When we last left temple murder suspect Mike McGraw, he had driven off into the sunset in a white Corvette with Pam, a woman he said was his longtime girlfriend.
McGraw, whose apparent lies about the August 10 massacre of nine Buddhists at Wat Promkunaram landed him and three others in jail for more than two months, lied about his prior relationship with Pam; it looks as if he met her for the first time face to face after he was released from jail.
But he wasn't the only one fibbing. Though during his first sweet days of freedom last November, McGraw may have had a girlfriend with a white Corvette, the cops had her first. McGraw's dream woman now says she was working undercover for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
McGraw, you will recall, is the Tucson street character who got himself and several acquaintances arrested last September when, after checking himself into a psychiatric clinic, he telephoned police and told them he had information about the murders in the Buddhist temple west of Phoenix. After they spent more than 70 days in incarceration-and three Valley teenagers linked to the crime by physical evidence also were arrested-the so-called Tucson suspects" were released on the orders of County Attorney Richard Romley. (That was a move that still irks Sheriff Tom Agnos and his detectives.) In an interview immediately following his release from jail, the irrepressible and occasionally lucid Crazy Mike" talked incessantly about his girlfriend," a fortysomething Phoenix woman named Pam who owned her own business," drove a white Corvette and had a big healthy rack on her."
McGraw told New Times he had been dating this woman for a little more than a year, and that she drove down to Tucson every other weekend to party" with the 24-year-old convicted car thief. Given McGraw's peculiar relationship with reality, it was surprising when a real-life Pam, complete with white Corvette, took custody of McGraw after New Times dropped him off at a Mesa beauty salon. The couple spent McGraw's first few days of freedom together; they dropped by the New Times office twice in the week after his release, as loose-jointed and familiar as the longtime lovers McGraw claimed they were.
Pam certainly seemed happy to see McGraw-their meeting came off like a long-deferred reunion, with enough tearful hugs and dreamy looks to supply a week's worth of Love Connections. McGraw beamed when he talked about Pam, hinting that maybe this was the goodhearted" woman who could finally domesticate him.
After New Times ran a story (Taken for a Ride," November 27, 1991) about McGraw's first day on the streets, Pam called to protest. She expressed dismay that the paper would run a photograph of her posing with a man the sheriff's office still considers a suspect in the largest mass murder in state history. That, she said, was bad for business.
Pam insisted that she was not McGraw's girlfriend. Yes, she had corresponded with him, but she hadn't met him before he was sprung from jail. She also said McGraw told her the New Times writer playing chauffeur during McGraw's first day out was a trusted friend of a couple of years' duration. (Wrong again, Mike.)
What Pam didn't say then, but what she now admits, is that while McGraw was incarcerated, she had contact with the task force investigating McGraw's possible role in the murders at Wat Promkunaram. She says she was working undercover and that all her contacts with McGraw were in the line of duty. That's what I couldn't tell you," she said last week. I've been ostracized by my family-I was never Mike McGraw's girlfriend."
Documents obtained from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office seem to verify parts of Pam's story. Apparently, McGraw thought it would be great if a girlfriend" could provide him with an alibi for the night of the murders. According to the records, the sheriff's office found out about his scheme and maneuvered Pam into position to fill the hollow niches of the mad telecommunicator's heart.
According to the County Sheriff's Office reports, on October 4, 1991, sheriff's detectives Mark Mullavey and Craig Lewis paid a visit to a man named Bill" who had recently been released from the Madison Street Jail. While in jail, Bill had met McGraw, who asked him for help in establishing an alibi.
After his release, Bill-on the advice of his attorney-contacted investigators and offered to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of the temple murders. He agreed to allow the detectives to record his telephone conversations with McGraw. Similarly, Bill's girlfriend Roseanne would allow her conversations with McGraw to be recorded, and she agreed to visit the murder suspect in jail and brief detectives on her conversations with him. The terms of the confidential informant agreement established with Bill stated that the sheriff's office makes no promises or guarantees regarding current or future criminal charges," and does not instruct you to visit, put money on books or ask specific questions" of Mike McGraw. ²Around 5:20 p.m. that evening, McGraw called Bill. Investigators had arranged for the jail to notify them an hour before McGraw was given access to a telephone so they could drive the few blocks to Bill's residence and set up the tape recorder. But because Detective Lewis arrived late at the house, they were unable to record this conversation. Bill, however, briefed the detective on the conversation, according to official reports.
He said he told McGraw he had two girls" and that McGraw could use either one to establish his alibi. One was Bill's girlfriend Roseanne and the other was Pam, who lived with the couple. Bill suggested that Pam might be best for the alibi, and he asked McGraw to explain the story to her.
According to Lewis' report, Pam then got on the telephone with McGraw and listened as he outlined a cover story: They had been together for a year and a half, and they were together on August 9, the eve of the temple slayings, from about 8:30 p.m. until around 11:30 p.m. McGraw told her the evening was especially memorable because they had argued about getting married-Pam wanted to, McGraw was resisting.
At about 9:20 the morning after McGraw's conversation with Pam, Lewis paid Bill $20 for gas and food." At about 1 p.m., McGraw called again and talked to Pam. He told her he had written her a letter and, apparently in an effort to iron out any potential problems with the alibi, asked her where she was on the night of the murders. Then, according to sheriff's reports on the taped conversation, he repeated the alibi.
Because you remember that day when you left Phoenix and went down to Tucson," McGraw said. And you said you were going to meet me at work, and I said, no, and you said, yes, and hung up and you went down to my work, okay, and then I got off at eight o'clock. We talked for a few minutes and I just told you to follow me because I had to drop my other friend off and I dropped him off and then me and you went out and we started talking, then we got into an argument about 8:30 or nine o'clock-no, a little later than that, I think. I don't know, I'll have to figure it out, but you remember we got into an argument, right?"
McGraw also asked Pam to visit him-a problem since she herself had recently spent some time in what she calls the Madison Street hotel" and wasn't allowed jail-visitation privileges. He asked her if she was dating anyone else at the time of the murders, because investigators were going to nit-pick through everything." He told her he wasn't involved in the murders, but Dante Parker, another Tucson man arrested for the murders, was talking and had implicated him. Just before the time limit on the jail telephone ran out, McGraw talked about wanting to kill himself.
That evening, Roseanne visited McGraw at the Madison Street Jail. Detectives concealed a miniature recording device on her before she went up to see McGraw, but the wire malfunctioned and nothing was recorded. In a debriefing, however, Roseanne later told detectives that she and McGraw discussed an alibi.
The next morning, Sunday, October 6, McGraw again called Bill's house. Near the end of the conversation, according to sheriff's reports, McGraw told Bill the staff of telejournalist Geraldo Rivera had called, and that he told them he wasn't interested in doing an interview. (After his release from jail, McGraw said he had no intention of ever appearing on Geraldo's show. His show sucks, doesn't it?" he said.)
On Monday, Pam received a letter from McGraw, which outlined the alibi. On October 12, he received a letter from her, which reads in part:
This all seems so natural-talking with you on the phone, our correspondence-as if we've been doing these things a lot longer than we actually have. It's as though we've known each other in another lifetime, as though we've been lovers before. Your letters please me and your voice is comforting. You give me strength and it should be the other way aroundÏI have strong psychic abilities and I sense that we will be together again in this lifetime. ... If all goes well and our plans bear fruit, we shall have a rapport with such a strong foundation, all other couples will be envious.
Judging by McGraw's jailhouse diary, Pam was never far from his thoughts after he got the letter. Though Pam claims she had never met McGraw until November 22, the day he and the other Tucson suspects were released from jail, his diary, which he apparently started on October 8, the day after Pam received his first letter to her, contains hundreds of references to her.
A diary excerpt dated October 13 reads: Just got up, it's 8:30 p.m. and my neighbor is being a real asshole, he's banging on his toilet with his hands and it woke me up. I was dreaming about my girl, I miss Pam so very much. It's hard to think straight, that's how much I miss her. It hurts to hear her voice, then knowing I must hang up. But I feel so much at ease, I hope our plans work out, I would like to honestly start a good relationship, and now at least even marriage." But that's still down the road, hopefully, who knows."
McGraw's dreams of settling down apparently were only dreams. For the first few days after his release, McGraw later claimed, he lived with Pam, Bill and Roseanne. He cashed in a $19 bus ticket his sister had sent to bring him back to Tucson. He made several telephone calls from the house Pam, Bill and Roseanne shared andÏif his telephone banter can be believed-generally made himself at home. He borrowed a white Camaro and tooled around Phoenix for a day.
Then, about a week after he was released from jail, Mike McGraw showed up in the offices of the county attorney, asking to speak to Richard Romley. McGraw wanted to be placed in a witness protection program, claiming he was being stalked by killers. He told prosecutors he was staying with Pam, Bill and Roseanne, and he was afraid that they might also be in harm's way. Prosecutors took his statement and sent him away.
A few days later, McGraw was admitted to Maricopa Medical Center after he allegedly put a pistol to his head and began to weep. Judge Morris Rozar signed an order directing McGraw to complete the 40 days of counseling he had signed up for in Tucson before his arrest. He reportedly was transferred to the Tucson Psychiatric Institute, where he had been treated before he confessed" to the temple murders. The institute will neither confirm nor deny whether McGraw ever returned there, or even if he's there right now.
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Pam says she doesn't know his whereabouts. She says her brief relationship" with McGraw has hurt her reputation, cost her her skin-care clients and generally been a lot of bother. She says she doesn't expect to hear from him again.
And she adds that she is not now, nor ever was, his girlfriend. She says she was just acting, just being a good citizen.
CAN'T BEAT THE REAL PEOPLE IN A SEA OF D... v4-08-92