Letters From the Issue of Thursday, February 16, 2006

Murder, He Wrote

Better than fiction: What a great story by Paul Rubin on "The Case of the Grim Tweaker" (February 2)! When I first looked at it, I thought there was no way that I would read an article that long. Then, before I looked up again, I had read the whole thing. It read better than any true-crime book I've read. It was more like exceptionally good crime fiction, in the vein of Elmore Leonard.

I especially enjoyed the interviews with witnesses and suspects. The way those cops broke down bad guys Donnie Delahanty and David York was right out of the late, great Homicide show. Only this time it was true. Phoenix Police Department Detective Jack Ballentine put the Frank Pembleton character of that show in the dark with his subtle trickery.

This was a truly outstanding piece of work by Rubin; I am looking forward to the other segments of the "Murder City" series.
Juanita Singleton, Phoenix

A long lunch: "The Case of the Grim Tweaker" was an outstanding piece of writing. I started reading it at lunch and was late getting back to work; I just couldn't put it down.

This was like the best Law & Order episode ever, only Rubin's article goes to show you that, in real life, criminals are just a bunch of dumb, meth-head shits, for the most part. It's only on TV where the bad guys and gals are usually members of high society.

It was very interesting to see how meticulous the cops were at gathering their evidence. This story gave me a new respect for the skill that detectives must have to do their difficult jobs.
Darnell May, Phoenix

Police story: I just finished reading your article on the Dave Uribe case. I don't normally read your publication, but the cover caught my eye. Once I began reading, I was surprised at the details and found myself unable to stop reading. There were details in this story that I had not even heard within my police circles.

I have been off the streets for a little more than a year. Now I'm charged with working funeral services for the Phoenix Police Department. I worked David Uribe's.

I am sure you are familiar with the colliding powers of the media and law enforcement, as was referenced in Detective Jack Ballentine's dissatisfaction with the Arizona Republic's underplayed first story on the Uribe murder. I felt fear as I began reading such an emotionally charged story in New Times, but my fear was soon allayed.

We police officers are human like everyone else. It's not every day the people will want to read about a reporter or cop doing his job. You took the time to make the truth something worth reading.

I can very much appreciate the effort you put into this first piece in your series. I am looking forward to the following installments.
Officer Lawrence Horton, Phoenix Police Employment Services Bureau

Beyond compare: I couldn't stop crying after reading the ending to Paul Rubin's riveting story on the solving of the Dave Uribe case. Rubin's storytelling in "The Case of the Grim Tweaker" was beyond compare! If the situations hadn't been so sad for victim and suspects, I would have enjoyed this story more than the best crime novel I've ever devoured. It was a potboiler from beginning to end!
Dee Fineman, Phoenix

The ultimate sacrifice: As a police supervisor for the Cactus Park Precinct where Dave Uribe worked, I wanted to thank you for a wonderful article that is giving closure to some who didn't have all of the answers. Your article put pieces of the puzzle together: things like Dave's phone call to his wife and the emotions displayed, or not displayed, by the suspects.

We are still experiencing some of the emotional trauma that this senseless act of violence left us. We probably always will. On our wall are the photos of Dave Uribe and the other officers/warriors who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man.

Members of the Phoenix Police Department will be going to Washington, D.C., this May for Law Enforcement Memorial week, where those who have paid that ultimate price each year are honored. Their names are engraved on a memorial during a candlelight vigil. President Bush is scheduled to speak. It is good to know that the memorial exists and that our fallen officers are never forgotten.
Sergeant Stephen Wamsley, PPD Cactus Park Precinct

A fine tribute: Just finished reading your Dave Uribe article. I'm not sure how Paul Rubin managed to compile all that information into one story, but his work was outstanding, as always. He paid a fine tribute to Uribe and the guys who handled that case. It's nice to read articles where the police get it right, instead of the other way.
Bryan Chapman, Phoenix

An outlaw with respect: You know, I have been somewhat of an outlaw myself my whole life, but I have always respected the police. Because of the senseless nature of this crime against Officer Dave Uribe, I wonder if the penalty for those responsible shouldn't be drawing and quartering on Fox TV during prime time. Maybe this would be a deterrent.
Ron Merrill, Mesa

Kicking the habit: My husband and I have been in the Phoenix area for about a month now as "snowbirds." As I was coming out of a Bashas' the other day, I noticed a copy of New Times on a bench and stopped to pick it up. As I read through the articles, I came across "The Case of the Grim Tweaker."

Earlier in the week I had been in Conifer Park, a rehab center in Albany, New York, to attend family sessions with my son John. He has had a "habit" for 22 years, and I've watched as it has destroyed the whole family in one way or another. So as I finished reading your story, I literally had to e-mail to let you know how much it affected me.

I know you were writing about the facts, but the words and how you put them together were riveting. In the big picture, it's all about what drugs do to addicts and their families, along with innocent bystanders. We all need to be educated as to what really goes on with kids on drugs. If there were more education, perhaps we wouldn't have to read about the demise of a wonderful officer like Dave Uribe. My sincere condolences to his family.

I will continue to follow your series as I am in awe of the stories themselves and Paul Rubin's telling of them.
Ann Mathis, Syracuse, New York

A senseless crime: I can't get over the senselessness of the murder of Officer Dave Uribe. He was killed by truly one of the dumbest and most worthless scumbags I have ever heard about. The meth-head who killed this cop wasn't even sorry about his actions until he saw his face on TV and knew the cops were looking for him.

You know, I can theoretically understand when somebody -- even a cop -- gets killed in a robbery or in an angry confrontation, but to kill a cop for pulling your car over for a traffic violation makes absolutely no sense. It's like the Phoenix police chief said in Paul Rubin's story: The officer would've only cited the driver for a few motor-vehicle violations and let everybody go.

But this hopped-up macho idiot had to blow Dave Uribe away. That alleged killer Donnie Delahanty's life is over in the process is an obvious benefit to society, but this poor police officer having to die because of him is beyond the pale. My sympathies to his family, and my thanks to Rubin for a story well told.
C.R. Fischer, Alexandria, Virginia

Thumbs up: I am a retired law enforcement officer. Your story on the murder of Officer Dave Uribe was like being there. I am impressed by the way you described the investigation.
Joe Riccinto, via the Internet

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