joker, wearing a helmet, full body armor, and armed with an AR-15, a tactical shotgun, and two semiautomatic pistols at Aurora, Colorado.

The alleged gunman is a University of Colorado neuroscience doctoral candidate who had dropped out after participating in studies of behavioral control in that institution's laboratories.   

Friday, July 27, 2012

Father who shot daughter freed on $500K bail

Hillsboro – E.O. Collins, who admitted to Hill County deputies that he took a shot in the dark with his 12-gauge when he heard his daughter scream, gained his release at 5 p.m. today when a Dallas bonding agency underwrote the surety on a $500,000 bond.

Charged with murder, Mr. Collins told lawmen that he heard the girl's scream after a wild flight into the woodsy area of his family property's fence line as he and his children fled intruders with flashlights.

Terrified, Mr. Collins assumed they had come to do him harm.

When he saw the reflection of the flashlights approaching, he ordered his two sons and a 15-year-old daughter to retreat.

His daughter screamed in the dark; Mr. Collins fired in that direction, and he found the child dead, facedown, a shotgun blast to her back having killed her.

War Dance,Inc: Newspaper taxis appear on the shore...

The girl in the polka dot dress, etc...
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds...and you're gone...(click)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will not push for stricter gun laws this election year, the White House said Thursday, one day after his impassioned remarks about the need to keep assault weapons off the streets suggested he may plunge into that political fight and challenge Congress to act.(click here to listen to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King debate)
Instead, Obama's stand on the government's role ended up right where it was after the mass shooting in Colorado last week: Enforce existing law better.(click here)
That is same view held by his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, as both reach for broader and more politically appealing ways to keep guns away from killers.
Obama still wants Congress to reinstitute a federal ban on military-style assault weapons that lapsed years ago,(click here) his spokesman Jay Carney said. But the president is not and has not been pushing for that ban, a nod to the politics of gun control.(click here for some jive talkin' out of New Orleans)  
There is no interest among many lawmakers(click) of both parties to take on the divisive matter. Especially not with an election in just over 100 days.(click here for a weekend update)
Asked if the Senate might debate the issue next year, Reid said, "Nice try."(oh, yes, we've been here before. The notebook, the - whatever - CLICK!)

Cognitive dissonance with a beat you can dance to

Rhythm: electronic noise-vocal horn section

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Suspect's tale confusing, but lawmen charge murder

Dallas bail bonding company goes defendant's half-million dollar bail at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon

(click image for a larger view)
A shot in the dark - the target - a scream

Whitney – Edwin Odell Collins must have looked like the last nine yards of hell when he walked in the front door of the Hill County Sheriff's Office in downtown Hillsboro.

An arrest warrant says he had “numerous scratches on his arms, face and shoulder,” and the right shoulder of Mr. Collins' shirt was “torn off.”

He told deputies he had a need to speak with someone - “to make a report.”

As he talked, he told a horrific tale of terror and an entire night he and his children spent hiding in the trees along a fence line on the family's home place; the lawmen realized that “the Accused was about to escape so that there was no time to procure a warrant.”

The terrible truth came in bits and snatches, according to the deputies' affidavit, as they “attempted to obtain more information as to the location of the shooting and the body of the victim.”

The victim is Judith Collins, Mr. Collins' 15-year-old daughter.

She lay face down and dead, more than 12 miles away along the heavily wooded fenceline where Mr. Collins and his children took refuge during their long night of terror, fatally shot in the back, cut down by a blast from her father's semi-automatic shotgun.

In the laconic words of the affidavit, “E. Collins advised that he knew that he had killed his (daughter) Judith Collins and he then remained hiding in the woods with his two surviving children until daylight.”

At some point, he attempted to contact authorities through the emergency 911 system, but the cell phone dropped the call just as he began to speak to the operator.

At the time the sun arose, he and his 17-year-old son Alex and 11-year-old Logan went to the back door of the family business, a 24-hour convenience store named Collins Hitchin' Post, and asked his father if deputies had responded to a 911 call he made during the night.

When his father said no, he and his sons left the property in his vehicle and headed for the Sheriff's Office in Hillsboro.

“E. Collins advised that he did not tell his father about shooting Judith Collins nor did he call for any emergency services from the store's landline phone.”

When the lawmen were unable to get Mr. Collins to tell them exactly where the shooting took place and where to find the child's body, they took the girl's 17-year-old brother Alex with them so he could help them locate the crime scene quickly.

It was at that point that they detained E. Collins in connection with a murder investigation, in spite of his confusing story about how during the early morning hours of the night, “he thought that someone was trying to get him at his residence...”

