Bill and Susan Heywood's Sad Deaths Yesterday Trigger Ancient Memory

Many moons ago, we did a piece (turned into a "series") on a dirty big-time Mesa probate lawyer named Wayne Legg. 

Called "As Helpless As Children," the 1993 story led to Mr. Legg's grand-jury indictment and imprisonment for more than a decade after a jury convicted him of ripping off senior citizens for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That's the lead-in to this blog post, which struck us to write after hearing about the probable murder-suicide of longtime Valley media "personality" Bill Heywood and his socialite (in the Arizona sense of the word) wife Susan.

We had occasion here and there to have spoken with the Heywoods, together and separately. They were friendly folks.

Bill knew our intrepid writer Dave Walker (now the fine and funny TV critic for the New Orleans Times-Picayune) quite well, and he felt comfortable to call in now and then to complain about our treatment of some bigwig or another, though always in a courteous, almost obsequious way.

The guy had a trained voice that could calm a mustang or, if in the alternative, awaken someone from a coma.

So, we pick up the phone on the day that the Wayne Legg story hits the stands. It's Heywood--Susan is also on the line in another room, and they are worked up.

We figure, here it comes--they are buddy-buddy with Mr. Legg, a paragon of false virtue who conned his aged victims with a kindly patter and promises of a stable financial future for them and their children. (What a scammer!)

Bill was in his excited mode that day, as was Susan.

He just couldn't believe that a church-going family man whom once had chaired the local Republican Party and been the lead attorney for ASU etc. could be so cruel and money-hungry.

The dialogue went something like this:

"I know you usually get your facts straight, Paul, but this is just crazy! You had better be right or you'll be working for Legg's law firm as a janitor."

Susan kept jumping into the conversation, either finishing Bill's sentences or flat-out interrupting him. 

What most upset her was a part in the story where an elderly couple had to give their dog to the pound because they couldn't afford to care for it anymore.

That sent her through the roof, Bill, too.

Though the couple walked in totally different circles than we did or do (in fact, we despise those circles), something about them was ingratiating and, in their own quirky way, real.

We hadn't seen or spoken to either Heywood in years, except when Bill popped up on some TV ad pitching land deals up in Sedona or Payson.

He was smooth as ever. 

Very sad finish to their lives, obviously.

But it seems to have been a mutual call, and that, in the end, was their grim business.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin