Is it 2017 already??

By the end of 2016 I felt I had jumped over the biggest hurdles. I got Mary Grace settled in a great environment, got John buried, house cleaned out and sold, was able to track down financial information, etc. Now I just had to tie up some loose ends and wait on the court system.

January 3, 2017, we lost “Papa” Lawrence. He had been living with Charlie’s brother (two hours south of us) since September 2015. We realized it would be best for him since we had so much going on after the death of John Brooks. We still were able to spend a lot of time with him and he still came to stay with us some too.

When we were in Alabama for Papa’s funeral, of course, we went to see Mary Grace. A few days after Papa’s funeral Charlie had to go back to the funeral home to finalize the paperwork. I was going to stay with Mary Grace but, when she found out Charlie was going somewhere she wanted to go too. (She loves being around Charlie-they keep each other on their toes) Mary Grace and I were sitting in the car and she started talking about John Brooks and why he took his life. She stated: “You know Reta, John Brooks just started hanging out with the wrong kind of people.” That was that.

Of course, in March the Podcast hit WOW! The podcast brought a lot of attention on the trial that was postponed several times. As you might know the podcast shed a new light on the charges against Tyler. Two days after the airing of S-Town, I received a call from the ADA letting me know they were adding more charges.

We left home about three weeks after the podcast for a 6-7 week vacation. Nope, that did not get us away from the podcast. I was walking down the street in Santa Fe, New Mexico when I heard Brian Reed was going to be on “The Tonight Show.” At night in my Hotel room I would catch up on the discussion groups and newspaper articles. I was still communicating with the ADA, witnesses, and even Tyler’s attorney was calling wanting to settle out of court. So much for a relaxing vacation. It was still nice to get away–anytime you don’t have to cook, make up the bed, clean house–and you get to visit with family—it makes for a good day. Oh one more thing, when we were in Dodge City, Kansas-I played a slot machine at the casino called: Where’s the gold—you guessed it, I did not find any gold there either. lol

While still on vacation another bomb fell, remember shortly after John Brooks’ death and I made the decision not to open his estate–mainly because he owed more that he was worth. Well, in case you don’t know, it seems that anyone can open the estate of a deceased person. So, I found out that there was an attorney in Centreville filing a petition to open the estate and serve as administrator.

Immediately Attorney Downs and I decided to submit a petition to do the same. I would not be able to serve as the administrator because I lived out of state, so I called my cousin in Alabama (Mary Grace’s first cousin) to see if she would be willing to be the administrator. With all she had going on I really felt bad about asking but, she agreed. It worked out that when I was in Alabama in May keeping Mary Grace, they we able to schedule the Probate court hearing. We presented our case that we felt the estate should be handled by the family but, the Judge did not see it that way –we filed an appeal but lost that too. At first, I was disappointed, but I now realize it worked out for the best. My cousin had too much on her plate and she had already been though this with two aunts and a brother. It was nothing personal toward the Centreville attorney, he is actually the ad-litem for Mary Grace. And I have known his family since childhood.

The trial: Scheduled for Oct 16, 2017.
I knew there were two things in the works: Tyler’s attorney was trying to get the podcast thrown out and they (meaning Tyler’s attorney and the ADA’s office) were hoping to settle out of court. I was told that even though I had brought this to the attention of the law enforcement and handled the investigation, the decision of what to do from here was not mine. The ADA was so thoughtful about keeping me in the loop and letting me know what was going on and for that I am grateful. He explained to me the reasons for not taking this to court and he knows the stand that I take on the decision.

Here is the outcome of the pre-trial:
• Tyler pled guilty to third degree burglary, third degree theft of property and third degree criminal trespassing
• The burglary charge is a felony
• He also received 5 years probation.

We were disappointed with the leniency of the outcome but felt relieved that at least Tyler will now have a record of what he did to Mary Grace.
Thought I would share this letter someone sent to me.
Anonymous letter

Now we are waiting on the restitution hearing. It has already been postponed from Jan 2018 to March, then June to????

Then it will all be over??? Probably not.

OK–Let’s keep talking,


I have changed the order of my postings to bring you: Nipple-gate next

Is Guardianship a real job??? OH YES and then some—

Let me enlighten you about being a guardian/conservator. I am sure it is different in each state.

