Murder Mountain (2018) s01e04 Episode Script

The Alderpoint 8

1 The first thing I ever heard about Murder Mountain was back in the '70s, Scott Johnson had a couple of trimmers working for him on his property.
Scott was one of the originals on the mountain, you know? I think Scott's intentions, when he first started off up here was to kind of create like a community where they could all take care of each other.
Scott and his best friend, Clark, were up there growing weed, and Scott found some trimmers, and he brought them up to his house.
The couple, Michael Bear Carson and his wife, Suzan, were traveling through Humboldt County.
Unbeknownst to Scott and everybody else on the property, and throughout Rancho, in their spare time, those two trimmers would sneak off and commit horrible murders.
They would chop bodies up, and hide them throughout Scott's property.
They were on this holy mission, you know? It was like a mission from God.
They were killing people that they thought were sinners, or like, evil, you know? Like witches.
One victim was Clark Stephens, a young man who moved to Humboldt County to grow marijuana in the early '80s.
Clark was his best friend.
He died because Scott brought these people up there, you know? And he felt responsible for him.
The legend of Murder Mountain took hold at that point, like everything's just a Murder Mountain thing now.
The area is referred to as Murder Mountain.
- Known as Murder Mountain.
- Murder Mountain.
with a history of violence and missing people.
There's been a lot of murders everywhere, but for some reason, it stuck here.
The name has stuck here which is dumb.
They should call it Widow Mountain.
At this point, we did everything we possibly could do to try to find what happened to Garret.
The sheriff's department wasn't going to do anything.
I was really frustrated.
I felt helpless.
If the law enforcement agencies weren't going to do anything about this Well Who do I turn to now, you know? I don't want anybody to get a misconception about my intentions or my actions that night.
I don't consider myself a vigilante.
But we were trying to find Garret.
Thanksgiving a plethora of vehicles went past my place.
So I followed them up.
There were about eight men dressed in camouflage.
You know the people who were there that night? Everybody had masks on.
Did you have a mask on? Yes.
I think the only people that didn't wear masks was Scott Neil, Bob.
They weren't having it They didn't want this guy here.
There was arguing going back and forth.
This guy, he was being questioned as to his involvement in Garret's murder.
I said, "Everybody in the neighborhood knows that you did it.
Everybody knows you did it.
Where's the body?" After Neil shot him and then, Bob pistol-whipped him, he probably felt like his life was in danger at that point.
He said that he would take him to where the body was buried.
So they got up, loaded him up.
Drove off.
And I didn't see Neil until the next morning.
It was crazy, man, because that was like a real taste of the old Western outlaw shit.
You know you're living on a place called Murder Mountain, and then, to see it happening, you know? There was, like, three murders the first three years I lived up here.
I think that's why weed's been legalized.
They're trying to make it a safe place to live, I guess.
The state's coming in now, with regs.
It has to be clean.
That's not easy to do.
There's a fire sale going on at marijuana dispensaries today.
Strict regulations go into effect tomorrow across the state.
California is requiring shops to sell only marijuana that has been tested for pesticides, potency, and microbiological contaminate.
That's going to eliminate three quarters of every grower, which is going to prop up the black market.
Starting July 1st, all cannabis product packaging has to have this universal symbol, or else they'll have to dispose of the product.
The new rules regarding labeling, safety packaging, and chemical testing are part of California's legalization of the industry.
It was easier to be in the black market.
You can spray pesticides.
You can do whatever.
People will buy it.
The black market's strong, and it's crushing the white market right now.
We got other states that don't recognize marijuana, and so, to transport it out of here and go to a state that doesn't recognize marijuana is a pretty convenient thing, as you still have some profit there.
Humboldt County supplies, as far as I understand it, about 80% of the US black market.
I think counties and state and feds all need to understand better how to regulate this thing, and make it worth all of our while.
Multi-billion dollar industry.
I feel sorry for those that are coming into compliance.
Marijuana is not as lucrative as it has been in the past.
The price per pound is down.
So the smart man, and I'm not saying I agree with him, the smart man's going to do it illegally.
Before I went to jail, I was already way behind.
We need plants in the ground quick.
