The Sausage King
San Francisco magazine, Oct. 2001
Bronze medal, 2001 City-Regional Magazine Awards
(National Competition) for Reporting
After he killed three government meat investigators, Stuart Alexander claimed he’d been pushed over the edge. Jumped is more like it.
Three government meat investigators were dead, or else leaking badly. They lay sprawled on the floor of his smoked sausage factory, where he’d surprised them with 10 shots from his 9mm. The fourth was the tall, black man ahead of him, racing like a track star through the streets of San Leandro.
“They hit me. I’m going to hit you!” Stuart Alexander yelled as he chased Earl Willis, a meat investigator with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. If only he could hit him. Bullets were flying, and landing who-knew-where.
They’d bugged him with petty rules to make him raise his smoking temperatures and fill out their forms. Him, the Sausage King! No one had gotten sick from Santos linguisa since his great aunt, Piedade Santos, had started the business in 1921. Locals bragged how they’d been “raised on Santos Linguisa,” with its great smoked taste, from oak logs, not Liquid Smoke the others used. Most important was the “marination” from his family’s secret, unwritten recipe. Now they’d ruined everything that he and his family had worked for.
After five shots, he stopped. “Stuart, what are you doing?!” cried Miguel, one of his tenants, from his apartment. Alexander turned absently and shambled back to the factory. All along the tidy, grey-and-white street of bungalows and shopfronts, people were poking their heads out.
In the factory driveway, his new, young secretary, Brooke Silverglide, was screaming in her little red Ford. Tall and cigarette-slim, she’d shimmied out the ground floor window to avoid seeing the corpses. She knew now what Stuart was made of. Just half an hour before, she’d helped him set up video cameras in his office to film the agents in the plant. Guns poked from his desk drawer. She’d offered a suggestion. “Can’t you fire a warning shot above their heads, like on a ranch?” What a girl! And blond! His dad had had a blonde. When he rushed out with his gun, though, he blasted all three agents without warning. They were so surprised, before they crumped like empty sacks. Now, in the parking lot, the street was swelling with neighbors. Brooke begged for instructions. “Go home,” he told her. She peeled out, filling the air with smoke, as she laid rubber halfway to San José.
Alexander walked back inside the factory and stepped up to the three agents. Jeanne Hillery, 56 years old, a “meat cop” for just a year, was still moving an arm and leg. Bending over, he shot her again, execution-style, in the head. He finished the other two the same way and then barreled out of the shop.
“What the hell is going on here, Stuart?” called Ben Torres from the far end of the factory. Torres had been laying carpet with the radio blaring.
“Get your tools and get the hell out of here!” Stuart yelled back, and headed up the driveway to the street.
Into the crowd, Ricky Cahall, the bike cop, pedaled up, looking around. Alexander knew Cahall. They’d gone to the same schools; he’d been in the factory many times. Alexander wandered up and nodded.
“You see anything, Stuart?” the cop asked.
“I’m the one you’re looking for,” said Alexander.
“Say what?” Cahall asked, uncomprehending.
“I’m the one you’re looking for,” Stuart repeated, then turned around and put his hands behind him.
Torres walked up as Cahall locked the cuffs. “Call Eve,” Alexander whispered in his ear. Eve was Alexander’s old girlfriend. She always picked up for him. Then, from behind his back, he tossed Torres the keys to his truck. “Keep it,” he said. His last words as a boss. Other cops shoved him in a car. “They were at it again,” Alexander protested quietly. He sat in the back, reviewing his defense, as the cops chauffeured him to jail.
“I think Stuart’s finally done something he’s not going to get himself out of,” a San Leandro police clerk told a friend just minutes after the shootings on June 21, 2000. Money and his family’s name had always worked magic for him, even as he bilked family friends of hundreds of grand, scared city zoning inspectors, and beat up a 75-year-old neighbor for taking pictures of the garbage dump that was his backyard. He lost millions of dollars in property because he wouldn’t pay the mortgages. He owed hundreds of thousands in city and state taxes and liens. Last fall, a vintage Corvette that Alexander had grabbed off his father’s ex-girlfriend turned up in Castro Valley, hacked to bits and buried on a friend’s land. Even his brother’s death by a train in 1995, ruled a suicide, hovers over him like a ghost, because the brother was last heard from heading to see Stuart about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Stuart owed him. They’d bitterly argued just hours before, about that very thing.
For magic this time, he’ll need David Copperfield. At trial next year, he’ll have to explain his many pronouncements prior to the killings that he would shoot any USDA agents who tried to shut him down. “I’ll just get Johnny Cockran [sic] to get me off,” he wrote a friend. Afterwards, he did call Cochran, who declined. Even O.J. hadn’t filmed himself in the act. The same video that caught Hillery and Tom Quadros, 52, both compliance officers for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, and Bill Shaline, 57, who for 32 years was a California Department of Food and Agriculture inspector and investigator, also soundlessly captured Alexander shooting them, leaving, and returning to finish them off. Yet even that doesn’t prove he planned it. He says they drove him over the brink. The difference will mean prison or death.
Alexander’s attorneys, Alameda County Public Defender Michael Ogul and Federal Public Defender David Grunbaum, insist he was pushed. It was the government agents, particularly Hillery, they say, who, upon orders from their superiors, deliberately needled their clearly overwrought client in search of an excuse to shut him down for good. Sure, he was hotheaded, a perpetual thorn. He picked and chose his rules and hassled their inspectors. But the officers had finished their business, and stayed. That’s the thing to remember. He’d practically begged them to leave. “I think public opinion generally believes they provoked him,” says the highly motivated Ogul, who races bicycles up five mountains every year in the Markleeville Tour of the California Alps, affectionately called the “Death Ride.” Ogul was quick to add that that “doesn’t excuse what happened. But I’ve spoken with a lot of people who accept that this was not premeditated murder.”
That notion has played in the media and gained currency in the public mind. “Everyone has his breaking point,” people cluck sympathetically. Within the meat industry, it’s axiomatic that corrupt or ignorant USDA agents can push you around on a whim. Velasam Veal, a Petaluma processor, is one of several companies around the country suing the Inspection Service for undue harassment leading to emotional and fiscal distress. The nicest ground beef producer in New York City laughs when you point to an article about the killings on his wall. “I put that there as a joke,” he says. “Those guys can really get to you. I tell my inspectors they’re next.”
