A few months after I gave birth to my daughter, I met another murderer. Not on purpose, of course. It was summer, and I was standing outside my car smoking a cigarette outside the corner store. You see, I have been on and off smoking for years now. I go for as long as I can to stop and then eventually give in. Sometimes it takes a few days, sometimes a few months, but I’ve yet to quit for good. Anyways, the point of that is that I couldn’t wait to have a cigarette in a better place than a shady parking lot in the questionable part of town.
As I was smoking and scrolling through my phone, I saw a tall male approaching from all the way across the street from the parking lot. He must have been a couple hundred yards away, but he was looking right at me and I said to myself, “Here comes trouble”. And I was right, he was headed straight towards me. I watched him with curiosity as he made his trek sauntering across the street towards me. He walked right up to me and asked if I had a lighter. Rather than tell him to go away, which would have been the sensible response, I offered him my lighter and waited to hear his pitch.
And let me tell you, it was worth the wait. The first thing he told me was that he just got out of prison after having served some 12 years and didn’t know how to meet women “these days”. Now, I really should have ended the conversation immediately, but I was intrigued, starved for attention and in the middle of a custody battle that was fucking with my head. So, I pounced on his very questionable pickup line. I immediately started asking questions. The first thing I said, as I am no stranger to the legal system, was, “12 years! That’s a hell of a long time. What did you do, kill someone?!” His face darkened for a moment and I could tell that he didn’t really expect the conversation to start this way. He replied that he had killed someone but “it was an accident”. In my previous murderer experience, I had heard basically the same thing- it was an accident. But I decided to listen to his story.
He lit his cigarette and told me how he came to be a convicted murderer. He said that it occurred during the 1990’s and peak gang activity in the Cities. This much was true, I knew from experience, having gone to an inner-city school and seen the violence first hand. He said that his case was sensationalized and an example was made of him because his murder was the first drive-by shooting in the area at the time and also because he shot a white, blonde woman. He was clearly not white, but I could not tell what his ethnicity was by sight alone. However, he also clarified that the blonde woman had not been his intended target. His intended target had been the driver in another vehicle- a threatening black man who had been waving his gun at him while the two were driving parallel to each other in separate vehicles. According to the murder, the man in the other car had apparently been tailgating him and making threatening gestures with his firearm. So, my new acquaintance, who just so happened to have a gun with a laser target pointer on him, had aimed his weapon at the driver in the other vehicle and pulled the trigger. Saul, my new acquaintance, said that he didn’t know that the gun would discharge. He said that he only meant to scare the other driver off by illuminating his laser at him in order to show that he was able to defend himself, if necessary. He never meant to actually shoot anyone. Anyways, he said that the bullet accidentally hit the blonde woman and because Saul is a person of color, an Arab to be specific, he was punished more harshly due to racism in convictions. He also blamed his court appointed attorney for failing to represent him properly.
I listened to his story with skepticism. I could tell he was lying about something. He seemed like a sociopath and I had recently done quite a bit of research on sociopaths as I was embroiled in a custody battle with my ex, whom I suspected of being a sociopath. And by research, I mean I bought dozens of books on the subject, both recently published and classics, such as Without Conscience, written by a doctor who had 25 years of clinical research under his belt. I decided that as I was currently battling a sociopath in court, the ideas and perspective of a sociopath might be useful. I was absolutely not going to date him, but I did give him my phone number. As I said before, this was a particularly bad time in my life and I wasn’t thinking clearly. On the other hand, I had learned from my research that there are many murderers walking among us that we (non-sociopaths) are unaware of because they are not broadcasting this information or using it as a pickup line (!). So, I knew then and know now that I probably have interacted with all kinds of violent people in my daily life without knowing it. Of course, this doesn’t justify anything, but I did decide that the guy, although clearly a maniac, had paid his debt to society and there was nothing wrong with picking his brain.
He called me that very night. It was late, he sounded drunk and I assume he was looking for a hot date. Obviously, that was off the table. However, from prior experience, I knew before I spoke to him further, I would need to know the full story of his crime. I demanded a photo of his driver’s license, which infuriated him. He started arguing with me about it and since I have no common sense, again I fell back to experiences that I had with individuals who got angry when asked to divulge personal information. Point being, if he had nothing to hide, why would he be asking to come to my home without giving me any legitimate background information? Some may argue, well identity theft and all that…BUT he already told me he was a murderer, I had just met him, AND he wanted to be alone with me in my home? So, no I did not think it asking too much at all.
I WAS shocked however, when he provided it. First, he yelled at me for being paranoid and unreasonable. Then he hung up on me. Then a minute or two later, he sent me a photo of his driver’s license. I could immediately see why he was reluctant. First of all, he had lied about his name. It was completely different than the name he gave me. I don’t remember what it was now, but it wasn’t even a disambiguation of the name he gave me. Rather than inviting him over, which I would have NEVER done, even if I had been drunk or for any other reason, I decided to google him and his criminal record.
As I suspected, his story and his criminal record and related newspaper articles (where do I find these nutbags!) were significantly different. I ended up gathering a pretty significant amount of information about him through various online sources, all credible. According to the internet, Saul had changed his story with the police enough times to make him look really bad to the police. First, he claimed that another passenger in the vehicle he was driving pulled the trigger. Then, he claimed he was holding the gun and it went off accidentally. Then, he gave what I believe is probably the true story, that he was looking to intimidate the other driver by flashing the laser and possibly didn’t expect the gun to actually go off. I do believe his target was the man, not the woman. However, turns out that was a thick slice of baloney though, too. Witnesses reported that it was, in fact, Saul who was driving aggressively and intimidating the other driver. Furthermore, and this was the most fucked up part, the other guy didn’t even HAVE a weapon, gun or otherwise. It was basically a hate crime. Saul hated black people.
I had many questions for Saul that I would have never asked, partly because it didn’t matter, but also because they’re really more like criticisms than questions. For example, Saul committed the crime as a teenager. What is a law-abiding, upstanding member of society doing with a gun that has a fucking laser pointer?? I can’t imagine that was legal in any way, shape or form. Further, he had admitted fault to me, saying he felt terrible for what had happened to that woman and that he felt better after having “paid for” taking her life by serving in prison for 16 years. BUT…that’s not what court documents revealed. He poorly appealed his case repeatedly, like a total maniac and clearly did not feel responsible at all. Somehow, I was even able to read prison records of his “inside” behavior. Which was apparently vulgar and he got into a lot of minor trouble just being a jerk, mainly to women. He told me himself that he faked mental health symptoms because he thought the prison therapist was attractive. Classic sociopathic behavior, from what I’ve read.
So, really this psycho was totally off his game. Giving me a copy of his driver’s license, telling me about the murder, he even told me about the abuser’s handbook to relationship domination called The Art of Seduction. If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out. It is literally a step by step handbook on how to manipulate, isolate, victimize, gaslight and torture women who believe that they are in a loving relationship. I remember how he mentioned the book in passing, then seemed frustrated when I clarified the name of the book and then wrote it down. He didn’t tell me it was the abuser’s handbook. He described as “relationship advice for men”.
So, I was hoping to get something out of this “friendship”, as I mentioned. I was looking for advice from the perspective of a sociopath on how to handle my sociopathic ex during the custody battle and I guess, in general. However, what I ended up getting was Saul repeatedly attempting to seduce me and being accused more than once of being an undercover cop. I saw him twice after our first meeting. The first time, I asked him for advice on my custody case. This was useless, as he gave me the advice that as he seemed to be under the impression that as the non-sociopath parent, I had some kind of edge. He also thought that as the primary parent and mother, my case would be open and shut, in my favor. He was wrong. The second time I saw him, he resumed his seduction attempt, then begged me to sell him some of my psychiatric medications for next to nothing. I refused on both counts.
After that, we went our separate ways. I assume he’s still out there, probably online, looking for a woman to sponge off of until he commits his next major crime. My guess is that he probably found a woman who bought his story without looking into it, because a sucker is born every minute. I probably taught him not to go for women with any prior sociopath experience, as he was pretty textbook evil. He likely also learned that academic women, like myself, would view more as a curiosity than as a potential mate. Most sociopaths do not end up in jail. Most of them are walking around free, prowling for their next victim. I am glad my ex taught me well, but I must say, I’m ruined for dating- possibly for the rest of my life, never knowing if the next guy will be a better liar than Saul or have better hidden his online footprint.