|Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 25, 2009||Chapters:||...61 62 -63- 64...|
A chapter in the book A Leaf on the Wind
The End of Two Long Years
by S. Pumpkin
Sexually abused as a child Valerie grows into an adult with severe psychological problems. Divorced, diagnosed a 2nd time with breast cancer she continues to work as a CI for the police. After two l
"Risk is the sort of word that is easy to discuss upfront but tough to handle when it comes time to pay the piper. There will always be some who wimp out and second-guess when the pain hits, but that is a childish reaction."
“That can take months to go away but don’t worry, it won’t last forever,” he assured me.
I continued to see Dr. S for follow-ups every few months. During one of our sessions, he told me the tests indicated the cancer had come back in my left breast.
I felt as though I had been hit in the chest with a sledgehammer. The thought of facing more surgery and chemotherapy filled me with dread. A week later, I underwent a second mastectomy.
As expected, Mike insisted I quit the case. I refused.
Mom tried to hide her concern, but I knew she was worried. I wasn’t surprised that my sisters completely ignored this fresh development in my illness.
Surprisingly, my second round of chemotherapy, while supposedly more aggressive, caused fewer side effects. I didn’t lose my hair and, to my great joy, I had no ulcers in my mouth. Unfortunately, the nausea was the same and the metallic taste was even worse.
Al and Mary felt sorry for me. To keep me from having to drive back and forth every night, they arranged to have the phones installed in my bedroom. Mike and Dale were thrilled. No longer having Al and Mary hovering over my shoulder gave me incredible freedom. Now, when I worked, I could sit at the desk in my room and type the information directly into the processor. I could also talk more openly with the escorts allowing me to gather even more information.
However, Mary and Al also added more responsibility to my job. When Al was too tired, he asked me to pick up the fees, allowing me to get license numbers but also added several hours to an already long night's work.
Meeting the escorts face to face posed a personal dilemma for me. I began to make friends with some of them causing me to experience guilt knowing I was betraying them.
Every few months Vice scheduled a sting. At the beginning of my shift, Mike called with a list of escorts he wanted me to send to an undercover police officer. The escorts were chosen at random and their arrests, like mine, were intended to get them to work for the police in exchange for dropping the charges. However, knowing they would have to go to jail weighed heavily on me.
Fortunately, many of the escorts I was asked to set up were obnoxious and not high on my list of people I cared about. However, one day Mike called and said, “Tonight, I want you to send us Sharon.”
I felt sick to my stomach. Sharon was a sweetheart with a heart of gold. She had two very young children and cared for her ailing mother who lived with her. Riddled with guilt, I begged Mike not to arrest Sharon.
“Mike, please don’t ask me to do this. Sharon cannot go to jail. What will happen to her babies? For God's sake, her mother is diabetic, a double amputee, and needs her.”
Mike hesitated and then said, “Valerie, I'm sorry but we really need her. Sharon has worked for many of the other agencies we are also targeting. She has important information that is valuable to our investigation.
I didn’t care.
“Please,” I begged. “I have never asked you for anything before. Please do not to put her in jail!”
Reluctantly, Mike agreed.
“Okay,” Mike said. “We can arrest her and only give her a summons to appear in court. We will let her go home. That is the best I can do. Is that good enough?”
It wasn’t. I wanted him to promise he would leave her alone. But I accepted the compromise.
With tears in my eyes, I paged Sharon and sent her on a call that would change her life.
* * *
I was sitting in Dr. S’s office waiting to hear the results of my recent tests. When he entered the room, I sighed with relief when I saw the smile on his face.
“You are completely cancer free,” he announced with a big smile on his face.
Tears of joy literally streamed down my cheeks.
“I still have to see you every few months but I think I can safely say, you are going to be fine,” he added.
Mom was pleased and actually hugged me; something I had no memory of her ever doing.
* * *
One day out of the blue, Mike called to say the end was near. The State Attorney General had decided they had more than enough evidence to arrest Al and Mary. Two very long years of hard work were finally coming to an end.
The following week, I spent three days testifying in the grand jury. All charges brought against Jack, Sue, Al and Mary received a go from the grand jury.
As soon as the date was set for the sting, everything moved very fast. Because Al and Mary’s house was located in Bellevue, a small city near Seattle, the Bellevue Police had to be notified of the impending raid. The Internal Revenue Service put together a folder on each escort documenting how much money she had made from the information I had provided. The fact that none had ever paid income tax would be used as a lever to get them to testify against the agency. Several other agencies located in Seattle, Bellevue and nearby areas were also being targeted. After several weeks of thorough planning, the big night arrived.
I was not scheduled to work the phones that night so I decided to go over to Al and Mary’s a few hours before the agency opened to see who was there. I was worried that Al and Mary’s grandchildren might be there. To my dismay, they were. I spent about a half-an-hour talking with Mary and then left.