“A lot of folks, especially gun enthusiasts and anti-government types, really identify with Stuart as a working man who wouldn’t take any crap,” says San Leandro Vice Mayor Gordon Galvan. The headline in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Sun-Gazette said it best: “‘Good Man’ Who Felt Harassed Accused Of Gunning Down Three.” (Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series, recently sponsored its own shooting in March, when a 13-year-old girl shot and wounded a classmate).
Still, forging a path from overzealous enforcement, if he could prove it, to multiple homicide will be mountain number six for Ogul. Call it Everest. Principally because there is so much evidence that the killings that day had nothing to do with USDA harassment. Harassment for Alexander was a generalized condition. The city harassed him because it wouldn’t let him use a building he’d erected without permits. The state harassed him because he didn’t pay taxes. Creditors harassed him because he didn’t pay their freight. Perpetual offense screened the reality: he’d spent himself into the ground, and had neither the ability nor interest to meet new rules of modern meat making. Rules that every other meat producer in the country was following, with which he had no intention of abiding.
How to admit that, though, to the town in which his family had loomed large for three generations? Model, white, suburban San Leandro that had coddled him all his life, tolerated his aggressions, both paranoid and playful, and smiled at his eccentricities. “Oh, that’s Stuart,” they said when he hung a sign on the factory in January, declaring war on the government. What would they say when they learned he’d run through his father’s fortune, and didn’t even know the secret recipe for his own marinade?
Better a gambit in which he killed three unarmed agents in the heat of passion, and then turned and blamed it on them. Whether “suicide by cop” or calculated diversion, just like every schoolyard assassin, he warned everyone he knew, girlfriend, friends, neighbors and business acquaintances. “If they don’t leave, I’ll just shoot the son-of-a-bitches.” But the Alexander magic held. Instead of listening, they all laughed.
At five-foot-eight, Herman “Tweedy” Alexander was a big man in San Leandro. He’d been born there and grew up working at the Santos Linguisa Factory, by that time belonging to his father. He knew everyone in town and was friendly with all of them. His product was unique and genuine, with brand loyalty in a town packed with Portuguese. Fragrant smoke from the factory billowed for blocks nearly every night. Even firemen laughed as they roared to the factory, “Tweedy’s at it again,” and left laden with armfuls of spicy sausage.
He was stocky, with a pencil mustache and a 50s ring-a-ding-ding. Kicked out of high school for fighting, he’d bounced back to graduate. He learned fluent Japanese in the Army, then spoke it with Japanese businessmen to sell them sausage. He dressed to the nines, in Bally shoes and handmade suits, money no object. The business was cash and carry and he carried strictly cash. He never wrote checks, much less a credit card slip, lest the government start counting. He had a Lincoln, a Jag, a Rolls, a motorhome and a boat. He even bought a Checker cab for squiring his friends to the links.
Tweedy shook dice each night with judges, lawyers and politicians at his best friend Jake Francisco’s restaurant, The Lion. They golfed at the club. They had come up together from the Portuguese neighborhoods in East Oakland and San Leandro, worked hard, and it was all dropping big, fat fruit. They played hard, too, Tweedy and Jake running to Reno on weekends, families at home, gambling and playing with girls. After his divorce, he’d take off with his girlfriend to Beverly Hills, buy her clothes and treat her to top clubs and restaurants. “That’s pretty fun when you’re a girl in your 30s,” says Peggy O’Neal today, still bright-eyed and blond. Each year, Tweedy sponsored his own “Linguisa Open” golf tournament in Reno and stocked it with 30 to 40 couples, all of them San Leandro friends. He paid down the line. On Christmas, he opened his factory for the biggest bash in town, free food and drinks all day, as a combo from San Francisco blew jazz. The town came, and loved him.
It was that way everywhere. People flocked to him like kids to the Big Top. “The party didn’t start until Tweedy got there,” says O’Neal, 17 years his junior. “When he walked in, girls would scream, ‘Tweedy’s here!’ Women loved him. All his exes loved him. Christ! Even men loved him; Peggy found movies later. “He was tough to be involved with. If you were Tweedy’s girl, you were somebody. On the other hand, there were all these women that you knew he was going out with.”
As a parent, he was missing in action. He was all work or play. His three boys—Stefen, Stuart and Stanley—grew up tough and rough. His discipline, when home, was a laugh or a slap in the head. “Too much fertilizer’ll kill the lawn,” he told his wife, Shirley. For their divorce, he bought her a house and kept the big brown one on Bancroft. The boys moved with her but not for long. A year later, Stefen moved back to Tweedy’s, with Stuart a week behind. Shirley dragged Stanley to Idaho, but he resented the separation from his brothers, and, at 13, he ran back, too. For mothering, Tweedy moved his old girlfriend, Betty Pauley, back from Redding, but the boys did as they pleased.
“It was nothing for Stuart or Stanley to steal from you,” says one who played and fought with them all. He insists on anonymity because of prevailing “old-school” code in San Leandro. “They would come in your house and take things, your basketball or your bike. If you fought back, you had Stefen to contend with. No matter what they did, if you complained, you’d pay double with fists. Either way, you’d lose.”
They all adored Stefen. “Of 50 kids in the neighborhood,” the friend says, “Stefen was the top of the pecking order.” To this day he is remembered by all as a “hell of a nice guy,” a “straight shooter” and mad about motorcycles.
It was on his bike that he died at 18, smacked head-on as he tooled along scenic, winding Lake Chabot Road. He fought two weeks in a coma. Tweedy had been grooming him to take over the factory, as he had from his father. He was disconsolate. “I know I’m not supposed to have favorites,” he cried to O’Neal, “but he was my favorite. When Stefen died, I died, too.” For a year, he sat home.
The younger two were different. Stanley was sweet, but grew addicted to heroin and alcohol. In revolving rehab, his parents found him an expensive program in Hawaii, where he cleaned up.
Stuart, by contrast, was a teetotaler and worker. “He was never lazy,” says Shirley. “He would make money from the time he was a little kid. He would cut the grass and you wouldn’t find a blade on the sidewalk. He’d paint little rocks and sell them.” Stuart worked at the Linguisa Factory before and after high school.
“He was a good worker, but hyper,” recalls Laura Santos, no relation, who worked there 32 years, since Stuart was eight. He and Tweedy “argued all the time.” Later, they even slugged it out once in the factory. “I don’t know what’s wrong with that kid. He’s crazy,” Tweedy complained to O’Neal. He told Stuart, Never come back. Stuart swore he’d return the “bigger man, with more money, more property than Tweedy ever dreamed of.”
