Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Killer Of A Story

This is the last one I have (unless I remember something else) in the story category. This is a true story.

Back in the 1980’s my wife, at the time, worked with a girl named Pat. Pat had met this guy who was getting out of prison and she was going to marry him. So we went off to Reno and got them married. At the time I understand she was a practicing witch (you know good witch, coven, and all that) and she attested that because she was, this was the reason that the pictures we took at the wedding didn’t come out. That is a little thin, but I’ll go with it. 

As an explanation of why he was in jail, he said that he was a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and that he served a sentence for attempted murder. He said that he was out of the club and that was all in the past. 

Since my wife and Pat worked together, it was logical that we also socialized with her and her new husband Dave. We went gold mining with them, went to the horse races, and had barbecues like most young couples do. After a time the relationship went it’s separate way. Is there more to this? Yes, keep reading. In the late 1980’s my wife and I went our separate way also, but we kept in touch. 

Enter the phone call one Saturday night in the early 1990’s from my ex-wife. “Turn on America’s Most Wanted” was all she said. So I did just that. 

The show goes like this. Police move in on an apartment in Reno and take Pat into custody. Then police SWAT teams are approaching an apartment in Sacramento, California and arrested one Dave Cox for murdering a young girl in Oregon. What the hell? Seems Dave and Pat picked up this young hitchhiker at a truck stop (they were driving truck cross country at the time) and Dave took her into the sleeper, raped and then killed her. They dumped her in a ditch by a culvert off Interstate 5. The girl was 14 years old. Dave had threatened Pat with death should she say anything about what had occurred and she was convinced that he would do it. Apparently Pat never said anything to authorities, but she mentioned something to one of her friends that prompted that person to contact the police resulting in Dave’s arrest. 

As the story unfolded, the comment came out that Dave just needed to kill someone once in a while. I spent time with this guy and he just needed to kill someone once in a while. What the hell is that? 

The last thing I heard was that since they were long haul truckers, authorities were looking into other murders across the country with a similar MO. Because of my curiosity, I’ve searched the Internet for information about Dave, but have not been able to find anything. I have no doubt that he got, at least, life in prison. I have searched execution lists in the State of Oregon, but didn’t find anything there. 

Pat wasn't charged because of the threats against her life and the last I heard, she was still living in Reno. 

I’ve been a fan of James Lee Burke for many years. In his Dave Robicheaux novels, Dave has a daughter named Alafair. James Lee Burke’s daughter, Alafair Burke, is also a very gifted writer like her father. When I read her first novel “Judgment Calls” it was so eerily similar to the Dave Cox story that I went on her blog and asked if it was written about him. Since she had been a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon I wondered, what are the odds? 

She didn’t have any knowledge of Dave Cox and her story was based on Keith Hunter Jesperson known as the “Happy Face Killer”. Well, you can’t win them all.  

How was that for a last story?


  1. Good story. (the story not the circumstances)If you need more Mark I've got a bunch of similar. My bad guy ends of Reno...I love a happy ending.

  2. Got to hand it to you, Mark, you were a bit more open minded than I would have been back then. Hells Angels and murders would not be something or someone I would be comfortable with. If you ever come across more to this story, I would love to know more. I am with you, I doubt that is one isolated incident.

  3. no wonder people hitch hike less these days.