Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

Southwest Terror: 2011 (Modesta & Liz Lowe)

Southwest Terror: 2011 (Modesta & Liz Lowe)

Tue, 08 Mar 2022 08:00

A violent offender strikes again. And his trial pits him against his abductee from decades past.

Listen to Episode

Copyright © audiochuck

Read Episode Transcript

If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold previously on anatomy of murder. I was a victim of the SW ******. This is a sociopath that raped 30 women, allegedly. That person was killed that night. That person died. He pulled out the 45 year sentences. Unfortunately, it did not stick. I just always, always knew in my heart that he was going to get out. Word immediately went out that Rory Jones is being released. And Roy Jones is coming to Denton County. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Belasi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. Today's story is a continuation of last week's episode, but it is really a completely separate case from last weeks. However, we're telling them both to you together because the stories are linked, so we recommend that. If you hadn't already listened to it, go back please, and listen to part one so you can truly appreciate how today's story comes back full circle. Last week we featured a former prosecutor from Denton County, Texas, Forest Beetle, who now sits as a judge. His passion for the law runs deep in his roots. My father and grandfather were both attorneys. My sister is an attorney too, so it runs pretty strong in the blood, the law that is. But law wasn't his first passion. I went into the army as a regular army officer in the Tank Corps, and I was a tank platoon leader. His assignment was an infantry tank officer, which is exactly what it sounds like. Responsible for tank and Calvary forward reconnaissance on the battlefield. It's a job that requires thinking on your feet in really stressful situations, which I believe is a perfect setup for a career in crime fighting. A military gal without a lot of military expertise. But tank is kind of the epitome of cool. You know, when you're talking about that world. Initially when I left the service, I didn't plan on going to law school, but I enjoyed just about every moment of being a prosecutor with the DA's office. When you think about how he went from platoon leader to prosecutor, you know right away comes to mind how important is to always be vigilant as a trial attorney, and also never to underestimate the other side. But whether you're on the front lines, in the battlefield or in the courtroom, there wasn't much that could prepare forest beetle for the likes of Rory Keith Jones, a person that he describes as pure evil. Back in the early 1980s, Rory Jones and his accomplices had committed unspeakable crimes, a series of abductions, sexual assaults against women, the community and the media notoriously dubbed them the SW rapists. I can only imagine what it was doing down in Harris County, especially with the media was reporting it and they giving them nicknames. I'm just about to turn 50. I'm old enough to remember vaguely Ted Bundy in Florida. The huge terror that that kind of causes. When you have a couple of guys like this running around doing these horrific things to people, I mean as a devastating effect on the community because it just puts everybody in fear. Jones received a 45 year sentence, but because of a charge reversal, he was paroled in just 27 years and once released he settled in Denton County, where his sister resided, and Denton County was soon notified of his presence. Since Roy Jones was classified as a sexual offender, and as it is in most states, Texas requires notifications to not only law enforcement, but to the citizens that live in the general area where he resides. The sex offender unit in Carrollton PD got a notice that Rory is being paroled, and before he even hit town, they already had a flyer up on Rory. It's just a little one page, almost looks like a wanted poster, you know, had his book in photographs, a current photograph of him at 51, and then, of course, what he was convicted of and what he was on parole for. And within just a couple of months of his release, on June 23rd, 2011, police get a disturbing call from a hotel owner. Mr Patel, the owner of this hotel, was the one that made the 911 call that someone was messing with one of his housekeepers. A housekeeper was being attacked. Someone was attempting to abduct her and sexually assault her. Something clearly amiss was going on. You could hear a lot of excited voices in the background, and you could hear quite a bit of very excited and upset Spanish in the background. Now we're only going to use her first name, modesta, to protect her identity. Here is how she described the attack in detail to the first officers on scene. She and her sister had finished cleaning the rooms and she was taking a break and the hotel that they were at, it was like a big rectangle. And so at every corner and then in the middle you had stairwells that went up and down the different levels. She was sitting on one of the first couple of steps of the stairs smoking a cigarette, I believe. A man walked past her but then comes back behind her armed with a screwdriver, telling her if she didn't do what he said he would stab her and that's when he started to try to take her. She started screaming is he's trying to drag her off. Then he began beating her and dragging her towards a truck in the parking lot. She is able to wrestle her way away from him and she runs straight to the room where she was staying at the hotel with her sister. Now inside that room was her small young child, but that wasn't it. It wasn't over because that attacker came back and was beating on the door, refusing to go away, and that's when the handyman