When I first realized that this was not going to be a cut and dry case, meaning things became complicated with others claiming property rights, etc. I started keeping a daily journal–people I talked with, places I had to go, business I had to take care of. I also kept a record of my cost (out of pocket) for getting these things handled. John Brooks’ funeral expense, clothes, Mary Grace’s medicine and doctor cost, the list goes on and on. I knew at some point I would have to account for all of Mary Graces’ expenses.

I was back in Alabama on June 9, 2016 for my first hearing with the new Probate Judge. This is when I found out the court appointed someone to be an Ad litem on Mary Grace’s behalf, (someone who is assigned to make sure Mary Grace’s affairs are handled properly and in her best interest.) This hearing was primarily to secure approval to sell the property, but one thing led to another.

The Ad Litem thought it would be best if I received approval from the first cousins for the sale of the property. Next, we discussed since I decided not to open John Brooks’ estate, I needed approval to sell the two vehicles and one very small stock account I found and needed to cash in. (Thanks to the mail, Mary Grace had received a small dividend check.) Hope you now understand why I was so upset when someone else unlawfully got the mail. I was told I would have to conduct an accounting audit at least every three years, so I requested we have one as of June 30, 2016.

There were two reasons I did not want to wait the 3 years. First, I wanted to make sure I was handling everything correctly from the get go and secondly, I wanted to be reimbursed for all my personal invested funds. As of June 30, 2016, I incurred expenses totaling over $6,700.00 which included funeral expenses, medications, clothes and cleaning products for the house and cash into Mary Grace’s checking account for utilities, cutting grass, appraisal of property, attorney fees, court cost, etc. This is not including my many personal hours, fuel, lodging or wear and tear of our vehicles. Between our two vehicles, we registered over 16,000 miles, through out this process. Under normal circumstances I would not have given any of this a second thought but, because of the trespassing, stealing, court hearings, having to stay in a hotel instead with family or friends (I could not ask them to live this everyday like we had to) plus cleaning out the filthy house and worrying about the finances, I was entitled to reimbursement–I earned it. This is really no one’s business but as of July 1, 2016 I stopped claiming any time, travel expense, etc.

That means my hourly rate of $ 9.00 per hour is no longer. When I was told I could get an hourly rate for my time, I ask Attorney Downs what people usually got, he said: “I would think between $15.00 to $20.00 an hour”. So, in my accounting audit, I requested $18.00 an hour (mid-range), but the Judge and Ad litem would not approve that rate. During our next hearing to finalize this audit, I explained why and how I came up with the $18.00 an hour, and the Judge ask if I wanted to postpone a decision until Attorney Downs and I discussed it. I said: “Heavens no, that would just cost Mary Grace more in attorney fees, Ad litem fees and court cost”. So really Charlie and I each were paid $4.50 per hour. I was finally reimbursed on October 3, 2016.

You might also be interested to know: I cannot invest Mary Grace’s money in any type of investments, just CD’s. I even asked for permission to open an estate CD with my credit union because I could get higher rate but was denied because I live out of state and if I decided to run off with her money it would be harder for the courts to deal with. I misunderstood, I thought the required bond covered that. (More expense)

I understand the laws and I respect the laws. I realize the bad seeds have made it hard for the ones that would do the honest thing. As I mentioned before this was in the time frame of selling the property: I decided to sell the property in February, made the deal in April, had a court hearing in June and received approval on August 11, 2016 the same day we closed. The funds did not hit Mary Grace’s bank account until Sept. 14, 2016.

I remember one day Mary Grace and I were talking about John Brooks and she said: “Well, he sure left us in a mess—if I could I would dig him up and slap him”. She was so right—what a mess this has been.

Ok–Let’s keep talking

Just staying busy

The next month I kept busy investigating and finding more pieces to this puzzle. It was during this time that I “spilled my guts” to Brian Reed –of course, you can hear that conversation on the S-Town podcast. (at the end, a few blogs will address the podcast)

The Assistant District Attorney’s (ADA) office called on February 11, 2016 to set up an appointment for February 16, 2016, this meeting is just an update and discuss our options, so we left for Alabama on February 14th, met with ADA on February 16th and came home on February 17th. The ADA wants me to return to Centreville on February 24, 2016 to be a witness for the grand jury. They would be charging Tyler with the theft of two vehicles, two buses, one trailer and the lumber stored in the trailer.

