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Monday, August 1, 2016

Paul's Response to the Podcast -- Part 3

In the lead-up to the podcast, I was in regular contact with Sruthi Pinnamaneni. Every week and occasionally twice a week, I would call her. She was very nice and engaged me in light chit chat or questions. At times, however, the petite and ostensibly friendly woman turned into a ferocious Chihuahua. She snipped and yapped at me in her high pitched voice attempting to undermine or discredit what I said.  I was impressed and understood the interrogation techniques she employed, but it was not necessary. I was innocent and my story was never going to waver, have holes in it, or conflict with the facts. I was fully transparent in talking with her as well as the documents I provided, even if they reflected poorly on me. My candor, however, became a means for Sruthi to impugn my character. She fixated on my criminal associations and juvenile behavior as if it was somehow probative of my guilt. Even if Sruthi could overcome her political and personal grudges, her opinion was still based on prejudice.

As a child, I was in many fights. At the time, I just thought it was a right of passage. Boys were regularly rough housing and scrapping. In retrospect, however, I realize I was in more physical conflicts due to my lack of social skills. During junior high school, I tried my best to fit in and to excel socially. It was a losing battle. I was never going to be popular. I could be on the honor roll, be the best athlete, imitate the "cool" kids or be their friend, and it did not matter. I was an outsider even if an insider. What I noticed, though, is what I lacked in charisma, I more than made up for in strength, valor, and sense of purpose. I learned the "riddle of steel" and I would use this sword to dominate and crush my enemies. At Westmont High School, my main adversary was a clique of "stoners" and they would reap the whirlwind.

On several occasions, I spoke with Sruthi at great length about the fight with Scott Anderson. She thought violence of any sort was unacceptable. As a liberal, she rejected the notion "boys will be boys" and condemned me for having a weapon. To villainize me in episode 4, she did not provide any background or give my version of events. She just says that at age 14 I just walked up to this kid, pulled a knife, and stabbed him. This kid was an 18-year-old senior who was a part of a pot smoking group of students I was at war with. We rumbled in and out of school, with and without weapons. They attacked in a group, sometimes with pipes and tire irons. I regularly wore riot gloves and Doc Marten boots. Occasionally, I would carry nunchucks, an extendable baton, or a knife.

In the spring of my freshman year, the stoners and I were set to battle at a school bus stop. However, before Scott Anderson had an advantage in numbers, I met up with him. He was no match for me alone and I pummeled the stoner with fists before a spinning back kick that sent him reeling to the ground. While he was stumbling to get up, I pulled out the butterfly knife. My intention was merely to scare him, but when spinning it I accidentally grazed his arm. He fled and I was not even aware of the cut until later. Sruthi spoke to Anderson who claimed I intentionally cut him and to this day he was still traumatized. Well, I expect nothing else from my former foe who was at heart a cowardly sissy. However, a few weeks after the fight, I was told Anderson and his friends met at a local magazine shop. The boys were all laughing as Anderson showed them the small band-aid on his arm and gloated about how he got me in trouble.

At least Sruthi allowed me to respond to the break-in at the Spiess residence. However, she lied in her narration and edited out important information. Melanie never said our photo was removed and put back on her bedroom mirror. She testified the photo was simply moved from where she had placed it. Unlike myself, Harry Adams was charged and plead guilty to making harassing phone calls, including a recording made the day after where he said, "Star light, star bright. I killed your @#%ing dog last night" followed by maniacal laughter. He was also secretly recorded admitting to the break-in and stabbing the dog to undercover ATF agents who were investigating him for a series of burglaries where guns were stolen. In the same tape recording, he went on to say he was looking for something to steal but there was nothing of value and he left empty handed. With Harry ransacking the place, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of things were moved along with the photo.

The transcript Sruthi read is a small and inaccurate excerpt from my conversation with Melanie. It also did not proceed from the break-in, but some quarrels I had with her parents and sister. I may have a dark and wry humor, but I was only joking. In fact, I was reciting the Joker in a Batman movie. She knew I was playing and we continued dating after that phone conversation. After Harry broke into her house, I attempted to apologize for my friend's actions and sent her a dozen roses. I cannot blame Melanie for harboring a grudge and being less than truthful at my sentencing hearing. Not only were my friends mean, I was as well. I also refused to go steady with her and ceased dating her altogether for other girls.

