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'Did you ever think about killing us?' 

An excerpt from Simon Says

click to enlarge Tony Dutcher, who now would have been in his 20s, and - his dad, Charlie. - COURTESY CHARLES DUTCHER
  • Courtesy Charles Dutcher
  • Tony Dutcher, who now would have been in his 20s, and his dad, Charlie.

The following passage, excerpted from Chapter 8, comes at the end of Isaac Grimes' long interrogation on March 8, 2001, when he confessed to both his parents and DA investigator Leonard Post that he killed Tony Dutcher and had been part of a group called the OARA which included Jon Matheny and was headed by Simon Sue.

"Do you feel like you've been brainwashed?" asked Donna.

Isaac nodded his head, then shook it from side to side. "Yeah," he said, "you know?"

"Yeah," said Donna. "Isaac, God forgives even this." She dropped her face to her hands and let the tears flow. "My heart is broken," she finally said in a wet voice.

"So is mine," said Rob.

"They used you. How could you let them use you?" said Donna, her voice rising, then softening. "I still love you, you know."

Post slipped quietly back into the room.

"Is Jon here?" Isaac asked. "Is Jonathan here right now?"

"No, we gotta get some paperwork before we go grab him," said Post.

Isaac began to sob, the bravado of his confession fading, his words barely distinguishable. He sputtered the word please.

"What's that?" said Post.

"Can you make sure he doesn't contact me?"

"Sure," said Post. "Are you scared of him, or what? Are you scared of him or Simon the most?"

"Him the most because I came into contact with him more."

"OK. We'll deal with this guy."

"So they'd never, they would not be locked up together?" said Donna.

"No. No, I'll guarantee it," said Post. "I've got to go check on the car."

Donna tried to comfort Isaac. "I just wish you had told somebody before this happened," she said.

Isaac said nothing, crying, snuffling now.

"Did you ever think about killing us?" she asked.

"No," he said, letting out a big sigh. "I thought of killing myself."

"You know if you can help stop these people and do some good, then they can't hurt anybody else," she said. "So you were nervous when you were sleeping with your door open and having Dad put a pipe in your window and stuff. You were really afraid."

"Yes," said Isaac, taking her hand. "Gotta go to work?"

Donna shook her head no.

"Don't talk about it a lot. Especially not the organization," he said.

"No, no, I'm not gonna explain," she said. "I'll just say you were involved in the murders." Her voice choked on the word.

Post returned and asked Isaac to recount again where the order for the hit on the Dutchers' had come from, how the plans had been made. Isaac explained that Simon had ordered him and that the plan had initially been drawn up in early December, but it had been bad and Simon had rejected it.

"He tore it up and I was beaten for it," Isaac said.

"You were beaten?" said Donna, as if this were the most surprising information she'd heard up to now.

Isaac nodded.

Post double-checked the addresses of the two Sue family homes.

"Who beat you?" said Donna, her fingers brushing the stuck hair away from Isaac's wet face.

"Simon," he said.

Donna drew Isaac deep into her arms and rocked him softly as he continued to cry.

"It's OK," she said. "It's all going to be OK."

Leonard Post put Donna, Rob, and Isaac into an unmarked car and drove out of the police lot into the streets of Colorado Springs. The clock tower of the old courthouse on Nevada Avenue glowed golden and constant. Isaac got a last glimpse of Acacia Park and Palmer High School as the car slid past the redbrick auditorium, the statue of General Palmer and his horse.

Post drove Rob and Donna home. They assured Isaac they'd see him first thing tomorrow, then walked inside, where they knew they'd have to put their two little boys to bed before they could cry again. Isaac gave Post directions to the Sues' houses on Caramillo and Columbia Streets, pointing them out as they drove by, then settled down low in his seat for the ride to the Spring Creek Juvenile Detention Center in the middle of downtown. His mind was completely empty, but fear still radiated throughout his body.

That night, after the little ones were tucked in, Donna Grimes answered the telephone four times. Each time it was Simon Sue, asking for Isaac, his best manners on display.

"He's not here," Donna said and hung up angrily. When the phone rang again, the masquerade was replayed. With each ring, her heart grew smaller and harder, until finally it was a rock in her aching chest. Terror followed her to bed and inhabited the small house, which suddenly felt flimsy to Donna, as if the smallest gust of wind could blow it down, leaving her, Rob, and their children exposed to the dark night, birds flung from their nests.

Thanks to Da Capo Press.

  • "Do you feel like you've been brainwashed?" asked Donna.

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