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Monday, September 29, 2014

Criminal Records

Ann Rule said that in order to write well about a crime, you have to be an excellent and patient researcher, willing to slog through a lot of files and spend many hours at the county building where the trial ocurred, and deal with the occasional rude person who thinks you are weird for writing a book.  This is one of the best things that came out of grad school for me: I can patiently research a subject for hours if I need to.  I had to do this so much for my MFA, which was an English degree with a large creative writing component.

I finally mustered up the courage to go to the criminal division for the McClish records, after inquiring at the DA's office.  The woman at the DA wasn't rude, but abrupt (she probably deals with criminals all day).  I hope she is not the gatekeeper to the D.A.'s office.  I really feel the need to interview the prosecuting attorneys and our current sitting D.A.  I also need to view whatever trial exhibits are extant. Because McClish  wants to appeal, these may still be around; otherwise, they are disposed of in a certain time period.  I believe the public can access trial exhibits in a case which has had a conviction.  I don't know for sure, but one thing is certain: I am learning to ask, to be polite, to ask people's names, to smile, to be confident, because the one thing I am going to do is write this book, for Asha and for every woman who died at the hands of a partner, boyfriend, etc....and perhaps by doing so, help to stop this.

The woman at the criminal division was wonderful, pointed me in the direction of where I can get the court recorder's transcripts, and ordered the file for me.  Ann Rule said to be preparted to pay through the nose for copying, and in a case like this, the file is going to be very large.  The clerk said I am welcome to page through the file, mark whatever I want, pay the fee and have that copied, and then return when I have more money, to do the same.  She is really nice.  I hope I can at least get a chair to page through the file.

McClish's rape conviction was upheld by the appellate court, by the way.  Some of the case law used to uphold this conviction came from People vs. Lucas, which was the trial for a serial killer who murdered a friend of mine in the early 80s, a woman from my undergraduate university.

As I go on, a few people who knew Asha are beginning to contact me and I am starting to realize the depth of what McClish did to people who knew this wonderful woman.  He says she was a wonderful woman also, but that is just to cover his guilty butt.

And so it goes, today.