From the week of April 12, 2001

Charles Doane

Trial Mix

Brian's song: My friend, Paul Rubin, writes from the heart. I have followed his stories since reading his articles in the Sierra Vista Herald about the disappearance and murder of Rae Marie Bennett. I prosecuted Mark Simano for that murder. He was convicted. As in the Brian Eftenoff case, that defendant also helped the state's case.

In the Eftenoff case, Rubin fell victim to a salesman ("The Final Straw," March 29). Eftenoff says cocaine is like a Lay's potato chip and Judi could not put it down. Eftenoff's opinions of Detective Joseph Petrocino as a bad cop were like Lay's potato chips to Rubin. Somewhere between the numerous hours Rubin spent with the "used-car salesman" and a reporter's desire to write creatively, passionately and mysteriously, Rubin OD'd on the intoxicating "chips" he was fed.

My friend, Detective Joseph Petrocino, reported from the facts. Eftenoff tried to feed Petrocino the same "chips" he fed Rubin. Over and over during the investigation, Eftenoff phoned Petrocino. Petrocino recorded the calls. Finally, all the evidence came out -- at trial. The "chips" were examined by 12 citizens who did not previously know Eftenoff or Petrocino. Twelve microscopes of varied skills: homemaker, cabinet maker, engineer, minister, nurse, doctor, et al. (I disagree with your observations of the doctor on the jury who allegedly threw up his hands during testimony in the trial. It makes interesting reading, but it disparages a good doctor and citizen who gave six weeks of his time to serve on this jury. Kudos to the jurors for "voluntary" servitude without fair wages.) Rubin and Eftenoff's expert, Dr. Karch, so highly esteemed in the New Times article, was correct when he told Rubin the jury did not believe him. A doctor was on the jury. Karch was understood for what he was: an editor, uncertified in the field of toxicology.

My friend Rubin owes my friend Petrocino an apology. Those "chips" Eftenoff fed Rubin were not Lay's: The chips were "bull-chips." Give Rubin some mouthwash -- it's called an apology -- and let's clean up that foul smell. Rubin, you'll be my friend "'til death do us part"; and so will the honest cop whose breath is a lot fresher, and cleaner, than yours at this moment.

Bill Clayton
Co-prosecutor, Eftenoff murder case

Acquit while you're ahead: Paul Rubin's article is based on faulty logic. If Eftenoff's testimony prejudiced the jury against him, why was the jury's first vote evenly divided between six to convict and six to acquit? The first vote, if it were prejudiced, would have been 10 for conviction or some other unbalanced result. Perhaps it was an oversight or perhaps it did not support Mr. Rubin's personal view. Omitting significant data is not seeking the truth. Or am I making a fallacious assumption that Mr. Rubin was seeking the truth?

D. Harding
Annapolis, Maryland

Tip Dance

Percentage deal: As someone who has worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years (13 of those serving), I can honestly respond to Sirrah Ray ( Letters, March 22) and her editorial by saying three little words: Please drive through!

Arizona, being a right to work state, provides no union for restaurant workers and therefore somehow this makes our pay of $2.13 an hour justifiable. After taxes on wages and tips, you are lucky to get a check at all. So to Sirrah, do what I did seven years ago and you'll feel much better: Just click your heels together three times and say: "There are more places than Mesa." Get the picture?

Tracy Girard

Tip for tat: I was not going to respond to the article "Tipper Score" ( Eater's Digest, Alex Neville, March 8), but after reading a response (Letters, March 22) made by an individual (name was withheld by request) who appears to be/have been in the food-service industry, I could not hold my tongue any longer.

I am far from a bad tipper. If I feel that the service was fair, I will tip 15 percent. If I feel that the service was above average, though, it is not uncommon for me to tip 25 percent to 30 percent. And only if the service was a total disaster will I ever tip less than 15 percent.

I know that the people in the food-service industry work their collective tails off to provide the customer with an enjoyable dining experience. But that does not excuse servers who have no business waiting tables or tending bar because of a bad or indifferent attitude.

I know that food-service industry employees get paid half of minimum wage, that the employer takes out taxes based on the total amount of the sales that server made for the day. If the tips don't cover it, then the server loses money.

But that does not excuse poor service or just plain lack of common courtesy. If the female in question put herself through school by waiting tables or tending bar, that was her choice. But it is not the fault of the customer, or the industry, if the server is rude or incompetent. If poor service is given, expect a poor tip in return.

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