"Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil" Thomas Mann


[PART 3]

I went inside Eddy’s house once because he wanted to show me some knives and lighters he had for sale. Inside were monitors, connected to surveillance cameras outside his house. 

He had two big hooks on the front door where wood posts could be put in place and I believe that was to keep the door from being kicked in.

Eddy started calling my wife for rides a lot and started to think he could be more than just friends with her. She worked in the morning while I was sleeping and I rarely got off work before 4 a.m. 

He told her a lot of details about lawyers, city workers, business owners, police and he seemed to know a lot about the corruption in this place. He worked for the city at one time and a lot of his family still do.

I was interested in some of the things he had to say about Dobson Cellular, but I didn’t know if he was telling the truth or not.

I started sitting down the road from his house to watch all the people coming and going. I was sure he was dealing drugs, but couldn’t understand how he was dealing to so many people without getting busted. I noticed quite a few of the customers were people I had been told were informants.

He heard I’d been asking about him and got really angry. He called one night threatening to burn my house down. I told him if he came near my wife again I would put five bullets in each side of his head.

A few minutes later a police officer by the name of Brad Cochran came to my house and asked if I’d threatened to put five bullets in each side of Eddy’s head. I told him yes, and that Eddy had called me threatening to burn my house down.

The officer said Eddy had recorded what I had said on the phone and he might have to take me in. Right after he said that he got a call on his radio and he told me to stay away from Eddy or I would be arrested.

I became more angry with Eddy and I couldn't understand why he was jacking with us. Not much earlier he had been bound and determined to get a job driving the taxi. I'm certain he was being pushed to try to get a job with us and there's no telling what might have happened if I would have hired him.

Over the next month I had several encounters with Eddy on the road. Obscene gestures became a common greeting between the two of us. He got mad because I told some of his friends he was an informant.

One day Eddy called and said that the next time I call his phone is going to be the time the lights end. This time I recorded the threat and went to the police station to talk to Officer David Pruitt. He said it was enough to get a protective order against Eddy.

We filed the order and when we got to the lobby of the courtroom on the day of the hearing, Eddy and his wife were coming out of  Judge Haught's chambers. In court, Eddy told Judge Haught I was constantly calling his phone. I told him it wasn’t true and offered him a copy of my phone bill, which showed Eddy was the one calling us.

Eddy said I was constantly driving by his house. I provided a list with phone numbers and addresses of my customers who lived in Eddy’s neighborhood. The judge granted the protective order and told us to come back in 3 months.

When we returned to seek a permanent restraining order, the judge was gone. Some lady told us we would have to re-file for another protective order.

Eddy didn’t even show up to contest the restraining order, but the lady said there was nothing she could do. Later on I checked the court records. They said I had requested that the order be dismissed.

Tensions are still running high over the next couple of months and Eddy decided to become a bounty hunter. He points a gun at me several times driving down the road and I refuse to go to the police after what happened over the protective order.

One day Eddy went to the Beckham County Court Clerk’s office and threatened a bonds lady for refusing to pay him a bounty on some guy named Rob. 

He got arrested and had drugs in his pocket. He also has a loaded firearm and got charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, kidnapping and several more charges.

I talked to the bonds lady and told her about the problems we had been having with this guy including the times he was waving a gun at me. The next day I got a call from Chet Glancy with the District 2 Drug Task Force and he said that I need to come to their office to talk about Eddy waving a gun at me.

When I arrived, I told Chet and R.C. Daniel what had been happening. Chet said Eddy was going to get what he had coming. I had met with Chet about 6 months earlier to get information about Eddy.

I told them a guy named Rob had called me a couple of weeks earlier because he needed a jump start on a truck at Eddy’s house. Chet called Rob on the number I gave him, but there was no answer.

After their conversation I got the impression Eddy was in a huge bind. I looked up his charges on the Oklahoma Department of Criminal Records website and I really thought he was going to prison.

Eddy got a lawyer named Scott Mason from Cordell, Oklahoma, and told people it cost him $50,000. I started attending Eddy’s Court hearings.

Eddy’s lawyer issued a subpoena to Dobson Cellular (I’m still not sure what it was about). A week later all of Eddy’s charges were erased, as if they’d never been filed. I couldn’t believe it. I went to the court clerk’s office but I couldn’t find an explanation.

I called a private detective in Altus, Oklahoma. I told him how Eddy and his wife were inside the judge’s chambers when we appeared for the protective order. He said that was ridiculous and that Judge Haught shouldn’t have allowed it.

He also said that he thought that an agent by the name of Don with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations was probably involved in getting the charges erased. He said the agent was from Cordell and he had heard many things about him.

I went to see a lawyer here in Elk City to ask him about this and since he knew Eddy’s lawyer Scott Mason, he called to ask him how he got the charges to disappear. Scott of course didn't say and after they ended the call the lawyer told me the most that should have happened was a dismissal on the charges, not a disappearance of the charges.

About a month later Eddy got caught supposedly with $25,000 in counterfeit money. It made the front page of the Elk City Daily News, but the paper didn’t list any names.

I went to the Elk City Police Department to talk to a detective about this stuff and he told me that Eddy was just a little slippery. Eddy ended up getting a minor charge for using a forged instrument or something close to that.

Near the end of 2003 a reporter at the Elk City Daily News contacted me about doing a story on our taxi service. She interviewed us and took a picture of us standing next to one of our vans. The story was on the front page and the headline read “Local cabbies save drunks.”

Eventually Eddy and I began crossing paths again and exchanging gestures. One day when my daughter Alyson was about 2 months old my wife took her to Walmart. When she tried to back out of her parking spot Eddy pulled up behind her and blocked her in for several minutes, just to intimidate her.

Eddy had a job at C & C Crane Service and I had got one of his business cards from a friend that worked at one of the quick stops here in town. The best thing for us to do would have been to call the police but I was still aggravated about the protective order that got dismissed a few months before this.

I tried to say cool, but I picked up the phone and called him on a number that was listed on his business card. I told him I needed a crane to lift him up and drop him in a hole. I started cussing him up and down, and I guess while we were on the phone he drove to the police station. 

Just a few minutes after he hung up on me five police cars showed up and one of the officers showed me a ticket for disturbing the peace. 

He told me I needed to sign the ticket, but when I saw Eddy’s name on it as the arresting officer I told them that I wouldn’t. Apparently the “arresting officer” can be the person making the complaint or pressing charges.

Several of the officers tried to convince me to just sign it, but I refused. I told them what happened at Walmart and that I was sick of him following us around.

At this point the officer placed me under arrest. I got out eight hours later after posting a $154 bond, the cost of the ticket.

When I got to city court to fight the ticket Eddy was already there, sitting next to City Attorney Steve Hollaway. We both told our side of the story. I showed the police report about Eddy threatening to burn down Heather Mulligan’s house and a copy of the protective order. 

I told Steve that the protective order should have been made permanent since Eddy didn’t show up to contest it. I told him about what Eddy had done inside the court clerk’s office and about the counterfeiting in South Gate apartments.

Still, the city attorney told me if I didn’t plead guilty to disturbing the peace I would never have a friend at the police station again. I pleaded not guilty.

Steve said he would ask the judge for jail time if I pleaded not guilty and I asked how much jail time I was facing.

He didn’t answer me, so I repeated my not guilty plea. This infuriated him and his face turned red. He told me in an angry voice to “get over there,” pointing to some chairs on the other side of the courtroom.

He called Police Officer Joel Pierce, who had arrested me, up to the stand. (Pierce is a really nice guy.) Steve asked Joel several questions, and then I got to cross-examine him.

I asked if he had any kids, and he said yes. I asked what he would do if someone harassed them, but Steve objected.

Judge Brown found me guilty, but reimbursed me for half of the fine.

A few days later Eddy placed a protective order on me. I decided to talk to the local FBI agent about how all of Eddie’s felonies had been erased.

I called agent Brad Thompson at 580-225-6000.

I told him I thought someone from the drug task force told Eddy to jack with us because I had angered the city Manager or I'd found out certain information about members of organized crime. He got very defensive. He told me he worked with these guys and that there was no corruption in Beckham County.

I could tell that I wasn't going to get any help from him, but before he hung up he said he would look into my allegations and setup a meeting with me soon.

Next, I called the Oklahoma City FBI. The agent said I should call my local agent in Elk City. When I told him I already had, he said –“So you don't trust the local FBI, huh?”

Before I could respond Brad was back on the phone and told me our meeting was canceled. He said I didn't have enough credibility to be asking questions about corruption and hung up.

It was scary how Brad all of a sudden came on the line. I don’t doubt he was listening to the whole conversation.

The next day I went to see the district attorney at the Beckham County Court House and I talked to the main one, Dennis Smith.

I told him about Eddy’s charges getting erased. I also told him about how Eddy had pointed a gun at me, threatened to burn my house down and blocked my wife in at Walmart.

He said he didn't make the laws – he only enforces them – but he would look into my case.

A friend at the courthouse told me Eddy had been banned from ever entering  the Beckham County Court House again without an escort from a sheriff deputy.

A few days later, at my court appearance for the protective order, Eddy came in escorted by a sheriff deputy. I started thinking that maybe the sheriff was angry after finding out Eddy’s charges got erased.

Custer County Judge Jill Weadon was filling in for Judge Haught's since Haught had to go out of town.Weadon is the wife of the head Oklahoma Highway Patrol for Beckham and Roger Mills counties. She ruled in Eddy’s favor, but said she couldn’t make the protective order permanent at the time.

At the time of the next hearing Eddy had been doing a couple of weeks in jail for possessing a forged (counterfeit) instrument. He probably would’ve gotten away with it, but the detective who arrested him went out on a limb and put him in jail. He was the same detective who told me Eddy was just a little slippery.

Eddy told Judge Haught he wanted to drop the protective order and that he held no animosity toward me. So Haught lifted the order. Walking out, I wondered how Eddy had enough credibility to put a protective order on me in the first place. I'm convinced he was blackmailing somebody very powerful to get as far as he got.

I didn't have any run-ins with Eddy after that, but I had plenty of other problems with a lot out of control informants, drug dealers, cops, etc. I thought it would eventually blow over and things would get better. This sure can be a difficult place once you get on the wrong side of things and I found that out the hard way.

In the Summer of 2004 I was approached by a local lawyer about serving papers and it sounded like a really good opportunity. He thought it would be a good idea since I knew so many people and I was always out on the road. 

When someone is sued by the hospital, a bank, etc. they get served papers to appear in court and it was my understanding that I would get 50 dollars each time I did it. I had to file for a license at the court clerks office and get bonded at a local insurance agency. 

The total cost was around 300 dollars and I thought it was a done deal after I did all this. A few days later I received a call from the Beckham County Court Clerks office and a lady told me that my license had been contested. She said that she didn't even know how to write up the paper work on it because I was the first person in the history of this county to ever be contested. 

I asked her who was contesting the license and she told me it was the Elk City Police Chief. Bill Putman, He was also one of the top people at the local drug task force until he retired in 2011 and I've heard a lot of troubling things about the many years he spent on this police force.  

I received the paper work a few days later and it said a hearing had been set up at the court house on the following Monday with Chief Putman and the Beckham County Associate Judge Doug Haught. I took the papers to the lawyer who had wanted me to get the license and he thought I was joking about being contested. 

I asked him what I should do and I had planned on fighting it. He told me not to even bother to show up because I was beat. I should have went anyway and expressed my concern over having to take the law into my own hands to protect my family from the person that had been sent to terrorize us.  

I've tried many times since 2003 to talk to this police chief and it's amazing that he has never had just a few minutes to visit with me. So much nonsense could have been avoided if he would have stepped in and put his foot down. I don't think Bill had that much to do with what happened to me, but it's clear that he knew about the terrorism and could have stopped a bunch of the games.

Toward the end of 2006 the people who run this town tried to make things as hard as possible for me, to persuade me to give up my taxi service.

There were days when every call I got was phony. I would get somewhere and the person would be gone already, or they’d call and cancel when I was almost there, or they’d say they forgot their wallet. I"d spend hours on the road and not make any money.

It became obvious that someone was tampering with my phone, only allowing calls from certain numbers.

Sometimes they would call every few minutes to see how much longer I was going to be and, when I did arrive, no one would answer. So, I would take off and as soon as I got a few minutes away, they’d call back and say “Sorry, I'm ready now.”

In 2006 I had seven vans. One week we got 17 flat tires that looked as if they’d been punctured by an ice pick. Later windows were broken on two of our vans. After that three vans were completely ruined by someone pouring something corrosive (maybe caustic acid) in the gas tanks.

I started locking the gas caps on my other vans and began keeping them inside my shop and garage as much as possible.

Whoever did it could’ve done a lot more damage. They could’ve put me out of business if they’d wanted to, but it seemed like they were only playing games.

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