there for the place there was a former Marine. He comes up and starts screaming and he's like, what are you doing? He didn't know what was going on, but he said there was no way he was going to let that guy get in the door. Now, when the hotel owner and more people started to amass that, the attacker finally fled. There is really something about this scenario that is quite different. It is the brazenness of the attacker, the relentless pursuit. Even after she escapes and gets into her room, he doesn't flee to get away because there's obviously, presumably a big commotion. He goes back to her room and is beating on the door to try to get in, to make sure that he gets what he came there for, and he's only thwarted and flees when there are too many people coming and he thinks that he might actually get caught. If he doesn't make his escape. Just to give you a sense of how often weapons are used in sexual assault cases, here's some numbers. In 11% of sexual assault incidents, the perpetrator used a weapon, 6% of the time using a gun, 4% of the time a knife, and 1% other types of weapons. So in this case it falls into the 1% because the weapon of attack was a screwdriver and an interesting fact, 8 out of 10 people knew their victim, but Modesta did not know her attacker, so it was not the norm. At the time, the police had no idea who this perpetrator was, and when we're talking about a suspect like this, every single moment counts. It is not an if, when or, but it is that they are going to strike again and this investigation would get into high gear pretty quickly after investigators located that a building next door did have surveillance cameras that were running at the time of the incident. There was a northern tool store next door and so we didn't catch her the actual offense. On camera, but we captured a partial license plate along with the make and model of the truck, and he was able to very quickly identify the truck and who owned it, and in this case it was either Rory or his sister. Had surveillance footage. First of all, it was grainy and it didn't show who was speeding away inside. So obviously, for investigators, they need to make sure that the person that they're apprehending is the right person. Indeed, you remember I told you about the sex offender notification bulletin that Carrollton PD printed up? Guess what Detective Anders use to identify Roy Jones at the scene with both Modesta and also Mr Patel, the Marine and also her sister. Rory Jones was ID as the attacker. Police know The Who, but they don't know the where. They still have to find Rory Jones, and police would turn to a high tech device to help them, and it would bring the biggest break in this case. Once he was able to identify Roar, he realized he lived over in Carrollton. He contacted Carrollton PD, and that's when he also learned that state parole had him on a GPS monitor. Jones was not wearing a typical GPS device, not the kind that normally would be worn as an ankle bracelet. This was a much larger device that fits in a ***** pack around his waist. You know, I'm never going to be that good at the mechanics about where someone wears a GPS device. We all know the ones from the movies that are in your ankle, and this waist one, based on what real will soon hear, was much more sophisticated than some. First of all, you have to remember this was 2011, and while technology has come a long way, this wasn't one that just could basically give a geographic locale. It was able to plot where at a particular address somebody was. Detective Anders gets a hold, another one of the parole officers and they tell them exactly where he's at. And you know he can't believe he's like you. Lord, that that's just like six blocks from me. And as he pulls up, he sees Rory in the parking lot. And when they're approaching him and he steps out, they do notice that he has a large bulge under his shirt. That could be a volatile situation, because the first thought of the first response of an officer is, could that be a weapon? So he jumps out, pulls his gun, orders him on the ground. He almost shoots Jones because of this battery pack and this GPS monitor. He doesn't know what this thing looks like. He knows he's got a GPS, but he's assuming it's something on his ankle. And Jones keeps trying to tell him something about this battery pack. And of course, Anders thinks he's trying to draw a gun. At the last split second, he decided not to shoot. And he realized that this was not a weapon. It was something else. And so he takes him into custody there. This GPS device that he's got on the signal finally dies once they get him back to Lewisville PD and they literally cut it off of him. You know, in the beginning, these devices were really developed as a deterrent to make sure if a parolee was required to remain within a certain city or a county that authorities would be alerted if they broke that condition of their parole. It has, over the years become a much more valuable tool, and this case is an excellent example of that. So it may seem obvious that it's Jones who is modesto's attacker, but there was going to be a problem in saying that in open court, and that is because how modesta identified Rory Jones. Remember, investigators took the first photograph. They could find a single photo, and that was his sex offender registration, and that's what they showed her. Well, you cannot show a witness or victim, a complainant, a single photo because by its very nature it is suggestive. So the argument is there for the taking. That well, was she identifying the photograph because, aha, it's a sexual offender. It must be him. Or is it just because it's a single photo itself? You're never using that in court. So now they're basically left with a witness who can't ID her attacker. Detective banners at the second I