He told them how he armed himself with the shotgun, and loaded the three kids in the family's minivan to drive toward the front of the property and the store, which is located at the corner of FM 933 and FM 1713, just north of Whitney.

They could see the lights from two flashlights, Mr. Collins said, shining on the ground while people walked through the semi-rural property in the darkness of night.

Panicked, they alighted from the vehicle and ended up “running through the fields and the woods to get away from the people and he ended up shooting his daughter and killing her,” according to an Investigator Collins, who served as the affiant I the statement Mr. Collins gave officers.

As he and his kids stood at the rear of the business, said Mr. Collins, he heard a bang he thought might be a gunshot, so they ran for the wooded area along the fence line southeast of the store in order to hide in the woods.

He ordered his children to move back about a hundred yards while he waited with his gun to kill the people with the flashlights.

When he heard “one of his daughters scream,” he “turned and shot his shotgun in the direction of the scream.”

Again, in the stony language of the investigator, the story takes its fatal turn.

“E. Collins advised that he was approximately ten feet from his daughter Judith Collins and that he shot her in the back with his semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun.”

A magistrate set his bond at $500,000. Prosecutors will seek to prove that he “intentionally or knowingly caused the death of an individual;” or “intended to cause serious bodily injury and commited an act clearly dangerous to human life” that caused the death of an individual if a Grand Jury returns an indictment on the charge of murder.

They never close them up until somebody gets killed

(click here for a good time - oh, yeah...)

Ronald Jackson found guilty of brutal attacks on his son
(click here for an earlier report on the matter)
You see, back in the day, the desk would never touch a story like this one. Just wasn't fit for consumption by patrons of the public penny prints, you see.

But things seem to have changed, as it were. Oh, yeah. 
- The Legendary

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ray Easley's attacker admits fatal assault

Attacker arrested on other bench warrants

Robinson – In the early morning hours of Wednesday, July 11, Douglas Clinton Mills went to the home of auto dealer Ray Easley at 807 Robinson Rd. and attacked him with his fists.

After he had beaten the man to the floor, he pummeled his head with a lamp, then slammed it with a computer, according to an audio and videotaped statement he gave to police officers and Texas Rangers who arrested him Friday, July 13, at a Motel 6 in Woodway, for aggravated assault.

Officers who filed the probable cause affidavit in support of his arrest said Mr. Mills waived his statutory warnings to keep silent, or expect anything said to be used against him in court, and to be represented by an attorney.

Police did not say how they were alerted to Mr. Easley's perilous condition at noon on Wednesday, July 11, when they arrived to find him bloodied and unconscious in his home adjacent to his auto sales lot. They also did not say how they came by the information that Mr. Mills might be responsible for the attack, or where to find him.

“Easley had obviously been severely beaten by an unknown person(s). Easley was covered in blood, his eyes and face swollen, and his skull fractured,” according to the affidavit.

Ray Easley succumbed to multiple fractures of the skull and the resulting concussions. He never regained consciousness and succumbed to his injuries over the weekend at Hillcrest Baptist Memorial Hospital.

The aggravated assault charge against Mr. Mills was then upgraded to murder, and Precinct 1 Justice Court Judge Billy Martin set his bail at $500,000.

On Wednesday, Judge Martin relented and agreed to release the affidavit of probable cause that was filed in his court pursuant to a warrant of arrest.

Judge admits double entry books on payroll claims

Discussion “tiptoed into the criminal...”

Waco – What started off as a discussion of a procedural error prompted District Attorney Abel Reyna to advise County Commissioners to seek the advice of their attorney.

In a dispute over accounting of a claim for compensatory hours worked by a departing clerk of Justice Court Pct. 7, Judge Jean Laster Boone freely admitted she and her chief clerk have been keeping double entry books in overtime hours accounted as “compensatory” time paid instead of overtime.

Records turned in to the payroll department showed that a departing employee had made a claim for a large number of hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week during her time as an employee.

But a separate record kept internally in the Court's payroll system showed she had worked many hours of overtime not turned in on payroll records at the time the pay period came to an end.

In an audio recording of the discussion, Commissioner Kelly Snell is clearly heard asking if it's not true that the employee – and the Judge – had both asserted in writing that the employee worked but 40 hours during the affected pay periods.

County Auditor Stan Chambers spoke up and said that now that the employee is leaving, she is seeking to be paid from her “compensatory bank.” Several members of the Court then remarked that the record reflects that the hours worked were 40, and 40 hours only. There is no other record to be had, other than one kept as a separate account, internally, in the Justice Court's records.

