The Hoosegow Abyss -Part 14

Eddie G’s Autobiographical Sketch (sent to his public hearing supporters)

I’ve been imprisoned 47 years and am 63 years-old. Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, the middle child of five, I have two older sisters, a younger brother, and younger sister. My parents loved and were committed to me. We were not poor. True, we didn’t have everything we wanted (who does?) though we clearly had everything we needed. Dad made good money at General Motors as an electrician and often worked extra hours to make sure our needs were met. As the first-born son, my Mexican parents treated me special.

At age six Dad introduced me to golf, one of his favorite activities: he had special golf shoes made for me, bought me a golf bag and modified clubs, and took me to nearby driving ranges for hours of practice whenever he was off work. Under Dad’s tutoring, and with weekly practice and many trips to the local golf courses, by age twelve I was a very good golfer. Often my dad scheduled play with a couple of his friends from work and they would bet on our game. He brought me as a ringer to play as his partner and we frequently won. Our little rouse didn’t last long, with Dad’s friends losing regularly and eventually refusing to bet against the “kid.”

Dad insisted on “being there for me” so much that I resented the attention. I hung out with the neighborhood boys playing baseball. On one occasion playing ball with my buddies in a vacant lot near my home, Dad drove by going to work and saw us. The field was pitted with holes and choked with weeds, sticks, and broken glass. A few days later, Dad stopped by during a game and began coaching us. That’s how I found out Dad had coached an all-Mexican adult baseball team in the 1950’s, and had a reputation as a good player.

One day my friends and I were surprised to find our vacant lot ballfield had been cut like a regular lawn, holes were filled, lines drawn, and real commercial bases installed. Dad completed the field renovation alone that morning before work. I sometimes think about the cut lawn and perfect ball diamond while sitting in my grey concrete cell, the faucet of my sink dripping a streak rusty water, trying to imagine the amount of work he willingly tackled that I didn’t appreciate. All my buddies wanted Dad to coach us…except me. I resented him being around so much, which my friends didn’t understand. Dad found our team a sponsor and coached us and entered our team into the city Little League. We did very well our first year, finishing as one of the final teams in the play-offs losing only the last game. Though I wasn’t the best player, Dad started me at second base and put me at the top of the batting order. He thought I had potential and expected a lot from me. My skills quickly develop, so I suppose he was right. He saw a day when I would turn pro. On the other hand, I wanted no part of his dream. I was thirteen and decided that if my dad wanted something for me, I didn’t. He wanted me to get good grades in school, I refused to even try. He wanted me to take college prep classes and I refused. He wanted me to stay out of the trouble I embraced. I even stopped playing golf, which broke his heart.

I’m saying this to make clear that I don’t have the excuses many troubled teens claim to have today — that they didn’t have a father figure to look up to for love and guidance, or they were poor, or came from a tough place, or were abused. Nope, none of those count here.

By sixteen, Dad and I battled daily yet he refused to quit on me. No matter what I did to hurt him, embarrass him, or defy him, he always stood by me. I ran away from home numerous times for no reason other than I didn’t want to hear him talk about how I was wasting my potential. Finally, the authorities became involved and I was put in a juvenile center as a runaway. The authorities convinced Dad that after a month in a juvie, I would be more willing to stay home. That failed miserably and I became more rebellious, the difference being I was now armed with criminal skills. My best friend in the juvenile center was a 12 years-old, already a repeat offender, busted for selling stolen handguns. Once released, we ran together. Respect authority? What’s that?

I ran with a group of juvie center grads who thought it great sport to rob. We started small with shoplifting, eventually graduating to store and home break-ins. We stole everything but favored guns, which were easy to sell. We avoided armed robbery only because we found no handguns to steal. A twelve-year-old carrying a rifle looks a bit conspicuous, or at least used to.

Sex at twelve was a regular thing with each of us having multiple “girlfriends” we tried to keep separate, itself a full-time job. We had little respect for anything or anyone except our group code and I’m not sure we even had that.

My driver’s license was revoked shortly after I got it for ignoring speed limits. I dropped out of high school. Dad blamed himself thinking he could have done more to encourage and show me the way. Desperate, he moved our family out of Saginaw city and purchased five acres in a rural area near Montrose, Michigan where he built a house. He made the move thinking he could keep me from a negative environment involving my criminal friends. I worked a temporary job long enough to buy a junk 61’ Buick Skylark for $75. I had no title, plates, or insurance, but I drove it every day back to Saginaw to hook up with my old buddies.

I didn’t enjoy getting high. I didn’t like the smell of marijuana smoke and I didn’t like the taste of beer or liquor, so to hang out I experimented with amphetamines, “speed”. I had no idea what it was or how it was going to affect me. I merely knew that I didn’t have to smoke or drink it. I started taking speed several weeks before my eventual arrest, and on my 17th birthday I was given a box of hundreds of “hits” of blue micro dot acid to celebrate with my friends; I have never experimented with acid. We took the acid day after day: first one, then two, then 3 and 4 at a time, not even allowing our brains to come down from the high. We were 16- and 17-year-olds confused, sleep deprived Mexican teens, high on acid and looking to prove something, although we hadn’t a clue what we were trying to prove nor to whom.

Let’s be clear: Drugs didn’t force themselves on me and nobody made me take them. It was my choice. I’ve heard folks say that psychedelics expanded their perspectives and creativity. Uh huh. Okay. But not for me. They narrowed my sense of reality so I laser focused on my disgruntled world. We sat around talking about screw this, fuck that; our minds mere pinpoints of resentment against what? Everything.

On one of many such nights, high as hell, we cruised around in a friend’s family vehicle. Suddenly the driver announced he had to drop us off since he had to return the car to his dad for work. We didn’t want to be dropped at our own homes: me because we were seventeen miles out of town; the others simply because we were high and didn’t want to encounter parents. The decision was made to be dropped off at another friend’s house where we were often allowed to spend time in his basement recreation room. After sharing some pills with our friend, and once he was high, he informed us we couldn’t stay late. I don’t recall whose idea it was, but we decided “let’s walk over to the mall,” only a few blocks away.

Inside the mall we got bored and attempted to call other friends our age, 15, 16 and 17, but none had access to a car. Okay, we’ll steal one. Unfortunately, none of us knew how to hot wire a car, so we did what we thought was the next best thing: We started walking up and down the parking lot looking into cars, hoping to find keys still in the ignition. There we were: three teens, high, paying no attention to what anyone else might think or say or see. We couldn’t find a car with keys and soon tired; our high was letting us down so we took more pills.

After some initial confusion we decided to overpower someone to steal their keys and car but we had a problem: I was 5’4” and weigh about 135–140; one of my other co-defendants, was even shorter, and lighter than me; and the other was tall but very skinny. In other words, we weren’t going to be able to just take the average person’s keys. After watching many men come out of the mall, knowing we would never be able to over-power them despite there being three of us, we decided taking a lady’s keys, but hell, even some of the women scared us. The youngest of our group said he had an idea and left for about ten minutes then returned with an ice pick. After an hour or so, we saw a young, short, and slightly built female. We pushed her into the vehicle and my friend with the ice pick showed her the weapon and she agreed to drive off the lot. Once away from the mall, I told her to get out, that all we want is the vehicle; I opened the door and told her to run. To our dismay she flatly refused. She went on about this vehicle was all she had and needed it for her band, and announced she wasn’t giving it to us, but would agree to drive us where we wanted to go. We were puzzled and confused and trying to figure out what to do when she started asking questions:

“You aren’t going to rob me, are you?” No was our answer, and her response was “Good, I just cashed my check.” We looked at each other.

“You aren’t going to rape me, are you?” Again, the answer was no, but she was 20 years old-and tiny and attractive and had money so we thought, “What the hell?” and robbed and raped her.

We drove to another friend’s home, and two of my friends got out. I drove with her a few blocks further and then abandoned her in her vehicle and ran back to my friend’s home. The thought she would remember where I dropped off my friends never crossed my mind.

None of us could sleep: We went from numbness to excitement to a feeling of control and power, and the next day, now under the pretext of stealing a car, we returned to the mall. When one of my buddies came up to me and said, “We have a car!” I immediately went with him. The car was parked in front of the mall entrance and I reached the vehicle thinking let’s move fast. Inside the car I saw another friend in the back sit with a woman in a headlock. I hesitated, but the friend who had come to get me said you have to drive, there’s a police car in the next row making rounds, we have to go now. Overriding my instinct to run like hell, but not wanting my friend to be caught, I jumped in and drove. Clearly it was their intent to rape. I drove to a public park and walked away from the vehicle telling them do what you’re going to do. I stayed away for about a half hour but then decided to participate in the rape. I knew I was already as guilty as they: Had I not drove this wouldn’t be happening. But I didn’t stop. A few days later we raped again. We were out of control and had to be stopped. Nine days after my 17th birthday, I sat in the Saginaw County jail charged with three counts of forcible rape of three adult white women.

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