Yes, I like movies: Gladiator, Braveheart, Conan the Barbarian, etc. However, when I brought up the origin of my alias "Viktor" to Sruthi, it was not a nonsequitor nor was I nervous and blurting out a weird story as she suggested.  Long before we met, I had already told her the story. In fact, almost everything we spoke about in person was spoken about previously. I intentionally went into the theme of the film "The Highlander" where immortals beheaded one another because I knew she would use the excerpt. This was showbiz and the story made good theatre. The purpose of the podcast was not to create a serious documentary, but to entertain the audience and I aim to please. Gladiator: "Are you not entertained?!"

Long before Sruthi visited me, I also knew she made up her mind. She couldn't look past how I acted as a teenager, the innuendo, or my criminal associations. Once again, I was trying to show her it was irrelevant to my guilt or innocence. Did she really think a modus operandi was established from a quasi-crank phone call and a movie? The victim was dismembered by Bob Faraci to prevent police from identifying the body. It was a practice of the mafia in the 70's, not that of immortals.

Bob Faraci studied the practices of the Costa Nostra and other organized crime outfits. He sought to be in the Italian mafia and his marriage to Rosalia Rugo was purely a "business decision". Rose was born in Sicily and Bob wanted to exploit her family's connections. By the 1990's, the syndicate in Chicago had mostly broken up and only a loose network of organized crime existed. Much to my dismay, Bob began to work with some of the remnants of the mafia. I refused to be involved, but met and was around these people. What bothered Sruthi Pinnamaneni even more, however, was the friendship I had with Bob himself and circle of other men.

I playfully called this group "The League of Shadows." Sruthi pressed me to tell her all about the mysterious band of men. I told her it was classified. Eventually, I told her I was joking and it was actually called "The Apple Dumpling Gang" which again went right over her head. There was no nefarious and clandestine group or gang, only a loose group of friends who sometimes worked in concert for a sports book, select heists, and other profitable ventures. Sruthi knew prosecutor James McKay was being ridiculous when he exclaimed I was the ring leader and had committed crimes since age 12. In actuality, I had 2 juvenile convictions. One was for the fight I had with Scott Anderson and one was for backhanding a girl with a book at Lincoln-Way. However,  she thought my mere association, especially with Bob Faraci, was incriminating. After all, I lived with him when Fawcett was murdered.

Lincoln-Way was an excellent high school. They had very good teachers and athletic programs. There were many attractive girls and few degenerate drug users to clash with. The student body was predominately white middle or upper class preppies. However, the high school was extraordinarily overcrowded. In the 1994 yearbook, Chrissy Laning wrote an article entitled "Getting Lost in the Crowd" where she compared the crowded hallways to a mosh pit at a Pearl Jam concert.  With my ubermensch mentality, I had no tolerance for the herds of rambunctious students. I could be very aggressive inside as well as outside those cattle chutes. Apparently, my menacing demeanor, size, and striking appearance led some students to call me "Satan" behind my back. I probably deserved their scorn, however, I was not evil as the prosecutor portrayed me or Sruthi would entertain in the podcast for dramatic affect.

At trial, I was deprived of sleep and under tremendous stress. While Bob Faraci actively engaged his jury and acted like O.J. Simpson, I felt and probably looked like a zombie. After 5 weeks, not including various pre-trial motions and jury selection, I was unable to show much if any emotion. I also knew if I tried to express myself or connect with my jury, it would come across poorly. Daily Herald News reporter John Carpenter is heard saying in episode 4 of the podcast that I looked cold and indifferent at my sentencing hearing as well. Part of this was due to the fact I was indifferent. All had been lost after my conviction and I cared little about the sentencing proceedings. I preferred execution rather than suffering and languishing in prison for decades. Despite the killer being acquitted and I being deemed accountable for his actions in the most peripheral way, I was aware the judge was going to give me the harshest penalty.  Months before the trial began the judge told my lead attorney what I was facing if convicted. The sentencing hearing was a farce and I doubt if autism was presented then it would have mattered. However, I still appreciate former trial judge Sam Amirante's recent comments to Sruthi Pinnamaneni that he may have ruled differently. It could be helpful on appeal.

Sruthi Pinnamaneni looked at my case backwards. She began talking to me about my blog which quickly led to biases against my politics and personality. Then she delved into my juvenile history which is irrelevant to my guilt or innocence. There is a reason why sentencing issues are not permitted at trial. It is because they may prejudice a jury. I know very well Sruthi had already made up her mind long before getting into real evidence. From the beginning, she may have sought to malign me. Because in the end, she simply made up a secret source to validate her opinion. The Illinois States Attorneys Office in concert with an enormous multi-jurisdictional police task force spent several million dollars and thousands of man hours searching for evidence that put me at the crime scene and failed. Yet, alakazam! Super-sleuth Sruthi finds the smoking gun. More about this amazing discovery in my final response to Reply All.