Money and property. He bought his first parcel in 1988, at 27 years old. Tweedy lent him the down. Tweedy heavily mortgaged his properties, so that’s what Stuart did. Tweedy borrowed heavily from friends, so Stuart did that, too, and went him one better: he welshed. The first year, it was 17 grand to a plumber. The plumber sued and posted a lien. He got his money, but he was six-eight and 300 pounds. He was the exception. “He always said he wouldn’t pay you,” said the childhood friend. “Or he’d rope you into another job in order to get paid for the first.”
Within 18 months, he was in default. “He tended to exacerbate the situation by not paying attention to things in a timely fashion,” says Michael Jacobowitz, who foreclosed on both of Stuart’s lots in which he invested. “He always had a way of making things worse,” he observes.
Over the course of 12 years, from the first house until the shootings last year, Alexander bought or inherited at least 18 properties, worth millions of dollars. Some with multiple units. All middle- to upper-class addresses. He lost or sold every one under a cloud of debt. Instead of selling to pay debts and taxes, he bought more and dug himself deeper. He worked three different jobs, and spent like a pasha. As if constitutionally unable to do anything that was asked or required, he let mortgages slide, liens and taxes accrue, and paid no attention to legal injunctions. What’s more, he took umbrage when asked to pay. “He tended to be resentful that I should want him to pay the loans,” Jacobowitz says. “He’d run up penalties that drove up the fees for him. ‘Why’d you foreclose on me?’ he’d say. ‘You knew I was going to pay.’”
Tweedy died in May, 1993. Lymphoma. The pallbearers took the Rolls, and 17 limos jammed with friends and girlfriends passed the house, the Linguisa Factory, and the golf course before heading to the Chapel of the Chimes. Each stop was spelled out in his will.
Stuart and Stanley couldn’t wait to hear it. One day after Tweedy died and a day before the funeral, they urged Jake Francisco, the new executor, to take them to the lawyer. There they heard the news: they’d split most of $2 million dollars in property, undervalued to avoid more taxes, and money, including $150,000 insurance. They got the cars and the factory, which Francisco sold them for a dollar. O’Neal got the house on Bancroft for ten years, rent-free, and $20,000. She also got a 1973 Corvette that Tweedy had given her. Betty Pauley got 40 grand, which Stuart got Stanley to pay from his share.
“Stuart was upset that he didn’t receive the rest of the property as well,” says Hank Deadrich, a San Leandro real estate broker called in by Francisco to sell off pieces of Tweedy’s estate. There were more than $300,000 in taxes, debts and other requirements of the will. For the next eight years, Alexander dragged Francisco and O’Neal through scores of court hearings, resisting the executor’s every move. “I should have been able to close that estate in eight months,” Francisco said in March, shaking his head. “Here we are eight years later, and it’s still not over. We were constantly forced to sell at a loss because of his interference.” In June, with Stuart in jail, the estate finally closed.
Rather than break up the estate, Alexander scrambled to borrow and buy the parcels Deadrich was selling. They all ran red. He borrowed from family friends, who, ignorant of his crippled credit, bet on the strength of his name. He went through the money like a snow plow.
He reserved a special hatred for O’Neal. “He wasn’t going to let her have anything,” says Francisco. In August, 1993, he boldly stole her Corvette in plain sight and then hid it. She sued him, but neither court orders, fines—including one for $50,000 for repeated failures to appear—or even jail time could make him return it.
He spied on her from across the street, posting the dutiful girlfriend Eve to note the comings and goings of her manicure customers. He called her in the middle of the night. It was the house he grew up in, and he wanted it. Francisco sold it after two years, putting her out. Stuart bought it, couldn’t keep it, and it sold for a hundred grand under value.
That December, O’Neal’s dog went missing. The lock to her gate was cut clean and lying on the ground when she walked out at 5:30 one morning. Hours later, the dog was found in the street in front of Francisco’s restaurant, in shock from “severe spinal and head trauma,” according to vet Maureen Dorsey. Dorsey took one look at it and euthanized it. Whether it had been beaten or run-over was unclear, but O’Neal claims she was visited by Dave Catelli, a young neighbor whom she had often seen driving around town with Alexander. “I have a message for you,” he told her. “What happened to your dog is going to happen to you if you don’t back off of this lawsuit.” Catelli can’t respond because he’s dead. Alexander, incarcerated at the North County Jail in Oakland, won’t discuss it, following the strict orders of his lawyers to a “T.”
Stuart evicted Stanley from the house next door to the factory, and refused to let him work in the business. Friends quote Stanley as saying Stuart threatened to kill him if he “ever set foot in there again.” “Of course, he always threatened to kill people,” says one. “That was just how he talked.”
Such talk still frightened Stanley. “Stanley was always afraid of his brother,” says Francisco. “He threatened him. ‘Tell your brother the hell with him,’ I’d tell him. ‘You don’t know him,’ he’d say."
Freddie Carrabello, a longtime family friend, drank with Stanley in Carrabello’s garage. Carrabello remembers Stuart as “a damn good kid.” His father owned a Shell station caddy-corner from the factory. “Each week my dad bought 20-30 pounds of Santos linguisa. I ate it every Sunday.” He offered to testify on Stuart’s behalf. “I know that Stuart didn’t plan this,” he swears with feeling. “In my heart, the reason he did what he did was because it was his father’s plant being closed. I’m the only one gonna say that.”
Carabello knows Stuart was “rough with Stanley. Stanley was afraid of him. I told him, ‘You don’t take no shit from your older brother. He’s not your father.’ Stanley’d say, ‘You don’t know Stuart.’”
“‘Why does Stuart treat me like this? We’re all we have left in the world!’” Stanley cried to his friends. “He sat here and literally cried,” says one, Judy Green, in whose house he lived for eight months. “He was afraid of Stuart. He’d say, ‘You don't know Stuart. He's craaaazy!’ He wanted so much for Stuart to love him.”
In late July, 1994, one year after their father’s death and six months before his own, Stanley signed over to Stuart his half of Tweedy’s inheritance. The title officer that day was Anna Albarico. “I remember Stuart being hotheaded,” says Albarico. “The brother was nice. I remember them yelling.” So much that she walked out of the room and told her supervisor, “You take care of this.”
The sale of his property did not improve Stanley’s fortunes. Friends watched him that year gathering cans for money. An elderly friend in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a bus driver whom Stanley had befriended when he moved there from Hawaii, regularly sent him hundreds of dollars in money orders, even as Stanley’s own family refused to support him. What the man couldn’t know was that Stanley was shooting again. He was arrested for possession and petty theft. Records show him a hapless thief and instant confessor. Just prior to New Year’s 1995, he was caught red-handed stealing computers from San Leandro High, and landed 30 days in Santa Rita.
Stuart had his own problems. While Stanley was in jail, Stuart defaulted on four of his properties and scrambled to find new money. He refinanced with high interest, adjustable lines of credit. He borrowed at least another $80,000 from individuals, using his property as collateral. Both loans came with one- and two-year balloon payments. As furious as he was at Stanley for throwing away their inheritance, he squandered a hundred times that frequenting late night whores, and buying antique cars, animals, tools, and guns. He’d memorized Tweedy’s playbook, but fumbled all the moves.
Two days after his release from Santa Rita, and seven hours before he was to move back to Pennsylvania, Stanley was run over by the Union Pacific train from Oakland. It was mid-February, 1995, two-oh-five in the morning. The engineer, the conductor and a student engineer, all of them watching from the engine, saw Stanley sitting upright on the left rail as they rounded the turn 120 feet away. They thought at first he was garbage. His legs sat outside the tracks, his back to the train. The engineer, David Stanley, who remains haunted by the irony of their names, lay on the air horn. Two longs, one short, one long, although he never got to the end. In the glare of the headlight, the three watched as Stanley slowly turned toward the blasting horn, and peered at 5,000 tons of train bearing down on him. “He never even flinched,” Stanley says. At the last moment, before they lost him from view, he lay down on his back across the railbed. Police collected him in 26 pieces.
Within days, the Alameda County coroner ruled it suicide, based upon Stanley’s actions on the track, his history of addiction and the presence of a significant level of methamphetamine in his blood. Oddly, it was a drug he never used, say numerous close friends and a longtime shooting partner. Noticeably absent were heroin and alcohol, his poisons of preference, or cocaine, pills or anything else, meaning he’d foregone even a beer to psych himself up for the deed.
“He should have had no problem moving off the track,” says Dr. James Meeker, the toxicologist who ran the labs. The fact that he never used meth was discounted. “Maybe he couldn’t find heroin.” Another toxicologist, looking at the same data, says that someone unused to the drug and clean for a month could have been rendered essentially comatose by that level. A third toxicologist agreed with Meeker.
Also discounted was Stanley’s excitement about leaving the next day for Williamsport, where he’d recently lived clean for two years. He’d cooked there at a country club, and planned to use his inheritance to open a linguisa factory like his father’s.
He’d spent the day calling friends, saying goodbye. “I’ll call you when I get there,” he told his former girlfriend, Debbie Durham, in the early afternoon. “I’ve thought about it a lot,” she says. “He wasn’t sad, just matter of fact. I didn’t sense he was saying his final goodbyes.”
He went to Fidelity Title Company in San Leandro to obtain papers granting Stuart his share of two more properties from Tweedy’s estate that Stuart had bought in their names, in exchange for which Stuart would guarantee him his share of the proceeds.
Around six or six-thirty that evening, according to family members with reason to know, Stanley went to the factory with the papers. Present beside Stuart and Stanley was Stuart’s girlfriend, Eve Elder. Elder won’t talk to the press. According to the source, Stuart told Stanley to go fish. He refused to guarantee Stanley his money. Stanley pitched the papers to the floor and stalked out.
At nine-thirty, Stanley spoke with Judy Green by phone. He was all business, if noticeably angry. “Will I see you before you go?” Green inquired. “No, Harry,” he said firmly, calling her by her pet name. “I’ve got to clear up some business with Stuart.”
The San Leandro Police Department never investigated. The coroner had ruled it suicide. Stanley’s mother protested, as did Green and Durham. “He was an addict,” they were told. “No one’s going to investigate.”
Stuart Alexander was now relieved of at least $116,000 of debt, the appraiser’s estimate of Stanley’s estate. Considering that Stanley’s estate included half of six moderate-to-excellent properties, the estimate was obviously low. But Stanley’s estate derived from Tweedy’s, and the Tweedy estate debt was rising precipitously, tied up by Stuart’s legal objections and incessant borrowing. From an original debt of $300,000, Tweedy’s estate was now in the hole for half a million. Despite his history, Stuart was named the executor of Stanley’s estate in order that he might borrow more money to satisfy Tweedy’s debt. No one, it seemed, could ever say “no” to Stuart.
In April, 1995, two months after his brother’s death, Michael Jacobowitz wrote Alexander a second line of credit, this time for a large corner building at Washington and Williams Streets, three doors from the factory. Alexander gutted and rehabbed it, doing much of the work himself. He proudly promoted it as a new center for Mother Mary Ann Wright, an Oakland charitable figure who distributes food and furnishings to the poor. Just as he was nearing completion, someone notified the city of his neglect to apply for, much less obtain, the necessary permits. The city refused to let him occupy, and years later, the building stands vacant, awaiting the wrecker.
He also had problems at the factory. By 1995, he had collected a pile of inspection infractions, called Process Deficiency Reports, or PDRs, mostly minor but nonetheless genuine, such as filling gaps where flies could pass through to the processing room. “One of the main problems was that he wasn’t taking temperatures up to where they belonged,” says Larry Torres, a retired production manager with ITT who worked seven years for Tweedy before he died, and another three for Stuart. The USDA has yet to provide the records from that period.
Each deficiency report required a response, but Stuart wouldn’t, or perhaps couldn’t, comply. “He must have had 15 to 25 PDRs. He wasn’t answering any of them,” says Torres. “He’d just throw them on his desk and let them sit there.”
“‘They’re not running my shop, I’m running it.’ That was his philosophy, more or less. He would come out full bore at the inspectors, ‘I don’t know what the f’in’ hell you guys are doing here. Why don’t you just get out of here and leave us to do our job?’”
The agency shut him down until he came up with a plan to correct the infractions. The plan was Larry Torres. Both sides begged him to take on the task. Alexander was allowed to reopen in the meantime. It took most of a year before Torres cleared the last deficiency. No sooner had he done so than Alexander turned around and accused him of stealing $40 from the till. Torres was so astonished that he quit on the spot.
Alexander’s problems with the state and the city were escalating. He had failed to pay state unemployment insurance, and those had resulted in liens in the tens of thousands of dollars. For years, he had similarly failed to respond to a variety of city zoning violations ranging from an oversized fence to the garbage on his residential property. The violations had led to fines, which he’d neglected, and which were now growing alongside the state’s. And he was getting nowhere with his project for Mother Wright. He prevailed upon Gordon Galvan, then a city councilmember, and other politicians to help him, talking up the importance of the project for charity. When he argued his case before the city council, its members insisted on fortified police presence.
He became increasingly vocal about government interference, and to press his cause, announced his candidacy for mayor of San Leandro in early 1998. “Part of his motivation to run for mayor was because they had red-tagged his property,” says Jacobowitz. After his fashion, Alexander brought out his pet pigs and staged a Tweedy-style party at the Linguisa Factory. “Stuart Alexander is a very busy man,” ran the lead of a San Leandro Times candidate profile. “He owns two businesses [the Linguisa Factory and his hauling business], and a number of rental properties, works for Waste Management and is active in several civic groups. But he says he still has plenty of time to be mayor.”
He was lucky that two of his father’s most faithful employees had stayed on to make the linguisa. Both were elderly Portuguese immigrants, now in their 70s, who had worked for the family for decades. José Figueiredo, AKA Joe the Boner, was the butcher. Joe’s sister-in-law, Laura Santos, no relation to the original family, made the marination. In fact, since Tweedy’s death, she was the only person alive who knew the unwritten recipe. Santos laughed at Stuart. “How you going to run the city? You can’t even run your business.” He appeared sporadically at the factory, often leaving them waiting at the door for hours until he showed up, or didn’t. He was losing interest. “He wouldn’t show up for days at a time,” says Santos.
In the midst of the campaign, the Hayward Daily Journal exposed a felony assault case from the year before, in which Alexander had beaten up a 75-year-old next door neighbor for taking pictures of the overflowing garbage on his property. The city had pursued Alexander for years about his use of the residential tract as a dump for his hauling business. Scavenged building materials, appliances, dozens of trucks and VW Bug hulks covered the property, filled in with rubbish and weeds. Minutes after Alexander saw the man, he appeared at his house, whereupon he grabbed the camera and punched and kicked the man about the face and ribs, causing multiple lacerations and contusions. Afterwards, Alexander appeared at the hospital with bloody hands and shirt, howling how the victim had actually attacked him. Alexander gave the man ten grand to settle out of court.
News of the beating derailed his mayoral bid, although he was never more than a novelty candidate. Nonetheless, he came in third in a four-person field, and probably spoiled the chances for the other “old-school” candidate, Julian Polvorosa.
The news had a similar bracing impact on city inspectors, who had theretofore dealt gingerly with Alexander. One zoning inspector, Kelly Hamer, a nine year veteran of departments in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and San Leando, had spoken, called and written to Alexander dozens of times, and been intimidated by his aggressivity. The beating incident was a watershed for her and the department. “After that, I realized I would never talk with him again in person,” Hamer says. “That was a shock wave for us in the department, when we found out. Yet, did we realize, or think he was capable of doing what he did later…?”
Inspector Don Pardini arrived on Monday, January, 4, 2000, to start his six month rotation. He cited Alexander immediately for falsifying his daily sanitation reports, which was evident because they were filled out before the owner showed up that morning. Alexander got mad and threw Pardini out. As Stuart well knew, he couldn’t legally operate without inspection, so he was finished for the day. On Tuesday, Kirk Elliott, the USDA official in charge of enforcement for the Alameda district, comprising the entire state of California, sent two compliance officers to the plant to investigate. One was Will Gillingwater, an experienced and amiable agent. The other was Jean Hillery, whose territory comprised San Leandro and parts of Oakland. It was her case.
Unlike inspectors, who work in the plants every day, compliance officers are investigators called in when companies generate excessive numbers of Noncompliance Reports, the former Product Deficiency Reports. They also check on grocery stores, meat lockers and restaurants. Despite their popular tag as “meat cops,” they don’t carry guns, which, they often complain, makes them vulnerable. Being a compliance officer is an advanced position and pay grade, and most usually have long experience first as inspectors in slaughterhouses and the various types of processing plants. Many start as company employees before joining the agency.
Hillery had none of that experience. She was a confident woman, who had spent years as the supply clerk for the Alameda district, dispensing office materials to units throughout the state. Less than a year before, in 1999, she had elected to take advantage of an agency advancement program, and signed up for the compliance officer position. Co-workers and meat plant owners describe her variously as “professional,” “polite,” as well as “a know-it-all” who “enjoyed a game of cat and mouse.”
“They came in, she and another guy, and asked to see Stuart,” said Laura Santos one afternoon from the doorway of her well-scrubbed, single-story home three blocks from the factory. It’s a typical San Leandro house on a typical San Leandro street. Postage stamp lawn, manicured shrubs, fresh-painted house. A shining red Cadillac with vanity plates on the clean-swept driveway. Atypical was the security gate barring the front steps. Santos opened the door to the house and was persuaded to talk briefly at a distance, despite warnings from prosecutors. She’s a robust, straight-backed woman, with every blue-grey hair in place. Her voice retained a melodic Portuguese lilt and she looked directly at you when she spoke. “He told them, ‘I don’t have time to see you. Get out of my face!’ and he left,” she recalled. “She [Hillery] asked me, ‘Is he always like that?’ I said, ‘Yes, most of the time.’”
They had him over a barrel. Every meat plant in America requires government inspection at least part of the day. The agents carried off the last ten tubs of marination, and the district withdrew his grant of inspection. Until he agreed to comply with federal rules, he had no right to legally operate, and no marination with which to make linguisa. When Santos left that day, she vowed to never return. “He begged me to come back but I wouldn’t.”
Following Tweedy’s death, she had lent Stuart more than $50,000, banking, as did others, on the solvency of the estate. Joe the Boner lived across the street from her. He had lent Stuart $63,000, and only got it back after a lawsuit. Other elderly friends of Tweedy’s had lent Stuart over a hundred thousand more. With the money he borrowed, he refinanced his mortgages, bought cars and spent money on friends, just as he had seen his father do. Not until after his arrest did Alexander’s mother, Shirley, now holding his power of attorney, settle some of the cases.
“Without Laura, he was dead,” says Larry Torres. The marination ingredients were simple—wine vinegar, paprika, ground garlic, salt and pepper, and water—but the recipe was all in fingers and pinches. Peggy O’Neal saw Stuart begging Tweedy, “‘How many fingers of this, Dad?’ but Tweedy wouldn’t tell. ‘You don’t need to know that,’ he’d say.” Nor did Santos ever see Stuart make it in the 32 years she worked there, including the seven years he owned the business. Larry Torres observes, “He had Joe and Laura, both in good health. He thought they’d be there forever.”
There was also a second immediate problem. It came in the form of a deadline, January 25, 2000, by which time every meat and poultry producer in the United States would have to conform with a new production slash inspection program called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. Universally called by its mnemonic, HACCP, pronounced HASS-ip, the program was the government’s industry-wide, “scientific” response to the Jack in the Box epidemic of 1992-93, when four children had died and more than 700 others fell ill from eating undercooked hamburgers infected with highly toxic E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Following that tragedy, the US Department of Agriculture had made several policy changes, the first of which was to require that all prepared meats and poultry, from fast food to cold cuts, now be fully cooked to 160 degrees. At that temperature, not only O157:H7, but a host of other foodborne pathogens, most of them discovered in the last two decades, are definitively killed. All the changes took place after Tweedy’s death.
HACCP was much more than a temperature requirement. Under the guise of greater control of production, the program was also a de facto deregulation of the meat and poultry industry. It allowed companies to essentially inspect themselves, as long as they could prove, with scientific documentation, that their food would not make people sick. In exchange, each company would create its own “HACCP plan,” detailing its production methods and pinpointing any junctures, the “critical control points,” where bacteria or sanitation problems could arise. It would check the control points daily and notate results for the inspectors to review. The company would also demonstrate how it would correct any problems should they occur.
Within those parameters, companies were granted wide latitude to find the methods that suited them best. Smoking linguisa had already been proven effective against certain bacteria in a study conducted in 1973 at the University of California, Davis. Four local linguisa producers participated, among them Tweedy’s Santos Linguisa Factory. Instrumental in the preparation of the report was Rosemary Mucklow, now the executive director of the influential National Meat Association, an industry trade group based in Oakland. “We did some very specific research on why smoked linguisa didn’t sustain growth of some pathogenic organisms,” Mucklow said earlier this year. “One of the things we discovered was that Tweedy’s wood fire method got the perfect cured effect of nitrates and nitrites. When the fire died down, there was just enough carbon monoxide in the smokehouse to cure the meat. It’s very unusual. Nowadays it’s all done with gas in great big modern stainless steel tanks.”
After its passage in 1996, and a long run-up to acclimate people to its many changes, HACCP was started in the nation’s 300 largest companies in January, 1998. Over the next two years, it was progressively rolled in at the remaining 6000 plants, with January 25, 2000, the deadline for the very smallest companies, like Santos. At that point, every federally-inspected meat producer in the country that shipped out of state, and many of the state-inspected plants who shipped in-state, would have a HACCP plan and operate daily within its requirements.
Installing the HACCP procedures was often complicated, especially initially, and once in place, could require daily time commitments from a few minutes to hours of tedious chores. Many processors found they needed a dedicated HACCP officer on staff to monitor the control points and make sure that all tests were satisfactory. A huge cottage industry sprang up overnight, offering classes and Web courses to the 7000 plants. For those who could not sit, individually-tailored plans were offered for sale. “I told him he had to take the class,” says Laura Santos, “but he didn’t care.”
Mucklow also told him. “He couldn’t be bothered about that,” she says. Mucklow sits on the Agriculture Secretary’s Microbiology Advisory group and has been a stalwart industry partisan for the last 40 years. Alexander called her several times regarding his problems with the USDA. In the past, she had sent him information about cooking temperatures as they pertained to the bacteria trichina, which arises in pork. More recently, she had attempted to make him aware of his requirements under HACCP.
“All he had to do was be willing to sit down and write out documentation to prove his process,” Mucklow says. “He wanted to take it on faith. That doesn’t work with the meat and poultry industry today. He probably never wanted to stop long enough to figure it out. He would rather say this is the way we’ve done it for years.”
Does that mean he could conceivably have continued with his traditional process had he only sat down and provided the necessary documentation? she was asked.
“That’s right,” she said.
Within days of ejecting Pardini, Alexander installed a gate across the driveway leading into the plant. On it, he attached a large, professionally painted sign that declared his war with the United States Government. It read, in part, “The USDA is coming into our plant harassing my employees and me. Making it impossible to make our great product. Gee, if all meat plants could be in business for 79 years without one complaint, the meat inspectors would not have jobs.” Therefore, he was taking legal action against the USDA and asking people to donate to the Santos Linguisa Factory Legal Fund. People contributed though no suit was ever filed.
In April, three months after the deadline, Alexander called the USDA district office in Alameda, asking them to let him reopen. A meeting was arranged with several people from the Inspection Service, including District Manager for California Murli Prasad, DVM, Assistant District Manager for Compliance Kirk Elliott, and some compliance officers. Alexander brought along his friend Mike Smith, a retired housepainter. At the meeting, Alexander asked if he could begin operating the following Monday if he had all his paperwork together. Prasad agreed, although that was plainly impossible. HACCP could hardly be learned over a weekend. Elliot and others remembered him as cooperative. Smith remembers that as they were leaving, Alexander told him, “I’d like to shoot those guys.”
When Pardini arrived the following Monday, Alexander hadn’t lifted a finger toward HACCP. The terms were clear — without HACCP, you’re out — but Alexander told Pardini he wouldn’t operate under those terms. The plant remained closed until June, when agents noticed new activity.
Suddenly, the gate and sign were gone. Alexander was observed unloading supplies in his parking lot on the corner of Washington and Thornton Avenues. He dumped a load of oak for smoking in front of the house next door, another of his rental properties. When Richard Miller, owner of the AJN Printer shop on the opposite corner, asked him what he was doing, Alexander explained. “‘There was nothing wrong with my product. Nobody has ever gotten sick, so I just opened back up.’” Miller pressed him about operating without inspection, to which Alexander replied, “They’re not going to step foot in this place. If they do, they’re trespassing, and if they don’t leave, I’ll just shoot the son-of-a-bitches.” Miller had seen guns in Alexander’s office, but didn’t believe he’d use him.
