Letters From the Issue of Thursday, October 5, 2006

Living in Sin

Now the sky only sags: Regarding your feature on Satan's Angel, or whatever her name is ("Hell's Belle," Benjamin Leatherman, September 28), what has the world come to when New Times considers it a cover story to profile an aging stripper?

I remember when New Times only did big articles on subjects that actually meant something. These were stories that made the sky fall for corrupt politicians, for example. These were stories that made the world a better place.

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A story like the one on Satan's Angel, which profiled a fallen Catholic who has done nothing but sin and come short of the glory of God all her life, isn't making the world better. It's just tempting people to sin. It's saying that if you sin, you will be a glamorous person, you will get to make love to people like Clint Eastwood.

I guess we can take heart that this lady has wound up in a trailer park in the middle of nowhere, not in some glittery Hollywood mansion.
Sara Carroll, via the Internet

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Super duper: I would like to start off with huge kudos to Paul Rubin for a wonderfully written piece of journalism with his "I Dunnit" article (September 21). Now that the back-end kissing is over, how in God's name could a veteran homicide detective with 20 years of experience get duped into a confession as fake as my left eye (I do in fact have a prosthetic left eye)?!

I read the article with amazement that a city so bent on capturing a woman's murderer could overlook the need for competent police investigation. I would also like to thank the city of Tempe for a colossal waste of taxpayers' money.
Joshua C. Friedman, via the Internet

False confessions: Your "I Dunnit" article points up a disturbing trend in law enforcement, and I should know because I'm a cop in the Phoenix area myself. Maybe I'm being generous by calling it a trend, because it has probably gone on since the dawn of police forces. It just seems to be happening a lot in the news in the United States these days.

I'm talking about the tendency of police to believe a bird in hand is the jailbird they are looking for. The Tempe cops and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office were so desperate to solve a high-profile local murder that they believed an obviously false confession. Come on, when a seasoned detective can get duped so undeniably by some dumb, dirt-bag criminal, that's just pathetic. Not to mention just a waste of money for taxpayers.

Also, the real danger is that the real killer goes unpunished because the cops and prosecutors are so intent on nailing the wrong guy and clearing their books: "See, folks, we're doing our jobs!"

Makes you wonder how many times this has happened, when fruitcakes or criminals trying to get a better deal confess to something and authorities are more than happy to believe them so that the public will get off their asses. This kind of behavior by cops and prosecutors gives all of us in law enforcement a bad name.
Name withheld by request

Presumed guilty: The statement by former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods in your "I Dunnit" story was amazing. That is, where he said that even though cops and prosecutors came to know that James Mullins was lying about killing Georgia Thompson, the County Attorney's Office still could have convicted Mullins of the crime. No problem.

Fucking chilling is what this really is, because these guys (Woods had been named special prosecutor in the trumped-up Mullins case) could convict anybody if they set their mind to it, and probably have, even when they know the dude didn't do it.

I believe my brother was in a similar situation and went to prison as a result. For that reason, I'm asking that you keep his name secret. I don't want harm to come to him in jail. In his case, he didn't confess to anything, but was high on meth when a crime was committed and got accused of the crime because he was the only person around when the cops arrived.

I will always believe that the police went after him because it was easier than trying to figure out who really did it. It's sad that this kind of thing must happen a lot in our criminal-justice system.
Name withheld by request

Mustn't-see TV: Your amazing story about James Mullins' false confession is the talk of our town, as I'm sure it is out there in Phoenix. It's like something you would see on TV.

I just want your readers in Arizona to know that most of us in this part of the country are law-abiding and that our police force is for the most part honest and trustworthy.
Billy Rollins, Paducah, Kentucky

Big city, not-so-bright lights: Your "I Dunnit" story was first-rate. It read like a TV whodunit, for sure.

I never thought I would see the day that our local police in Kentucky are portrayed so much better than those in a big city like Phoenix. Well, Tempe, actually, but you know what I mean. So much for big-city detective work!
Betty Johnson, Paducah, Kentucky

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