So, in a few week's time, you went from king of the world to helpless fool on the floor of a gas station. What had to be going through your head?
Well, right then nothing. I was just listening for clues, trying to figure out what was going on. But all I could see out the side of my eyes was a sea of blue and all I could hear was Miguel mumbling to himself.
Sounds like you didn't know what the Hell was going on.
Pretty much. I wanted to though, I wish I did. Hell, I wish I did now. I just knew that I didn't have the courage to move. That, besides my trembling, I was frozen to the floor.
So what did happen?
Well, almost immediately the power went out. I figured the police had cut it. However, with all of those sirens out front one could still easily see around, it was just that everything had a dark blue tint to it and you had to squint a little. But then again, where I was on the floor, it was still dark and that was pretty damn scary.
Anyway, after a few minutes in the shadows on the floor, I felt Miguel's hand on the back of my shirt and he jerked me up. It felt like he was going to snap my neck in the process, I could feel the collar of my shirt digging into my throat as he lifted me up. I scrambled to my feet as fast as I could to avoid being choked, but if you look here, you can see that I got a nasty cut here and a burn here from it.
The worst part was not being able to breathe. I've always had a fear of being suffocated that scared the Hell out of me as much as the pain. No matter what though, Miguel got his wish and I was on my feet in only two seconds flat.
From there, he took two steps backwards and, though I couldn't see him, I could hear him raise his gun up and point it at me. He didn't say "Don't move" or anything to the like, but I got the point perfectly. So I just stood there, idly holding my hands up in the air, staring out over the display shelves and into the sea of twinkling blue lights.
It was right about then that a voice, probably aided by a megaphone of some kind, came blaring in the station. "Miguel Hernandez, let the hostages go and come out with your hands up!"
I wanted to nod my approval to the plan, but I still didn't dare to move. However, I did wonder how they Hell the cops figured out his name so fast, kind of figured he was a familiar face but I couldn't imagine how.
Actually, to answer that one, the LAPD gave the Charlotte guys a heads up that he was coming, even faxed over a wanted poster with his picture on it. The uniform that stumbled in there after you must have recognized him.
Makes even more sense. I should have guessed that the Charlotte Police wouldn't be on top of it, not after the way Stan talked about them.
Okay, go on.
I don't know if Miguel gave them a gesture or anything, but he didn't say anything back. So, rather than trying to find some way for Miguel to get in touch with them, or at least trying something new, every ten minutes or so the cops would come over their loudspeaker and blare another request or demand, "Let the hostages go", "Miguel, what do you want", etc.
The problem was that, even though I still couldn't see him, I could hear Miguel jump because that thing was loud and, in between commands from the police, that place was dead quiet. Since the the attendant must have gotten out somehow, it was just the three of us, panting and gasping for air. You could have heard a roach scurrying across that sticky floor.
So the cops never did anything to actually communicate with Miguel?
Well, after a while, they said something about a phone and a few minutes later, the door opened and someone tossed in a small padded package. I couldn't see it much less describe it since it fell into the shadows of the store, but Miguel picked it up and seemed to instinctively know what to do with it, like he'd done it a thousand times before.
"What do you want pigs!" He said angrily.
I couldn't make out what the other guy was saying, but he seemed to have a calming voice. It put me at ease, but it didn't seem to do much for Miguel. He kept screaming into the phone, something about the "pigs" killing his friends in LA and that he was going to get revenge by killing the two assholes in front of him and taking out as many Charlotte's cops as he could.
Though he wasn't much of a wordsmith, he said it all quite masterfully, good enough to get the guy on the phone to back down anyway. Then, whoever was doing the negotiating started to get Miguel to talk, or at least try to, he started asking all of these questions, I couldn't hear exactly what, but Miguel kept talking about how he didn't have to say anything to him.
I don't know, but after a while, the guy must have hit a nerve with Miguel. Miguel had always been angry and upset, but now he was screeching into the phone and even stomping around the room a little bit, "What do you know about my mother! You don't know shit you pig!" he screamed.
Next thing I knew though, Miguel was crying. Actually, literally crying. I don't know what head games they were playing with him, but they were really messing with him. He was doing his best to sound angry but you could hear the sobs in his voice, it was actually quite pitiful. I almost felt bad for the guy.
It turns out that Miguel was abused by his mother until he was seven, when she abandoned him. He grew up in foster homes after that. Eventually though, they found her dead, drug overdose apparently, Miguel didn't take it well, but what fifteen-year-old would? Especially considering he was the one who had to identify the body.
Jesus, that's heavy. I bet the psychiatrists are going to discuss his case for a long time. You almost have to feel sorry for him.
Still though, it's no excuse, you have to agree with that.
I'm not excusing him, just feeling sorry for him. No one deserves that, I know it happens all of the time, but no one deserves it. Not even someone like Miguel.
But anyway, he was screaming into the phone.
Yeah, cutting loose on it too. He got so loud that I couldn't even hear him stomping around, much less tell if he still had the gun pointed at me or not. Still though, I wasn't about to turn around and find out.
Instead, all of the head games did nothing but make me more nervous. Somehow I knew the end was near. I'd seen enough of these on TV to know that, once the bad guy gets shaken up, the police come barging in, usually guns blazing. I just kind of prepared myself to hit the ground and began praying, really and truly praying. Something I hadn't done in a long, long time.
