Page 3 of 9

There was one other thing about Mickey Michael. In the file that Grotewold and Dains carried with them, there was an underlined notation. According to the marshals' confidential source, Mickey Michael was armed and dangerous. The folder carried this handwritten warning: "He always carries a loaded weapon and will resist arrest."

In his courtroom testimony, Marshal Grotewold gave no indication that the pursuit of Michael might have had their adrenaline pumping. The old man who answered the door answered their questions, allowed Dains to search his home and then gave them directions to the Span business on Buckeye, where they might find Mickey Michael. After searching the residence for no more than two minutes, Grotewold testified, Dains returned to join them on the front porch; before leaving, Dains fetched the old man's mail and his newspaper for him.

Dains' testimony is less benign.
Smirking at the memory, Marshal Dains recalled how repulsed he was by the 74-year-old man who greeted them at 1235 East Fillmore. "He was extremely filthy and I just didn't want to touch him," said Dains. "His forehead was caked with something green, kind of a greenish color, tint to it. His hair was matted down and such."

Nonetheless, Dains hopped down and ran after the old man's newspaper and mail. And the marshal agreed with Grotewold that even though they had no warrant, the old man allowed them to search his home for Mickey Michael.

Dains also concurred that he was in the home for no more than two minutes.
There are a number of things about this testimony that stand out.
The arrest reports as well as the court testimony quote the marshals as saying they departed their office at 2 p.m., stopped at the Fillmore home, talked briefly to the old man, spent two minutes searching the home and then departed for the Span business on East Buckeye Road, arriving at 3 p.m.

Retracing the marshals' steps, there is no way it would have taken until 3 p.m. to arrive at the Spans' business if they had spent only a couple of minutes searching the old man's home. There is a block of time unaccounted for in the marshals' version.

Additionally there are, on the Fillmore property, enormous storage buildings as large as the home itself which the marshals claimed they never checked out. This is odd behavior if the marshals were serious about apprehending their fugitive.

Finally, the old man, Bill Span, is described by the marshals as suspicious and uncooperative. And yet this cagey fellow simply invites the lawmen to search his home even though the lawmen lack a warrant?

Last week in an interview, Alice Span said she discovered her 74-year-old father huddled on his kitchen floor sobbing and bruised shortly after the marshals' visit. The house had been torn apart.

In papers filed with the court, the Span children recounted what their father told them of the marshals' visit. When the old man insisted upon seeing a search warrant, he said the heavyset officer (Grotewold) grabbed him and pinned him roughly against the wall while Dains searched the residence.

"I warned them that my dogs bite, when he opened the door. Whitey ran out and bit the heavy man in the hand . . . The tall guy finally came out of the house and jumped over the fence. He was in the side yard for about ten minutes . . . ."

For several days after the visit, the children say, their 74-year-old father nursed a swollen eye and a knot on his head.

"I tried to get him to a doctor," said Alice Span. "He wouldn't go. He was too frightened."

Two months later, Bill Span died.
When Grotewold and Dains arrived at 1924 East Buckeye, they were met by Darlene Span.

As customers stood around waiting to purchase building supplies, the marshals showed Darlene the wanted flyer for fugitive Mickey Michael.

Like her father, Bill Span, Darlene said she knew a Mickey Michael (her brother) but unlike the man in the fugitive poster, who was elderly, the fellow she knew was in his thirties.

According to Grotewold's testimony, Darlene then took the flyer to make a photocopy of it. Telling her she could not do that, Grotewold retrieved the wanted poster from her.

"As I was giving it back to Deputy Dains, there was a man yelling at me," said Grotewold. "He told me to `get the fuck off of the property,' I didn't have any business there."

Warning Jerry Span to stay out of the discussion and identifying himself as a federal agent, Grotewold said, he was then attacked.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey