Read Empty Promises Online

Authors: Ann Rule

Tags: #General, #Law, #Offenses Against the Person

Empty Promises (44 page)

* * *

When the time came for trial, the smug defendant wasn't nearly as confident as he had been. As the eight-day trial progressed, Robin testified for a day and a half. Wendell Stokeberry testified, too, although he drew giggles from the gallery as he swaggered to the witness chair. He adeptly parried defense efforts to discredit him by saying, "If you say I got busted for something, then I guess I must have. My record is
ex
-ten-sive."
He might not have been a law-abiding citizen, but he was telling the truth— and it showed.
Prosecutor Bob Hamilton presented expert testimony on the fact that there were no lead particles in the tissues around Hank Marcus's wounds. Using a long wooden dowel, he demonstrated just how far the killer had to have been away from Hank so that a shot
wouldn't leave gunpowder stippling on his skin. There was no way that it could have happened as Tom Brown said.
Hamilton showed the judge the angle of the wound. Again, it contradicted Brown's version. Brown had even forgotten which side of the victim's head the bullet entered.
After hearing his story riddled with errors, Tom Brown insisted on testifying. Now he gave a different version of his recall of the gun exchange, but his efforts were feebly transparent.
Over defense objections, Judge Bradshaw allowed testimony on the mechanisms of brainwashing into the record. This was a major coup for the prosecution. As Dr. Treleaven explained it, the brainwashing of Robin Marcus was a classic example of mind control. Her mind literally became evidence in the case.
As the trial wound down, it was apparent that the attorney general's prosecutors, Bob Hamilton and Steve Keutzer, had presented a brilliantly organized case— a case that had begun with all the earmarks of a loser.
Judge Bradshaw retired to make his decision. Three days later, he came back with a verdict of guilty. Thomas Leslie Brown was sentenced to life in the Oregon State Penitentiary. His motion for a new trial was denied on July 19, 1977.
The testimony in the Marcus-Brown case on brainwashing was something of a landmark in legal precedent. Bob Hamilton pointed out that, although such testimony is generally not admissible, furtive conduct to cover up a crime is evidence of guilt. In this instance, the evidence that Tom Brown covered up was Robin Marcus's memory. If he could have permanently changed the "computer" of Robin's brain, the crime
might never have been discovered, much less successfully prosecuted.

* * *

The long ordeal of Robin Marcus seemed to be over. At the time Hank Marcus was murdered, however, life sentences in Oregon were not what they seemed to be. Some lifers got out in ten to twelve years. And by the late 1990s Tom Brown began to appear periodically before the parole board, asking to be released.
The victims or the victims' families usually appear at these hearings, standing in a small room with the felon who terrorized them as they give their reasons why the prisoner should
not
be released. To protect Robin, Bob Hamilton stands in as the victim. "It would be too hard on Robin to have to see Tom Brown again," Hamilton explains. "So I'm there in her place, and Brown and I engage in what's basically a long staring contest."
Thus far, Brown has failed psychological tests that would indicate he was safe to move about in society. He is still in prison, but he will continue to come up for parole, and it's quite possible he will one day be released from the Oregon prison system.
Robin Marcus is over forty now; she has remarried and has children. In her new, happy life she now lives thousands of miles away from Oregon. Only a handful of people know where she is and what her name is, and she is grateful for that. She is still afraid of the man who hunted humans rather than animals, and she dreads the day he is paroled.

Table of Contents

(*)

Foreword

Empty Promises

Bitter Lake

Young Love

Love and Insurance

The Gentler Sex

The Conjugal Visit

Killers on the Road

A Dangerous Mind

To Kill and Kill Again

The Stockholm Syndrome

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