The Staircase (2004) s01e12 Episode Script

Between Anger and Despair

[theme music playing] Your Honor, everyone has their own strategy.
And the defense made a decision not to do any testing.
That is their choice.
Defense counsel is not bound by the defense that was used at trial.
But even here, their own witness, he's still saying it's an accident.
Well, certainly the State disagrees with him, but this is their witness, their evidence.
And based on their evidence, the DNA, if there is any, would not affect, in any way, his determination that this is an accident, and therefore, would not be prejudicial to the defendant.
And it's for those reasons, Your Honor, that the defendant has failed to meet his burden for purposes of this hearing in showing that there's been a due process violation.
And therefore, Your Honor, the State would ask that you deny the defendant's motion to dismiss.
Well, let me ask you this, Mr.
Dornfried, what if I do that? What if I deny the defendant's motion and this case goes to trial? She can still raise the issue about the condition of this evidence to the jury.
Yes, sir.
- So, are you finished? All right.
- Yes, sir.
- Yes? - [woman] Thank you, Your Honor.
From the very beginning, there have been issues with how evidence potentially containing DNAwas handled, but what becomes more egregious and bespeaks bad faith on the part of the State, is the actions of two individuals who have since been found by this court to basically have acted in bad faith in the past.
The request for examination of physical evidence submitted by the Durham Police Department requesting DNA analysis and blood spatter analysis, and this was dated January 17th, 2002, that it was transferred to the SBI, in the comments, specifically says, "Attention: all clothing, shoes, and socks are to go to Duane Deaver and Susie Barker for blood spatter prior to DNA.
" The clothing was moved over, first of all, to Duane Deaver and Susie Barker.
They diverted the request of the Durham Police Department.
That's bad faith.
At that point in time, Mr.
Deaver had his theory already laid out in his mind.
And every step he took was an effort to further his theory.
We're now looking at a new trial, we're starting from scratch.
We say, let us have the evidence.
Let's have it tested for DNA to see whose DNA is on Kathleen Peterson's clothing.
We cannot do that.
We cannot have reliable DNA testing of her clothing.
Did those clothes only have Kathleen Peterson's DNA on them? Did they only have Kathleen Peterson and Michael Peterson's DNA on them? Or do they have a third person's DNA on them? And we don't know that.
Our efforts to represent Mr.
 Peterson are absolutely hamstrung.
And because of the situation being presented to defense counsel, to my client, and to the court, there is nothing that can be done to restore his due process right to defend himself and present an appropriate and a fair defense.
And therefore, we respectfully ask you to dismiss the charges against Michael Peterson.
[Jim] Your Honor, it is a smart strategy to cover your bases.
That's what she's saying she's doing now.
We're saying it's an accident, but it's not an accident, he didn't do it.
Previous counsel didn't do that, but the potential was there.
These are seasoned, talented attorneys who knew that those were the options to take, that were available.
And their strategy was to only take one route.
All right, Ms.
Darrow, um I don't mind finding a due process violation if it's there, but the kind that they are wanting the court to find, apparently, since they've reversed four of my cases, is the kind that Mr.
Dornfried is arguing should be there, so If the analysis had not been diverted and Kathleen Peterson's clothing had been checked for DNA and tested to see whose DNA was on it, it wouldn't matter if David Rudolf had thrown the shorts on the floor and stomped on them.
It would not have mattered because an initial DNA analysis was conducted.
Here we are in 2016, however, and it can't be done, and that's where my client is harmed.
We just can't adequately present a defense other than to say, "He didn't do it.
" And that's not enough.
It's not enough.
And that's an injustice.
That's an unfairness, and it's a substantive and procedural due process violation of my client's rights.
Thank you, Your Honor.
All right.
The court is going to determine that it does not find a due process violation.
The defendant's motion is going to be dismissed.
The State's gonna prepare an order with the appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Now I need for you all to tell me when this case is gonna be tried.
