Klae Bainter

Half an Hour Late, and 15 Years.

Charles Wolf’s killer was arrested in 2017 for a crime that occurred in 2003. He was picked up in Florida. He got time served. He is 37 years old.

Murphy took a plea deal. Having already been charged and sentenced for that crime in Florida, he must serve three years. The State of Ohio decided to trade a three year sentence to be served concurrently for the location of Wolf’s body. Murphy is doing time served.

“Murphy, 37, of Florida, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended court of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, in the Huron County Commons Pleas Court”

He told them where the body is

15 years for nothing

he admitted it. He said it

wasn’t premeditated that he

killed him in a fit of rage

The big valley in norwalk

He took them down there

and show them

e apologized to the dude’s

mom although she’s not too

happy right now

they’re bringing in a team to

it up.

Dig. Sorry, voice to text is

fucking everything I say up.

INCOMING CALL: WOOSTER, OHIO. Oct. 22, 2018. 5:41PM

“This is Brody Stooky, Senior Assistant Attorney General. This is regarding your subpoena. Are you busy?”

“I’m about to walk into class.”

“I’ll make this quick: your testimony is no longer needed. The case has been resolved.”

“Resolved? Did he plead guilty?”

“Yes.”

Oct. 22, 2018:

According to the Plea Deal, Murphy told prosecutors that he killed Wolf in a fit of rage. He told them he felt threatened by Wolf. He felt as though his life was in danger and that’s why he shot him, and that’s why he buried him, and that’s why the floor was bleached, and the door replaced. Almost like self-defense.

Involuntary Manslaughter isn’t a win

A resolution isn’t the same as being guilty of murder.

Her son’s body traded for resolution.

His mother wept in the court room.

Murphy should be in in jail for the rest of his life.

Murder.

Life in prison.

The Sandusky Register says Wolf disappeared two days before mother’s day. It evokes an emotional response.

Half an hour late. (I think?) I was working as a short order cook at a bar in Huron, Ohio. This was 2003. I was saving money to move. I wanted to leave Ohio. I wanted to do more than just hang around a small town. It was one of those bars full of drama, and alcoholics, and bar stools full of faces, long and shameful, and swollen drunk. Even though I was barely in my 20s I knew I was losing touch with those around me. (We were all too talented and too smart to waste our lives.)

Brock couldn’t just text me. He was supposed to be in 6:00PM. It was dark — that I remember. Murphy didn’t work there at the time. (Maybe he did?) This was years ago now. It was a dive bar in a residential neighborhood, but it was close to a nice beach, so we were always busy. (But this may have been the fall?) Still, we were busy. The summers were nuts, that’s why I got Brock the job. He got Murphy the job. (So, yeah?) I mean, I guess by getting Brock the job I got Murphy the job?

That time was hectic, as I was preparing to move in the next year. So it had to be fall. The kitchen was purposefully full of Seattle music. (Probably the reason I first fell for a city I’d never visited.) The music: Nirvana, Modest Mouse, The Gits.

MISSED CALL. CLEVELAND. Aug. (?) 2017

“…this is the Ohio State Special Attorney. Could you give me a call back at your earliest convenience?”

INCOMING CALL: WOOSTER, OHIO. Aug. 2018

“Your presence is going to be requested.”

“You’re going to subpoena me?”

“That’s correct.”

“How do you guys even know I’m in town? I’ve been here two weeks.”

“I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus.”

“Brock told you.”

“Well, he’s just trying to be a good guy. He’s trying to do the right thing.”

IN THE HURON COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COURT

SUBPONEA

Criminal Case

Case No. Ablack

Clay (Klae?) Bainter
to appear as a witness in the above case on the 24th day of October, 2018 at 9:00am., at the Huron County Pleas Courthouse, 2E. Main Street, 2nd Floor, Norwalk OH 44857 as required on behalf of the STATE OF OHIO.

In 2010, while living in Seattle, an SPD homicide detective contacted me for an interview. He knew I had recently gone to Ohio to be the donor in a bone marrow transplant. He knew I was in school for theatre. Bones. He knew where I lived. Plants. He had no idea where this Wolf guy was.

“Buried.”

RECORD: What was your relationship with Murphy?

Me: We were friends, I guess. He was always nice. We would do drugs, or just do nothing at all. Sometimes a group of us played basketball behind the elementary school at night. It was lit up. But without fail after about an hour or so, the cops would show and kick us out.

RECORD: Did he ever tell you anything?

Me: There was no reason to tell me anything. He knows I wouldn’t want to know that kind of information.

Murphy had been in and out of detention centers and jails his whole life. Broken, and bulky. (Stout, really.) He was shorter than me, but hard. He could’ve seemed sweet before he opened his mouth. He would just show up suddenly, and then be gone again.

Girls would refer to his eyes.

They were pretty.

Crazy eyes.

Long lashes.

They kind of creeped me out.

Guys would refer to his strength.

Tough.

Unassuming.

Definitely don’t want to fuck with him.

RECORD: Do you think Murphy is the kind of guy that could kill someone?

ME: I don’t really know how to answer that.

RECORD: Oh, you know, like, I think we all have that friend where you’re like ‘Oh, yeah. He could totally kill someone.’”

ME: I guess in any given situation anyone could do anything?

RECORD: Oh but you know? Some guys more than others.

(ME: I think this is an unfair question?)

(Yes. Yes I do think he could kill someone. I think he could kill someone, and then tell people about it. And I think it could be reported. And I think you’re trying to save face by trying to be active too late in the game. Like a child in a bathtub, you had all the duckies in your arms fifteen years ago, and you let them drift away. Now you’re trying to collect them all, and it’s too late. And you let him get away with murder.)

The last time I remember seeing Murphy was at a friend’s house. (So he couldn’t have been working at the bar around the night Brock was late?) It was the night I ate a quarter plus an eighth of mushrooms. We were at Brock’s house. (I know I haven’t seen Murphy since Brock told me the story.) Roughly forty-five minutes after I ingested the first bag I got sick. Scrawny and on my knees I was vomiting in an upstairs bathroom, and Murphy was telling me I needed to drink water. When I eat mushrooms I get sick, and as I’m getting sick I start tripping. My eyes will replicate the swirling in the bowl. He got me a glass of water, and I washed down the second bag. I remember that night was the first time I had ever seen an insecticide truck. I also remember the cops coming to my door at around 5:00am. They were looking for my brother. He had stolen a car. That was the last night I used hallucinogens. That was the last time I remember seeing him. (Maybe another time after that? I just can’t remember.)

ME: All I know is what Brock told me.

RECORD: Just tell us that.

I met Brock in fourth grade. He was always in the back of the room. I think he liked it there. (Or maybe we were in alphabetical order?) Hard to remember. I do remember he always wore a purple tie-dye Grateful Dead shirt. He didn’t come to class one morning, and his whereabouts were whispered from desk to desk. He had been arrested and placed in the DH for setting fire to a lumber yard.

Brock and I didn’t talk to each other until around sixth grade, when we were asked to bring in the lyrics to one of our favorite songs and read them to the class as if it were a poem. He read “Taking Retards to the Zoo” by the Dead Milkmen.

I remember when Brock arrived he parked his Mustang under the window at the back of bar. It wasn’t a Cobra, but he had the black Cobra graphic covering the hood. As if the car was trying to seem more dangerous than what it was. We called it the “Faux-bra.” Eyes wide, and looking at me through the window. (That I remember.) He was quick to come inside– “wouldn’t believe what just happened.” (That I remember.) He was bothered, and his body did a good job of showing that– Shaking. Pacing. His bulkiness was animated, and jerked slightly. Seeing ripples in a couch cushion. Mumbling about a ride he just gave. Jutted sentences. Felt nauseous. (I’m sure I’m forgetting something.)

“Murphy fucking killed some dude.”

“Who?”

“Some “Wolf” guy. I dunno. I just gave him a ride and he told me about the whole thing.”

“What do you mean he killed someone?”

“He said he shot some guy in the back. Just as he got to the door. Gasping for air. Said he looked right at him. Shot him a second time. (Only shot him once?) Died on the floor looking up at him. Murphy and some other guys dug a hole. It wasn’t deep enough (Wide enough?), so they had to stomp on the body to break the bones enough to fit it into the hole.  He said he didn’t like the guy, and so he was ‘praying to God’ (Asking his friends?) for a reason to do it”

I know that after we closed down (back in 2003) that night Brock went to the police station. His mom drove him there (drove him back?) with him laying down in the back seat. (He walked over? Afterwards, a cop drove him out into the country to meet his mom?) I know at some point he was laying down in the back of a car because he was afraid he’d be seen.  Brock told them everything Murphy had told him. They videotaped him. A trip to Vegas (Kansas?), something about buying (Or selling?) drugs, something about not liking the Wolf guy.

The Huron Police Department didn’t really believe him.

“He was just telling you this story to make himself seem cool. He was trying to make himself look hard.”

Broken system. They recorded the testimony, and that was it. They used this as a reason to raid the home Murphy was staying in, but they never really believed the story Brock told them. Small town police that didn’t know what to do.

