Inside-Outside: To Be Continued [NOOK Book]

Overview

Can you imagine spending twelve years of your life behind the walls of the world's largest walled maximum security prison? What if you were sent there for a crime you didn't commit?

This is just one of the many unbelievable events of Richard Herr's life.

He turned 21 on a Chinese junk, with fellow Marines preparing to execute some of the early reconnaissance for the conflict that eventually became the Vietnam War. Upon his discharge from the ...

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Inside-Outside: To Be Continued

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Overview

Can you imagine spending twelve years of your life behind the walls of the world's largest walled maximum security prison? What if you were sent there for a crime you didn't commit?

This is just one of the many unbelievable events of Richard Herr's life.

He turned 21 on a Chinese junk, with fellow Marines preparing to execute some of the early reconnaissance for the conflict that eventually became the Vietnam War. Upon his discharge from the Marines, he married into an Italian family with questionable ties to the Michigan La Cosa Nostra. Wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to twenty-five to forty years in prison, he survived the harsh conditions inside the world's largest walled maximum security prison and rose up among the inmate ranks to control the prison's drugs, gambling, protection, and policies.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Herr, through his various underworld associations, learns about the final hours and ultimate disposal of former Teamster president, Jimmy Hoffa.

Now, looking back on his life, Herr offers the message that life isn't over until it's over-never give up, because new life and experience may be waiting just around the corner. Enjoy Herr's journey and fascinating life story in Inside-Outside.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450287791
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/11/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 305 KB

Read an Excerpt

Inside-Outside

To Be Continued
By Richard Herr

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Richard Herr
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4502-8778-4


Chapter One

A Murder in Michigan

On a warm Michigan summer day in 1965 a young wife and mother of two was brutally murdered. Her nude body was found near a river bank behind her home a day after she was originally reported missing by the local news media.

The small town of Grand Ledge, located in central Michigan, twenty some miles west of the capitol, was shocked and in disbelief, upon hearing of the town's first reported murder in over 30 years. I was subsequently arrested for that murder.

I know that many people have suffered as much, or more, than I have through this period of time. What hurts the most is knowing that there is nothing that I can do in this lifetime to heal those wounds or to make up for the lost years endured by the members of so many families. I'm sure everyone has heard many stories and versions of what actually happened on that fateful day. I'm equally sure that none of the fables can even come close to what did actually happen. So, let's get to it.

Back in the early 1960's while working at a small independent used car dealership I became involved in a car deal which involved the purchase of a new Oldsmobile '98 from a large local dealer. I brought a Mr. Jack Reynolds onto the lot as a prospective customer, but because of the nature of the sale, my owner had to negotiate with the Oldsmobile dealer on the final purchase of the new car. At a certain point during the closing of the sale, I disassociated myself from the deal and let my owner carry the ball. The only time I ever met or saw Jack's wife, Mrs. Betty Reynolds was the day the papers were signed and they took delivery of the car. At that point in time the deal should have been finalized and into the history books. However, due to some sort of oversight or negligence on my employer's part he didn't notice that Mr. Reynolds had signed his name differently on the bank contract, the registration, and the bill of sale. He used the name Jack Reynolds on one form and John Reynolds on others.

Ultimately, the bank caught the discrepancy and refused to honor the contract until all the names were signed identically. My employer delegated this slight task to me, which I accepted, as there did not appear to be anything unusual involved with getting it done. For several weeks I phoned Mr. Reynolds at his home and office and tried to get him to come to my office to re-sign the documents. He always said he would, but never showed up at the appointed time.

I have never left a job unfinished once I've committed myself to doing it. For some reason this has always been a problem for some people to understand. So, even though I subsequently left the used car dealership to go to work for another local car dealer, I felt I had to complete the job given to me; to have the contracts resigned by Jack Reynolds a-k-a John Reynolds. Further encouragement was by way of my former employer's visits to my house requesting that I complete this one last task of his. I was not angry or upset at this request, and would probably need his influences in the auto business later on, so I promised him I would follow through and take care of the problem.

Failing to get Jack in to my office to sign the papers, I worked towards finding out where he lived. He resided in a small town north west of Lansing by the name of Grand Ledge. Not familiar with the Grand Ledge area I stopped at a local gas station to ask directions. Upon my arrival at the Reynolds' home I was greeted and spoke with an elderly lady who said, "Neither Jack nor his wife were home."

On another occasion during my lunch hour, I again went to their house. On this particular visit Mrs. Reynolds was there. She was doing some work outside in a garden area and dressed in a sun suit. After I introduced myself and described the purpose of my visit, she said, "She needed to call her husband and locate the copies of the papers they had signed." She retreated into the house and made a phone call to her husband.

After she had completed her call I asked if I could use the phone to call my former employer. I wanted to let him know where I was and ask if there was anything else that needed to be done. I called the Kalamazoo sales lot first. No luck. Then I tried the Grand River lot. During this period of time Mrs. Reynolds left me standing in the kitchen while she went to her bedroom to change her clothes. When she came back out I was still on the phone trying to reach my former boss. She walked past me to her daughters who were playing on the back porch. She sternly ordered them to go to a neighbor's house to play for awhile. Begrudgingly, they did as they were told. Now in contact with the Larch lot, I was talking to one of the salesmen, who said the boss was not there, but would be back soon.

My back was turned to Mrs. Reynolds and I was not aware of what she was doing. Subconsciously I felt her presence standing directly behind me when I finally hung up the phone. Sensing danger, a form of paranoia I had picked up while in the Marines, I turned quickly and glimpsed something shiny in her hand. Without hesitation I swung around and struck out toward her thoroughly as I had been taught to do in Karate training. I hit her arm, sending her spinning around; without thinking I slammed my right fist into the side of her head. She dropped immediately to the floor with a thud. She didn't appear unconscious, but I knew that she was seriously injured. There was blood dripping from the point of impact where my fist hit her temple. Her eyes were wide open staring directly at me, appearing frightened and yet unseeing. This was a sight of death that I had experienced before while serving in the Marine Corps.

I have always been ashamed of what I did from this point forward. For the first time in my life I panicked. What had I done? What was I going to do? My only thoughts were to get out of there as quickly as I could. But, I couldn't leave her just lying there in the middle of the floor dying. I picked her up and carried her into the bedroom gently laying her on the bed. No sounds emitted from her. She just stared at me, wide-eyed, pleadingly. I noticed that I got some of her blood on my hands from carrying her into the bedroom and so I went into the bathroom to wash it off. My head was spinning and I noticed a strange buzzing noise that had made its presence within my head. I couldn't think clearly. A sense of panic was creeping further into me.

I immediately fled from the house and returned to work. I did manage to calm down during the drive back to the office but I was in a state of shock and disbelief at what had just happened. As I parked and exited the car I managed to slam my finger in the car door busting it wide open. As my finger began to bleed profusely, I reported back to work. The receptionist on duty applied first aid to my finger injury and suggested that I should go to the company doctor for stitches. I took her advice as my finger was beginning to throb and ache. It took me awhile to find the doctor's office, but I eventually did, and he quickly stitched up my wound.

Later that same evening the local news announced that "A Mrs. Betty Reynolds was reported missing." How could that be? I left her on her bed. The next day her body was found several yards behind her house by a river bank. She had been violently and repeatedly stabbed and left there to die.

Needless to say something was wrong. It didn't make any sense, but in a strange sort of way I was relieved because I knew that I had left her on the bed and certainly had not stabbed her.

A few days later a composite sketch appeared on the front page of the local newspaper which surprisingly resembled me. My mind was reeling as I tried to figure out what to do next. I had another appointment with the doctor that stitched up my finger and figured I had better take care of that. While on my way there, my rear view mirror showed that I was being followed by an unmarked police car. While in the doctors office I could see the detectives surrounding the office through the windows. Upon leaving the office I was arrested and taken to the Lansing Police Department. While there I was questioned, fingerprinted and subjected to a police line-up.

I called my wife Pauline and let her know what had happened. She immediately called an attorney. A Mr. Fred Abood. As luck would have it, another attorney by the name of Leo Farhat was with Abood that night. Farhat had represented me on some old traffic tickets, and suggested that since he was familiar with me he should take the case. Abood relented and this decision probably turned into one of the worse decisions we ever made.

But at that point I didn't care who represented me just as long as they got this mess cleared up and me out of jail. So, in what was to be the first of many mistakes, my life was now in Farhat's hands.

One of the fastest and surest ways to find out who your true friends are, is to either get yourself in trouble or convicted of a crime. I can assure you it is a very revealing experience. It seems that people who you would least expect to come to your aide rally around you and the one's you would normally depend upon the most, somehow seem to disappear into the woodwork.

Probably one of the most painful discoveries I made in this area was the complete and total disregard and silence I received from the person I considered to be my dearest and best friend. This is the person I grew up with, partied with, dated with, fought with, and at one point, lived with. This was the man who was to be my daughters' godfather. This is a person who, at the time of the crime, and afterwards was in a position to help since he was working for the Lansing Police Department. Had the situation been reversed I would have done anything within my power to help him. This is a person I truly loved more than a brother and would've given my life for. This is a person, who after over forty-one long years I've never heard another word from. Nothing since the day of my arrest. Truly, one of the most painful and saddest things in this world is a broken friendship.

Eight and a half months in the Eaton County jail proved to be the most terrifying time of my life. I was placed in a one-man cell within the maximum security section located at the far end of the jail complex. I was totally alone. There were no other prisoners around me. There was no radio, television, magazines or newspapers. I was alone on an iron bed, surrounded by cold gray iron bars and cement walls.

The highlight of each week during those long months was a fifteen minute visit. On Friday afternoons I was allowed to visit with my wife Pauline through a heavy glass partition.

Attorney Farhat seldom came to visit. I expressed my dissatisfaction on numerous occasions as to the way he was handling my case. Farhat was not well liked by Pauline and her family and subsequently we hired a second attorney. Joseph Louisell was out of Detroit and the head and chief counsel representing the Mafia Families in the Mid-West. I liked Joe extremely well and from what I could determine during our visits and from his performance in the courtroom he was extremely intelligent and surely a competent attorney. Farhat did not appreciate the introduction of Louisell into the case by Pauline and her parents, and did not hesitate to apply pressure towards me whenever possible to strengthen his position as chief counsel.

Farhat was local and Louisell was over a hundred miles away in Detroit. So, it was easier for Farhat to control whatever I said because of the emotional state I was in. Eventually, Joe removed himself from the case because according to Farhat he had said, "He couldn't do me any good." I later learned from another attorney that Farhat had told Louisell that, "I didn't want him on the case, and preferred Farhat to him." Nothing was further from the truth. But when I was to find out about this it was much too late. I would have already been sentenced and sent to prison and Joe would have subsequently died of a heart attack. Joe was a great man and a brilliant attorney. Had I have known more about the workings of the law at that time and had not been in the emotional state I was experiencing, there would have been no question as to who would have represented me. Both Pauline and I admired Joe very much, and it was his name that was eventually passed on to our son.

I never felt that Farhat intended to properly represent me. It was a shame as I feel if he would have, things would have worked out a lot differently for me. He was always applying undue pressure towards me and thus I never felt a sense of confidence in his abilities. During this period of time in the county jail I kept a daily diary of my thoughts and the things that happened. In it I expressed such thoughts about Farhat frequently.

Unless you've experienced it, there are no words that will describe the mental and psychological anguish of extended solitary confinement. The thoughts of hopelessness and despair mount daily. Without a doubt the only stabilizing factor in those days that helped me to maintain a certain degree of sanity was the support and almost daily letters from Pauline. I would have certainly lost everything if it wasn't for her strengths and beliefs in me and my innocence.

Along with Pauline's support I was able to devise other forms of entertainment which helped maintain a sense of sanity. I began to draw pictures. I cut the bottom out of a chicken pot pie once served at dinner and made a tin foil basket at which I spent many hours shooting baskets on a miniature make-believe basketball court.

For further entertainment, I began to enjoy harassing one of the guards who always gave me a hard time. By stripping off a door jam from the shower stall and acquiring a broom handle and a large screw I was able to tear up a sheet and use the strips for tie strings. Fastening these things together I constructed a long pole with a hook on the end. With this I could reach through the bars, across the cat walk, and open and/or close windows several yards away. That poor old guard was going nuts for a month wondering how I was getting out of my cell to open and close those windows. He believed that to do so, I would have had to unlock my cell door, unlock the outer door to the hallway, unlock the catwalk door and proceed down to my cell area to open the window. He would try to hide around corners to catch me, peer through the door window, and spend long minutes checking on the various locks to no avail. Eventually there came a time when several deputies raided my cell and confiscated all my clever little tools.

I again found subtle ways to entertain myself and stay sane. Farhat was an avid gum chewer, and when he did make one of his rare visits to see me, he would leave me a pack or two of gum. This I would save up and stuff in cell door locks when going to and from my Friday visits. This was fairly easy to do as the guard always walked in front, leading me to the visiting area. A couple of times I was able to manage a grin while watching a serviceman on his knees replacing a lock I had fouled up with my gum.

As recent history bears out, Eaton County was less orthodox when it came to the distribution of justice and enforcing the law. The Sheriff, the Circuit Judge and my prosecutor at the time have all since been ousted because of wrongdoings, that include lies and tampering with evidence. There were several such incidences in my case; I'll get into those things soon. But one incident that I'll relate didn't bear directly on the legal aspects of my case.

Whenever I was taken to the courthouse I was always handcuffed and always had two or three armed guards around me. On this one particular occasion, after having been locked up for over two months I was notified of a court appearance and escorted to the dressing room by the smallest guard on duty. He was not armed and I was not handcuffed. Almost immediately something didn't feel right.

When we reached the ground floor I noticed there wasn't a soul in sight. Even the control room was deserted. To make things even more tempting, the outside door and garage doors were all wide open. A pretty sight to be sure. Right down to the shine on the tip of the shoe that was protruding slightly past the corner of the opened garage door.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Inside-Outside by Richard Herr Copyright © 2011 by Richard Herr. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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