Friday, August 10, 2012

Ruth Neslund

Puget Sound
Sometime in August, 1980, long-time Friday Harbor, Wash­ington resident Rolf Neslund, 83, disappeared, almost without a trace. Although his body was never found, San Juan County authorities as well as the state attorney general’s office pieced together a chilling tale of greed, murder and grisly dismemberment sur­rounding the old man’s sudden and mys­terious disappearance. It took the Wash­ington lawmen two years to build a case against a suspect, a difficult task since there was no body, and another three years to bring the defendant to trial, mak­ing for one of the longest, most challeng­ing cases in that state’s history. Here’s what happened:
Born in Norway in 1897, Rolf Nes­lund moved to the United States with his parents during the early part of the 20th century, shortly after Orville and Wilbur Wright invented the airplane. While still in his youth, Neslund and his family moved west to Washington State. Neslund eventually moved to Friday Harbor on Lopez Island, one of many inhabited islands in the San Juan chain in Puget Sound, accessible only by ferryboat. When he wasn’t working, Neslund spent as much time as he could there.
Rolf Neslund loved the sea, its power­ful majesty and its serene calm. He also loved ships, so much so that he signed on as a deckhand on a freighter when he was a young man. He moved up through the ranks quickly, eventually making cap­tain and being given command of his own ship. Neslund made a very good income for himself and his wife Ruth, and together they shared a beautiful home on Lopez Island.
For the most part, Neslund enjoyed good health, and for a while it seemed as if he had everything anyone could possibly want. When he reached retirement age and qualified for a good pension, Neslund chose to continue working in­stead of relaxing on his island paradise. To his co-workers, it seemed as if Nes­lund would never retire.
However, tragedy struck in 1978 when a freighter that was being piloted by Nes­lund rammed into one of the twin draws- pans of the West Seattle Bridge, the dam­age to which forced construction of a new bridge. After a lengthy investigation, the Coast Guard found evidence of negli­gence on Neslund’s part and on the part of another of the ship’s officers. Shortly af­ter the Coast Guard’s determination, Neslund was forced to retire.
With his ship and his command having been taken away from him, friends said Neslund’s life went steadily downhill. Already known as a drinker, Neslund began to hit the bottle more heavily after his forced retirement, and his relatives said he became increasingly depressed. Those who knew him said he nearly reached the point of no return after the accident, and some flatly described him as an alcoholic. Just when it seemed as if Rolf Neslund would destroy himself with booze, he vanished.
Although his somewhat craggy face seemed less formidable in his final days due, in part, to his age and his heavy drinking, Rolf’s face was handsome, and seemed to almost always flash a devas­tating smile no matter how unhappy he was. Always a well-dressed gentleman, Rolf maintained a slim waist and well-defined muscles in spite of his age and his drinking.
Those who knew Rolf Neslund said they couldn’t imagine that he’d simply run away, abandoning his wife and his home. They said that a world of wisdom could be seen in his eyes as he sat on his deck and watched the screaming seagulls wheeling overhead, and that running away from his island, which he de­scribed as an exquisite work of nature, could not have been further away from his mind. In spite of what everyone thought, however, Rolf Neslund disap­peared.
On Wednesday, August 13, 1980, Neslund’s wife Ruth notified the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department of her husband’s sudden and mysterious ab­sence from their home. When Un­dersheriff Rod Tyr arrived at the Nes­lund home to take a report. Mrs. Neslund said that she had last seen her husband two days earlier, on August 11th, when he’d packed his belongings and left their home in his automobile.
Friday Harbor is a small town and Lopez Island is a small island, so it was no secret that Rolf Neslund had been forced to retire because of the accident involving the ship under his command. It was also no secret that Rolf and his wife had drinking problems that often included bitter fights. Although Rolf Neslund looked boyishly benign, utterly harm­less, he was known to have quite a tem­per and a flare for the dramatic. In some circles, he and his wife were described as a hell-horn combination, in part because of their opposite sizes — she being rather obese and known heated arguments. But the records showed that neither of them had ever engaged in any serious acts of violence.