But you know, that costs money.
- Hey, what's up, man? - What's up? Are you guys in town now? One quick question I want to ask you, how much of that sour diesel do you have? It's looking like we've got 100.
You have 100 in total? In total, but they're not cleaned up yet.
We're working on it right now.
You'll take everything? All right.
To be an outlaw in Humboldt County, it's never a dull moment.
And when you're dealing with the amount of money that's involved, you're going to bring out the worst and the best in everybody.
We got into my truck, and drove I guess about ten or 11 miles.
It was in a field of what appeared to be holes dug for pot cultivation.
The hole that I was directed to was back-filled.
The perpetrator then told me that's where I would find the person who had gone missing for nine months, Garret.
There's a certain power that takes over the atmosphere in the presence of death.
You seem to walk slower, think slower, talk slower.
Everything slows down.
It was a shallow grave.
It didn't take a long time.
I came up with remains of Garret.
Although I thought I was ready for it, it was a difficult task.
Seeing the kid laying there really fucked Neil up, thinking he could have stopped it.
That's a sad ending, for anybody.
So the land owner made contact with the sheriff's department and reported that there had been a homicide.
Usually, you're only going to have somebody on your farm if you've been working with them for a long time, and you know them well.
There's the fear of getting ripped off.
There's the fear of being, you know, ratted on.
There's the fear of people you don't know showing up trying to buy weed.
I mean, there's all sorts of complications that can arise.
We avoid all of that by utilizing the hotels.
The way the system works, you're going to have buyers, usually from out of state.
Um, they'll post up in a room.
They'll have one, maybe two, sometimes even three, four contacts or so of people that they know that can get them the product they're looking for.
These two.
The guy in the blue.
See, I think he's an East Coast buyer.
That Chrysler belongs to a friend of mine.
She'll more than likely be showing a pound or two, I imagine.
Take all her bushy.
Those two are tourists.
You can tell by the short shorts.
This hotel especially, this was the central hub of all of the activity.
This was everything.
I mean, four or five, six years ago, there were millions of dollars sitting behind each one of these doors.
Definitely a buyer.
These two are newbies.
Walking through the middle of the parking lot with black trash bags.
-Hey, what's up, brother? -Yeah, boy, I'm getting in right now.
You need to pick up the trim, right? -Give me about 10, 15 minutes, okay? -Okay, cool.
No problem, man.
I'll see you in a little bit.
When I first moved here, it was really exciting.
I've never seen anything like it, and I don't think there will be anything like it ever again.
Legalization will see to that.
When I first moved up here, you know, you'd always hear stories about like, the mountain, you know, taking matters into their own hands.
I never saw it, you know? Until Neil and Scott Johnson showed me for the first time, like, what it really was.
Neil picked me up the next day.
He started telling me what had happened.
And that they ended up driving him to the hospital.
Just dropping him off.
You know, we rolled this guy out, you know? Forced him out, pretty much.
You know, they never planned on killing him.
If they wanted to handle him, they would have, you know what I mean? They were considerate enough to take him to the hospital.
I'd have let the bastard bleed.
When I heard what Neil did, I was proud of him, and I was glad that he did it.
He knew that he did something that was important, that needed to be done.
He knew that his son would have been proud of him.
Garret's parents needed to know.
They didn't have to wonder where he was anymore.
It was Thanksgiving.
I woke up in the middle of the night, checked my phone, and had a voicemail.
And I remember sitting straight up in bed.
"We have Garret's body.
" I was blown away.
New developments on a missing persons case that today turned into a murder investigation.
A body found in rural Humboldt County was identified as 29-year-old Ocean Beach resident Garret Rodriguez.
There's a saying in criminal law.
"No body, no crime.
" It's one thing for somebody to say, "Yeah, a friend of a friend told me he heard about a guy that shot a guy.
" But it's a very different thing entirely to say, "Okay, now we have a body, and it has bullet holes in it.
" He was a missing person, and there are so many missing in Humboldt County.
The case was probably moving toward the cold case direction.
Okay, now, we have the sheriff's attention, and I felt confident that justice would be served.
I was grocery shopping, and Chris called me, and told me that they had found Garret's body.
We found out that Garret was shot through the mouth, and it went directly to his spinal cord, and he died instantly from what the autopsy showed.
That was somewhat consoling to me, that he didn't suffer a lot.
We had him cremated, and scattered his ashes on the sea.
He He was part of me.
I mean I think a lot of fathers feel that way about their sons, that, uh Garret and I were so much in love with each other as father and son.
I don't even know how I got through it.
I'll never be over it, but um I can't imagine families that don't get their loved ones back.
You know? Never.
And there's so many of them there in Humboldt.
When I heard Garret's body had been found, at that point, I was far from surprised.
I knew, you know, in my heart of hearts, I knew what happened.
But when I actually found out and heard the crazy story about the Alderpoint 8, that was shocking.
Eight men, known as the Alderpoint 8, after the name of their town, formed a posse, confronted the man they believed to be the suspect, then forced him to take them to the body.
For local residents, the Alderpoint 8 have become heroes.
We know all of them, and they're all good people.
There was definitely, like, a hype, or legend, or a myth built up because of this.
Everybody was like, "Oh, that's so cool" You know? I don't think it's cool.
The Alderpoint 8 just perpetuates this whole thing of like, outlaw justice and vigilante bullshit.
Neil, he went up there because he thought he was helping.
He thought he was doing the right thing.
And they weren't thinking about the consequences.
But Garret got to go home to his family.
And it brings tears to my eyes.
I don't even know the kid.
And then, the cops went after the vigilantes for doing that to him.
Because Neil shot this guy, you know, the way they got their information or whatever, he thought he was going back to prison.
Neil wasn't willing to chance that.
It made him leave.
Scott, he felt very aware that the cops could be coming any time.
So Scott and I, we left town.
There's a mythos of these outlaws that are living in the woods.
Totally off the grid.
And now, law enforcement is aware they are on the grid.
You talk about vigilantism.
They're not concerned about the confines of the law.
In this case, the Alderpoint 8 were able to assist in the location of Mr.
But some of these people were involved in a felonious act.
Law enforcement has a responsibility to make an arrest.
It felt like the police were looking at the group of people there as vigilantes, and saw me as part of that group.
That might have been my motivation to distinguish myself from the group, per se.
And you wanted to go and state for the record, your side of the story? Yes.
Today, we're going to pack up about 10 to 15 pounds, and get it ready for transport.
No smell, inconspicuous.
We always put down a sheet right over where we're working.
We don't want to leave any residue on the ground.
The vacuum sealer, the vacuum bags.
Gloves, Clorox disinfecting wipes.
So first thing we do is we dump the contents of the oven bag into the vacuum sealing bag, making sure that we don't spill any along the way.
Place the bag inside the sealer.
Make sure the bag doesn't collapse in on itself.
That ensures that you don't crush the product.
Then double bag it.
Afterwards, you use the disinfecting wipes.
You wipe down for any fingerprints, and any other residue that may be on the bag.
We're going to drive these about ten miles south to the buyer.
Would I rather do it legally? No.
No, I don't think that legalization has had the effect that everybody expected it to.
You know, it kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing.
We had a message from John Reilly, Senior.
He said that he wanted to give a statement.
I had never seen Mr.
Reilly at that point, but the man that comes through the door, he certainly did not look like a vigilante.
He didn't look like he'd be strong-arming anybody into submission anytime soon.
He seemed very interested in helping.
Okay, John, before we get started here, you feel comfortable talking to us and you feel this is your idea as far as recording it? Yes.
My motivation has been pure.
I am no way involved with the crime.
I'm not guilty of anything.
So, why don't you tell me what happened on Thanksgiving evening? Well, as I said, a group of people passed my cabin.
And I was curious.
His presentation of the story at that point was not that he had direct involvement in that incident.
It was more as a bystander.
There was a heated argument going on.
Uh, and then, more talk and he confessed to actually shooting Garret.
Okay, let's stop for a moment.
What did he say? When I was listening to the statement, it was so crazy.
We found the body, and we have a confession.
He said he shot Garret.
He wasn't denying it at all.
And finally, he admitted it.
At that point, we knew what had happened to Garret.
