Babar (12/3/2014/2001), 48pp, 14,400 words, excerpt from Wretches, published in Pure Heirsay (2018)
Zane Floyd (2000), 58pp, 14,500 words, excerpt from Wretches, published in Pure Heirsay (2018): 23yo rapist and homocidal maniac, upon being ousted from the USMC, goes on a rampage, kills five and wounds two in a Las Vegas supermarket.
Joshua (2017), 32pp excerpt from Whom the Gods Destroy, TXu 922-932 (9/7/199). Las Vegas 14yo skizo ambushes his parents and grandparents in their peaceful Vista, CA, home with a hammer and kills his 9yo sister the next morning with an ax.
Wretches: Las Vegas and the Underworld of Psychotic America (2002), US Copyright TXu 1-029-128 (4/23/2002)
"President Clinton, Can You Please Forgive Myself?: The Saga of a Would-Be Presidential Assassin,"11:3 The Journal 18 (Sacramento, California Alliance for the Mentally Ill) (Oct 2000)
"The Judicial Suicide of Priscilla Ford," 10:4 The Journal 36 (Sacramento: The California Alliance for the Mentally Ill) (Jan 2000)
The Ram-Away Slay Massacre
Thanksgiving Day, 1980, 51yo Afro-American Road Warrior, Priscilla Ford, plowed her car into a crowd of Reno tourists, killing six, inuring 23. At the hospital, she told a doctor they "were just a bunch of pigs . . . out and running wild." She extolled, "I planned it! I hope I got seventy-five!" She looked on the bright slab. "At least I made the funeral homes happy." I did what I had to do," she sighed.
A "voice" made her do it.
She had a .162% blood alcohol. Police found a half-empty jug of wine in heer apartment.
Ford insisted "the pigs" took her daughter.
In 1973 Ford moved to Reno from San Francisco. One day she collapsed in a restaurant, suddenly paralyzed. Checked into the Nevada Mental Health Institute, she walked two hours later--a miracle. NMHI diagnosed "passive-aggressive personality with hysterical episodes" and released her. When she was jailed a short time later for trespass and assault, welfare authorities took her daughter, Wynter. Ford wanted the 11yo artificially inseminated to give "virgin birth" to "another Jesus." Neglecting to retrieve her when she got out of jail, she blew town.
Moving in with her son and daughter-in-law, she one day locked the apartment, broke all the dishes in the cupboards, and turned on the gas. A stint in a mental hospital later, she vanished again. A year later, she surfaced in Buffalo, New York, asking Catholic Charities for money and threatening suicide.
In 1958 Ford taught in a two-room school in Michigan. "The students loved her," recalled a school board official. Her best friend called her "brilliant, outstanding in music or art or anything else she tried--an all-out A student."
Everyone agreed she was normal before 1970. Then when her cheating husband died, she saw him everyday in the street. In life, he punched Priscilla with his fists. Earlier she had shot him in the chest, then herself, just missing the heart. Both survived.
When a boyfriend with whom she lived refused to help her, she got down on her knees and prayed he would die. "We called the house the next day," her son said,"and he was dead."
"It's not wrong for me to kill because I deserve vengeance--vengeance is mine!" Ford crowed after plowing the crowd. In jail she vouchsafed to her children, "If they want to killl Christ, it's okay."
Her mother described her as a "sweet little girl . . . one of eleven beautiful children . . . industrious . . . not lazy . . . a go-getter." She admitted, though, that her daughter became "somewhat difficult" in 1970.
Her son said she "completely changed" from an earnest church lady to a heavy-drinking, pot-smoking rebel. In 1972 she dragged her three children to the GOP National Convention in Miami to deliver a message from Ellen G. White, a prophet in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. In 1977 she sued the Mormon and Adventist Churches, and HEW Secretary Califano, for $500M because, "They ignored the fact that I was the one who received visions."
In 1978 a fight with a neighbor landed her in an Idaho mental hospital. Doctors diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia again.
In 1979 Ford wrote her best friend, "Someone's trying to kill all Seventh Day Adventists by way of 'Priscilla.' Do you know who it si?"
In Buffalo again, she told a social worker she wanted "her sister-in-law sliced up with a knife." She said she attempted suicide three times in the 1950s. When the worker could not help her find her daughter, she snapped, "I hope they find your body floating in the river!" Though fearing "someone easily capable of violence and killing," doctors diagnosed Ford paranoid schizophrenic and released her.
June 1980 Ford drove to Boston, looking for lawyer, F. Lee Bailey. In a vision Joan Kennedy's voice told her to ram a crowd and "kill everyone." Another "voice" stopped her. At trial. Reno prosecutor Calvin R.X. Dunlap ornamented that Joan Kennedy was the wife of Senator Ted Kennedy, whose car killed Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick in 1969.
In January 1981, a court dunked her in a forensic hospital to recoup enough wits to be tried. Three months later, psychologist Carlos Brandenburg declared she would never be competent without antipsychotic drugs. District Judge James Guinan ordered her forcibly drugged.
When trial began, October 11, 1981, public defender Lew Carnahan soft-soaped the jury Ford suffered "a mental disease through no fault of her own." Dunlap countered crisply she murdered for attention and revenge. "When she needs money, when she needs food or when she is in trouble with the law," she goes to a social agency and acts mentally ill. "She's a con woman," he reckoned frankly.
Reno psychiatrist Jerry Howle testified Ford had a death wish. "What's most important to her is that people not think she's crazy. She'd almost rather go to the gas chamber than have someone think she's crazy." Donald L. Molde, another psychiatrist, diagnosed her paranoid schizophrenic with a "near-genius" 140 IQ.