Shortly after Brock went to the police in 2003, Murphy was arrested for holding. (I actually don’t remember the reason they raided the home.) He was found with large amounts of marijuana, and a gun. (Maybe just a gun box?) He was already a felon. He got a few years. While he was incarcerated I wrote him a poem. I don’t remember the content (I may have drawn something, also?). I know I sent it. He never wrote back.

A gun box isn’t a gun.

A gun box isn’t a gun.

Brock was supposed to be the “star” witness. Murphy knows all of this.

Brock started receiving phone calls when Murphy got out. He felt threatened. One of these two men weighs 265 pounds, and can bench press 500 pounds. One got his concealed carry permit overnighted. The other can just get a gun overnight.

The Huron Police Dept. misplaced Brock’s video testimony. Rosaline filed a missing person’s report for her son Wolf in 2006 with William Cook, the police chief of an Erie County Township. She held out hope for a long time.

Police chief William Cook never filed the missing person’s report for Rosaline’s son. However, in 2009 he was fired and sentenced to a year in prison for buying firearms with township money, and then selling those firearms to a third party for personal profit. He also admitted that between Aug. 2006 and Sept. 2006 he had conducted a scheme to swindle the township by selling even more. (Admitted to stealing guns from evidence?) He was fired. (Resigned?)

Rosaline says she just wants her son’s body back.

His body back.

His body back.

Rosaline just wants his body back.

MARCH 26, 2010:

Homeland Security raids the homes of seven people. They are all part of the Patriot Voice of God Militia in Michigan. Brock is one of the seven people arrested. The FBI seizes computers, cameras, semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and thousands of rounds of ammo. Brock’s wife calls me to tell me about it. He is in a federal prison in Detroit. I have to add money to his account to talk with him.

They are all charged with sedition.

Brock claims to have found God.

Two years to the day after Brock was arrested for sedition a judge threw the case out with “strong prejudice.” (Two of the seven were sentenced for possession of a machine gun?) Brock was looking at multiple life sentences.

He didn’t kill anyone.

In 2009 Brock was blasted all over CNN and FOX News when a video went viral. It was him dressed in full army fatigues, and tactical helmet. He was holding an AR-15, and speaking through a voice modulator urging the country to join him in Washington D.C for a “Million Man Armed Militia Man March.” This lead to him being interviewed by Alex Jones.

RECORD: After we finish the interview, I can show you around the police station if you want. It’s pretty interesting.

ME: Um, Okay.

After I finished my interview on the record, I was shown the “theatre” where the line-ups are done. I call it a theatre because it was an open auditorium with rows upon rows of seats. The backdrop was painted with lines and numbers to categorize bodies, with dashes to indicate height. There were no walls dividing the spectator from the subject, but instead there was a row of lights. He had me stand against the wall while he showed off how it worked, and I was blasted with light that made it impossible to see anything an inch from my nose.

In 2002 I was arrested by small town police for shooting a BB-gun into Lake Erie. “Looks like you just got yourself arrested.” Is what the cop said. Someone saw me on a private beach, smoking cigarettes, and shooting towards the water, so they made a call.

Discharging a firearm within city limits.

I was in jail for 3 hours. Instead of court, I went to mediation where they told me the charge would be expunged if I would write an apology letter to the judge (the city?). So, I wrote a short story about a boy that accidentally shoots himself in the face. I filled the pages with as much grotesque detail as I could. Weeks later I received a resolution letter, with an attached note applauding my work. I thought that was funny at the time.

Real gun fired.

Real body buried.

No one around.

A BB gun isn’t a firearm. Mediation isn’t court.

The first time I met Murphy I was probably 11 or 12. I was walking along the main road that ran east and west through the center of a small town. The streets on the south side were all named after trees, those on the north, or “lake” side were all named after cities. About three blocks from my own, Lima Avenue, on the very corner of Magnolia Avenue, sat Murphy. There were two large rocks on either side of his street that had been painted white. They served as markers since most of these side streets looked the same, and one could see their usefulness, unless of course it was winter, when they became dangerous hidden below the snow. He was sitting on the eastern stone, looking around. His body was upright, and his hands were on his knees. He was calm, but was clearly waiting for someone.

“What’s up?”

“I’m going to be arrested.”

“For what?”

“I stole a carton of cigarettes, and they know who I am.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

I continued my walk to the two concrete pawns that marked my own street and waited, and watched as the cops eventually came and put him in handcuffs.


Klae Bainter is an essayist and playwright. He has been published in Spindrift, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Pif Magazine. He received his BA in creative writing from the University of Washington, and is currently engaged in graduate studies in the NEOMFA program through Cleveland State University. He resides in Lakewood, Ohio.

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