It was on this trip (Feb 24th) when I decided I had enough of dealing with Mary Grace’s house. There was no way I could stop the trespassing and vandalizing of the house and property. Every time I went over there, it was another window broken, another broken lock, just pure meanness! We were taking one step forward and three steps backwards. I had dealt with the odor, the heat, the cold, the dampness, dead rats, and destruction long enough. I really felt that I would get a call any day telling me the house had been burned down. I just could not take it anymore. My mind was made up, I had no choice but to sell the place. Of course, the financial situation was another reason. It really broke my heart.

If you know anything about being a guardian/conservator, you know you can’t do anything without permission from the court. Just to give you an idea about the time factor: February 2016 I decided to sell the house, April 1, 2016 I made deal with buyer and it wasn’t until August 11, 2016 that we were granted court approval and the deal was closed. ( 7 months)

I was back in Alabama April 16, 2016. Mary Grace had been referred to a surgeon concerning her lifelong condition on her leg, so, I wanted to be there to discuss her options with the doctor. She let him know quickly he was not cutting on her leg. And I totally agreed.

We moved more stuff from Mary Grace’s to storage, boarded up another window that had been broken out and then I called an Auctioneer to come and pick up anything that was left. At this point I felt I had done all I could do, so on April 26, 2016 went headed back to Florida.

Ok–Let’s keep talking,


Yea, the email worked

October 19,2015

On Monday the Assistant District Attorney in Centreville, Alabama called asking me to email all the documentation I collected supporting my charges against Tyler. I set up an appointment to meet with him on November 3, 2015, the same day as the second trespassing hearing. Following our vacation, we headed straight to Woodstock.

Again, the hearing proved to be uneventful. Tyler was a no show, something about working in Georgia. I asked if they required proof but, no answer. I met with the special prosecutor that replaced Attorney Downs. After telling my story and showing my evidence he commented “Wow, all you are filing against this guy is trespassing?” The Judge asked if I wanted to postpone again and I said no. He stated that Tyler had as much notice as anyone else and he should have been there. So Tyler was charged with a “no show”. Whenever we have the next hearing Tyler would now have two charges. (trespassing and failure to appear) After spending the next day with Mary Grace, we left for home on November 5, 2015.

Our next visit to Woodstock was December 1, 2015. This trip was spent going through the storage unit and meeting with family and friends who were interested in buying some items I had to sell for Mary Grace. It was this trip that I met a close friend of John Brook’s and who shared John’s love for music. I spent two and a half hours with him at Mary Graces’ house going through John Brooks’ music collection. It was raining and cold, so I stayed in my vehicle most of that time. Again, I was trying to get an idea of what I was dealing with and see if the collection had any value.

We left Woodstock December 9, 2015.

The third hearing was January 5, 2016. This time my new prosecutor did not show up. You guessed it-postponed again until March 1, 2016. I also had scheduled a meeting with the Assistant District Attorney for January 6, 2016. Right again: Cancelled.

The trip was not a total lost I was able to get John Brooks’ truck and have Attorney Downs take a statement of what went down when the truck was purchased from Tyler. We spent time trying (the best we could) to get Mary Grace’s home winterized, made several trips to the Division of Motor Vehicles trying to get a new title for the vehicles, and meeting with people that could give me a fair estimate on any items I could sell. We left for home the afternoon of January 8, 2016.

Believe me, I know you are getting tired of hearing these petty details but, in this story the petty details are what leads to the outcome. Also, I am eliminating so much of my investigating. I really am trying to move along as fast as possible.

OK–Let’s keep talking,


Let the investigating begin

First of all, let me apologize for this post being so late. I had it scheduled for 6AM and it show published on my end. —Go figure— Ok, let’s talk.

Literally, my mind and legs were running as fast as possible to solve all the mysteries surrounding Mary Grace and John Brooks. On Monday October 13, 2015 I became serious about getting some answers.
I spent days checking on the financial part of this puzzle. I found John Brooks and Mary Grace’s accountant in Birmingham and found the investment company they dealt with until June 2014 when all the accounts were emptied and closed.

This process is not just making calls and the information magically appears. I had to fax guardianship/conservator paperwork along with a copy of John Brooks’ death certificate. I contacted the Department of Motor Vehicles in Montgomery to see what steps I needed to go through to get the vehicles titled in Mary Grace’s name. (I didn’t know if Tyler still had the vehicles at this time but, I knew they still belonged to Mary Grace) That is when a very “large” can of worms were opened. My vehicle dealership experience kicked in and over time, I ordered the entire history of the vehicles. This gave me all the vehicle information from the time it was first titled. So I had dates, owners, signatures, etc. After many phone calls, letters and texts, I was able to get in touch with the new owners.