[Jim] Is there any date you would prefer? [Marie] May 1st? [man] The court's in recess until tomorrow morning at 9:30.
Well, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for your girls and your son, who are very upset right now.
- [low chatter] - [Michael sighs heavily] [low, indistinct chatter] - Do you want to talk about the trial? - [Michael] No, I don't.
[chuckles] No, Julie, no.
You can probably imagine, right? Right.
No hard evidence, no nothing, you don't understand.
My poor daughters.
God Almighty.
[Michael sighs] [exhales] [Michael] Well, fuck.
[chuckles] [sighs] - How are you? - Great.
Thank you.
Appreciate it.
Gave them $8 to get fucked.
Never heard of that.
[classical music plays over car speakers] [music stops] Oh, let me get this.
[sighs heavily] I can't believe it.
I just can't believe it.
All these Five years for this.
- [Clay] It's been five years? - [Margaret] Yep.
God, I'm sorry for you guys.
I thought this would be a moment of redemption for you, at least, and release, we can be - I thought it was gonna be for you, too.
- I'm done with this shit.
I don't care.
[mutters] Yeah, yeah, but [sighs] You know, victory, you can do that on your own.
You can do your little "Oh, I won!" But when you're down in the dumps, and it's "Shit!"it's nice to have those you love nearby.
You know? [Michael chuckles] [sighs heavily] Well, I think I'll go throw myself off the window now.
[all laughing] Well, I'll be there Now that you've comforted me so much.
"Bye! I'm outta here!" I was gonna go buy some cigarettes and Margaret was looking inside.
And I was like, "Do you want anything?" And she was like, "Can you get me some hope?" [laughter] "Unless they have hope in there" Right? It's called "Crown Royal.
" [laughter] [phone line ringing] Get this over for me.
End it, David.
Free me and my children from [laughs] the bondage of the judicial system.
[David over speaker] I've got a lot of emotional baggage tied up in this I know.
as well.
You know? Um, so Yeah, it's not as though I come to this with a clean slate.
I know.
- Emotionally.
- Oh, with lots of wounds, too.
I know.
I got it.
So I need to think about it.
Um And the other thing I need to think about is, um I'm not sure that after you get your ass kicked would be the best time to negotiate.
- Mm-hmm.
- Um And I wonder whether you know, there ought to be a couple of motions filed first.
For example, a motion to suppress everything that was found as a result of that search warrant that was declared invalid by the court of appeals.
Which would include all the computer shit.
And asking Hudson to reconsider his ruling on the Germany stuff.
Once you've filed those two motions, that might be a better time to approach the DA's office.
Well, I guess the other question is financial.
Um What's the situation with your family? Is there any other source to pay for doing any of this stuff? Nope.
[stammers] No, I No, David.
There isn't.
Uh, as you know, I'm indigent and they'll certainly, you know [laughs] For you, it would be pro bono, whatever the State pays to represent me, but it's whatever the hell it is.
What? A hundred bucks an hour or something like that? Whatever.
Well, that would require Orlando to appoint me.
As you can imagine, I am in kind of desperate straits.
It looked to me like yesterday, uh, Hudson was, you know, waiting for her to come up with something that would give him the grounds to do this, and she never did it, but then he was also turning to Dornfried, saying, you know, "What have you got for trial?" Uh, which isn't much, right? And I don't believe they've even opened the boxes.
I don't think that they've, you know I don't think they want to retry this case, David.
Now all they've got is Deborah Radisch OK, David.
I appreciate it.
I'll give it some thought.
I appreciate it.
Thank you very much.
All right.
Margaret, come here, I'll talk to you about what's going on, sweetie pie.
And Clay, come over here.
Let me make sure you fully understand this, OK? Please come over here, Margaret.
I forget, what - [Margaret] "Get your ass over here.
" - Get your ass over here.
Margaret! [laughing] [Margaret] Oh, it's the story of my life! Oh, God! Is there anyone here who isn't always performing? All right.