Judge Boone assured the Court that she and her staff will in the future use the county's payroll records system to keep track of the actual hours worked.

When questions from County Judge Jim Lewis, Commissioners Ben Perry, Kelly Snell and Joe Mashek showed that the judge and her staff had engaged in the double entry scheme, District Attorney Abel Reyna, who was visiting the Court in regard to another matter, stepped in. He advised them to seek the counsel of their attorney before proceeding any further.

A computerized 26-week payroll system rejected by the Court earlier this year was specially designed to prevent such discrepancies; had they stuck with the new system – one that had been paid for out of budgeted funds - it would have prevented any such misunderstanding, according to Mr. Chambers.
Under the system used at present, supervisors fill out time sheets; they and the employee countersign them, and the payroll department makes the payment.

Then the payroll clerks in the County Treasurer's office audit the records to make sure the payment is correct.

Under the system Mr. Chambers advocated, the audit would be done first, then the payment would have been made.

There are many suits in equity filed each year on the county's behalf to obtain judgments against employees who have been overpaid, he said at the time. Many of them go uncollected, though the County is obligated to pay attorneys' fees and court costs in an effort to recoup the losses in erroneous payments.

But the argument fell on deaf ears after employees of the Sheriff's Department and other staff members complained bitterly about the new “trust, but verify” accounting system. They said they would actually be paid less each year, though the diminishment would have been only the amount paid for each pay period for a 40 hour work week. The actual amount of yearly salary would have remained the same, aggregated over a year's time.

“I will be defending my system to the end,” said Mr. Chambers. “The system that I suggested would have given us a chance to audit first...

“The discussion had crossed over from a matter of a procedural error and kind of tiptoed into the criminal,” he added.

“Mr. Reyna put a stop to it, and he should have.”

To hear an audio recording of the remarks that led to Mr. Reyna's admonishment, one need only click the widget below:

POW recalls 4 birthdays in Korean prison camps

Vets of forgotten war detail 7 betrayals
Hewitt – Jack Goodwin was only 20 when he boarded a plane at his duty station in occupied Japan and flew into the hell of an undeclared war.

He fought only one day before the North Koreans took he and his comrades prisoner of war – the day before his 20th birthday.

“I spent 4 birthdays in captivity,” he recalls today, a rueful tone very evident in his delivery.

Mr. Goodwin is the historian for Korean War veterans in the central Texas area. He is one of less than 60 POW's still living, a revered figure in the ranks of America's forgotten warriors who made it home alive from the Korean “conflict.”

They got little if any recognition for their sacrifices. For instance, when Mr. Goodwin got home after 4 years of the hell of a POW camp, he was greeted by a lone photographer from the local Waco paper who recorded his name and took his picture. That was the last he and the other troopers ever heard of it.

There were no boulevards lined with cheering citizens, no ticker tape parades, no welcome home banquets.

But he's upbeat. “We didn't have it so bad as prisoners of the North Koreans. It was the Chinese who were so hard on prisoners. They starved them, beat them – we had one death march – We had one death march where we lost 100 men...” His voice trails off. He's in his 80's now. It's been a long war for Jack Goodwin

The Library of Congress is sponsoring a Veterans History Project, the intention being to record their stories on video or audio in their own words. The stories that are chosen will be archived in the library for the duration. For particulars, you can learn of the librarians' standards at this website:


They gathered on Tuesday afternoon at VFW Post 6008 in Hewitt, members of the Order of the Purple Heart, Vietnam Veterans, and many warriors who served in the first war prosecuted under the command of the United Nations in a place so obscure that President Harry S. Truman admitted many years later he had to go to the Map Room at the White House and consult the globe to find its location when the Department of State first informed him of the need for American troops to be sent there.

It was a war of many firsts, and though it was not the first undeclared war America ever fought, it was the first ever fought that committed American fighting men to the control of an international tribunal like the United Nations. It was the first in which the enemy attempted to force POW's to confess to war crimes they did not commit, crimes which no one committed because – in fact – they never took place.

An honored speaker, Mike O'Bric, outlined the “seven great betrayals” that dictated their wartime experience, the first of which was sending untrained, inexperienced troopers like young Jack Irwin into harm's way to confront an enemy who had violated a treaty and flooded across the DMZ in a strength at least 8 times that of their number.

They were committed by generals and a President who assured Congressmen they could handle it. The reality was stark. They wound up in a tiny area of southeastern South Korea at a place called Pusan, starving, nearly bereft of ammo and supplies, and helpless.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Little bitty boy – with a heart of steel

Hey, pockyway  –  Hey, pockyway...