Tyler had sold John Brooks’ vehicles on line. The person who purchased the 85 Mercedes was told that the car had been purchased from his step-dad, and he was not given a bill of sale but a title that was signed by John Brooks on October 17, 2015. How could that be?? He died on June 22, 2015. I had to get a signed statement from the owner and have the title revoked. It was Feb 2016 before I finally received the new title and April 2016 before I was able to rent a transport trailer and pick up the car in Livingston, Alabama, another incurred expense.

The person who purchased the truck had been told the vehicle belonged to Tyler’s Dad who was sick and unable to drive so they were selling it. On August 7, 2015 someone forged John Brooks’ name and someone had unlawfully notarized the paperwork to get a duplicate title. On August 25, 2015 someone signed John Brooks’ name on the title to finalize the deal. I also have a statement from the owner and a new title.

The more I dug and found out all the “wrongs” and unlawful things that were happening, the angrier I became. It had nothing to do with me personally (so to speak) I had worked hard and planned for my retirement. But, wrong is wrong—Mary Grace was a good person, up in years, that loved and trusted her son to take care of her. Now what, she had been taken advantage of by her son and now this. And why was no one taking me seriously? I know I was a small fish in a big pond, but this is UNBELIVABLE!!!!! At what point is too small??? Does that mean if you rob a bank for $10.00 it is any different that robbing one for $100,000.00? I just could not turn my back on this, it was eating me alive.

I will have to admit, I am a take charge person–I take action first and think later. Not always a good thing. So on Saturday October 17, 2015 I shot off a very detailed email to the Bibb County District Attorney, then left for vacation.

Ok- Let’s keep talking,


Finally, the “Trespassing Hearing”

The next visit to Alabama was August 24, 2015 it was a short but successful trip. We checked on Mary Grace’s house and found it had been vandalized again. This is the time we found the rubber snake by the front door. REALLY????!!! The fleas were still bad, so we called for a professional, they ended up having to come 3 different times. I had to go to the Social Security office and get a new card for Mary Grace and the Veterans Administration to handle some business. I found out the paperwork for the case had been taken to the Assistant District Attorney’s office on August 27, 2015. Of course, I visited with Mary Grace, who was doing great so we headed home August 28, 2015.

We returned to Alabama on September 22, 2015 for the first hearing scheduled the next day, of course this was the first of many trips. In the meantime, I had been communicating with Chief Price and the City Prosecutor Attorney Downs. I was so glad my support system from Texas came to be with us.

The visit to Mary Grace’s house revealed more vandalizing, the back door of the house was wide open and John Brooks’ shop door was wide open. REALLY??? What is up with leaving the doors open??? They don’t think we could tell someone had been there or they didn’t want to take the time to open them on it their next visit? Here are just a few pictures of the destruction:

John’s CD collection in his bedroom
Mary Grace closet
Wood burning stove in Dining room
Dining room where the wood burning stove once was
Table in kitchen

I had received a $107.22 bill from AT&T that was due if I did not return the router, so I located it and took it to UPS on my way to the hearing. I just wanted you know all the things that were going on as well as all the money that was being spent through out this process. My cousin and I met Mary Grace for her Doctor’s appointment and she had gained 18 lbs in three months.

The hearing was uneventful. Tyler showed up without an attorney claiming he was unaware he needed one and stated he would not plead guilty, he wanted to go to trial. I was told that I was going to be assigned a new prosecutor, something about a conflict of interest. When we left City Hall we noticed that we were being followed. (guess who?). We made some turns but, so did they. I called Chief Price to let him know in case this did not end well. We crossed Hwy 11 to get gas and the follower headed back in the direction of Woodstock.

On Wednesday, my cousin and I went shopping for winter clothes for Mary Grace. We then went to the cemetery to check on John Brooks’ grave and that is when I found the marker Tyler had placed. It was very nice and thoughtful except for the picture. I guess he was not thinking about Mary Grace seeing the picture of her son who she would not recognize. The tattoos and nipple rings–the things he kept hidden from her. Personally, I thought the picture was disrespectful to “Mama”.