You can sit on the sofa if you want.
No? OK.
No, I'd rather look up adoringly.
Oh, much better! Here.
Let me start sitting on [all laughing] - Oh, hi, Clay.
- [laughter] First person I called this morning was Marie Jude.
She's very sorry for what happened, and I said, "Thank you, you did a fine job.
" And I asked about the Alford plea, had Jim offered that? And she said no.
So, I called David Rudolf to begin negotiations because I want this thing to end.
Right now.
I want it just finished and be done with and we can go on.
And David's response was, quite correctly, "You wouldn't want to go to them now anyway, because you're in a weakened position.
You just got your ass kicked, so that's not when you go and ask somebody, 'Oh, I give up.
Could I have this?'" It's like having a shit hand in cards.
You hold on for a while, to try to bluff them.
We'll see, you know.
And so David says we need to file a couple of motions to let them know we're going to pursue it and that he will carry this on.
Whether he's gonna do it or not, I don't know.
I don't want to subject you guys to two more years of this.
I don't want to subject the little kids to this.
Which they'll be growing up for the next couple of years with this.
And, plus, I don't want to do it.
I'm too old for this.
I'd fight If it were just me, I might, but then again, it's called, I think, "risk assessment.
" Is the risk worth the payoff? And I don't think it is.
What do you guys think? [Martha] But he didn't say anything about, should you do a retrial or should you do Alford plea? We only discussed Alford.
We didn't discuss the other.
And the other would be starting all over again, having certain things totally eliminated.
Certainly anything with blood spatter, anything now with DNA, - uh, the - [Margaret] Computers? The computer, the search is out, but they can still bring back Brad, because, you know, that wasn't part of the computer.
They could bring back, uh, Liz.
David thinks he could keep that out.
Anything about Liz and Germany.
Get rid of that.
- Please.
- Please.
- Hmm? - Please.
Yeah, of course.
Well, of course.
Of course.
Which is another main reason.
But that's no guarantee.
Last time, Hudson said, "Oh, well, bring it in anyway.
" You know.
I appreciate you hearing how hard it was for us, and the idea of it being really so traumatizing and horrible, um and I also want to honor that drive to fight.
If it means not coming to the trial for a couple of the days where they're gonna talk about things like our birth mother, I don't need to come to court every day.
And I know that, but I don't want to put you in that position.
We're not 20, 21 - [Michael] No, you're not.
- 19 anymore.
[Michael laughs] We're not.
You know, going into that first trial, all of us were so young.
- Really.
- Oh, yes.
Martha was a freshman when Mom died.
We've been through a lot, and I think that that we've learned a lot, too, of how to manage our expectations, how to manage stress, how to We're a much stronger family, and so, if we do decide to do a retrial, we'll be much better equipped to handle it.
- [sighs] - [woman] Can I ask a question? What do we get from that? I mean What do we care versus [Martha] I feel like it's the - the principle of it.
- Exactly.
Like, it's like you are free.
I want you to be free of everything.
I want you to be able to sell a book and not worry if that money goes to Caitlin.
I want you to have, like, an untarnished name and to be able to go through this and say, "I went through" - How long has it been, 15 years? - Yeah.
"15 years of hell, to say that I made it through the other end and I am free and I don't have any claim over me, and they didn't win.
" I guess, like it's just principle, it's justice.
Justice is the most important thing, and we haven't gotten it, and I think that that would be my hope, if we did go to trial, or if you didn't want to take it to trial, was to have justice.
Like, the purest form of it.
You're innocent and you should be honored as innocent.
[Clay] I don't agree at all.
You've gone down these passageways and you become entangled in this machinery.
And you just need to get out of it.
What's the point of winning a game that's not a fair game? To say that, "Oh, I won, or I've got justice"? I'm not saying that we should go into a retrial, but I don't want to just lie down and take this and say, "They've beaten us.
" Because that's not We've been through way too much to have to go through that and I think that right now, in our society, there are people who understand that the system is flawed and it needs to change.
