Several years ago, a friend set me up on the worst blind date ever. I was driving to a work conference a few hours from home when Tina called me with an odd question: “Would you ever consider dating a cop?” I let her know I was a bit hesitant because if a cop decides to ruin a person’s life, they can REALLY ruin it.
“He’s a nice guy,” she said. “I think you’ll really like him.”
I reluctantly agreed, even though I had recently gotten out of a horribly unhealthy relationship. Like an idiot, I agreed to have him pick me up at my house. He was a cop; what was the worst that could happen?
My first impression was that I should run. I normally tend to underreact when faced with an uncomfortable situation. My mom had a legit stalker for many years and I’ve had plenty of experiences with creepy people following me. But this guy (we’ll call him Grand Theft Auto) creeped me the fuck out from the moment I saw him. I knew I was trapped, though. At that point, he knew where I lived so I couldn’t exactly bail.
The plan was to have dinner and then see a movie. As we were driving, we passed the police department and an officer I had known since kindergarten saw me in GTA’s car. I was absolutely mortified. The date concluded without anything terrible happening and when he dropped me off at my house, I fumbled with a story about how I thought I was ready to start dating again but it was too soon. He said he understood and it was all I could do to stop myself from running into the house.
The whole night, I had been trying to figure out why the hell Tina would think I would be attracted to him. When I texted her about it, she just repeated the part about him being a nice guy. Like that somehow made all the sense in the world.
It wouldn’t have been a big deal but he was also in a band that played at local bars, which I regularly frequented. I refused to look in the direction of the band when they were playing, kind of like my dogs when they act like if they avoid eye contact I can’t see them. I would just kind of disappear between sets because it was too awkward and he was still too creepy. This went on for quite a while and I was so relieved when I heard he was dating someone.
He and his new girlfriend seemed happy and I was happy I didn’t have to hide out anymore. She was divorced with small children and I heard after a while that she broke it off because he was trying to get too serious. Apparently, he wanted to move in with her but it was too much too soon and she wasn’t comfortable having a live-in boyfriend with her kids. People were saying he turned stalker (surprise!) and would constantly drive by in his patrol car. I believe some even called the department to complain.
One night in 2007, a friend texted me from a bar saying GTA showed up at the same place as his ex and she thought he saw his ex dancing with some other guy. Her friends ultimately got her out of the bar without him intercepting her and one of them took her home. Unfortunately, GTA also found his way to her home. In the early morning, he entered her backyard and shot her in the head through a window with a rifle, killing her.
After the FBI interviewed him, he fled to another state in a stolen Hummer. I guess a beige Taurus was too inconspicuous. Once he was located and the vehicle was disabled, he then attempted to flee on foot but was quickly tackled and handcuffed. He made up so many ridiculous lies during the trial. He said he just intended to scare her and the rifle discharged accidentally as he lowered it. A cop actually said that in a court of law.
The first guilty verdict was delivered in 2008. His conviction was overturned in 2011 and the second guilty verdict was delivered in 2012. He is currently serving a life sentence and is eligible for parole after 20 years.
I remember telling Tina during the trial if he was found guilty, I was going to kick her ass. I never followed through with that but I still wonder how she thought we would make a good match. There isn’t a clear moral to this story but I do think the cliché about trusting your instincts became a cliché for a reason.