Waco – Let's call him Ahab – not his real name, but, hey, his identity is supposed to be kept confidential - because he's a child.

And Ahab is a child. Let's make no mistake about that.

Until you actually see him, watch him bounce up in the witness stand and strain to reach the goose-necked condenser mike pointed nearly straight down, the full impact of his stature does not really make an impression.

As he testified against his father about an offense that could net him a possible life sentence for aggravated endangering a child, a frightening picture of a wretched Mother's Day weekend in May, 2011 unfolded like some evil monster – there to slowly crush a child's care free life.

The call and response of the prosecutor's questions and Ahab's simple answers – some so low you could barely make out his “Yes,” or “I don't know” response – began to get to everyone in earshot. Jurors could not hide their disgust with the trim, bearded and bespectacled man sitting at the defendant's table dressed in a neatly pressed oxford cloth business shirt.

More than one person's eyes revealed the glistening glaze of stinging tears, the kind you would like to hide, but can't.

At critical junctures in the questioning, Ahab cut his eyes rapidly toward his father, their sudden swivel in his little face flickering and furtive, before he answered.

A sample:

Did your dad take you to the doctor?”


What did your hand look like?”

Kind of purple...”

Your dad told you to tell people that other kids beat you up.”


You didn't like living with your dad and Clorice?”

Ahab said he didn't know.

You told someone you didn't like living with your dad because they made you do chores...”


Let's get back to Thursday afternoon, the day the nightmare began for Ahab.

His stepmother, Clorice, found a greasy bowl in the dishes Ahab and his little brothers and sisters had been assigned to wash.

A witness later testified that it was Clorice who would inspect Ahab's work around the house. At the time, he was 9. Now he's 10. Clorice held two jobs at the time. She was hard to satisfy, according to the testimony of the man who lived with them.

When his father, Ronald Wayne Jackson, got home from work at an area Burger King, he took all the dishes out of the cabinets and made Ahab wash them. All of them.

He made him do pushups and sit-ups, run wind sprints in the yard, and when he found he wasn't satisfied with this form of discipline, he got out a board and beat him with it.

The kid said it's got tape on one end of it, that it's a two by four, and that his dad broke it on his foot.

That's when he got out the golf club and went back to work on him.

He lashed him with a belt.

A forensic social worker and a Child Protective Services testified that the little boy's body was covered with bruises, chunks of his skin approximately two inches by four inches had been ripped from his buttocks, and his foot and hand were fractured and bleeding.

Their impression of his overall affect - “...very flat, totally shaken...”

Ahab didn't go to school Friday. He stayed home and cleaned up the yard. He stacked bricks. He picked up trash. His dad told people that some kids in the neighborhood jumped him and beat him up. When a man who lived with the family returned that afternoon, he asked him to take the kids to the park.

Ahab had trouble getting ready to go. The man said he found him half on and half off his bed, on his stomach, unable to pull on his shoes because his foot was swollen and bleeding. He helped him get dressed. Ahab stayed in the car while the other kids played. At the Burger King, he vomited after downing about half his soft drink.

He didn't go to school in LaVega on Monday, either. When he arrived on Tuesday, the teacher sent him to the nurse. He was limping. The school's guidance counselor took him to a hospital.

His treatment, according to Ahab: “They wrapped something around my hand.”

It still hurts when he bends his fingers back, he said.

It wasn't the first time it had happened.

When social workers arrived at the house in September of 2010, they found the kid beaten so severely, they had EMS workers take him to the emergency room by ambulance; he stayed there all night.

When the jurors – a multi-ethnic mix of 9 men and 3 women - would file in or out of the room, they kept their eyes averted. They didn't look at Ahab's dad. They looked at the floor. They pretended to take notes on the big yellow legal pads the court furnished them. As they listened, some drilled the accused child beater with looks of disgust. Others stared into space, nonplussed.

District Judge Matt Johnson felt the trial was at a stopping place. He called a recess a few minutes after 4 p.m. Everyone but the attorneys and the judge fled into the wilting heat of a blazing afternoon. A few witnesses remain to be questioned today.

If convicted, the couple could face ultimate sentences of life in prison, not less that 5 or more than 99 years, and a fine of $10,000.

Ronald's offense is beating the boy with deadly weapons; Clorice's alleged crime is standing by and doing nothing.

Ahab doesn't live with his dad any more. He now lives with his “auntie.”

He still limps, slightly, when his weight comes down on his right foot. As he left the courthouse rotunda following his testimony, accompanied by a victim's assistance coordinator and his kin and almost skipping on his way to the elevator, he was smiling, looking forward to the rest of his day.