And so, just stepping aside, I think, could be a mistake.
I just think that taking this lying down is not what we should do.
[Michael] Just the idea that they're going to win, to say, "OK, I didn't do it, but they win.
" Oh! I can't stand it.
I can't.
But you're right.
And as Todd said on the phone, a little less eloquently [laughs] "Get out! Get out now!" - Same thing.
You're right.
- Time is definitely on your side.
It's all gonna be a lot of talking back and forth between the DA and the judge and the lawyers and figuring things out, how best for the State to save face, how best for Judge Hudson to feel that he's done something correctly, that no one could question, so he just wants someone to say, "Here's the path for you.
" And then, everybody wants a way out of this mess.
So, become untangled and disengage from this as quickly and easily as possible for you and for everybody else.
I like it.
What do you think about that? I am terrified of the thought of asking for justice again because I feel like we've just been screwed left and right, like at every single possible opportunity.
As much as I would love justice, too, I'd very much more want you out here with us.
Well, how about a raise of hands? Anybody who believes in the justice system, raise your hand.
[Michael sighs] Whoo.
You know? - Right.
- For me, it's being with my family and being able to go outside and breathe fresh air and look up at the sky and being with the ones I love.
You know, that's the game I want to play.
[Michael] We got each other, and that's all there is.
- Well No, that's not all.
That's great.
- [all chuckling] It's wonderful.
Do I want to risk that again? Well, I don't know.
I don't know.
- [Martha] I just can't lose you again.
- You're gonna make me cry.
I'm sorry.
[chuckles] But it's true.
[Margaret] I feel like we just got you back.
- I know.
- [Margaret] I can't [Michael] No, I don't want to lose you guys again.
[Margaret] I know, who would you have to boss around, Dad? [giggles] Oh, I was good in prison at bossing people around.
[laughter] [Michael sighs] [wind chimes tinkling] This is somebody else.
That's theirs.
[Michael chuckles] I don't think Kathleen would like all that noise.
I can't explain life.
I can't underst I don't know what it's all about.
We think we do, but I don't.
I have no idea what it's all about.
If somebody had said, "Oh, little boy," when I was four or five, "these are the things that are going to happen to you.
You know, you're going to go to war, you're going to have" None of that, none of that would make any sense.
And it still doesn't make any sense.
I don't know the meaning of life.
Uh, so I wouldn't call it nonsense, I would just say, "I just don't get it.
" And what happens seems to be, I don't know, random, this just happens.
If I had known, "Oh! This is the last I'm going to see her.
She's gonna walk out of the pool and she's gonna go there" And if I knew that was the last I would see her, well, I wouldn't have let her go.
I'd keep her.
Or, you know, if I couldn't keep her, I would say, "Oh, I love you.
" Oh, all these things.
But that didn't happen.
She just walked away and That's pretty much what life is.
It's just, things happen that you A door closes, you walk away, and "Whoa!" And I get pretty emotional about that, so that's why I don't like to go there.
Like, what if I could have held her, and said, "Hey, honey, don't go out there.
Don't Don't go in the house.
" I just, you know, didn't say that.
Didn't think anything would happen.
[Margaret] So what are the next steps for with Rudolf? [Michael] David is going to contact Butch Williams, who was the guy who pinned that Marine thing on He was a Marine and Yeah.
Was he sitting on our side? - Yeah, he was on our side.
Oh, absolutely.
- Oh! Big black guy, wonderful.
- He had a hat.
- Yeah, he was really cool.
He's a good friend of Judge Hudson, and of, I assume, Roger Echols, the DA, and David and Roger will go to them - and say, "Let's end this.
" - Or Butch? OK.
- You see.
- Yeah.
I dunno.
Do you feel relieved after talking to David? Or do you Oh, yeah! Oh, damn it, absolutely! - Absolutely! David's fantastic! - Good.
