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The arrest of all of the defendants in this prosecution was not the result of sterling investigative work by the FBI; this trial came about because of a tragic lapse in judgment regarding child care.

Ilse Asplund asked Ron Frazier to baby-sit her children while she went out with Mark Davis.

And noble Victor Laszlo agreed to do it.
"There was one night they came home and I was asleep [after an evening spent baby-sitting] on the couch," said Frazier. "They put me in the back room [so they could take the couch]."

Does this strike anyone else as a less-than-perfect scenario?
Davis and Asplund forgot piano man Dooley Wilson's wisdom in Casablanca: "When hearts are full of passion, jealousy and hate . . . the fundamental things apply."

You don't use an old lover to baby-sit your children while you step out with the Hootchie Cootchie Man. That's about as fundamental as it gets.

Ron Frazier might have been, in his own mind, as gallant as Victor Laszlo, but he wasn't that French.

Ilse Asplund and Mark Davis should have known better.
One of Asplund's degrees is in counseling. Davis is the co-founder of the Phoenix drug counseling center Terros. He once received a citation from the mayor of Phoenix for talking a man out of a suicide. Davis is someone who prides himself on being able to climb into people's heads.

Ron Frazier, torch-carrying baby-sitter? Bummer.
Asked during an interview about her choice for domestic help, Asplund was a bit defensive.

"Ron wanted our relationship to be significant and emotionally important in a way that it wasn't," explained Asplund. "That business about not wanting to sneak around on Ken [her ex-husband] is not true. Ron's the biggest sneak there is. Look at all the time he spent sneaking around for the FBI . . . . When it [the affair with Frazier] ended, it seemed like a relief on both our parts."

But as she considered Frazier's role as nanny she admitted, "Okay, I can't defend it."

If it cannot be defended, perhaps it must be forgiven.
Asplund, Frazier, and Davis were part of a circle of people who, to one extent or another, had redefined the social and political boundaries of their lives. And in Prescott, radical environmentalists, vegetarians, New Age metaphysicists, and those engaged in social experimentation and higher consciousness have an intricate support system.

In Prescott, father does not know best and the fundamental things do not always apply. Or so our trio thought. On top of that, this was a remarkable period in the lives of Ilse Asplund and Mark Davis. Liberated from a bad marriage, Asplund was politically active on the environmental front and falling in love with Mark Davis.

According to Frazier's testimony, Davis was the spark plug of a newly emerging network of radical environmentalists and had personally sabotaged, if only slightly, an intrusive ski resort.

Mark Davis was Commander Testosterone of the pines, the man singularly responsible for the elevated pheromone count in Prescott. By contrast, Ron Frazier had endured, in the very same time period, one humiliation after another until he began to resemble a patient who'd had surgery for a radical mojo-ectomy.

In October, the very month Davis was monkey wrenching the Snow Bowl, Frazier was fired by Jody Skjei for being neurotic and incompetent, though that wasn't the way he saw it.

"I requested of Jody not to work so hard," said Frazier in court. "She had hired a young man to do some welding and that was the end of my employment . . . . Basically I was reviewing all of the faults I perceived in our employer-employee relationship."

Frazier's review suffered a setback.
"I got stopped by a Prescott policeman who said Jody had grounds to file telephone harassment charges [against Frazier] . . . I realized telephone harassment wasn't going to work so I turned her into the city on welding violations; I threatened to call the fire marshal to report a fire hazard."

On January 11, 1988, Mark paid a visit to Ron on behalf of Jody Skjei.
"He knew of my contacts with the city's planning and zoning department and said it had to stop," testified Frazier. "He said he was involved in a paramilitary-type group. He saw himself as a lieutenant, that I was caught in the middle. Both sides would exert great influence to get people to join one side or the other, and I should remain neutral."

Even in the addled mind of Ron Frazier, one of the fundamental things did apply; he told the courtroom he feared Davis would beat the living Jesus out of him.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey