THE WITNESS WOMEN DON’T LIE PART IThree young women were murdered three months apart that year by a serial killer. At some point each year near the anniversary of the death of one of the girls, the Tulsa Tribune (Oklahoma) featured an update:

Chuck Sasser, Tulsa homicide detective, has been assigned to solve the Martin-Rosenbaum-Oakley cases. He has interviewed more than 1,500 persons, and jailed briefly 30 for questioning… He spends most of his time interviewing people with strange quirks and bizarre sexual habits…

It haunted me that this psychopath who raped and mutilated young women was still lurking somewhere out there because I wasn’t smart enough or lucky enough to catch him.

A potential witness surfaced. In spite of political correctness saying otherwise, women will lie on men.

Sammie Lintonberg produced a new suspect—Harold.

“Harold is really weird,” she offered. “He burns candles, sits in trees, puts spell on people in the moonlight. He goes to Satan conventions and tells everybody he’s a warlock.”

I stared at her.

“Well, he does. He tried to strangle me once. We was, like, drinking and smoking pot, and went to bed. We had sex, and Harold wanted (oral). But I wouldn’t do it. Like, we was laying there and he got on top of me and started strangling me. He said he knew what I was thinking, that he was the one who killed them girls.”

“That doesn’t mean he killed the girls,” I pointed out.

“He told me he did it. Do you remember when the jogger was killed in the park? I seen Harold after that, and he had scratches on both arms. He said, like, he’d better watch out or the police would think he was that guy went around murdering girls. Later on, like, we drove off the road in Sandy Park by the river and got stuck. We was sitting there listening to music and a weird song came on. Harold said, ‘I have something I want to confess to you. I murdered those girls. Don’t you never tell nobody or I’ll murder you too.’”

My partner McCracken was ready to go to the district attorney with it.

McCracken and I ran down Harold denned up in a dilapidated rooming house where he lived on welfare and food stamps. Government takes care of its “victims of society.” At 35-years-old and barely five feet tall, Harold was an evil dwarf who continuously emitted a slithering, sniggering sound that was not quite a laugh. His police rap sheet included at least 30 sex-crime arrests.

“I ain’t no killer,” he protested. “I’m just a sex freak.”

He provided an example: “Sandra (a girl with whom he once lived) is a short, dumpy little broad with a face like an ugly baby. She introduced me to sadomasochism. She liked to get beat with a belt, so I kept her all bruised. I started trying to get rid of her. Who wants to make love to a chick that’s all battered up? I don’t mean I was going to kill her. One day I came home and she’d left a note saying she was going to Houston with a big dude with a big belt. I was glad she left.

“Sammie and that friend of hers are really weird. One night they drove me out to Kip’s Big Burger. They were smoking pot and drinking and hollering out at police cars. After I ate, I made an excuse to go to the bathroom. I climbed out the bathroom widow and left them there. They couldn’t tell the truth if their fat butts depended on it.”

Harold was guilty of all kinds of misdemeanors and felonies. But, “I ain’t never kilt nobody,” he continued to deny after two days of interrogation. “You ain’t gonna believe me, are you? I didn’t do it, but you got your mind made up.”

Everything about him revolted me. If perversion could be personified, it would look like Harold. He was a pervert—but I was convinced he wasn’t my killer.

The homicide sergeant looked concerned. “I’m catching heat from the brass, Colombo.”

That was the PD’s name for me; Governor David Boren once called me “perhaps the best homicide detective in the nation.”

“How can you be so sure Harold didn’t do it?” the sergeant pursued. “The DA would file on him now. Let a jury make the decision.”

“His girlfriend is wacky, and she’s lying,” I said. “I want the right suspect.”

Harold and Sammie would soon resurface.

(To be continued)

Charles W. Sasser is author of Homicide, his grim autobiography of life as a homicide detective.