[Margaret] What do Do you think there's any possibility of a retrial? - [Michael] Well, yeah.
- [Margaret] Yeah.
- [Michael sighs] - [Margaret] But we just won't know until - things get - [Michael] I can't imagine, but - Who knows? Who knows? - [Margaret] Yeah.
- Hmm.
- [Michael] No idea.
- [Margaret] We're here.
- [Michael] Not one thing has gone - the way I thought it would, so - [Martha] Yeah.
- Why make another prediction? - [Margaret] Yeah.
- [Martha] Oh, God.
- [Michael] But I don't think so.
[sighs] [phone ringing] Hello.
David! [David] Hey, Michael.
How are you? OK, good.
You? I'm good, thank you.
Uh, so, I got a call from Roger Echols, uh, who told me that they are now willing to offer the Alford plea to the voluntary manslaughter.
Um And so, uh, I asked him to put that in writing, which he has now done by sending me an email, uh, saying they would agree to the Alford plea to voluntary manslaughter.
So, um we don't need to get back to them right away, uh, but that is now on the table, and something for you to think about and talk with your family about.
Why the sudden offer, do you think? Well, it's hard to say, because he didn't offer any explanation, but I suspect that the motions that got filed, which sort of indicated to them that they were not gonna be able to get into evidence much of what they previously did get into evidence, as well as the conference we had with Judge Hudson, in which he indicated that he was reconsidering whether he should have ever allowed in the Germany evidence, and also that he realized that much of the evidence that came out of the search warrant would have to be inadmissible at the new trial.
I think both of those factors probably played into it.
Uh, I guess my question would be, in light of your motions, in light of everything that's been discovered, why would I take an Alford plea? Why not just push this through to the end? Well, uh, that's certainly your choice, but if you remember, after you called me after that hearing, you indicated that your family really wanted this to just end.
Going through a whole nother trial is draining and difficult for your family.
It'd be difficult for you.
Given how the game was played the first time, I'm not sure we could assume that the game would be played any more fairly this time.
Well, that's true.
Mm, I don't know, David.
It's It's tough.
It really is, because the Alford plea is I know that's what we've been pushing for from the beginning, uh, thinking it was the best we could do, and I guess I'm beginning to think maybe we can do better.
What do you think? Do you think that, if pushed further, that DA Echols would eventually say, "There's nothing here.
We can't use any of these things," which Judge Hudson's already hinted at, and then he would say, "OK.
We'll dismiss it.
" Do you think that's a possibility? - No.
I don't.
- Oh.
And the reason I don't is because they have been sort of captives of Candace and Lori and to a lesser extent, I guess, Caitlin, for the last 15 years.
I don't think they're going to do anything that Candace is going to complain about.
They would rather lose a trial than deal with Candace.
So, I think it boils down to either you go to trial or you take this Alford plea.
I understand.
If there was some guarantee that another trial would result in an acquittal, then it would be worth pushing on, but there is no guarantee of that, either.
There's never a guarantee.
It's not a great resolution for you, it's not a perfect resolution, but at least it's over.
You can go on and live your life.
So, think about it and then let's talk some more.
OK, I got it.
I appreciate it.
Uh [sighs] Yeah, thanks for your efforts.
I got it.
I'll, uh [sighs] I know this is what I've been wanting, uh, but now It's gonna be a tough decision to make.
It really will.
I will get back to you very shortly on this, OK? OK.
Take care, Michael.
Thanks, David.
[line disconnects] [exhales] [sighs] I guess this is the time you say, "Fuck!" [laughs] Right? Shit! But, you know you don't always get what you want.
I don't like this.
I don't like it because they lied, they cheated, they used perjury, unconstitutional searches.
They did everything to convict me.
And they did.
And it was wrong.
And I spent eight years in prison.
And now I'm going to have to say, or admit I'm not gonna admit it, 'cause I told them that.
Never, never, never would I admit that I killed Kathleen, but the practical reality is there was a manslaughter there, and that's wrong.
