By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Mix, says Thinnes, knew nothing of the plan.
"I haven't seen him since. Who knows, he may come in at sentencing and punch me in the jaw." Mix was incredibly lucky. For along with Thinnes came the services of Mary Durand, one of the most skilled and tenacious private investigators in the state.
Court records reveal something Durand did behind the scenes was the turning point in the case.
She had pleaded guilty in a previous drunk-driving case. As a result, she was transferred to the Substance Abuse Screening Service. She was ordered to attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and also to see a psychologist.
The doctor's records were to be confidential and only to be released to an authorized member of the Substance Abuse Screening Service staff.
Durand learned of the records. She marched up to the doctor's office and requested the records, for which a fee of $115 was due.
Durand produced a check to pay for the records. The clerk in the doctor's office assumed Durand must be authorized to pick up the records or she wouldn't be there.
Durand was bluffing. She had no right to the records.
In her file was the doctor's evaluation. She'd been in therapy with him during 1987 for seven months. Dr. Salomon diagnosed her as an alcoholic who viewed herself as being sexually exploited by men. There were all sorts of other statements that could be used to embarrass her. They were more than enough to put her on the defensive. In short, the purloined report provided the clear road to victory in the courtroom.
There was something else. Once again, the County Attorney's Office overcharged the defendant.
Not content to charge Mix with rape, deputy county prosecutor Paul Ahler added a bribery charge as well.
These multiple charges are generally made to impress the jury. The theory is that if there are so many charges then certainly the defendant must be guilty.
But Ahler made the enormous mistake of underestimating Thinnes' tactical skills.
Thinnes entered a plea of guilty to the bribery. It wasn't until this actually happened in court that it dawned on Ahler that he'd been outsmarted.
The truth is that there are believed to be six or seven other women who were victimized by Mix on the highway. One of them, a seventeen-year-old, had been attacked on the very night before the incident. She was waiting to testify, and now she wouldn't be able to take the stand.
Mix's admission in the bribery charge took all the other possible women witnesses out of the case.
From this point on, it would be only her word against that of Mix. Do you still think the jury was right in saying there was a reasonable doubt that Mix had a policy of raping women motorists on the freeway?
Then read this transcript of a telephone call, made by DPS officer Scott McElhaney to his wife at 2:19 a.m. the morning of the rape.
McElhaney was Mix's best friend on the department. Coincidentally, he was working as a dispatcher that night. His first instinct was to protect Mix.
The call was recorded by the Department of Public Safety, which tapes all calls on the dispatcher's desk.
McElhaney: You won't believe what's happened.
Wife: To who?
McElhaney: Marty. He did it again.
Wife: Did what?
McElhaney: Oh, I don't know if this line's tape recorded or not.
Wife: What line isn't?
McElhaney: Yeah, I know. . . . From Marty's past experiences, he is now in deep, deep shit.
McElhaney: Someone squealed.
Wife: What did he do?
McElhaney: Remember . . . another girl . . . remember?
Wife: While on duty?
McElhaney: Yes. He did it again . . . but this time the girl called the Phoenix PD.
Wife: And said what.
McElhaney: She said what happened.
McElhaney: Yes. So Marty will probably be fired at least. . . . I just couldn't believe it when I got the phone call from the girl's boyfriend.
Wife: Why did she squeal?
McElhaney: I even tried to ring his house to warn him.
Wife: He said he was done with it, too. Are you sure this isn't the one from a while back.
McElhaney: Nope. Brand new. . . . Hey, he's gonna spend time in the goddamn state prison for this. I'm serious.
Does that leave any room for doubt in your mind?
Here's the transcript of a second call McElhaney made that night. This one was to Mix, whom McElhaney reached in his home at 4:45 a.m., according to Department of Public Safety records.
McElhaney: Hey . . . Marty?
Mix: Yeah. Who's this?
McElhaney: Scott. . . . Nobody called you, did they?
McElhaney: Okay. . . . I'm warning you . . . that girl . . . Mix: Uh-oh.
McElhaney: Her boyfriend called.
Mix: What girl?
McElhaney: The girl from last night.
McElhaney: She called Phoenix PD.
Mix: Uh-oh! McElhaney: The boyfriend lives right in your complex.
McElhaney: So I figured I'd warn you. . . . The boyfriend wants to charge rape.
Do these telephone conversations, made within hours of the assault on the woman, leave any doubt in your mind as to whether she was telling the truth?
Do they not make it clear that Mix made a habit of stopping women motorists and harassing them? "He handcuffed me to him. . . . He took out the keys and jingled them in front of my face."
The truth is that there are believed to be six or seven other women who were victimized by Mix on the highway.