So what did happen?
I heard it, I don't know how I heard it over Miguel's screaming and crying, but I heard it. The gun that Miguel was carrying hit the ground, it must have slipped out of his fingers. It bounced twice on the ground, I heard each "dink" against the tile.
Then it went off.
All Hell broke loose. Though apparently the gun was pointed at the ceiling, that was all the cops needed. The front door seemed to explode, glass went everywhere and smoke began to fill the room.
I hit the dirt and I hit it hard, I even knocked the wind out of myself. But it was just in time. Miguel must have pulled my gun out of his pants and I went down just in time to see the snack display in front of me explode with a barrage of bullets, showering me with potato chips and pretzels.
The cops stormed in, Miguel took two shots at them and they opened back with a hailstorm of bullets, it was amazing. I don't know what they were shooting with, but it sounded more like one long thunderclap than a series of bullets being fired. It was deafening and it was followed only by the crash of a display rack and the thud of someone landing on it, hard.
Though I couldn't see what was going on, I knew Miguel was dead. No one could have survived that and the way he fell, well, he wasn't getting up. If I had the wind knocked out of me, he had the life knocked out of him. It was over and I was literally bawling on the floor, just so happy to be done with it.
I just couldn't believe it.
Ok, go on.
Not much more to tell really. Everything after that is pretty much a blur, the hospital said I was in shock, but I think of it as my brain rebooting or something to the like. I just haven't been able to focus on much of anything. Like I was going through a fog.
But anyway, what I do know is that the cops arrested both me and Stan. Standard procedure in these types of things. Another one of those things I picked up in self defense class,
But, as you might imagine, their investigation was a bit more intense than usual. They'd been looking for me for a long time. My wife had apparently reported me missing a two days after I left, making me a local missing person and, after the PI was killed, I apparently became a national celebrity. I just didn't realize it.
The cops blamed me, not only for the PI's death, but for the wounding of the cops in the parking lot afterward. Somehow it was all my fault. Something about me creating the circumstances and whatnot. It's total bullshit, it's just that everyone who is to blame, save maybe Stan, is dead.
What did you say to them, the police
Not much. I'd been in too deep of shock until a few minutes ago. They'd ask me questions and I'd give dazed answers, like I was high on something. Their psychiatrist told them to back off of me, that'd I'd been through too much to be of any help right now.
They, the cops, didn't believe it though, they stopped short of roughing me up, but they got in my face every chance they could. I tried to help them, but nothing came out. Nothing that made sense anyway.
In fact, to be honest, I don't remember calling for you. I only began to stammer out of this daze a few hours ago, first thing I remember, clearly anyway, was laying on my bed in my cell, staring at the ceiling, then it all came flooding back to me like a tidal wave of nightmares.
Then the cops found you crying in your cell and brought you to the psychiatrist and then to me, I know, I heard that part.
So why are you here? Did I ask for a lawyer while I was doing all of that blubbering?
No, Stan sent me. When he heard you came to, he wanted to make sure you were well protected. He's covering all expenses.
Well, damn. I don't know what to say… Wait a second, Stan's out?
Stan was released within hours. They had no new charges to tack onto him and his bail was still good. He wasn't here but more than a few hours for questioning.
That bastard's amazing. How he held it together is beyond me. I'm just not cut out for this shit.
Well, he's very worried about you. That's why he sent me.
He probably just wants to make sure I don't squeal. You have to understand, I love the guy, but I can't trust him, or anyone else for that matter, not now anyway.
Actually, he told me you wouldn't do that. I'm just here to get your side of the story before he posts your bail.
Huh? What? Bail? Why the Hell would he do that?
I don't know why, but he likes you. From what I can tell you've been nothing but trouble to him. But he still wants to help you out, go figure.
Wait a second. I wreck his business, I get him arrested and then almost get him killed and somehow he wants to help me? That doesn't make any sense.
He said any friend of Little John is a friend of his. Apparently he means that.
God I love that redneck bastard. When will my bail be posted?
Within the hour, it's why we had to hurry.
So what happens after that?
I don't know, that's between you and Stan.
Meaning I'm back to square one, running away again. Figures, it just figures…
Cut the tape. This is over.
After the interview, Jake's $150,000 bail was posted. The person who paid it left a false name and address. Jake and Stan both missed their scheduled court appearances and are considered fugitives. Police are currently searching for any information as to their whereabouts. They are to be considered armed and dangerous should you spot them.
Two weeks after this recording, a letter was received at the law office of Marthow & Associates. The letter was signed by Jake Simpson. It waved all confidentiality and asked for the interview to be made public in order "to let the world see why I did the things I did and understand that I'm not an evil man, just a frightened, lost human being".
The tape was then turned over to freelance journalist Danny Esposito, who in turn arranged it's publication in newspapers nationwide.
It is the hope of this paper the the printing of this transcript will aid not only in his arrest, but in his receiving the humane treatment all human beings deserve. It is our sincerest wish for Jake to turn himself in peacefully, and, if he's reading this, he should know that the staff of this paper will aid in that transition any way possible.
If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact your local authorities.