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.