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CHAPTER SIXTEEN






(1)

On Wednesday, January 8, as Tommy was meeting Marlene for lunch at the Memorial Plaza Shopping Center, he saw a delivery van pull up to the Gray Drug Store. While they watched the delivery man walk into the store with a large box, Tommy muttered, Narcotics delivery. The pharmacistll be working late tonight.

Marlene looked at him curiously. He didnt know why he had said that.

Kevin had been planning to rob the store. Hed gotten together with Wayne Luft and another friend, Roy Bailey, and laid it out for them. They would execute the robbery and get the lions share of the money and drugs. For the planning, he would get 20 percent.

That night, following Kevins instructions, the two men waited until one-thirty in the morning, forced the pharmacist back into the store at gunpoint, then robbed the safe and the narcotics cabinet.

Still following the plan, they drove out into the woods, spray-painted the white Dodge station wagon black and drove out to pick Kevin up. Back at Baileys place, Kevin checked out the drugs for them: Ritalin, Preludin, Demerol, Seconal, Quaalude, Delaudid and more.

He estimated the drugs would bring in thirty to thirty-five thousand on the street, and he saw their faces change from curiosity to greed. As the night wore on, they all got high, and each of the men secretly approached Kevin, suggesting the two of them team up to rip off the third partner. By morning, when both Bailey and Luft were out cold, Kevin stuffed the money and the drugs into two suitcases and took off for Columbus on his own. Neither one, he knew, would have the guts to stand up to him. They were afraid of him. Time and again they had talked about how crazy he was, how he had put his fist through a door and used a Thompson machine gun to shoot up a guys car.

Theyd tip off the police. He expected that. But once he got i rid of the dope, there was nothing they could do. The pharmacist had seen their faces, not his. There was nothing to tie him in with the robbery.

When Marlene picked up the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette the next day and read of the Gray Drug Store robbery, she had a j sinking feeling.

A few days later, Tommy came to meet her for lunch. She was surprised to see that he had painted the old Dodge blackand so sloppily.

You did it, didnt you? she whispered.

What, painted the car? Tommy asked innocently.

You did the Gray Drug Store robbery.

Oh, for crying out loud! Now youre calling me a criminal? Marlene, I dont know a thing about it. I swear!

She was confused. Something told her he was guilty, but he seemed truly .upset at being accused. Unless he was the worlds greatest actor, his denial had to be real.



I just hope to God youre, not involved in it, she said. After they parted, Allen grew nervous about Marlenes accusations. He had a feeling something was wrong. Driving back to work, he decided he needed help.

Come on, guys, he said out loud. Were in trouble. Thats all right, Allen, said Arthur. Keep driving. Dont you want to take over?

Id rather not drive. Im never steady on American roads. Just keep going.

Do you have any idea whats going on? Allen asked.

Ive been so preoccupied with my research during this mix-up time that I dont really know, but I suspect some of the undesirables have been stealing time and committing crimes. I tried to tell you.

I really do feel we need Ragen, Arthur said. Can you find him?

Ive tried. Jesus, hes never around when you need him. Let me try. Just keep your attention focused on your driving.

Arthur searched his mind, peering inward into the darkness beyond the spot. He saw images of the others, some asleep in their beds, some sitting in the shadows. The undesirables refused to look at himhaving banished them from the spot, he no longer had any hold over them. Finally he found Ragenplaying with Christene.

Youre needed, Ragen. I believe someone has committed a crime or crimes, and we may now be in danger.

Is not my problem, Ragen said. I did not commit these crimes.

Im sure thats true, but may I remind you that if one of our people is sent to prison, the children will go too. Imagine Christene in that environment, a pretty little girl locked up with all those sex maniacs and perverts.



All right, Ragen said. You know my veakness.

Weve got to figure out exactly whats going on.

Arthur began a general inquiry. One after the other, he questioned the various people inside, andthough he was sure some of the undesirables were lyinghe began to piece together a picture. Tommy told him of Marlenes suspicions that he had been involved in the Gray Drug Store robbery, and also told of having observed a shipment of drugs earlier.

Walter denied having touched Ragens guns since his own banishment from the spot for shooting a crow, but he recalled having heard a voice with a Brooklyn accent talking about a perfect crime at a roadside rest. Philip finally admitted the roadside-rest assaults, but denied any involvement with the Gray Drug Store robbery.

Kevin then told of having planned it.

But I wasnt there. I just set it up and then ripped them two guys off. It was a sting, thats all. Maybe those guys tipped off the police, but Im clean. Theres no way the cops can tie me to that robbery.

Arthur reported back to Allen and Ragen: Now, both of you, think: Is there anything to which they can connect us, anything they can arrest us for?

As far as they all knew, there was nothing.

Several days later, Billy Milligan was fingered by a fence in Columbus who owed a detective on the narcotics squad a favor. The fence reported that a quantity of drugs matching the description of those stolen from the Gray Drug Store had been sold to him by Milligan. The word was passed on to the Lancaster police department. A warrant was issued for Billys arrest.

(2)

When Marlene came to the apartment on Monday after work, Tommy gave her an engagement ring.

I want you to have this, Marveen, Tommy said, calling her by his pet name for her. And if anything happens to me, I want you to know Ill always love you.

She stared in disbelief as he put it on her finger. It was a moment she had dreamed of for a long time, but now it was painful. Had he gone out and bought it because he expected something to happen to him? She felt the tears in her eyes but tried not to show her feelings. No matter what he had done, no matter what they did to him, she would stand by him.

In her calendar for January 20, 1975, she wrote: Got engaged. Really surprised me to death.

They arrested Danny the following day.

They pushed him into the cruiser and took him down to the Fairfield County Jail. They read him his rights and began questioning him. He had no idea what they were talking about.

The questioning went on for hours. From what the detectives said, Danny began to piece together a picture. Wayne Luft had been picked up for drunken driving, and while being questioned, he had said that Milligan and Roy Bailey had robbed the drugstore.

Danny looked up at them, dazed. They wanted him to give a voluntary statement. As they asked him questions, he heard Allens voice in his head, telling him exactly what to answer. When the interrogation was over, Danny was asked to sign his statement. Laboriously, his tongue between his teeth, Danny pressed hard with the pencil as he signed the name William Stanley Milligan.

Now can I go home? he asked.

If you can post ten thousand dollars bail.

Danny shook his head, still very confused about all this, and they led him back to his cell.

Later that day, Marlene got a bondsman to post bail. Tommy went back to stay with Dorothy and Del, who got in touch with

George Kellner, the lawyer who had represented him on the rape case in Pickaway County two years earlier.

While awaiting trial, Arthur learned of other charges being brought against Milligan. Two victims had identified him as one of the assailants who had robbed them at a roadside-rest area. On January 27, 1975, the state highway patrol filed additional charges of aggravated robbery of motorists in the roadside-rest areas of Fairfield and Hocking counties.

Milligan was taken back to the Fairfield County Jail, two years to the day since hed been sent to the Zanesville Youth Camp.

(3)

Allen wanted to take the stand in his own defense. Arthur wanted to try the case himself and prove that he was nowhere near Gray Drug Store the night of the robbery.

What about the roadside-rest assaults? Allen asked. Ragen did it. But that was self-defense.

They say there were others. Just out-and-out robberies. Not true, Ragen insisted. I not rob other victims at roadside-rest areas.

Well, someone did, Allen said.

Can they prove it? Ragen asked.

How the hell do I know? Allen said. I didnt see it. Vat ve do? Ragen asked.

Its a bloody mess, Arthur said. Can we trust this attorney? He didnt keep us from being sent to Zanesville by the Ohio Youth Commission two years ago.

This time he says we can plea-bargain, Allen said. The way I understand it, if I plead guilty to the Gray drug robbery, theyll give me shock probation and we probably wont have to do any time in the slammer.

Vat is this shock probation?

Thats when they lock you up without letting you know how long youre gonna be there, and then they shock you by letting you out unexpectedly so youll be grateful and stay out of trouble.

Well, if thats the case, Arthur said, lets follow the barristers advice. Thats what were paying him for.

All right, Allen said. So thats it. We plead guilty in exchange for getting off on probation.

* * *

On March 27, 1975, William Stanley Milligan pleaded guilty to, and was convicted of robbery and aggravated robbery. Two months later, Allen learned the court gave him shock probation only for the roadside-rest assaults, but not for the lesser charge. He would have to serve a two- to five-year sentence for the Gray Drug Store robbery. They were all stunned.

On June 9, after forty-five days in Mansfield Reformatory, Allen was put on a blue Ohio State Reformatory bus with fifty-nine other inmates handcuffed in pairs to be transported to the Lebanon Correctional Institution.

He tried to avoid the eyes of the armed guard sitting in the cage at the front of the bus. How would he survive for two years? The fear expanded inside him as the bus pulled up to the prison and he saw the barbed-wire fence and the watch-towers around the walls of Lebanon. The prisoners were taken off the bus and marched into the receiving entrance.

The first of the two remote-controlled doors hissed open, then closed behind him. It reminded Allen of Chalmers hiss, and the fear in his stomach exploded. He never got to the second door . . .

Ragen heard a hiss as the second door opened. He nodded and shuffled along to the cell block in the line of handcuffed prisoners. Now Arthur no longer had dominance. Here, Ragen knew, he would finally rule. He and only he would decide who came on and off the spot for the next two to five years. Ragen Vadascovinich heard a loud clang as the iron door closed behind them.



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