Pic that was on John Brooks headstone

During this trip we were able to meet some of John Brooks’ friends who were in the clock/watch business. They were very helpful identifying the items used in his clock profession. Of course, we swapped “John Brooks” stories for hours. Oh yes, the GOLD, one of these men was involved with a group that would get together with their “metal detectors or Geiger counters, whatever you call them. He asked me if I would like him to get this group together and scan Mary Grace’s property for the gold. I thanked him and declined.

The next few days were spent continuing to clean Mary Grace’s house and going though items in storage. Not that it is anyone’s business but, at this time the only item that had been sold was the piano on July 28, 2015. Family and friends were given the first option to purchase anything belonging to Mary Grace. Oh wait, everything belonged to Mary Grace. We also attended to some personal business then left for Florida on October 2, 2015.

OK- Let’s keep talking

Running, Running and getting nowhere!!!

I have never been involved in anything like this before. I did not understand how the judicial system worked and I was having a hard time believing that the legal system moved sooooo slow. We were dealing with theft, trespassing, and vandalism, making no progress and getting no answers from anyone. I realize now that I watch too much “Dateline”. They find their story, investigate, go to trial, get a verdict and then do follow up, all in two hours. WOW!

I knew I could take this matter to civil court, but that would be more expense on Mary Grace, so I really wanted the District Attorney’s office to go forward with this and protect its citizen! I felt it best at this time to get the counsel of someone outside the area and we did just that. I had also been advised that maybe I should open John Brooks’ estate, so I needed more information on what that meant.

Monday, July 27, 2015
I met with an attorney who said that we had more evidence than 70% of his cases. But, I could be spending a lot of money and still not get the results I wanted. He advised that if I still wanted to pursue this case, to keep calling the Chief of Police and the District Attorney in Selma. He also suggested maybe I should count my losses, watch my back and go home.

I was advised as far as John Brooks’ estate was concerned there was no need to pursue opening the estate for the following reasons:
1. John Brooks had no will
2. His liabilities were more than his assets
3. The cost of opening an estate could cost around $1,500.00
4. Estates are usually opened if there are assets or if there is money to be made after the death. (For example, Elvis Presley’s estate still generates income.) I couldn’t have foreseen the popularity the pod cast would create for John Brooks memorabilia.

I guess this is as good of time as any to discuss the financial part of this puzzle. The only thing in John Brooks’ name was two vehicles, which were now missing. The land John Brooks promised Tyler was in Mary Grace’s name and never belonged to him. The mail was now helping with the puzzle providing much needed information and I found out that John Brooks was deeply in debt.

The name I found on that 3×5 card when cleaning the kitchen led me to copies of Investments statements and tax returns. John Brooks had been living off Mary Grace for years. Yes, he could have made good money when he worked but, his clock business was years prior and there were no records of him earning any income for some time. The stocks that Mary Grace’s father had left her to live on were gone.

When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s John Brooks transferred all the stocks in to his name. The remaining stocks were liquidated June 14, 2014. I also found calendars from 2008 through 2015 that had notes about how much he spent on dog food; examples: 11-3-08 $140.00, 11-23-08 $220.00, 1-3-09 $120.00, 1-4-09 $90.00, 1-23-09 $320.00, 1-25-09 48.00. I think you get the picture. John Brooks told me years ago he spent approximately $6,000 a year on the dogs.

I have other stories people shared with me about his financial situation. And they are just that; their stories and I will not share them. You also have to consider the cost of labor, he was helping friends with their legal expenses, materials for the house, at some point Mary Grace started getting meals on wheels, medicine, doctor bills (within a short period she had broken both hips), utilities, tattoos, piercings, booze, toys, failed nursery business, building a maze (at least $60,000), large boulders that lined the drive and the list goes on and on and on.
This seems odd to me because John Brooks seemed very conscious of his spending, he knew down to the penny how much it cost to drive his car and mow the grass. He told me he only had the grass cut four times a year by a lawn guy because it was cheaper. Every time I had the grass cut at the house it was $225.00.

What breaks my heart is Mary Grace thinks she still has money. She will be quick to let you know her father left her well off (and that is true) and she would never have to worry about money. Several times recently, Mary Grace has told me, “Reta, you know you are the only family I have, and you need to take me to Birmingham to Mr. Lee’s office, so I can sign my investments over to you.” Even though I know the real story, it makes me feel good she wants to take care of me, but, most of all it helps ease the guilt of having to sell her house to have the finances to take care of her.

I can’t seem to share the same feelings for John Brooks that most of you have. Was he a genius? Yes. Was he troubled? Yes. Did he bring a lot of this on himself? Sure. Does it make him selfish for leaving his mother in this financial situation? I think so. I hope you can understand why I was so angry with the situation we were in, fighting to keep Mary Graces’ estate intact. As far as I am concerned, Mary Grace was getting robbed for the second time, first by her son and then it appeared by Tyler as he helped himself to her property.

I needed to go home, and I did on Wednesday July 29, 2015

OK-Let’s keep talking,



Saturday July 25, 2015

As the guardian/conservator one of my duties was to take inventory of all the items inside and outside of the house. I already started with things in the house that we took to the dump (clothes, sheets, beds, pots, pans, carpet, etc.). Now it was time to record items we had taken to storage. My cousins from Texas came back once again to help. We started early Saturday morning at the storage unit. When we left we drove by Tyler’s Grandmothers house, so they could see the trailer and buses. Tyler was there taking some lumber from the trailer and loading it on top of his truck. We turned around and took some more pictures as a record. I felt that until this property (which was stored on the trailer) was proven to be Tyler’s, it should not be messed with. I know what you are saying: weren’t you doing the same thing?? Well, NO.
1. I had been legally granted guardianship over Mary Grace and her estate
2. I moved items to storage to protect them. I was told to secure the property
3. Anything that was sold belonged to Mary Grace and she would receive the money. So far the only thing I considered selling was the piano
4. I did not trespass to get these items

Meantime, Charlie who was not with us got a call from the caregiver staying at our house in Florida. Tyler had just called our house phone and said “If you do not stop riding by my house I am going to fill your ass with buckshot” when she asked, “who is this?” he hung up. I think he meant to call our cell phone. We met up with Charlie and went straight to the police station. As soon as we walked in (we didn’t even have time to say hello) Officer Lightsey started unloading on us, “I just got a call from Tyler–y’all have got to stop harassing him.” My response was “You have got to be kidding me–Tyler can go over to Mary Graces’ and steal her s—, but I can’t ride down a public road????” He told me I was taking this too far and it was getting out of control. He told me Tyler was on his way there to pay his bond for the trespassing charge and would be cleared to leave. We asked how Tyler was getting away with this?? He said Tyler had bills of sales which I reminded him were bogus. I also told him that the Judge had told Tyler not to go on the property without my permission. Officer Lightsey replied “I did not hear the Judge tell him that.” Really??? Maybe I should have said: Well, maybe you should call and talk to the Town attorney because he did. At one-point Officer Lightsey told me “Lady you need to back off” and he also asked me not to raise my voice at him. I apologized to him for getting so worked up and told him he would not see me at the police station again and we left.

I guess this is a good time to reply to a question from discussion group: You noticed that I raised my voice on the podcast and wondered why. Well, you are right, I do that when I feel I can’t get my point across, when I am nervous, when I get excited and when I feel that I am being misunderstood. So I guess you can say I have been talking with an evaluated voice for the last couple of years since all this started.

Ok—Let’s keep talking


On the road again…

Wednesday July 22, 2015

After the call Tuesday, Charlie and I knew we had to return to Alabama to check on things. We packed Tuesday night and left early Wednesday morning. Around noon we received a call from a witness and were informed Tyler was now hauling off the trailer and blue bus.

I called Judge Pow for guidance, and he said stealing was unlawful and advised me to file a warrant for arrest in Circuit Court. I had copies of Tyler’s bill of sale for the three items, though I suspected they were bogus, however I had not been able to prove it, but it was just a matter of time. I called the owner of the business where John Brooks purchased the trailer. He remembered the trailer and what a hard time they had getting it onto the property. This was 2015, and he said John had purchased it seven or eight years prior, which would be around 2007 or 2008. (John’s friend had told me 1999, at this point it really does not matter we know it was on the property in 2010) Tyler’s bill of sale was dated Jan. 24, 2013. I sent the business owner a copy of Tyler’s bill of sale, and he verified that it was not from his company. It had no signature. He assured me that nothing leaves his lot without a signature on the invoice. Chief Price did verify this information as well. We also had a Google Map photo of the trailer and buses on the property in 2010 proving once again John Brooks was the rightful owner.