But I did not realize what they had experienced and witnessed that night.
A confession had been given.
I heard an admission of murder.
Chris Cook and her associate there, they did extensive interviewing.
They had a confession.
They had a body.
And of course, she was really excited.
And after the Alderpoint 8 found Garret's body, they dropped the person of interest off at the ready care.
We envisioned, "Okay, we'll be going to court.
" "We're going to get this guy.
" Today, I spoke with Jennifer Turner, the lead detective who's handling the Garret Rodriguez homicide investigation.
Are there any persons of interest or suspects in the homicide of Rodriguez at this time? We're pursuing leads.
And can you give us any idea of how close you are to making an arrest? I can't give a timeline, but I believe that Garret's family will have justice.
The only known interview I know between Humboldt law enforcement and the fellow that allegedly shot Garret, uh, was when he himself was injured and in the hospital.
To the best of my knowledge, I didn't understand that questioning to actually have anything to do with Garret.
It was more surrounding the circumstances where that man became wounded himself.
My understanding is he was released from the hospital after the brief interview.
That he was let go.
The deputy sheriffs, at the time, questioned the subject.
And in a case like this, if there is not enough probable cause to link this subject to, let's say, a murder, or to a crime, that deputies don't have the authority to make an arrest.
You can't base your probable cause on hearsay.
You have to have cold, articulable facts to meet that threshold of probable cause.
My recollection of this case is that they hadn't reached that threshold yet.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Department said that they were going to find out what really happened.
But it appears to me like the so-called police agencies are like toothless lions.
They don't do anything.
There's so many excuses they've made why there hasn't been an arrest.
"Because there's no witness.
It's hearsay.
" I think the sheriff's department-- I just didn't think they cared.
And Sheriff Downey didn't seem to make this priority, in my mind.
The last time the alleged killer was seen, so the rumor goes, they saw a guy that looked just like him, in Ray's parking lot, and he was hobbling on one foot, they could have sworn that was him.
Nothing ever became of it.
He disappeared.
I don't know where he is.
At that point, we had to pay serious attention to the Alderpoint 8.
The Alderpoint 8.
I knew some of the players up there.
I remember thinking, okay, who would that be? If you had eight people, or more than one gave consistent accounts of what happened, and what he said, certainly, it would lend more credibility to the events that night.
Power in numbers, I would think would help the case.
Do you want to tell me who some of those other people are? Basically, we're isolationists out there.
That's why we're out there.
We suspected for a long time that John Reilly probably knew a lot more than he was telling us.
Only people on that mountain that night could know information that could help us.
Scott and Neil led the way.
But the Alderpoint 8's actions you can't measure the effect it's had on this community.
They are growing weed, you know? The people were doing what they were doing to support their families.
They weren't trying to hurt anybody or trying to steal from you.
It's like the bootleggers back in the day, you know? They didn't mean any harm, they were just doing what they were doing.
After the Alderpoint 8, there was nothing right that happened.
You think that you're so untouchable, or everything is so strong.
Everybody was an outlaw.
I mean, like, gun blazing.
But you live by the sword, you die by the sword, you know? You don't realize the ripple effect.
And that's how Matt got to be there.
An inmate at the RJ Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego, California.
Hello? Hey, how you doing, Matt? How are you? Hanging in there.
Scott Johnson, he was like a dad to me.
I never had a dad in my life, so having him around to count on and talk to was awesome.
I think it was 2000, the end of 2013, he asked me if I wanted to come up there and work.
Scott was always helping people.
He helped anybody that needed help.
He'd go down south, and he'd come back up with "his orphans," to let them come up and help work.
Scott was looked on as a sort of godfather.
He had a good soul.
He had a good heart.
I would do absolutely anything for Scott Johnson, because he would do the same for me.
I think Scott got caught in the middle of a bad situation.
And that's when I decided that I was going to stay there and caretake his property.
Matt Brown said that he would stay, help watch the property while we're gone.
My understanding is that Matt had been in jail numerous times.
He was a skinhead, or Nazi.
He has a swastika.
He was, like, some sort of Aryan skinhead.
Scott brought him up there to work for him, for him to help him do a grow.
But he took it as, he was there to enforce things.
To regulate, I guess.
Because that's what he tried to do.
I guess, "regulate" would be to like, make sure that people are in line, to not be doing wrong things.
Do you know where that term comes from? Um Billy the Kid? Young Guns? It's the best movie ever.
Matt Brown physically attacked one of the workers that was on the property.
Um, hit him in the face inside Scott's house.
And there was another one.
He shot this guy with a paintball, you know, in the head.
Neil, he was, you know, selling pounds back east.
He was doing his crazy thing.
He came back, and heard about some of this stuff, and he was like, all right, buddy.
Now, you have to answer to me.
Let him try to pick on me, basically.
Neil, he was really hot-headed and very aggressive.
And here comes Neil on a quad.
He's all, "What are you doing, bitch boy? What are you doing up here? What's up, bitch boy? What are you going to do now?" It just escalated from there.
Little stupid things became serious things, and Neil was just a big guy.
When he was upset, he was upset in a big way.
Scared the shit out of this guy.
Kept scaring the shit out of him.
That's when Matt Brown started carrying his shotgun around.
The fear that I had for Neil Decker, and how much he terrorized me, and I feared for my life.
That's why I was always carrying a gun.
After the Alderpoint 8, Neil thought that he was untouchable all the way up until that night.
- Hey, buddy.
- What's up, brother? What you got for me? This stuff came out of Alderpoint.
It's dec'.
Good shit, all right.
Technically I'm an interstate drug trafficker, which is kind of cool.
This all you got? Just one kind? Yeah, they're all the same.
You coin the term "drug dealer," but I'm not a bad guy.
I'm not the bad guy.
The difference between an outlaw and a criminal is I'm not purposely going out to break laws.
I just don't accept certain laws that I don't think are just.
- Yeah, looks like we're good.
- Adding up? Cool beans.
Hey, it's always a pleasure, my friend.
Yeah, brother.
I'm growing something that can save lives, and, you know, fuck me for making money while doing it.
I had had a couple of anonymous tips from people that said that if they ever came across the alleged killer, that they would love to kill him.
Neil Decker was one of the few people that came out.
He didn't seem terribly concerned about hiding his identity.
He explicitly stated to me that if he ever came across the alleged killer, he was going to kill him himself.
It was definitely something that was talked about, was whether or not we might have played a part in making this happen.
And he could have details about the case.
Neil was a hero.
The AP 8, they did a good thing.
It felt like we were invincible, you know what I mean? It takes one little coward to like, destroy everything.
I was in Alderpoint.
I was told that Scott wanted to talk to me, and that I needed to go up to the house.
It wasn't like Scott to have me come up there so late.
I had the shotgun with me, because of the suspicion of the whole situation.
Me and Neil were at Scott's house.
Neil was upstairs.
I was watching TV.
I walked in and proceeded upstairs.
Scott was laying in his bed.
He was just looking for some tools.
He figured that I had them.
We had the bedroom, and then an office outside of it.
Neil and I were sitting outside that room, totally eavesdropping.
And Neil heard Matt say something about him.
Neil came busting in the room.
He just told me I needed to keep his name out of my mouth.
He had his hand in the back of his waistband.
That's when I raised the shotgun, and pulled the trigger.
I hear Hannah just screaming.
When I got up there, the whole front of his shirt was filled with blood.
That's when I went out the back slider door, fled the scene.
I told him that I loved him, and he told me that he loved me, too.
And then, he never said another word after that.
There was no coming back from that.
It was very traumatic.
I miss him so much.
Not a day goes by that I don't think about him.
I remember when they were carrying him down the stairs.
And he had a grin on his face.
He was going to see his son.
That's all he wanted.
Neil had died in a horrific incident.
So that was not a happy turning point in Garret's case.
Scott couldn't believe that he was in the same situation that he had been in before, you know? That was the second best friend that got killed there.
The second best friend that he felt responsible for getting killed.
Scott was not going to be the same after that.
Scott created, like, this humongous empire, and then it's like, everything just starts falling apart.
That was his best friend for, like, 30 years.
Scott wanted justice.
Scott's motto was "You do what's right, not what's easy.
" And he lived and died that.