When I got home, three Seattle Vice Detectives had already begun to set up the phones in my room. They attached a recorder to the phone so that every call would be officially documented. After the raid, they planned to transfer the lines in Mary's house to my house so I could keep the agency running as I sent the individual escorts on bogus calls to undercover police officers sitting in various hotel rooms throughout the Seattle area. At precisely six o’clock twelve police officers and six treasury agents kicked in the door of Al and Mary’s house. With little more than a scuffle, they were both arrested.
The three vice officers in my room were listening to everything on walkie-talkies and I could hear the door crash as the police kicked it in. It was over within seconds. As soon as the phones were transferred to me, from a list provided by the police, I began sending the girls on calls. Unknown to anyone, earlier in the day I called Sharon and two other escorts and without explaining why, told them, “I’ll explain later but it is important you not go to work tonight.” Fortunately, they took my advice.
One by one other agencies began calling to warn me of the sting. It did not take long for everyone to realize the police were coming. The next phone call caught me off guard. It was Susan, Mary’s daughter.
“I’ve been calling all night but I cannot get a hold of mom. Do you know what’s going on?” She asked with noticeable concern in her voice.
Without hesitating a second I said, “Shit, all hell has broken loose. The idiot in the house next to your mom’s was digging in his backyard and broke the water pipe. Your mom’s entire basement is flooded! Al was so pissed he transferred the phones to me so they could go to a motel for the night.”
Thankfully, Susan believed me.
When I hung up the phone all three of the police detectives started to laugh and one said, “Damn you’re good! Mike's right, you do think fast on your feet!”
I kept the agency open until the last girl was arrested. It was midnight and I was exhausted. Mike called to tell me I had done a great job and that he would meet me in the morning at the Attorney General’s office in Seattle.
I was so tired I had no trouble falling asleep. When I woke, it was nearly ten o’clock and I had to be in Seattle by noon. I showered, got dressed, and drove myself to the courthouse where I met with Mike, Dale, and the State Attorney General. I spent more than an hour talking with the Attorney General about the case. After numerous compliments about my work, we finally headed down the hall to the courtroom.
The courtroom was quite small yet impressive. Mike and Dale immediately sat down in the back row while the Attorney General and I walked up the aisle and sat down at a large table in the front of the room covered with two years of evidence I had gathered. Six spiral-bound reports were stacked neatly one on top of the other. Next to the reports were five four-inch binders containing my daily logs. I was surprised to see he even included all the files containing the three-by-five-cards I used when I first began working for the police. Two four-inch binders containing over 400 pages of transcripts of the more than one-hundred hours of wire tapping sat in the center of the table in front of him.
After we sat down, the Attorney General opened his briefcase, removed a large manila folder, and placed it on the table in front of him and with a large smile on his face he leaned back in his chair.
I glanced over at the table across from us and saw both Al and Mary sitting beside a bald man, dressed in a grey suit, and wearing thick-rimmed bifocals. Mary winked at me and smiled. I couldn’t believe how stupid she was. She still had not figured out whom I was sitting with. Suddenly the bailiff stood up and asked everyone in the room to stand as the judge entered the room.
My heart began to beat frantically. This moment was the end of two very, very long years of hard work. I was exhausted and relieved it was over, but at the same time, I felt like a mother giving away her daughter on her wedding day.
The bailiff read the charges then the Attorney General stood up and said, “Your honor, I would like to call Ms. Valerie Jean Murphy as my first witness.”
I stood up and walked over to the stand. After being sworn in, I sat down and waited for the first question.
The Attorney General winked, then said, “Ms. Murphy, how long have you been working as a confidential informant for the Seattle Vice and the U.S. Treasury Department?”
I watched as the blood drained completely from both Al and Mary’s faces. Mary’s sympathetic smile had completely disappeared and immediately replaced with one of absolute shock.
Al had a previous record of involuntary manslaughter and was denied bail. After seeing all the evidence I had gathered, Mary’s attorney advised her to cooperate with the police. She promised to help them locate Jack and Sue and to testify against them in court.
With so much evidence, both Al and Mary pleaded guilty. Al received five-and-a-half years in prison and Mary’s sentencing was postponed until after they located Jack and Sue. It was assumed by everyone that if she fully cooperated she would probably get probation. Both Al and Mary were instructed to pay all taxes on undeclared income.
It was finally over. After my last day in court, I drove home in silence wondering what I was going to do now. I had no idea of what was about to come.
Earned A Seal Of Quality
This is a long chapter that covers close to a year in time. After the sting I was provided police protection for several months. The story hit the front page and I became an instant hero. Hollywood called and said they wanted to do a made for television story about my undercover work, but I lost out to the Tanya Harding and Nancy Carrigan incident which occurred at the same time. In hindsight I am glad they did not do the movie because this was only a small part of my life and without the backgound information would have been a shallow movie. I met a well-known mystery writer, Gregg Olsen, who wanted to write a book about this incident. However after meeting me he decided that I should write the book instead. It took me seveal years before I took his advice.Pays one point and 2 member cents.
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