brought up because I knew you were going to get after me about that. I'm like, yes, I am. We can't use the identification you did at the scene. It's coercive is what it is. And that's the case on this, I said. So her identification at the scene is out, and I understand what he was doing. He wanted to catch this guy, but he was afraid he's gonna rape and kill somebody, and so he wanted to get him in custody. So he wanted to verify the identity. So good cop worked there, but bad Frog worked down the road. On top of that, the surveillance video didn't actually capture Jones committing the crime. It has him in the area and then fleeing in his truck. So investigators need more evidence and his digital footprint captured on that GPS tracking device. This is where it comes into play. You can literally see the dot as it moves through there. So we had what I'm kind of refer to as step one, which was cased the place, and he was watching the place. You have Step 2, which is the actual crime. So you can see Rory walked right past where Modesta said she was, and you see him go up the stairs. On the other end of the building, come back around and they come up behind her and then you see the dog kind of jump around a little bit and then it step three he gets in his car and he races off. And after escaping, he fled right back to his sister's house. And he hangs around his sister's house for a few minutes and you see phase four, which is him drive over to the hotel will then you see him drive down at clinic. As part of Jones Pearl requirement, he had to go to a clinic and attend mental health counseling and receive medication. And that's critical because Rory's image tomorrow was not in Carrollton. He went to the one in Lewisville, and the location in Lewisville was just a few blocks, maybe a mile or two from the hotel where this eventually occurred. Now, right there, at least to me, there's a reason he goes back there and it's almost like establishing an alibi, giving him a legitimate reason to be in the area, which at least in my mind, based on my own, putting this together, that's almost how he picked this hotel to commit his attack. It was almost this crime of opportunity. So while he is there, how easy for him to say if he has to, if they ultimately put it together, that it was him, that he'd been going to the clinic, maybe he had to go home and charge his device, and now he's coming back and sure, he's going to slow down and stop. And he sees all the police activity at the hotel. So it's almost setting up that, hey, this is where I'm supposed to be all along. I wasn't over there committing the crime. I felt like based off how he moved around the hotel, he was very aware of what that hotel looked like, how it was set up. It was right by the Interstate. It allowed good access points and exit points out of the area and also probably aware that Modesto and her sister worked there. I think he had cased the place quite frankly by though I had no evidence of that. It's just the way he moved. I want to just pause from the story for a moment to just talk a little bit about the psychology of sexual predators. Now, I'm not an expert, but I've spoken to many of them and I've read quite a bit. And unfortunately I've seen the aftermath of many of these crimes and heard those survivors accounts. And when you look at sexual predators, from the data and the research, there's a few things that are almost always in common. The crime itself, it's not about the sexual component. I mean, that's secondary. It's really all about the power dynamic, that desire for control. And there is definitely a level of narcissism in this. The world revolves around me that most of these offenders portray, you know, they're antisocial, manipulative. They may seem like they get along with people, but is only to ultimately get what they want. And for sex, to them, it is all about the possession. And here's the thing that really is important here is that the only chance for change is if they take that intervention on and if they want to change. And if they don't, there is a high likelihood that they are going to reoffend. And unfortunately, that's exactly what we're seeing right here. Now the obvious question would be, why would somebody who was wearing one of these devices commit a crime or violate their parole knowing that they are being tracked? But I guess in other similar questions we've talked about, some people just don't care. Offenders believe they are smarter and they won't be caught. I almost think that Jones thought he had it all figured out, right? He's far off from the place where he had committed all these other crimes decades ago. He's picked this facility, which is nowhere near his sister's home. No one in that hotel knows him. They hopefully aren't going to recognize his face. According to him, they don't know his truck. And again, remember, there's no surveillance footage from that hotel. It's only by chance that nearby had some that captured a partial plate of his truck. So it really. Almost was potentially the perfect crime as far as attempting to get away with it, but fortunately fate played its hand and it didn't work out the way he planned. Police charged Rory Jones with aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and attempted aggravated kidnapping. But it took almost two years before the case went to trial, and a lot can change in two years. And in this case, for the police and prosecution, it's all going to be could they locate their witness modesta. Quite frankly, we were a little freaked out because we couldn't find our victim, said. Look, if we cannot find her, we don't have a case. So where was she? It would take two years after the assault for this case to make its way through the system. Now it's time for Jones to stand trial. But prosecutors had one huge problem. They can't find Modesta while they do have some other evidence that shows the GPS that shows the truck. Without having someone to recount the crime and talk about exactly what was done, you're not going to have much of a case. One of the challenges is that Modesto was no longer working at the hotel. In fact the hotel no longer existed. They've been bulldoze is a part of this Interstate 35 expansion that have been going on for years. Podesta was an illegal immigrant and the question was did she return back to her native country. But as luck would have it if you can say such a thing about crime then the attempted sexual assault. Is not going to be the only crime that happened at the hotel. There was a security guard that was also assaulted as part of the attack, and because of that, the investigator had actually written down the cell phone number of the hotel owner while investigating the case. We raced down to the basement of this courthouse where we keep our DNA files. We were able to pull the file and sure enough exactly where she said it was going to be in the file, it was right there on the top of page 2. We made a very anxious phone call to see if Mr Patel still out there and 2nd ring he picked up and he remembered Modesta and he said I think I can get a hold of her and was able to track her down. But there is still a concern. Would she testify? And it's a situation that plays out in almost every city in town in America. A victim of crime happens to be here in this country illegally. And while there's almost always an interest in seeking justice, coming forward could mean putting them on the immigration status radar. Now, there are a few things that come into play. The federal system allows under certain crimes, and they keep changing this more and more for the better, that those witnesses can still come forward and be protected. There's things like the violence against Women Act, there is tvas, there's uvas. We don't get the nitty gritty what they mean, but they all offer protection for people that are in this country illegally if they are coming forward as witnesses and complainants in a crime. Back during that time period, we had a lot of folks from Mexico and Central America that had moved up here for work, and they were here illegally. And so I had run into this several times. Fortunately, our investigator at the time, one of her strong suits was victim relations. She was very good at talking to victims and explaining to them what we were doing, that we were there to try to get them justice. We were there to try to get justice for the Community and a very bad case like this. But I explained to him like, look, I'm a state prosecutor, I'm not a federal prosecutor. I do not care one bit at all about your legal status. In this country, however, you do need to realize if you do come forward and testify, that will be a question that's asked. You have to be honest about it, and there's really nothing that I can do for you in that regard. But at the same time, there's nothing I'm going to do to you in that regard. You are my victim in this case, and that's all I care about, is making sure that you're safe and making sure that you get justice in this. She was still apprehensive, of course, but she had no problems coming to testify. She withstood a horrific attack and now she was going to stand up against that in court and tell the jury exactly what happened. As the trial begins, force remembers what it was like seeing Jones in the courtroom, being able to look at someone and get an immediate sense something is just not right. There have only been a couple, three people that I've seen come through this courthouse as criminal defendants where you look at them and they just, they're not like us. And that's the way Rory was. There was something about him that he looked empty on the inside, but he was just evil. And at trial, Forest Beetle definitely had a few challenges and one of which had to do with Modesto on the stand. And that is because he knew that the defense was going to raise the issue about that identification proceeding. We talked about that single photo. So before the jury even sat down, they had a pretrial proceeding. We brought modesta in before we brought the jury in to see if she could identify Rory. And this was kind of a funny part of the trial because Rory KORUS is a black man, Bruce Isaac is a white man, I'm a white man carrying Anders is a white woman, the bailiff was black female. And then of course Judge Shipman was an older white male. And Modesta gets in the witness stand and I asked her if she could identify who attacked her. And she studies everybody, including her judge, very intently. And she just goes, no. She could not identify him 100% in the courtroom that that was him. I mean, that was quite a shocker. Think about the moment for a second. It's been two years since she was face to face with her attacker. He looks differently. He's wearing a suit. He's not wearing street clothes as he was before. And the enormity of that moment may have influenced her ability to ID him. It happens. It happens more often than you think. And it's one of those moments. Whereas obviously, anesthesia as a prosecutor, you must have to scratch your head and say, where do we go from here? And you know, I will tell you that in hindsight. Look at it as almost this gift that he didn't even know he had at the time, because it's scary not to have your main witness be able to ID. But just as a prosecutor, I think about all the things he would have been opened up to by the defense about questioning that identification and the messiness of the procedure. And is their taint on one thing, is their taint on others. And I really ultimately think it was much cleaner without it, but very smart on his part to figure it out before the trial