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.
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