Mrs. Neslund told Undersheriff Tvrdy that Rolf had become increasingly de­pressed after being forced to retire, and often talked of returning to his native Norway. Although they had recently fought over seemingly insignificant rea­sons, Mrs. Neslund told the lawman that she sincerely thought her husband would have returned to her after having had a chance to cool down a hit. But after two days had passed with no word from Rolf, she said she became increasingly wor­ried and felt she should report his disap­pearance. After writing all the details into his notebook, including Rolls vehi­cle information and a list of the items he was believed to have taken with him, Tvrdy assured Mrs. Neslund that he and his deputies would do all they could to locate her husband.
The first thing Tvrdy did was to issue an APB for Rolf Neslund’s car, after which he instructed his deputies to keep their eyes open for it as they patrolled the small island. He then began compiling a list of all Neslund’s known friends, ac­quaintances and former co-workers, in­cluding all those on the rolls of the Port Angeles Pilot Association, of which Rolf Neslund was a long-time active member in good standing. He then sent details of Neslund’s disappearance over the wires to nearby counties and prepared to con­tact customs authorities to try and deter­mine whether or not Neslund had left the country.
A short time later, deputies reported finding Rolf Neslund’s apparently aban­doned car at the Anacortes ferry dock, located north of Friday Harbor. Although there were no apparent signs of foul play, the car was towed to the sheriff’s depart­ment headquarters so that it could be gone over more thoroughly. If it turned out that Neslund had been a victim of foul play, Tvrdy wanted to make -sure that he had every clue or piece of evidence at his disposal.
Because of Neslund’s reportedly de­pressed state of mind at the time of his disappearance, Tvrdy and his deputies had to consider the possibility that he had committed suicide, particularly since his car was located at the ferry boat dock. With this in mind, Tvrdy took a couple of deputies and drove up at Anacortes to investigate further.
At Anacortes the investigators sought witnesses who might have seen Neslund drive his vehicle to the boat dock. If anyone had seen him, they reasoned, it could provide a more useful time frame for them to work with. And of course it was even possible that they would un­cover an eyewitness who’d seen Neslund jump off the dock into the cold waters of the Puget Sound. But after several hours of nosing around, they came up emp­ty-handed. No one, apparently, had seen anything, leaving the lawmen with no way to accurately determine what time Neslund arrived at the ferryboat dock.
A short time later, Tvrdy contacted the Washington State Patrol and the State Attorney General’s office in an attempt to get additional help. When assistance was authorized, (livers went into the wa­ter near the Anacortes dock to search for Neslund’s body and/or his clothing or possessions. However, after several hours, they too came up empty-handed.
In an attempt to develop vital investi­gative leads, the lawmen decided to re­view Neslund’s background. Although they did not yet know if he was in fact a victim, the circumstances surrounding his sudden disappearance were indeed suspicious; they had to consider the very real possibility. The trained investigators knew that in many cases reports of crimes, such as the disappearance, are simulated to hide or cover up other crimes, which is especially true if some time has elapsed since a criminal act was committed. They even considered that Neslund had perhaps been a victim of robbery, only to be subsequently killed. But the sleuths also knew that a robber or a mugger, unless he is mentally retarded or psychotic, would not want the addi­tional, more serious liability of murder on his hands along with the initial crime.
At the conclusion of Neslund’s back­ground search, the San Juan County in­vestigators determined that he had no criminal record nor did he have any background in any other criminal in­vestigations. There was very little “his­torical information about Neslund found in the files of local, state or federal agencies, and with the absence of such background information there went the lawmen’s’ investigative leads. Further­more, the examination of Neslund’s abandoned car failed to turn up any sig­nificant clues, which left the investigators, ultimately, hack at square one in the case. All they knew for certain was that Rolf Neslund was missing.
Likewise, attempts to ferret out addi­tional information from authorities in Neslund’s native Norway proved fruit­less, as customs and immigrations offi­cials had no record of him having entered the country through the normal legal channels. It seemed highly unlikely that he would have entered in any other way. However, when Tvrdy informed Mrs. Neslund of the results of his investiga­tion, she continued to insist that she saw her husband pack his bags on August 11th, after which he said he planned to visit Norway. Tvrdy told Mrs. Neslund that there was little else he could do at this point, unless or until something new developed.
The investigation lay dormant and in­active until early in 1981, when several members of the Port Angeles Pilots As­sociation noticed Rolf Neslund’s ab­sence from the regular meetings and be­gan making inquiries. Undersheriff Tvrdy told the curious and concerned club members of the mysterious circum­stances, and several members asked that he re-open the investigation. Tvrdy agreed to do just that, and he returned to the Neslund home to make new inquiries, particularly since he hadn’t heard much from Mrs. Neslund since the initial in­vestigation began.
When Tvrdy was greeted at the door by Mrs. Neslund, who often used a walk­er to help her get around, he noticed a troubled face that was strained across the temples and the eye sockets, a face that exhibited the telltale signs of worry and distress. However, she had little to say to Tvrdy, and offered him no new informa­tion regarding her husband’s disappear­ance. She simply repeated what she had told him several times before. This time, however, there was something about her eyes that betrayed her, something that told Tvrdy that she was lying. But why? Had she fabricated her husband’s disap­pearance to cover another crime, perhaps murder? Although Tvrdy acknowledged to himself that it was possible, he noted that it would be difficult for Mrs. Nes­lund to dispose of the body in her present overweight condition and general ill health. But she could have killed her husband and disposed of his body with the aid of an accomplice. But who? And for what motivation? With a lack of evi­dence and no body, Tardy brushed the thought aside. For the moment.
Days passed, and quickly turned into weeks and months with no significant results and no new leads regarding the disappearance of Rolf Neslund. To the investigators working his case it seemed as if he simply vanished into thin air. In fact it began to look as if the mystery would never be solved. It wasn’t until the case seemed at its lowest point that the investigators received their first real break.
As it turned out, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department received a tele­phone call from a relative of the Nes­lunds, Mindy Ahern, who nervously told Undersheriff Tvrdy that she had informa­tion regarding Rolf’s disappearance. Ms. Ahern said that Neslund’s wile. Ruth telephoned her on Friday, August 8, 1980 and admitted that she had shot and killed Rolf. According to Ms. Ahern, Ruth Neslund called again later and con­firmed what she had originally told her. Tvrdy Went to Ahern’s home and brought her to the sheriff’s department headquar­ters, where he obtained a taped and writ­ten statement from her.
“She and Rolf had a fight,” said Ah­ern in a statement that was later used in an affidavit of probable cause. “Ruth’s (rel­ative), Saul lnnes, held Rolf Neslund and Ruth Neslund shot and killed Rolf Nes­lund.
A short time later, another of Ruth Neslund’s relatives, Larry Sands, came forward with additional shocking details of the alleged killing. According to San Juan County Superior Court documents, Sands told authorities that he had lived at the Neslund home from December 1980 through the early part of 1981. It was during this time, he said, that Ruth Nes­lund told him that she had shot her hus­band. According to what Sands told the investigators, Mrs. Neslund also told him that Rolf had fallen over a living room couch when he had been shot, spraying blood and brain matter around the room. According to the court docu­ments, Sands also told the investigators that Mrs. Neslund, after the killing, gave her relative a broadax and a butcher knife which Saul Innes used to cut up Rolf’s body in the bathtub. Afterward, said San­ds, the body parts were taken to a barrel on the Neslund property and burned. Sands told the investigators that Neslund had been shot twice in the head.
It was indeed a grisly story and, al­though Tvrdy was a seasoned cop. he winced at the gory details. Crimes of this nature were rare in his county, and he considered himself lucky in some re­spects that he didn’t have to deal with the dismembered body, or so he hoped. Even though eight months had passed since Rolf Neslund was believed to have been killed. Tvrdy and his deputies had to make an attempt to locate at least some of the victim’s remains.
In the meantime, Ruth Neslund, 63, was formally charged with first-degree murder in connection with her husband’s alleged death. Ruth Neslund and her attorney, Fred Weedon, appeared in San Juan Superior Court where, speaking in a hushed voice, she pleaded not guilty to the charges. Noting that Ruth Neslund had well-established ties with the Lopez Island and Friday Harbor communities and had been associated with Weedon as a client on and off for the past 10 years, Weedon asked that her bail be set at $10,000. However, Superior Court Judge Howard Patrick set bail at $50,000. A short time later, Ruth Nes­lund posted a property mortgage in the amount of the bond and she was released, pending the outcome of her trial.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies searched the Neslund home — which Mrs. Neslund also used as a bed-and-breakfast inn for traveler — for clues. Unfortunately for the prosecu­tion’s case, the deputies returned with no evidence of foul play. The investigation continued, however, and Mrs. Neslund remained free on bond to run her inn.
A couple of months later the case took a new turn when another of the Neslund’s relatives, Ron Lewis, claimed in a pro­bate petition that Ruth Neslund “forcibly” caused her husband’s death. Al­though he presented no evidence, the rel­ative contended that Ruth Neslund had hidden the body. In spite of the new witness, however, there still wasn’t enough evi­dence to bring the case to trial.
As the investigation continued, by this time with the assistance of the state attor­ney general’s criminal division, the prob­ers learned that the alleged fight between Ruth and Roll Neslund prior to his death involved money. At one point in the in­vestigation, authorities learned that Ruth Neslund had transferred more than $50,000 from their joint hank accounts and retirement funds into a new account under her own name and that of another relative.
“(Saul Innes) told (Larry Sands) that when Rolf Neslund told Ruth to come up with the money, ‘or else,’” said Greg Canova, chief of the state attorney gener­al’s division, “that Ruth gave him (the) ‘or else,’ and killed him. Saul Innes, the relative who allegedly held Rolf Neslund while his wife shot him and later helped chop up and burn the body, has been diagnosed by his doctors as being senile and has not yet been charged in the case. When asked whether charges would be filed against the relative, San Juan County Deputy Prosecutor Charles Silverman said, “I have no comment on that whatsoever.” The relative has been described as frail and old, at least 20 years Ruth’s senior. It isn’t likely that he will he charged in the case.
As the investigation continued, the probers uncovered another witness, a friend of Ruth Neslund’s, who told the crime sleuths that she had been called to the Neslund home on the evening of Au­gust 8, 1980 by a somewhat distraught Ruth. The witness told the investigators that while she and Ruth sat at a bar inside the Neslund home, Ruth told her that her relative was in one of the bathrooms chopping up Rolf’s body.
In spite of the mounting testimony, most of which was damaging to Ruth Neslund’s defense, the investigators wanted hard physical evidence before going to trial. As a result, they returned to the Neslund home again, and this time the search of the house and the surround­ing property took nine days.
During the second search, crime lab technicians sprayed luminol, a chemical that detects even the most minute traces of blood, even after rigorous attempts have been made to clean up any such stains. Following the spraying, traces of blood were found on the living room floor, the carpet and the ceiling, as well as in one of the bathrooms. Also found during the search was a pistol, believed to have been the murder weapon, which had traces of blood on it.
During the evidence-gathering phase of the investigation, police used jackhammers to remove two chunks of concrete from the living room floor, and they cut and bagged several sections of the stained carpeting. They also took three pieces of sheeting from the living room ceiling. All of the items were sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory in Seattle for analysis.
Meanwhile, the investigators learned that Rolf Neslund had undergone surgery some 10 years before at a Seattle hospital and a search of his medical file deter­mined that his blood was Type A. Tests conducted at the state crime labs on items recovered from the Neslund home showed that traces of human blood were indeed present, and that they were also Type A. The pistol seized during the second search also showed that the blood traces were Type A.
Because it had been alleged that Rolf Neslund’s body had been chopped up in one of the house’s bathrooms, the San Juan County authorities brought a back- hoe to the Neslund residence, which they used to dig up the septic tank and a near­by drain field in search of evidence such as blood and tissue that might have been washed down the drain. They also used the backhoe to dig up several sections of the yard, apparently in search of body parts, bones, and/or the tools used to dismember the old man’s body. All in all, more than 700 items of evidence were seized during the second search, much of which was not made public. During the second search, the homicide investigators also learned that the Nes­lunds had owned a commercial type meat grinder which they had sold to a Friday Harbor couple. This, too, was seized as evidence, the macabre implications of which won’t be gone into here.
It is important to note here that Ells­worth Connelly, co-defense attorney for Mrs. Neslund, attempted to suppress much of the massive amount of evidence that the prosecution had built its case on. Although the evidence was seized under order of search warrants, Connelly ar­gued that the search warrants had been issued improperly by San Juan County Superior Court Judge Richard Pitt who, Connelly contended, wasn’t “neutral” in his judgments because he had also acted as the inquiry judge initially in­volved with Neslund’s disappearance. Connelly took his arguments to the Washington Supreme Court, a move which, needless to say, held up the trial for a considerable time.
However, writing for the majority, Justice Robert Brachtenbach said that Superior Court Judge Richard Pitt was “neutral and detached in fact and his issuance of search warrants” related to the case “was valid.” The ruling favor­ing the prosecution’s collection of evi­dence came in November 1984, more than four years after Rolf Neslund disap­peared. It had been a 7-2 opinion by the high court.
Although Ruth Neslund’s original trial date was set for May 6, 1985, it was postponed until the following October. During jury selection, in which 400 po­tential jurors were called (the largest number ever for a trial in San Juan Coun­ty), Neslund suffered a severe nosebleed and nausea in the courtroom. As a result, the proceedings were interrupted on Hal­loween Day when she was admitted to a Bellingham hospital. Following a delay of a week and a half, jury selection re­sumed and a jury was seated, with three alternates. Because of her chronic nose­bleeds and high blood pressure, Judge Robert Bibb granted a prosecution re­quest that Neslund be required to stay at a convalescent center during the remainder of her trial. As a result of the $50,000 property bond, however, Neslund was allowed to leave the convalescent center on weekends.
During the opening remarks to the jury and a packed courtroom, Prosecutor Greg Canova took the jurors step-by-step through the case, from Rolf Neslund’s initial disappearance to witnesses coming­ forward with information, to the massive evidence gathering. One of the first witnesses he called to the stand was one of Ruth Neslund’s closest friends. Pene­lope Turner, who said she had known the defendant for seven years. It was pointed out that Turner had been given immunity from prosecution for previously lying to a grand jury, in return for her truthful testimony at the trial.
“Why did you lie?” asked Canova.
“I felt what had been done had been done; I was protecting Ruth,” replied Turner. In recanting her previous testi­mony, Turner then told of how Ruth Nes­lund called her at her home on the night of August 8th, 1980.
“Ruth told me she wanted me to come over,” said Turner. “She said she need­ed me. Ruth let me in and she said she had killed him. She said she had shot him.” Although Canova had previously stated that the Neslunds were known as frequent heavy drinkers, prone to quar­rels and threats to each other, Turner told the jury that Ruth didn’t appear to have been drinking on that night, the night of the alleged shooting and subsequent dis­memberment.
Turner said that it hadn’t taken her long to get to the Neslund residence, as she only lived five minutes away. She said that after Ruth told her what she had done to Rolf, Ruth told her that one of her relatives was inside the house. Ruth then led Turner to the bar, where they sat on barstools as Ruth told her what had hap­pened, said Turner.
“She indicated to me that she didn’t want me to know any of the details,”- testified Turner. “She said (Saul) was in the bathroom,” said Turner, who then began to cry. “She said (Saul) was cut­ting him up.”
During the course of the trial, Ruth Neslund’s relative, Larry Sands, testified that Ruth had described the killing to him and that another relative, Saul Innes, had described cutting up the body and bur­ning the pieces in a trash barrel. Defense Attorney Weedon attempted to discredit Sands’ testimony by calling him an unre­liable witness and “a self-confessed drunk who drank a halt- to a gallon of whiskey a day…The state has to live with its own witnesses.”
Other witnesses uncovered during the intensive investigation took the stand and testified that Ruth Neslund had described in great detail how she shot her husband and helped a relative chop and burn his body. Undersheriff Tvrdy and state in­vestigators also testified and described the significance of the evidence that was presented. All in all, nearly 170 pieces of evidence were submitted during the trial, including pieces of the bloodstained con­crete and ceiling sheets taken from the Neslund home.
Ruth Neslund also took the stand in her own defense, and denied that she killed her husband. She told the jury that he drank heavily and was severely de­pressed after his forced retirement, and said that she thought he had taken an extended trip to Norway or had commit­ted suicide.
In closing arguments, Defense Attor­ney Weedon criticized the prosecution’s case and its witnesses by saying that the authorities had failed to produce a body or even some body parts. They even failed to produce a murder weapon, he said, because the bloodstained pistol seized from the Neslund home had not been proven to be the murder weapon, primarily because there was no body to retrieve bullets from for purposes of com­parison. “They found nothing because there was nothing,” said Weedon.
”I ask you to send Ruth back to Lopez a free woman,” continued Weedon. “We don’t know where Rolf is, but that is not enough for conviction. Just be­cause Rolf hasn’t been seen since 1980, that’s no reason to believe he’s dead.”
In his closing arguments, Prosecutor Greg Canova alleged that Rolf Neslund was killed after he discovered his wife had transferred most of the money in their joint accounts to a new account in her name. Canova portrayed the Neslunds as a hard-drinking couple who quarreled of­ten and threatened each other regularly.
“It really was a case of who was going to kill whom first,” said Canova. “Taken together, all the physical evidence is overwhelming beyond a reasonable doubt that Rolf was killed and that Ruth killed him.”
After being changed with their obliga­tions and sequestered in a hotel overnight, the San Juan County Superior Court jury began their deliberations on Thursday morning, December 12, 1985. On Sun­day., December 15th, the nine-woman, three-man panel announced that they had reached a verdict. Although it hadn’t been easy, they convicted Ruth Neslund of first-degree murder for the slaying of her husband. Except for a certain re­moteness, Ruth Neslund’s wide face be­trayed no real expression of emotion as the verdict was read. However, she be­gan to cry as she was led out of the courtroom by Undersheriff Tvrdy. “I’ll make it. I’ll make it. It’s all right,” said Neslund as she was placed inside a sher­iff’s car.
“It was not a decision we wanted to come up with,” said the jury foreman of the guilty verdict. “But the evidence was too much. It was a difficult case for all of us.”
“We’re not happy,” said another ju­ror. “We wanted so bad to find her inno­cent. It was very emotional. I haven’t slept in six weeks.”
A review of the jury’s deliberations revealed that several of the jurors were prepared to convict Neslund on the first day, but others held out and wanted to carefully review the evidence, particu­larly since there was no body. By Sun­day, the fourth day of deliberations, 11 jurors were ready to convict, but one held out for the “smoking gun.”
“One person used the term ‘smoking gun’,” said one of the jurors, “and until they found the smoking gun, we weren’t going to be able to prove she was guil­ty.” As it turned out, the “smoking gun” in this case was a newspaper ad for ‘the sale of the Neslunds’ home, placed on August 13, 1980, the day before Nes­lund said her husband had disappeared.
“If, in fact, Rolf left and she was expecting him to come back,” said the juror, “what was he going to come back to?” The jury also determined that Rolf’s murder was premeditated, prima­rily because witnesses testified that two shots had been fired, a fact which aided the jury in determining that Ruth Nes­lund had considered the murder for at least “a moment in time,” the quote being taken from the legal definition of premeditation.
“Obviously they (the jury) made the right decision,” said Prosecutor Cano­va. Under Wash­ington State law, a guilty verdict for first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life. Ruth Neslund died in 1993 at age 73 while serving a life prison term at the Women’s Correction Center in Purdy, Washington.
Editor’s Note:
Mindy Ahern, Saul Innes, Larry San­ds, Ron Lewis and Penelope Turner are not the real names of the persons so named in the foregoing story. Fictitious names have been used because there is no reason for public interest in the iden­tities of these persons.

2 comments:

  1. Friday Harbor is NOT on Lopez Island. It is on San Juan Island!

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  2. Wave You're on Lopez Island - Wave to the departing ferry - your constitutional rights just left aboard the ferry. Ruth Neslund was caught in the emotions of her own standards of conduct of which Rolf was of like mind. Rolf's body was never found on the property nor anywhere on the planet. The meat grinder story was disproved. Shame on you for posting that grisly story as fact. (This isn't Fargo) In August 1980, after Rolf disappeared, deputy harassment started - that include illegal searches of her home when Ruth went off island. Winfred Stafford, was adamant that Ruth was not guilty. She repeated this to me, often drunk as a skunk. First time on the witness stand, she said the same. Second time on the witness, stand she perjured herself, recanting her first statement - shaking like she was facing a firing squad (actually was symbolically as Prosecutor Canova bore into her as if they had made a deal. (After Winford perjured herself, she was whisked away by sheriff deputies in a squad car down to the marina, put on a sheriff boat docked and waiting; rushing over to nearby Lopez Island. It was about 10 am. The deputies who had her in custody demanded that the Fisherman's Wharf bar give her a drink. "We're closed," said the owner. "No you're not," replied the deputy, his right arm lowered to where he placed his hand on the pistol strap. Winford drank that bottle like a person parched for water from being left in burning desert sun. Winford was taken to her home on south Lopez, given a few minutes to pack some clothes. A chartered Cessna awaited them at the Lopez Island landing strip, engine on, warmed up for immediate take off. Winford, now drunk - three sheets to the betrayal of her long time friend; boarded and flew off into obscurity. No charges were ever brought against her for committing perjury by Prosecutor Canova. What does that tell you - that does clearly show - a woman in a compromised position drowned her remorse of betrayal in tumbler after tumbler of shots of whiskey. With each shot - Winford imagined "her knife of betrayal, thrust into Ruth's gut.) A miscarriage of justice - thought often times it goes without prosecution - unless it is egregious (meaning that the testimony was involved in a heinous crime). The proof that this perjury was actionable was the fact that Winford was taken off the island by the county sheriff deputies - and was never seen again. It was just another travesty of due process of law circumvented for the benefit for the state prosecutor - and you can't beat them - even when your innocent. Cold Case. Ruth died in prison. Rolf died from a drunken overdose - hidden somewhere on the east coast of Canada. (No passport needed at the time) God have mercy on their souls. Ill begotten - Rolf was a war hero several times over - and one of the maritime's greatest ship pilots around the world from the summer of 1980 when his freighter rammed the Duwamish bascul bridge. Disgraced from a spotless record of getting the most difficult freighters into dry docks - and through tight canals, just this one time the barely speaking English Panamanian crew misunderstood his orders as the freighter - now extended 100 feet, caused suction from the concrete wall of the canal on the port side, pulling the Andrea's hull's bow to far starboard. The ship's bill of lading - maize - and hidden the 100 pound sacks - Panamanian cakes of cocaine from Pablo Escobar's Colombian/Bolivian drug cartel.

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