actually got going. There's still a lot of evidence for the prosecution to rely on, a lot of circumstantial evidence. Like the video surveillance and the GPS monitoring. And that's where the second major problem occurred in the trial and that is with Miss Wilkinson's testimony. She had never testified before and she was fairly nervous. So the next challenge for Forest Beetle was the parole officer testifying because the prosecution has to introduce to GPS tracking device and explained to a jury, without even mentioning Jones's previous convictions, it would be prejudicial for the jury hearing this case to know about any of his criminal past. That could be a case killer. And here's the reason is because someone cannot be convicted. Based on what they have done before, it's called propensity. So right away, if you hear that someone is an offender, more specifically a sexual offender in their past, the likelihood is that a jury may think, well if they did it before they did it again, the fact that he's been in prison, the fact that he's on parole, the fact of why you're monitoring him, the sex offender stuff, they can't hear anything like that. So, Anna, cigarette sounds kind of complicated. How do you handle that? So we usually do it with leading questions. In reality, the way that it's normally going to work is that it's going to be prep, prep, prep your witness to let them know the dangers of pitfalls of mentioning this. So hey, we are not going to mention this word. So rather than have you testify falsely in any way, because this is an obvious thing that would be in the middle of your sentence about why you're even looking at him, you're going to ask these very short, pointed questions that your witness can answer truthfully, and then we're necessary. You will lead them where you're not normally allowed to do that. The information has to come for your witness. The judge and the defense certainly don't want that information coming out, so they're going to be able to change the rules a bit to have them technically be honest, but everyone knows that you are leaving out something that jury can't hear. And I told her, I said, I'm going to ask you your name. I'm going to ask you if you had a reason to track Rory Jones with a GPS device. And the answer, of course, is going to be yes. I don't want to know what you do for a living. All of this because again, we're in the guilty, not guilty phase of the trial. And if it comes out, he's a recidivist sex offender on parole that's going to immediately trigger mistrial. And we can't have that. And what happens next in the trial just made my jaw drop. Penny is out there, she's kind of nervous, and Miss Wilkinson gets up there and I still hits. I thought I was about to die of a heart attack. I'm up there showing her some documentation and I asked her name. She gets that right. And I said, did you have an occasion to install and track the defendant, Mr. Jones, on a GPS device? I forget how I worded the question. And Miss Wilkinson has a real country accent. She kind of leans back in her chair and she goes, well, you know, these offenders. And my heart at this point stops for a good three seconds. Ouch. I mean, that's not exactly how far West wanted to see the testimony go. Again. It's like bomb #2 just went off in the courtroom, but this time you had the jury sitting there, so it's actually much, much worse. The fact that it would come out of our mouths on the stand so easily, that is a really big problem. Well, my face is kind of a good poker face for a split second, because the second she said a Fender, it took about 1/2 a second for me to realize what she said, and everything else happened like in a blink of an eye. The defense attorney objects. LD Shipman, the judge, sustains the objection. Very quickly that judge gave a limiting instruction and told the jury to disregard what was said. And I really do think that the saving grace in this one was that the witness didn't say a sexual offender, because I really think that might have been game over for the trial. That is a real clean up on aisle 3. I mean, this could have been the entire case. Finally, Judge looked at me and he goes, Mr Beetle, you may proceed and I immediately put my hands not completely in front of her face, but I got up there in the witness box. I said Miss Wilkinson immediately asked her a leading question. Did you or did you not put a GPS device on his ankle? Answer Only that question and that forward. I got my 3 answers. I needed to prove up that he had a GPS device on his ankle, which was how we're getting identity. So the judge cured that potential error on the record right there by ordering the the jury to disregard her last answer. That's the way you could do that. In the end, the prosecution was able to use the GPS evidence and after all the evidence was presented, the jury was excused to deliberate and when they returned they found Rory Keith Jones guilty. After the guilt phase comes the sentencing trial. At this phase of the trial, prosecutors and defense, if they wish even, can bring in witnesses. You can talk about a defendant's prior convictions, all things that will hopefully aid the jury in deciding what the appropriate punishment should be, and without any doubt, forest beetle. Definitely going to bring out Rory Jones prior convictions from 1982, and this is where the story takes yet another dramatic, unexpected turn. That's where Liz was going to be, literally our star witness. But the person who's called in by the prosecution isn't Liz Lowe. It's actually Detective Liz Lowe. We're going back to the early 1980s, after Jones was first convicted of crimes in Houston, TX, and one of the survivors of his sexual assaults was Liz Lowe. In the years since that conviction, since the crime was committed against her, she had