By Monday, the 19th of June, 21-year-old Brooke Silverglide been working at the sausage factory for less than a month. Already she was nursing an attitude. Alexander had told her the score, how the USDA was always harassing him. He had recently discovered her at a modeling agency in San Jose. She was bottle blond, slim, and three inches taller than the five-seven Alexander. The job description was brief: buy clothes, answer the phone and eat lunch with him. He paid her for everything. She freely improvised her time cards, with the boss’s blessing. They discussed opening flower shops in the area and letting her run them.
When Alexander introduced Silverglide to his girlfriend, Charlotte Knapp, Knapp immediately committed the girl’s license plate to memory. She didn’t see Stuart again for weeks.
Kirk Elliott of the USDA had previously discussed with the State of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture the possibility of its taking over Alexander’s inspection. Such a change would have eliminated his out-of-state trade, but allowed him to continue operating, since he was no longer adhering to federal guidelines. The two departments often worked together in such cross-jurisdictional matters. Alexander would have still needed a HACCP plan, though. On Monday, the 19th, Earl Willis was sent by the State of California to meet with Hillery at Santos. Together, they would enter the plant and see if Alexander was indeed making sausage illegally.
When the two arrived early that Monday morning, Silverglide told them that Alexander was in, but busy. We’ll wait, Hillery said. Silverglide tried telling them to leave, as she’d been instructed, but the woman kept talking and smiling.
The secretary ran into the office, immediately adjacent, and complained to Alexander that she couldn’t get the agents to leave. He rushed out and barked roughly in the face of the 56-year-old Hillery. “What do you want now? Why are you harassing me?”
People who know him describe Alexander as a fearsome fellow when angry. “He was like Jekyll and Hyde. His eyes would get real wide,” says Larry Torres. The childhood friend says, “You could look in his eyes and tell something was wrong. You could tell he had this weird persona.”
At Santos, the agents found packages with the USDA mark of inspection, which, with no inspector, was obviously falsely applied. They went to stores in the area and found retail packages there. Later, Hillery traced United Parcel Service receipts for linguisa sent to outlets in Nevada.
They returned two days later, the afternoon of Wednesday, the 21st. This time there were two more agents. One was Tom Quadros, 25 years with the agency, most of that as an inspector in plants around the country. He had been to Santos Linguisa several times that spring, once accompanied by police, attempting, unsuccessfully, to deliver a letter notifying Alexander that his grant of inspection was suspended. Quadros had also been present at the meeting in Alameda. The other agent was Bill Shaline, the state’s chief meat and poultry investigator with 32 years experience. Willis had 22 years with the state. Only Hillery was a rookie. Still, it was her case, and in the absence of Quadros, she was the ranking officer.
Alexander was gone when they arrived. Joe the Boner showed them around. They noticed freshly-made product in the retail case and cooler and wrote up that and other violations. As a rule, Alexander would have to sign off on their findings, as proof he had seen them. They may have also wanted to seize his labels with the USDA mark, so he couldn’t use them anymore. An hour and a half later, they were in the parking lot when Alexander returned from his errands. They had been just about to leave but Willis said, “Well, we’re already here.” Three of them entered while Quadros stayed outside to call 911. He requested help with a “potentially irate shop owner.'' The dispatcher blew the call. She put it out as “civil standby,” the lowest and the slowest priority. “Call us back if you have any problems,” she told Quadros. Police never arrived.
Inside the plant, Alexander again turned on Hillery. “Why are you here now? Why are you harassing me and my customers? Get out of my plant! Get off of my property!” He was nose-to-nose in her face. She smiled at him and said they wouldn’t leave, but promised to stay in the retail area until the cops showed. Alexander picked up an Instamatic and took their photos. Willis and Shaline shyly looked down while Hillery smiled right in the camera.
Alexander wandered in and out of his office. He, too, had called the police, he said, to come and remove the trespassers. Hillery laughed. He also called his friend, Mike Smith, to come and look at his new Model A truck. Smith was at home with his son, just arrived from Oregon. They talked for another few minutes, then Smith started the five blocks to the factory. He would be too late.
Silverglide returned and marched into the office. “How come they’re here again?” she demanded. “They got no right to be on your property! They can’t come here any time they want!" Earl Willis could hear her from outside the door. “That seemed to get him more agitated,” he later told the grand jury.
Silverglide looked down at Stuart’s desk. He usually kept three guns locked in a drawer, she had previously observed. Now the drawer was open, exposing them. "Can’t you fire a warning shot over their heads, like at a ranch?” she suggested. Outside the office door, Willis looked anxiously over at Shaline. “Man, I really don’t want to be here. We shouldn’t be here.”
Shaline was nervous and fidgeting. He was the chief investigator for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, with more experience than any of them. Willis had never seen him apprehensive like that. “You really shouldn’t be here anyway,” he told Willis. “It was your day off.”
Willis turned to Hillery. “You know, Jeannie, he could have guns in there. He’s got those squirrelly eyes.”
Hillery was blithely unconcerned. Good, she said. “If he comes out with a gun, we can shut him down now.” There’s a law against waving guns at government employees.
“Jeannie,” Willis implored. “He’s got the gun. We’ve got paper!”
Go outside and get the camera, Hillery asked Willis, saving his life. He walked out and met Quadros waiting for the cops. Their conversation is in the case file now, sealed to the public. Willis, a federal witness, won’t discuss it. He spent the next six months on leave, no doubt replaying it like a record.
Quadros took the camera and walked into the factory for the first time since Alexander returned. He joined the others in the small retail space just outside the office. Eighteen minutes had elapsed since his call to police. Alexander burst from his office and met Silverglide heading his way. She saw him covering a gun with his free hand and she didn’t slow down.
She ran into the office and shut the door, not realizing what he was doing, she said later. Alexander pumped six shots into Shaline, whose 16 year old daughter, Meghan, was waiting after school for his call. He and her mother had split up years before, but he called or saw Meghan every day, to talk and help her with homework. Just last year, he had taken her and her friend to Hawaii following surgery she’d had for a brain tumor. After he died, she moved out of her mother’s house and in with her much older boyfriend. She left high school and later got a GED.
Silverglide dialed the phone and sat sobbing to her husband as more shots exploded in the next room. Alexander quickly turned the gun on Quadros. Quadros’s 21-year-old son, Chris, was also at home waiting. Father and son shared an apartment in Hayward, attending trading card shows together, and making plans to open a card shop when he retired. “He knew that by doing what he did people didn’t get sick,” Chris says. He was furious when he found out how long the police had taken to show up at Santos. He later started the card shop as a memorial to his father. He called it Teecue Collectibles, his father’s initials.