It's just flat wrong.
And that's why the depression went away and the anger came in and said, "I don't like this.
I don't like it.
" And then, "Well, why don't you fight it?" And then you start thinking about, "Wait a minute.
They lied, they cheated, they used perjury, junk science, uh, false experiments, unconstitutional searches, they brought in these people from Germany who just flat lied.
Candace lied, Lori lied, perjured themselves on the stand.
They went to all expense and all effort to convict me.
Would they do it again? Yeah, they might.
Am I willing to risk that? Am I going to put my life and my freedom in the hands of these people who did those things? And I realized, "No.
I'm not going to do it.
" So I told David, "Hey.
I've change my mind.
I'll take the plea, but it's not because I'm old, and it's not to spare my children, but because I don't trust the system.
Well, I lose because it's on my record.
But you know what? I really don't care.
My kids are not going to lose, because they don't care.
So, while it's a bad deal, I can live with it.
I hate it.
A few days ago, I was sitting there thinking to myself, "Maybe we should just try this case again.
" Winning the case at trial, you know, that would, from an ego perspective, I guess, be much more satisfying.
But at the end of the day, um the jury doesn't say, "Innocent.
" You know? The jury says, "Not guilty.
" The jury says, "We have a reasonable doubt.
" What's the point of a trial at this time? What's the point of it? Assuming we win, what does that get us that this resolution doesn't? And so, the answer to that is nothing.
That's not something to be happy about.
It's not something to be enthusiastic about.
It's something to just recognize and to accept.
- [laughter] - After the main subject, your age.
I'm the only one that got it right.
Verified by Cindy.
[door shuts] - It's just copies.
- OK.
- Where is the evil 13? All right.
[laughs] - I'll show you.
I don't want you to be shocked tomorrow when I say, "No!" - It may create some issues, so - What? I said it may I don't know.
- With Hudson? - I don't know.
- Well, it goddamned better not.
- Well, we'll see.
Well, if he asks me, I'm saying no.
You know, "Are you able to hear and understand me?" and I put in "Yes.
" "Do understand you have the right to remain silent, and any statement you make may be used against you?" "Yes.
" "Are you now under the influence of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, medicines, pills, or any other substances?" "No.
" "When was the last time you used or consumed any such substance?" I put "wine.
" I put, you know, last Monday or so Whatever.
- Right, right.
- Um - I'm sure you've had wine.
- What about the cocaine? - Yeah, thanks.
That was a joke.
- [chortling] [film crew chuckling] Um "Are you satisfied with your lawyer's legal services?" What did I answer to that? You'd better answer, "Very satisfied.
" "Extremely well satisfied.
" Um "Do you understand you have the right to plead not guilty and be tried by a jury?" "Yes.
" Here's the plea, that you're pleading to voluntary manslaughter.
- Mm-hmm.
- Total maximum punishment, 229 months.
Mandatory minimum, 38 months.
And then here's question 13, - which I left blank.
- Mm-hmm.
"Do you now personally plead guilty or no contest to the charge I just described?" I just put "NA," not applicable.
- OK? - Right.
I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow.
Would you talk to him beforehand, and let him know, he doesn't Don't ask a question he doesn't want to know the answer to, because if he asks me am I going to plead guilty, the answer is no.
Well, hold on.
Why can't you say, "I am entering an Alford plea?" - I'm can say that.
- OK.
- I'll say that.
- OK, well, don't say "no.
" Just say, "I'm entering an Alford plea.
" - All right.
- And then, he can say, "Do you understand that that's the equivalent - of a guilty plea?" - That's fine.
As long as the word "guilty" doesn't have to come out of my mouth Got it.
"I am entering an Alford plea.
" So, when he says, "Do you now personally plead guilty?" you say, "Your Honor, I am entering an Alford plea at this time.
" - OK.
- And then, I'm gonna ask him to say, "Do you understand that that's the equivalent of a" - Which is number D or something.
- Exactly.
You can say, "Your Honor, I'm entering an Alford guilty plea.
" - I'm just saying, "Alford plea.
" - "Alford plea"? OK.
Fair enough.
- I don't want that word out of my mouth.
- I understand.
All right.
"Do you now consider it to be in your best interest to plead guilty to the charge I just described?" - "Yes.
" 14 C.
- What? What is that one? "Do you now consider it to your interest to plead guilty Alford plea.
" Oh shit! Well, I have to answer that one, right? Well, you have to.
I mean, it's there.
- All right.
I understand that.
- OK.
So, we'll go over this with the judge - and Dornfried before - All right.
Right, beforehand, so everybody understands.
- [muttering] All right.
- Yep.
- All right? Yeah.
- We all get it, but Yeah, I understand.
Proving what actually happened is often impossible, so the best you can do is show that there's a reasonable doubt about a person's guilt.
It's rare that you could prove somebody innocent.
Sure, I want to know, because it's a mystery, and we all want to know how the mystery ends.
What happened? I can completely understand Michael's view of that, which is, "Hey, I lost the person in my life who I loved the most, and that's the only thing that really matters at the end of the day.
" But for the rest of us who are just observers, who are not participants, we want to know what happened.
If you ask me, "What's the most likely scenario?" I'd say it's a fall.
Can I rule out that it was an intruder? I can't.
No one can.
You can say there's no evidence of that.
But it's well known that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
So, we don't know.
Can I say a hundred percent that it wasn't some raptor who flew down and inflicted those scalp wounds without causing a skull fracture or any brain injury? I can't say one way or the other.
[Michael whimpering over recording] What to do? [sobbing] Oh, honey.
Oh, no.
[call operator] Hello? [Michael whimpering, sobbing] Oh, God.
[exhales] Uh, from that moment, it's it's really hard because there was just blood.
But I couldn't I don't think I focused so much on the blood.
Certainly, at first, the fact that she's lying there, uh, and I went and grabbed her, saw her and uh it was just That was worse than anything that I ever saw or did in war.
And then I ran up and got some towels to put under her head and whatnot.
Uh Called 911 or maybe I called 911 first.
I'm sure I called 911 first, and said that she's fallen down the stairs.
Uh Which is what I believed.
She's at the bottom of the stairs.
Well, she fell.
Uh [sighs] It was just this I mean, it's such a cliche, it's almost a euphemism.
I was in shock.
I was in shock.
I just couldn't believe it.
We had just talked, we just It was No, it was much worse than war, because in war, you expect things.
I mean, I can remember, during the Tet Offensive, you know? Terrible things happ Terrible things happened.
But you expect terrible things to happen in war.
You're ready for that.
You don't want it to happen.
When it happens, it's a shock, but nothing like this.
Uh Someone that you love, you were just with, you know, they're They're there.
And she was dying.
I knew that.
I could just tell that right away.
[sighs] And then I just don't really remember.
I mean, I just remember activity.
Sort of this white noise or white action that's going on in back of You know, people coming and going and Uh I don't know.
I guess it's the first time maybe the only time I guess it is the only time I've ever been just totally shocked and just not really there.
I mean, I went through some terrible things in war, but you're trained for that.
You know, you'd better call in the artillery, you'd better call in a medivac, you'd better do these things.
You know, you're trained to do these things because you know they can happen.
But this was something that's just I don't know.
I mean, I was just, you know, nobody trains you for that.
And I didn't, I didn't know what to do except call 911 and, thank God, uh, you know, Todd and, uh What was her name? Lovely girl.
Came within literally three or four minutes.
And, uh And then after that it was just it was just crazy.
So, that's all I can say.
I just remember being I guess for the first time in my life, just totally, completely overwhelmed, just shut down.
This is not It just wasn't It just wasn't right.
It just couldn't be.
But it was.
So, that's the best I can do, is to tell you I saw her and [sighs]I wasn't ready for that.
At all.
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