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"As I was turning, I got a glancing blow off the chest," Grotewold testified. "I turned back around and pushed him back. Again, I was turning back my attention toward Deputy Dains and Darlene and I felt something and looked. He was trying to pull the gun out of my pants. I was shocked.

"I turned as quickly as I could with my right arm. I'm sure I struck him. I don't know exactly where."

In his arrest report Grotewold wrote: "During the time when I was first struck by Jerry Span to the time of the arrival of the first Phoenix PD officers on the scene, it is my estimate that I was struck in the chest, head, shoulders, torso and genitals by Jerry Span at least 30-40 times and that he attempted to take possession of my handgun at least 5-10 times . . . I feared for my life during this situation."

Despite his paperwork that alleges that the enormous Grotewold apparently took a severe beating at the hands of the 130-pound, 52-year-old Jerry Span, photographs taken after the incident show a remarkably unscathed marshal.

Because he was taking a photographic inventory of the family's business supplies as documentation for the city regarding the upcoming move, Pete Span was carrying a 35mm camera. When he heard the two strangers raise their voices with Darlene and Jerry, he turned his attention and his lens to the commotion.

Marshal Dains testified that the family did more than simply take pictures. As he went to the aid of his partner who was restraining Jerry Span, Dains said he was attacked from behind by Darlene, who knocked his glasses off and scratched his face. As he wrestled to control her, Dains said, Darlene fell against his knee causing a permanent injury.

Once he had her under control Dains remembered Darlene saying to someone with a camera, "Take a good picture of me while I pose with a pained expression on my face."

By now pictures of the altercation were being snapped by both Pete Span and his 72-year-old mother, Virginia.

When Phoenix police arrived, Darlene and Jerry were placed in separate cars and Dains seized Virginia's camera as evidence.

"I took the camera from Virginia Span . . . She'd been hitting me over the head with it and I was going to seize it as evidence of an assault on myself," said Dains. "She was a very elderly individual and it was fairly easy to get the camera. My intention was to preserve the hair and possibly the blood on the camera."

Virginia Span resisted giving up the camera and was handcuffed and taken to a police station. Phoenix patrolman Bill Jenkins said the old lady hit him too.

Although both Grotewold and Dains made extensive lists of their injuries, nowhere does Dains mention the lacerations or lumps upon the scalp that one would expect from repeated blows of a 35mm camera. Nor for that matter did the government even bother to test the camera for hair and blood samples.

Phoenix patrolman Kirk Irby reported that as he led Virginia Span to the squad car for the ride to the police station, she lunged for the can of mace on his belt.

This allegation conflicts with the fact that Virginia Span's hands were cuffed behind her back at the time.

In fact everything alleged by the law enforcement officers is in conflict with what the Span family members contend happened on April 7, 1988.

Darlene said that when the marshals refused to allow her to photocopy the wanted flyer, she told them there was nothing more that she and Jerry could do for them. They had customers to wait on and the marshals should leave. After they turned to depart, the two officers grabbed both of them.

Jerry Span's story is identical and begins when he first notices Darlene talking to two men.

"All three of them are standing in front of the block customer's truck and I nodded hello to them when I was walking toward the back of the truck to finish loading it," said Jerry Span. "And Darlene called me back over to see if I could help the two men. And they wanted to know if that folded-up paper that they had was a picture of my brother, Mickey, and I told them no, it's not. They acted like they didn't believe me, and Darlene read me the description on the paper of who it was and all that, the description of it, to see if I knew who it was, because I ain't able to read. I told him it's absolutely not my brother. I told them I never seen that person in my life and I don't know who it is."

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey