Thursday, August 03, 2006

Get Your Black Ass Back Home

This is the fifth in a series of posts inspired by a federal drug conspiracy case targeting a middle aged housewife and three of her children.

Tim Price feared the worst when he saw the red and blue lights flashing in front of his girlfriend's home. He had spent the afternoon in the nearby town of Carencro checking out a car with Edward Colomb and the two young men had just arrived back in Church Point. They circled the block to avoid detection and by the time they were back on Broadway Street the police cars were gone and an ambulance, its siren blaring, was pulling away from the Colomb residence. Tim and Edward followed the ambulance to the hospital.

When they arrived at the emergency ward James Colomb was being treated for an angina attack and heat flashes. The Colomb patriarch had been disabled since 1991 and the shock of seeing a dozen uniformed officers busting down his unlocked front door had overloaded his system.

"They arrested momma," Jennifer told Tim Price. "Soon as they were inside they handcuffed her and now they got her in Crawley."

Tim's worst fears were quickly realized. The police raid had turned up 74 grams of crack cocaine, a gun and some money in the guestroom drawer. :There's something I need to tell you," he whispered to Jennifer.

As soon as James Colomb's condition had stabilized, Tim jumped in a car with Jennifer and Edward's wife, Tacha and drove to the Sheriff's department in nearby Crawley: Tim was ready to take personal responsibility for the drugs, the gun and the money. The authorities were bound to associate him with the crime sooner or later. The gun the police found with the drugs would soon be traced to his mother, a police officer in Crawley. Tim had taken the gun for protection without informing his mother and had spent the previous night with Jennifer in the guestroom.

"I'm here to take responsibility for the drugs ya'll found in Ann Colomb's place," Tim told the deputy at the desk. He handed Jennifer his wallet, his car keys and a few other personal items. The deputy led the young man to a holding cell and told him an officer would be down to take a statement in a few minutes. Tim sat alone in the holding cell. Since this was his first offense he was hoping he could get probation--not a pleasant prospect, but the best he could expect under the circumstances.

Ten minutes later the deputy was back. "Detective Hundley says you can get your black ass back home," the expressionless officer said. "We ain't lookin' at you for this, but Hundley says "tell your homeboy Edward he needs to come and get his momma."

When Ann Colomb was arraigned in Crawley a few days later Tim Price was in the courtroom prepared to do the right thing. An officer approached and asked Tim to step outside. Tim was told that if he was smart he wouldn't say what he was fixing to say.

When Tim learned the case had gone federal he drove to Lafayette to talk to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Grayson. Like his country compatriots Grayson didn't want to talk. His investigation was focused on the Colomb family and he was only interested in information that fit the orthodox angle: the money, the gun and the drugs found in the Colomb residence belonged to Ann and her boys. Alternative explanations were not welcome.

Tim Price wandered outside shaking his head. For the next five years he would be a haunted man--the victim of his own good fortune.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"This is the fifth in a series of posts inspired by a federal drug conspiracy case targeting a middle aged housewife and three of her children."

So when you say it was "inspired" that means you are putting your own little spin on it right? Sorta like Oliver Stone and JFK.

AlanBean said...

Not at all. Everything I write can be documented or is based on interviews with those involved. Most legal journalism has a pro-prosecution bias if only because so many newspaper crime stories are based solely on comments from police officers and prosecutors or even press releases from the U.S. Attorneys office. The previous post was written from the prosecutor's perspective; this one is based on interviews with eyewitnesses. Are prosecutors more honest and straightforward than defendants and their famlies? Sometimes; sometimes not. In this case the facts have been spun so wildly by the prosecution that they bear no resemblance to reality. Read on and you will see what I mean.

Hope said...

I am with Brother Bean.

We should be outraged about these things happening.

I am.