Turgidly Stanford University psychiatrist limned, "Her illness . . . made it impossible for her to appreciate the wrongfulness of driving down the street and hitting and killing people with her car." He added, affirmative-action-ly, "Mass murder . . . is particularly rare among blacks and particularly rare among women. . . This is the only case I can think of . . . in American history that involves a black woman."
"Hogwash!" roared Dunlap. The son of Fallon, a dusty farming town 50 miles east of Reno, blasted. "Doctors are too much like deities . . . too used to having someone accept their opinions without questions like a god." He challenged a "phony" insanity defense.
The Washoe District Attorney acknowledged "most [paranoid schizophrenics] don't kill."
Dunlap assailed Ford's sexual orientation. "The defendant has sexual problems, doesn't she? Sexual identity problems .. . whether she is male or female . . . Do you know she is strongly attracted to members of her own sex? If she did have [lesbian relationships], would that lead you to believe that she may have had the same kind of problems as a sadist has?"
Week 18 of trial Ford demanded to testify. Carnahan called it "judicial suicide." Of course, she has a right to testify, Judge John W. Barrett ruled.
Thoroughly-Thorazined, flat-affct Ford blathered that Seventh Day Adventists "waged war" against her. Mormons lied about her. "Joseph Smith did not see Jesus. I was Jesus," she declared. "More than 100,000 souls were lost in this country and a world of confusion is unprepared for the present and coming destruction," she warned, "everything from earthquakes to plane crashes." "I am certain God is displeased I'm being abused by people who won;t be forgiven for it," she lashed. She cooed she was Christ in ecstasy that fatal Thanksgiving afternoon, "as happy as can be and in a heavenly state."
She claimed no memory of hitting anyone with the car. There must have been something wrong with the steering. But during the attack, a woman sprawled on the hood of the car swore she heard, "I will get you honkies!"
Barrett allowed Dunlap to bring up a miscarriage Ford suffered in 1947. She pickled the six-week-old fetus in a jar. He let him reveal newspaper clippings found in cardboard boxes of junk Ford lugged around about Chicago mass murderer, John Wayne Gacey, to show her "fascination with . ..mass murder."
Though he never examined her, California psychiatrist Ronald Markman testified Ford was rational--paranoid psychotic but "clearly aware of right and wrong." "The thinking is orderly--" he insisted.
Dunlap called her "a liar," branding the defense "a fraud." "She really did want to kill all those people," he insisted. "She had a sado-masochistic instinct, getting a kick out of hitting those people and seeing them die."
The jury convicted her in 13 hours. Dunlap conceded understatedly, "I am somewhat surprised . . . It is somewhat unusual for a jury to sentence a woman to death, especially someone who has a mental illness."
At sentencing Ford dourly bid, "I owe the State of Nevada a great debt. I'm ready, and I'd like to pay that debt." Dunlap obliged with a printed form to skip the appeal,Barrett said she could "if she wants." He appraised for the record, and the Nevada Supreme Court later agreed, "Mrs. Ford is an intelligent, articulate person who appears to know her own mind." Then he sntenced her to six times to death and 23 consecutive 20-year sentences.
At trial Dunlap asked if she was so mentally dangerous, having been committed to three mental institutions in seven years, all by court order after scrapes with the law, Mrs. Ford had been released from all of them in less than a month.
In a Ram-Away Slay World, she's normal.
Whom the Gods Destroy: Schizophrenia in America (1999), US Copyright TXu 922-932 (9/7/199), 695pp
Mad: a memoir (1997), US Copyright TXu 800-734 (5/27/1997), 272pp
This is what Hon. Edward C. Reed, US District Judge, (D-NV), said about Mr. Lucas' legal writing in US v. Vaccaro (DNev No. R-84-21-ECR 3/15/85):
"[The motion] is a manual of instructions respecting appropriate closing arguments by prosecutors . . . It could possibly be published as a good instruction manual and the prosecutor will want to take a look at it, because it is generally a very instructive thing. It might be important for Inter Alia [Journal of the State Bar of Nevada], a prosecutors' handbook of what you can say and what you can't say. And it's very thorough . . . very instructive--"
"Opening Statement," 13 Hawaii Law Review 349 (1981), TXu 393-509 (7/24/1989)
"Impeachment for Bias," TXu 393-509 (7/24/1989)
"Closing Argument," US Copyright TXu 416-837 (5/7/1990); 21 Trial Lawyers Quarterly 19 (NY, NYTLA) (1990)
"Props," US Copyright TXu 419-218 (4/24/1990), 13 American Journal of Trial Advocacy 1097 (Birmingham, AL, Cumberland School of Law) (1990); 55 Inter Aia __ (Reno, State Bar of Nevada) (July-Aug 1990)
"Damages," 53 Inter Alia F8 (Reno,State Bar Nevada) (11/1988)
"Going Solo," 67 Michigan Bar Journal 856 (Lansing, MI) (Sept 1988)
"Motion in Limine," US Copyright TXu 416-837 (5/7/1990); 14 Forum 14 (Los Angeles, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice) (May-Jun 1987); 10 The Defender 23 (Albany, NY State Defenders Ass'n) (Apr 1988)
"The Prosecution Team," 13 Forum 12 (LA, CACJ) (May-June 1986)
"Bill of Particulars: A Paradox in Federal Criminal Practice," 12 Forum 16 (LA, CACJ) (May-June 1985)
"Pre-Trial habeasCorpus in Nevada," 48 Inter Alia F1 (Reno, State Bar Nevada) (Dec 1982-Jan 1983)
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