The last person to die was Hillery, who the videotape revealed was still moving when Alexander came back to finish them off.
Silverglide called neither the cops nor an ambulance. Police only found her at home late that night, watching the news on TV, courtesy of Charlotte Knapp’s memory.
Peggy O’Neal’s friends called her immediately; as did her lawyer and family. “I’m so happy we’re having this conversation,” her lawyer told her. Even Tweedy’s sister called. “You’re a lucky, lucky girl,” Theresa Alexander said. Ms. Alexander doesn’t recall the conversation.
Friends and family of Kelly Hamer, the zoning inspector, called her, too, from all over the country. They had heard of inspectors shot in San Leandro. “They had all heard my Stuart stories,” she says.
The San Leandro Police said at the time that Quadros did not indicate to them a concern about violence. “There was no mention of violence or threats of violence,” Lt. Marc DeCouloude was quoted at the time. “The caller was calm.” Privately, a San Leandro police officer admits the dispatcher blew the call. The department now refers all questions about the case to the Alameda County District Attorney, who refuses to discuss it.
Hamer says the police didn’t need to be told to hurry. “The police should have handled it as an emergency as soon as they heard ‘Stuart Alexander,’” she says, “or else tell them don’t go in until we get there. A lot of city inspectors felt the police department did not take those kinds of complaints seriously.”
There is heated debate within the Inspection Service about the way it and the officers, themselves, handled the situation. The agency’s Compliance and Investigation Division in Washington, D.C. was in contact with Marilyn Wire, who was filling in that week for Kirk Elliott on vacation. Wire was on the phone with Washington as late as the morning of the 21st. Washington provided instructions, say agency insiders. The investigation division director, Donald Edwards, and his assistant would have already known of the potential for danger because Kirk Elliott would have told them previously. Elliott had personally experienced Alexander’s rage, when he, Quadros and Inspector Pardini’s boss, Darren Johnson, had confronted him at the factory in February. Alexander had blown up at them, swearing and calling them names and threatening to call the police. At the meeting in April, Elliott had warned Alexander about his abusive treatment of inspectors. He and his boss, District Manager Murli Prasad, had even stationed guards at USDA headquarters, for “fear that he might come over there, and try to retaliate against somebody.”
Wire was also in phone contact with Elliott that day. “I told Marilyn that it was okay for them to go but to make sure they had police back up there before they made contact with Mr. Alexander,” Elliott told the grand jury. So, why did Quadros not call police until Alexander returned and the others went inside? Wire did not testify and isn’t talking to the press.
Did Wire, normally assigned to the Davis office, truly understand the danger? She and Bill Shaline had worked together on many cases and were very close friends. Would she have dispatched him unprotected into hazardous duty had she known?
Elliott and Quadros were also close friends. Quadros shot the video of Elliott’s wedding. They attended ball games together.
They should not have relied on police to begin with, says Elliott’s predecessor, Eleanor Halverstadt. Halverstadt, who relocated to the Des Moines district in December, 1999, just before the initial confrontation, says “They should never have been there without backup.” She has since retired. “Had I been there in the capacity of the Assistant District Manager and known of the possibility of adverse action, I would have contacted the Office of Inspector General (OIG), which I have in the past,” she said. In turn, the Inspector General agents, though they carry weapons, usually call the Sheriff or the Highway Patrol if they have safety concerns. A supervisor should have been there, as well, she says.
In the end, though, the biggest question is why, if they had reason to believe that police were necessary, did they go in without them, and moreover, why did they stay? That is not just a matter of hindsight. “Common sense tells you, if you feel uncomfortable, you’re supposed to leave,” says a former compliance officer. “You and I looking at it wouldn’t do what they did.”
Pardini had refused to go back. After the original confrontation in January, he even took sick leave to avoid it. Quadros was abundantly aware of the potential for danger, having previously requested police backup. Ditto Hillery and Willis, who had both witnessed Alexander in full flood two days prior. Ditto Willis and Shaline, described as “extremely anxious” at the scene? Were they deferring to Hillery? One FSIS employee, who knew the three murdered officers, attributes it to chivalry. “I suspect it was a gender thing, that they were afraid to contradict a woman,” the employee says.
“We won’t say anything until after the trial,” said Pardini’s wife as she stood next to her husband in the doorway of their home earlier this year.
In October, an investigator for the Alameda County District Attorney found the Corvette that Alexander had stolen in 1993. It had been carved up and buried on a friend’s land, along with debris from his hauling business.
Reports were filtering out of Santa Rita that Alexander was faring poorly in jail. He was fighting with guards and removed from the general population. They moved him to North County Jail in Oakland.
During a jailhouse interview, the defendant was alert and, for all appearances, upbeat. His black hair was freshly cut and brushed up. His short whiskbroom mustache was trimmed, his face unlined. Inexplicably, he smiled or laughed constantly, more forced and nervous than jolly. The coin had not yet dropped that he was there to stay.
The conversation was written on pads, because all speech was recorded. It was thumbs up for “Yes,” or a laughing, pointed finger for “No,” as in, “Oh, you cat!” He unhesitatingly remembered details of previous articles by the reporter. We were wasting our time tracking his past, he said. Nor would he answer questions about his case, not even the name of his great aunt, on orders from Ogul, except to say that his case was “big, big.” However, did we know about The Lawsuit, referring to the Velasam suit? For that we should talk to some of the top producers in the area. They knew about harassment.
“How much do you think a movie is worth?” he writes, smiling expectantly.
“I don’t know. Never made one,” the reporter scribbles.
“Sure,” he laughs, pointing “Oh, you cat,” his head bobbing.
“Maybe three or four million,” the reporter concedes, pulling a number from the nether regions.
Alexander smiles again, and then, with a look of concern, writes, “If they make a movie, I’d like the money to go so this kind of thing doesn’t happen.” The guards call Time’s Up and lead him off.
“Don’t tell Ogul so we can meet again,” the reporter calls conspiratorially.
Alexander chuckles down the hall. “You’re something else,” he calls back.
Bill Shaline’s 18-year-old daughter, Meghan, has been dreaming. The dreams started after police showed up at her mother’s house last year, late one evening, to tell them her father had been killed. In one dream, Meghan is driving her dad’s truck and discovers him next to her. “What are you doing here, Dad?” she asks. “You’re supposed to be dead.”
He laughs. “Don’t believe everything you hear, Honey.”
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