drifted, relationships had faltered. She had all the emotional pitfalls that you would expect with PTSD and having that type of trauma in her life. Not an emotional wreck. More numb, really, just more numb and just obsessed with my thoughts of you know, what had happened and. You know, I just knew that I was going nowhere. And like many in the same position, she turned to victims advocates to sort of get some direction and some understanding about some of the things that she needed to do within herself. And then one day, Liz Lowe had a huge realization. I was talking to the victim Service Office one time and I said something like, you know, I just wish I could do something, you know, to help other victims, she said. Well, what? Why don't you? So I just kind of had this epiphany and I'm like, you know what? I'm going to be a police officer. Turning pain into purpose. I've said it before and I am super impressed and in awe of Liz's mindset, her perseverance, how she wasn't doing this for herself, but she was doing it for other survivors of sexual assault. I didn't want someone else to be the lady from the convenience store who, you know, went from a happy marriage with a toddler to, you know, living homeless on the street, addicted to drugs and her son, you know, now in prison. I needed something in my life to give me value again and to incorporate this horrible thing that had happened and make it useful, make it where that it no longer was eating at my core. But was like feeding my core. And that's exactly what she did, and she chose not to let it define her, but help her grow. Liz, who had a baby girl at the time, couldn't just enroll in any police Academy because certain ones require you live on campus. So she made her way to Florida, where her mom and relatives were, and Liz spent enough time working at a red lobster to claim residency and then went to the Academy. My nickname in the police Academy was Private Benjamin, because I was like, you know what? I needed to pay attention every single day in class with the tactical things because it wasn't part of my nature, but I made it through. It was just strange to me. I mean, it was very paramilitary. And the tactical teachers would yell and scream at you right in your face and kind of in that, you know, break you down to build you up kind of thing. I remember my time. I was through the Academy. It was really difficult, but so challenging because I knew that in my heart, being a member of law enforcement is something that I wanted to do, want to be part of. But I made it through. I didn't quit. She was resilient, and in the end she graduated near the top of her class. There are two ways to go through a police Academy in the state of Florida. One is to be hired by an agency and sponsored through the Academy, and once you graduate the department that sponsored you, you get to work for them. And the other is to put yourself through the Academy and then, once you're certified, apply for open jobs at various agencies around the state, listed the latter once you graduated and she began interviewing. And the story of her getting her first job is a story in and of itself, because she's decided that she wants to go to the small town called Bunnell in Florida. But he didn't go as she expected. I go and apply and have an interview with the chief there, and this interview is going great. End of the interview. He's like, OK, well, you know, it's been so nice talking to you, but I just don't think that, you know, we really have a place for you here. I just don't think you'd be a good fit in this department. So I'm not even going to take your application. Of course, I got my car, started crying like a baby and drove all the way back home to Saint Augustine. Like, well, I can't believe this is so terrible. I think about how deflated she must have been, but he did leave her with this that there was another local department in a place called Flagler Beach that he thought she would be the perfect fit for there. Well, the next day that chief had had the initiative to call the chief in Flagler Beach, and that chief said he really, like set up an interview. That's how she ended up in this department, that yet another great fact is that she was the first woman to be in that small department of, I think it was eight or nine officers at the time. In her 23 years, she went from officer to detective and built a reputation for tenacity. She's featured in an FBI magazine and honored with the law Enforcement Memorials Foundation for rescuing a parachutist who drowned in the Atlantic. You know, it's like 1 blossom after then another blossom. It was just like an amarillos, you know? I was like, my career would be like, you know, just blossoming. And I remember when my chief called me into his office and said they're going to be having a drug court here, and I want you to participate. She volunteered with the Flagler County Drug Court, a pretrial intervention program for nonviolent first time drug offenders. Helping where I can, you know, with people who are experiencing lack of being able to manage their life because of trauma. And Liz's next move in 1999 directly impacted the ability for victims to get financial assistance. She wrote the police department's first victim of Crimes Act grant and established the grant program for the agency. It is designed to assist women and children impacted by crime and has provided the Flagler Beach Police Department with more than 1,000,000 in federal grant dollars. You know, if it was a domestic violence situation and and you, you know, needed to get your GED. And we would help you with getting your GED if you weren't allowed to drive, and we would help you get your driver's license. We would help with changing locks and just doing all kinds of things, thinking outside of the box of what can we