Unspoken Threats and Intimidation
Names of the people in my story have been changed to protect their identity
It was always a nice break from the chaos of my personal life to teach aerobics and get in a little workout. As I left the fitness center that night I passed the front desk when they said someone left me a package and handed me a big yellow envelope. I hesitated before I reached for the envelope. Who would leave me a package here and why?
When I got home I stared at the envelope for a while. What could be in it and did I really want to know? I finally got the nerve to open it. I knew through my moments of denial that it was from him. Paul was sending me something. I reached into the envelope and pulled out a VHS tape. I felt the blood rush from my head and I became ice cold inside. With my heart beating 100 miles an hour and fear racing through me I held the tape in my hand. Do I dare watch it? What could be on it? I finally got the nerve to play it. It was a video of two people having sex without showing their faces. It was his attempt to make me think it was us. I knew it wasn’t but he could say whatever he wanted to convince people differently. I didn’t think that shock and horror of that video could get worse until I saw still pictures of my family following it. They were pictures of my mom, dad, sister, brother and me. These pictures were in my photo albums and now he had them. Obviously, this was an attempt to intimidate and threaten me without saying a word. What if this got out? I was the only one that knew it wasn’t me in the video. To what extreme would this person go to, I had no idea. This was his way of showing me he had access to my home and he had taken things from me.
The next day I was at the office. I kept having flashbacks of the video. I sat at my desk in a bit of a fog when a fax was delivered to me. The fax showed my flight itinerary for a trip I had taken to Las Vegas for a convention. At the bottom of it was a handwritten message, “How was the movie?” It was Paul’s handwriting. How did he get my flight information!!!!!! It was time to contact my attorney. I told my attorney about the video, pictures and fax. The next day he filed a charge of tampering with a State Witness report against Paul.
A week later my attorney was in court on the Motion for Contempt. The motion was dropped because Paul’s lawyer stated that a relative of his created the tape and sent the fax. The restraining order was then amended to include Paul’s relatives. All pictures, videos and letters that were on the VHS tape were to be returned to me through my attorney. The next day Paul’s attorney said they could not turn over the photos, videos, etc. because they may be necessary and relevant in the criminal proceedings.
You know how in physics every action has some kind of reaction. In the legal world that seems to be the same. One attorney does something then the other attorney does something to counteract the other attorney’s previous action. This goes on and on and back and forth with each action having a dollar sign attached to it. Paul and his attorney made another effort to force our hand. If a settlement wasn’t agreed upon by August 12th they would file a motion to dissolve the restraining order and request merits of the injunction issue to Civil Rule 1.610 and demand full discover and deposition. They were also pursuing claims for all his attorney fees. By this time about four and a half months had passed.
It was about a week and a half since I received the video and fax. The Sheriff’s Office contacted Paul’s relative in regard to tampering with a State Witness, but his relatives would not talk to them. The next day the Sheriff’s office called to speak to Paul’s relative and ended up speaking to Paul. Paul became very irate and started screaming at the supervisors of investigators who were in charge of the report.
Dean called me and told me he had something important to talk to me about and he had just left a meeting with the Sheriff. I hung up the phone with a buzz of possibilities of what he was going to tell me running through my head, none of them good.
He came to my office and was direct and to the point. There was no beating around the bush. He said Paul wanted to blow me up in my car, and he was planning that same fate for Dean. Would this nightmare ever end or would my life end first? What! When! How do you know this? All this came spewing from my mouth. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact someone wanted me dead! This was insane! What should I do? Do I run and hide? Where should I run to? It makes sense to runaway so he can’t kill me. I was looking for confirmation from Dean that these were the actions he was going to recommend. Instead, the Sherriff’s Office needed to build a case so they could arrest Paul, so I couldn’t run away. I couldn’t hide. I had to pretend like I knew nothing of his plans. Are you kidding me? You want me to go about my daily routine knowing that someone wants to kill me. He wants to blow me up! How was I supposed to do that? After I settled down a little and really focused on the words he said and what they actually meant, it all started to sink in. This man wanted me dead and was willing to go to any extreme to accomplish it.
Fear can be a very powerful and scary emotion. It is like it becomes its own being. The being can be backed by courage or a desire to flee. The person I was then wanted to flee. I’m not sure that would be the case today.
You may be wondering how the Sheriff’s Office knew of his plan to kill Dean and me. Paul friended a guy he met at a bar. It was someone he approached in an effort to purchase plastic explosives. He told the guy he wanted to blow up a law enforcement officer and his girlfriend. By the grace of God this guy happened to be an informant for the Sheriff’s Office, otherwise, it is very possible I wouldn’t be here writing my story. When he contacted the Sheriff’s Office and told them about this guy that approached him it didn’t take them long to figure out the guy was Paul and that he was planning on killing Dean and me by blowing up our cars. That’s how I became aware of his desire to go to the next level and kill me.
In order for the State Attorney’s Office to press charges they needed more evidence/proof of his intentions. They wanted audio confirmation. They wanted the informant to wear a wire and get Paul to confess on tape. This is why I couldn’t run away, I couldn’t hide. Instead, I had to pretend like everything was normal. Whatever normal was for me at that time I can’t say. This definitely sounded like an impossible feat. How do I go about my daily routine knowing that someone wants to blow me up?
I knew the Sheriff’s Office would do everything to get the evidence and make sure I was safe. I will admit that wasn’t enough for me to feel safe. There were so many ‘what if’s’ that could happen. What if the informant sells Paul explosives and doesn’t tell law enforcement? What if Paul goes to someone else to buy the stuff?
The informant was arrested so the wheels could be set in motion to get the evidence. Paul bailed him out and the process was underway. It was up to the informant to get Paul to confess what his plans were while he was wearing a wire. I wanted so badly to awaken from this nightmare.
The first time I went to the parking lot to start my car after talking to Dean was a very different experience from my normal routine. I went to my car and stopped before putting the key in the lock. Just for shits and giggles I decided to look under the car first. As I got on my knees to peer under the car, I realized I had no idea what I thought I might see. I figured if something was there that shouldn’t be it would jump out at me. The only thing I knew about timers and explosives like plastic were things I had seen on TV and in the movies. After checking under the car I once again stopped before putting in the key and unlocking the door. Would the turning of the key be what detonated the explosives? I put the key in the lock and turned it. The door unlocked and I was still breathing. I got in the car and closed the door. I had seen a number of movies where when someone turns the key to start the car it blows up.
I took a deep breath and put the key in the ignition. I turned the key and expected the possibility that this might be it. The car starts and I am still there in one piece! Maybe he is planning on setting it off when I put the car in drive or reverse. I slide it into reverse and start moving back. Everything is still good. Let’s try drive. I made it! This was pretty much the process of me starting my car each time. I was always wondering if this might be my last breathe as I performed each function of driving a car, a process that I used to take for granted as something simple. I used to think the worst case scenario would be that the car wouldn’t start, not that it could explode.