THE MOTHER'S FATHER CONFESSOR

"Here's the situation," Saldate explains. "She's been caught. She would like to cry, but she's very scared. Here's a policeman saying, `I know you had your son killed.' I'm a man, and to her it helps if she cries. Her personality takes over--`Cry, Debbie, cry, the men go for that'--but the tears wouldn't come because she was so apprehensive."

Counters Debbie, "I was crying so bad I was hysterical. He walks in and he just doesn't tell me one thing, he tells me two--about Christopher and that I'm under arrest. It just blew me away. He says, `Shut up. I'm not going to tolerate your behavior, your crying.' Obviously, I was having some kind of behavior if he has to say that. But, `No tears.' There were tears. Lots of tears."

Saldate says he has done a lot of thinking about Debbie since their fateful meeting on that dreadful December night.

"She's very honest to a point," he says. "Sometimes, though, she's too honest and she slips. She really did have no bonding with that kid of hers, no closeness. To her, the kid was like a neighbor kid down the street--sometimes you pay attention to him and sometimes you don't. It's tragic. Debra had a life ahead of her. She had had a tough time with her family and her husband, but she's a young lady, good looks, very intelligent. Unfortunately, she has a couple of bad things added to that intelligence."

Could the ex-detective pinpoint what those bad things are? "I don't know," Armando Saldate says. "How do you pinpoint evil except to say that it's evil?"

Debbie has thought about her interrogator as well. "You should have seen good old Saldate butter up the jury," she says. "It makes me nauseous. He said, `I'm very religious. I'm an experienced officer. I follow all the guidelines. Us cops don't lie.' What a juicy story! I can just see his eyes bulging. Here's the stupid hero cop to save the day. What a liar. I bet he's happy how things worked out."

"She starts grasping at getting a good relationship going with me. She tries to get me in her stable of guys who would do things for her."

"To her, the kid was like a neighbor kid down the street--sometimes you pay attention to him and sometimes you don't."

"How do you pinpoint evil except to say that it's evil?

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