The invoices for the yellow and blue buses provided by Tyler were dated April 21, 2013. The owner of the company told police that Tyler said he needed a bill of sale, so the business owner told Tyler to fill out the paperwork and he would sign it. This business where Tyler said he purchased the buses were entirely different from where John Brooks actually purchased the buses. (not that it matters) We stopped by the police department when we arrived in Woodstock, but no one was there. So, we rode over to Tyler’s grandmother’s house and took pictures of the three vehicles.

Next, we headed to Mary Grace’s property to take pictures and record the destruction to the property. See below:


Fruit tree and yard

Fruit tree

John’s shop railing

Platform where buses were

beside platform

The next morning, we went to the courthouse in Centreville to file the warrant. They said we would have to go though the Woodstock Police or the Sheriff’s Office. We opted for the Sheriff’s Office and were able to talk to the late Sheriff Keith Hanna (RIP). We shared our story and explained how every road had led to a dead end. He said, “Seems like this boy should have stayed home that day.”He called Chief Price to let him know we were on our way to his office to file a warrant against Tyler for trespassing. We gave Chief Price all the information and pictures we had gathered as proof. He happened to be meeting with the assistant district attorney that afternoon and said he would try to get approval for a warrant.

It was at this time Chief Price told us he had seen Tyler go by with the trailer and bus but was on a call at the time. Maybe it is just me, but I thought he should have at least called Tyler and asked what in the heck was he doing. He knew the judge had told Tyler not to go on the property, and the bills of sale had not been proved legitimate. John Brooks had used the buses and trailer to store some of his personal items so we asked what would happen to the property being stored in the vehicles, to me this needed to be settled. No one seemed to know the answer. Again, really? The law does not make clear what to do with stolen goods? Needless to say, when we left we put up a gate to the entrance of the property. I wondered if that’s why those people at the funeral offered to put up a gate. I was too naive.

A family member was interested in buying the piano that was still in the living/family room. So, Friday morning I met with an appraiser from Birmingham. The piano was something I needed to get rid of; it would bring in some cash for Mary Grace’s care, and I could not move it to storage. I picked up Mary Grace’s medicine and went to Attorney Downs office to make an appointment for Monday. I also went by the police station twice. No one was there. Then my life support arrived from Texas.

Friday was another busy day, nothing too bad. But hold on, tomorrow is another story.

Ok. Let’s keep talking.

Home Sweet Home

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Well, that was short-lived. On the eighth day home around 4:30 p.m, I received a call from my niece. She was checking on Mary Grace’s house for me and found someone had gone in through the back door, busted into John Brooks’ shop and the shop door was still wide open. I told her to call 911 and to let me know what happened. She did, and the 911 operator told her that Woodstock Police could not respond because they had a lot of calls. She waited there until she got a call from none other than Officer Lightsey. He asked her what was missing, and she told him she did not know because she did not know what was there originally. She explained how she found the property when she arrived. He told her the property owner was responsible for calling the police. (Does this mean if you see someone’s house burning down you should wait and have the homeowner call?) For all they knew, the perpetrator could still have been there. Whenever you were at the house, you never knew whether someone was hiding in the woods watching you.

My niece explained that her Aunt Reta was in Florida and asked her to check on the property. Officer Lightsey then asked, “Where is Mary Grace?” She said, “I guess in Florida with Aunt Reta.” He did not come to the property and, as far as I know, never filed a report. I asked her to remove all the light bulbs and to secure the shop door the best she could.

On Tuesday we got the call about Tyler hauling off the yellow bus. The person who called saw him leading the way for the wrecker service. Charlie called Attorney Downs for counsel and was told once again to secure the property. (They made that sound so easy.) He did say he was going to call City Hall to make sure that Officer Lightsey filed a report about my niece’s call on Sunday.

Meanwhile, I called the assistant district attorney in Centerville and was told, in so many words, that “Bibb County had bigger fish to fry.” I asked for suggestions on how to stop this from happening and was told that if they knew the answer to that, it would solve a lot of problems. I am not stupid. I understand this was small beans to the police. But it was MY BEANS, and I thought everyone deserved to be protected by the law. Come on, help me build a case here, file a report, do something, please!

We took the next step in securing the property: We hired an off-duty police officer. Guess what? On his way to the property, he had to respond to a call and never made it to Mary Grace’s. Something else that bothers me, is whether it was a just coincidence that after Officer Lightsey found out I was in Florida, his good friend Tyler just happened to start hauling items off the property. Just saying.

Ok. Let’s keep talking,