do to make this victim more successful through this trauma. Who better to know how to deal with the aftermath and what's to come? How to position yourself to move ahead and to heal and someone who is a sexual assault survivor like Liz? Mr. Jones, Mr Nickerson, you know, they went on their spree of evilness and not realizing that in the long run it was going to be such a greater good for so many people. So I'm sure they'd be pretty ****** if they knew that. Now back to Rory Jones. When he was first parole, Liz was on top of it, trying to do whatever she could to make sure it didn't happen and that the community was aware of who they were dealing with. With that, she tells about a phone call that she made that she called the state Attorney of Texas after she heard that Jones was paroled. Because being Liz, being Liz and all of you gonna say, of course she did of so she did. And the person on the other end of the phone basically brushed her off and said, you know what, lady, this happened decades ago. It's time to get over it. But you know what? As time went by, Liz had another opportunity to call that same person back. And this time it was very different. And I called that state attorney back, too, and he took my phone call again. And then he goes, oh, oh, aren't you that Lady from like, Houston in the 80s? I said yes, yes, I am. And I said, and I would just want to let you know that what I predicted happened did happen. And I said, so tonight when you go to sleep, I want you to say some prayers for this lady. That's an intensive care in Denton County, Texas. So he was just speechless. He was just speechless. So he called the. Investigator at the Special Prosecutor's Office. And he said, is this true? Did this really happen? And so he's like, I don't know. And so then he called me and he's like, did you just call him and tell him that I said yes, yes, I did. Even before Roy Jones case with Modesta we go to trial, Forrest had a plan that involved Liz even preparing her to come testify for the sentencing phase of this case. And so I visited briefly with Leo's, but when we started talking about her crime, I very quickly realized Liz had been living with this every day since it happened to her, and she had gone on to become a police officer later on the detective. So she was doing a lot of things in her life, but Rory was always with her. She had all these experiences and when she started to tell me about him, I finally just stopped her and I said, Liz, I would rather wait and hear this from the first time with you on the stand. Considering what happened with the parole officer, I was thinking to myself, how is this going to work? But clearly this was a real strategic move out of Sega, something I think you probably would agree with. I loved it and he was so right to do it this way because he knew that it was all about that raw emotion. The real power of it would be if she was to get up there and have the first opportunity to lay it all out there in open court. And that kind of threw her off course. She had been a detective for a long time, and I'm sure she'd worked with other prosecutors on different cases, that sort of thing. I thought it was a little unorthodox and a little risky, but I'm like, OK, I'm good with that. I knew she would be able to tell her story in a very raw fashion. I wanted them to hear that because I thought that was probably going to be the best way. Liz, after 30 years, would have an opportunity to tell a jury what Jones did to her. This is going to be lizz's day in court, what she's been waiting for for more than three decades. But as far as Leo's coming up there, I don't think he knew what was coming. I don't think he was prepared for what Liz was about to do to him in the courtroom. Just a heads up, this next part of our story uses some language that some may find offensive. Forest beetle called Liz to testify at the sentencing of Rory Jones. As Liz is in the courtroom, no one really knows what Liz has to do with Rory Jones, except for Forrest the defense and worry Jones himself. Prosecution had disclosed you know who I was to them and I see him say, oh ****. I'm like, I can see his mouth move and say that, and I was like, this is just so good. So I started off some very basic, you know, biographical questions. You know, would you introduce yourself to the jury? Kind of, what do you do questions like that? And so the jury is, of course, riveted because they're thinking, Oh my goodness, you know, like, what in the world is detective from Florida? And then I wanted them to experience that transition from we're hearing from another cop to, Oh my gosh, we're hearing from a victim from 30 years ago. And then he said, and do you know the defendant, Rory Keith Jones? And I said yes, I do. And he said, would you please tell the jury how you know him? And of course then I did. And there just wasn't a dry eye in the house. Picturing that moment in the courtroom as she is on the stand, she's introduces a detective and then, boom, to hear that she was another survivor of Rory Jones's sex attacks, it just I can imagine you heard a pin drop, because I felt that as she talked through that portion of her testimony. She described in great detail when he flicked that lighter, how she thought, Oh my God, these people are going to burn me to death. She described that with great emotion. And then I remember the next thing she described was her phone call to her father. At that time I was the father of two little girls and it was a very emotional testimony and that just got us through the events of the night that she got raped. She went on to describe what life was like for her afterwards as being the victim of this violent crime, having to go through the process down in Harris County, realizing that a plea had been struck but not really knowing