The Utah Gumshoe: The Case of the Apparent Rapist
- December 11, 2015
- by Scott Fulmer
Listen: The Case of the Apparent Rapist
If you’ve ever served on a jury you’ve witnessed the back and forth between the prosecution and the defense. First, you’re convinced the suspect is guilty as the prosecution makes their case. Then you’re sure he’s innocent based on testimony from the defense. That’s how our adversarial legal system works. The same can be said when it comes to taking statements. You interview the subject and walk away feeling like you know the big picture. Then you interview the subject’s ex-spouse and begin to think that maybe the subject lied, or at the very least, withheld pertinent facts. Later, you interview the subject’s co-workers and find yourself back at square one; thinking the subject is altruistic and wonderful. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Case in point: my experience at The Walls.
The Huntsville Unit is a state prison in Huntsville, Texas, built in 1849 right off the town square. It’s known as The Walls due to the tall red brick walls that surround the prison. Merle Haggard sang about it. Outlaw gunfighter John Wesley Hardin and Duane “Dog The Bounty Hunter” Chapman were once guests there. It also happens to be where the Texas Death House is. A very small room barely 9 feet square in the northeast corner of the prison.
I was there one morning interviewing a tall, lanky black male by the name of Lamar Caruthers. He was serving time for rape. Now, it goes against prison etiquette to ask an inmate why he’s in prison. If they want you to know they’ll tell you. That being said, plenty of them will tell you they didn’t do it (whatever it is.) Lamar was no exception. He said he was innocent.
“I didn’t rape that girl.” By girl, he meant woman. The victim was his sometime girlfriend; a white female in her 30’s. “She was all into it” he explained further. When interviewing someone regarding sex crimes you must gather specific details. It’s not enough to have the subject say we had sex. “We was getting into it” he said. “And right before I was about to finish, you know what I mean…she said stop. But I couldn’t. So I just finished.”
I interviewed the victim later on. She essentially told the same story but volunteered that she began saying “stop” a little earlier in the act. There was also none of the bruising and other signs consistent with sexual assault. Yet, Lamar was sitting in a prison cell.
I’m not saying I believed Lamar. I’m not saying I didn’t believe the victim. I think race was probably a factor in the conviction. What I am saying (and the point of this blog entry) is that there is often a fine line between the truth and how people view the truth. In The Dark Tower series, American author Stephen King wrote “Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.”
What I’m saying is essentially this: when taking statements don’t fall in the trap of believing everything you hear. It was Benjamin Franklin who said “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”You’ll hear different points of view from everyone you interview. The truth is always somewhere in between.I’m not talking about the principle of moderation, I’m suggesting that everyone comes to the table with their own prejudices and experiences.To understand the truth of why and how something occurred you must first seek to understand the people involved.
Until next time,
This is Scott Fulmer, the Utah Gumshoe, reminding you the game…if afoot!
About The Utah Gumshoe Podcast
The Utah Gumshoe Podcast follows the real-life exploits, riveting case stories, investigative tips and insightful advice of Scott Fulmer, The Utah Gumshoe. Scott is a 20 year veteran Utah private investigator, surveillance expert and President/CEO of intellUTAH, a private investigation firm based in Salt Lake City.
He has written numerous articles on investigative and surveillance techniques that have appeared in PInow.com and other industry journals. He is a decorated combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War where he served with the famous 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Whether you're a novice or an experienced investigator this is the podcast for you.