why, and then her life was changed and just trying to deal with all that trauma. And she lets everyone feel what those moments must have been like. And so for the jury, nothing I could imagine could have been more powerful. Such a gift to me to be able to face him as now a grown woman with strength and with courage, and not a broken human being that had to face him the last time. And she did such a phenomenal job with just the description of that process that most of the jurors at that point were teared up or cried. But Rory Jones's defense team felt like they had one more move to make, and that was to have Rory Jones testify again. A defendant never has to present any evidence in a sentencing phase is no different, but at this point it's like maybe the only chance he has left is to instill some sort of sympathy. I don't know if it's about his past or or something they think he can say to maybe mitigate something to at least lessen the number of years. Well, when Liz was done testifying, when we arrested our punishment case and it went over to the defense, the defense attorney kind of expressed a little bit of frustration with his client was like, Mr. Jones, that your your choice, you want to testify or not? And finally Roy sat there for a couple of seconds and he goes, he goes, I want my baloney sandwich. I want my baloney sandwich. I mean, that day in jail was baloney day. And knowing that Lisa's testimony had members of the jury, even the judged hearing up, he decided to pass on testifying. And hearing him make that statement made crystal clear that he knew that she had devastated him too, because it was basically saying take me back. It's a game over. He knew exactly the sentence that that jury was about to pronounce. He received a life sentence for both the aggravated assault. And aggravated robbery convictions. And the judge stacked the sentences on top of each other and basically what that means is that they weren't going to all run at the same time. It was great. The judge is great. The sentence was great. The jury was great. And the judge made one extra effort to do one more thing in addition to the stackable sentences. I remember Judge Shipman stacked his life sentences on top of Liz's case specifically. And then I'll get emotional on this. So the judge said he's going to have to finish his sentence for the original charges. And he said, just talking to the clerk, I want to make sure that it's this case number. So when he did that, somebody piped up the defense attorney or somebody said, well, Your Honor, doesn't really matter. And he looked at them. And he said, I think it matters a lot to somebody sitting in this courtroom right now. And I was just like, you know, I love you. I love you, your honor. Like you. That you get it. And it did matter. It did matter. How meaningful that must have been for Liz. She knew that the main crime that had really taken so much from her had never appeared on his conviction docket, the sexual assault, but that the judge now, all these years, decades later, was going to make sure that the first sentence that he had to serve was for her. Let's button up one more thing. There were two people who attacked Lizbeth in 1982. You may be asking yourself, whatever happened to the second assailant. His name was Robert Nickerson. Robert Nickerson died in prison shortly after his incarceration, maybe just within a few years. Two cases decades apart would bring Liz and Forrest together. I know the line that good versus evil is a cliche that's often used in movies, but for me, Forrest and Liz together make sure that Roy Jones will never have another opportunity to harm anyone else. For Liz, it has been a long, painful journey, but that day was a good day. Afterwards, when it was all said and done, the whole gang went to lunch. And I called my wife and I said, get the girls. I want them to come along and meet Miss Williams because she was such, such a warrior. I mean, she really was. We've maintained a friendship since then because he's my hero. I mean, he literally is like my night on the White Horse that slays the dragon, but I always knew it wasn't over. The gift that Forrest gave me was knowing it was over. It's not a coincidence that we're first releasing this story to you on International Women's Day. As the detective List spent 23 years of her career helping thousands of crime victims, yet never publicly disclosing her personal story about the darkest moment in her life. Not until she retired from pain to power to purpose, Liz Lowe is not only a survivor, but she is a true changemaker. Liz made reference to this flower, an amaryllis, and if you don't know it is, you should look it up, because it's this gorgeous bright flower and I kind of keep thinking about her story in relation to that. It's something that starts in the ground, it's a bulb that's covered in dirt, and for some reason I think about that as her attack, but that once it grows it blooms over and over again and it just gets better as the years go by. And I really think about that as I hear Liz talk not only about her past, but what she is doing with that passion. To empower others, and it also goes towards these two women not only lives, but Modesta. Tied together by horrific acts committed by them both separately, decades apart, and how they should be symbols of strength and power for us all. If you are the loved one of somebody who has experienced trauma, Please be patient, be compassionate. And to the victims, please, please get help and know that at the end of the day, you can get better and it does not have to define you. And if you do, let it define you. Let it define you for the better. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and for SETI Media. Ashley Flowers and Summit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve?