I used to be a Soldier. Someone respected, and a man my parents were proud of. I’m a disabled OEF vet, and suffer from multiple mental illnesses. I mention this because I believe it and the half dozen psychiatric medications I was taking, which had all just been drastically altered, contributed significantly to what happened.
My mental illnesses cause me to self isolate, even though I used to enjoy being social and having friends. In late spring of 2019, my psychiatric medications were altered and I became very aggressive, and a bit delusional. Because of this, I lost every friend and most family members. To this day some still refuse to speak to me. I became lonely, and someone reached out to me over social media and the conversation quickly turned sexual in nature. After about 36 hours of this charged conversation, we agreed to meet at about 9 or 10 pm. I drove to another county, about a 25 minute drive, and waited in my vehicle to just meet this person. There was no mention of anything sexual. Just meeting. After a short wait, I get a message saying she’s on her way to my vehicle. She shows up at my passenger door. I’m immediately terrified. It’s one of the darkest nights of the year, but I can already tell that the claim she made (that she was a minor, remember I said delusional), was not playing at some fantasy. The conversation was nonexistent. I specifically told her to go back inside which she admitted in her deposition, and initial interview. About 5 minutes of near silence led to multiple attempts to urge her politely (my ex was an military police officer so I know how many false assault accusations are made over individuals who feel slighted) to go. Eventually I nearly shouted. She ran off into the dark and I sighed in relief. I sat there shaking for 2 or 3 minutes before I started my vehicle and drove away. About a mile away in near pitch black I crested a small hill and drove straight into 3’ of flood water. I called a friend and got a ride home.
Two days later after a 10 hour 3rd shift I took my prescription sleeping pills and laid down at 10 am. At 11:30 I woke up to my whole apartment shaking. 12 police, 1 firefighter, and the county’s assistant prosecutor were attempting to breach my door. All I knew was I was awoken, and I lit a cigarette and stumbled (heavily medicated and just awoken) into my living room to find a door knob on the floor. I hear “I see movement” and “I’ll shoot you.” and “Open the door. I’ll ****ing shoot you!” Well I can’t open the door because a 10 pound sledgehammer wedged it into the concrete and plaster walls. I’m instructed to open the window next to me. I’m on the second floor, but oblige by slowly putting my hands behind the hanging blackout curtains and unlocking the window. I get it open about 3” and get grabbed by the wrists and yanked through a 3 foot gap. After slamming me down and chiding and questioning me I finally understood it’s two counties deputies, state troopers, and city police and a prosecutor. They question me without informing me of my rights, and force me to give them the pass codes to my devices (violating my 5th amendment rights). Then I get hauled out in the street in socks and whatever random shirt I grabbed half asleep through rainwater and driven to the offended county. I sit in jail for 8 days waiting to be arraigned. They forced me to submit to a DNA swab without a warrant and still not having seen a lawyer. I was naive and this was my first run in with the law and got charged with a level 5 felony. The judge inferred that I would murder a pastor and his entire family (turns out she’s a pastor’s daughter) so the level 5 felony bail is set at $3,000,000. Shortly afterwards Covid-19 hits so I spend 21 months in county accused of solicitation of a minor and 2 Class A misdemeanor charges. I’m harassed by the judge on occasion when I make disgusted faces to myself when the prosecution tries to imply I intended to not only rape a minor, but abduct and murder her too (they searched my vehicle without a warrant and found my dishes, including silverware and kitchen knives, and an empty bottle of bleach along with nearly all the contents of my apartment. I had signed a lease at a new property the day before.
After 21 months I finally got a plea offer. Exactly what I was initially charged with. The plea stated I’d have 5 years. 2 served, 1 on house arrest, and 2 probation. I would be prohibited from contacting the “victim” (I use quotes because she was a teenager, and was fully aware of what she was doing. She admitted to hiding her phone from parents when she knew she was getting caught sneaking back inside at 11, and there were 62 “explicit photos” on her phone when given to the police, none from me!) and that was the extent of the stipulations. When the judge got the plea he amended it to encompass every single restriction available. (Did I mention he was up for reelection and running against the prosecutor?) At this point I would have signed anything at all that got me released.
Jump forward 2 years, and I’m out of work for 6 months, $1200 in debt for house arrest, behind many months of probation fees, paying for monthly drug tests, driving 40 minutes one way twice a month for probation, and am 2 visits away from being done. I live in the most horrible apartment I’ve ever seen. Mice, roaches, meth dealers downstairs, dead animals in the basement. Went 8 days without water in spring. About 7 or 8 without heat in the dead of winter. I can’t find work, I can’t move. I can’t get SNAP because slumlord doesn’t give receipts so I was offered $20 a month in EBT. Oh, and I owe $50 for my annual registration. I’m defaulting on my car loan too. I eat at the rescue mission a mile away often, or beg what little family I have left for food.
Moral of the story is maybe it’s better to have no luck at all than bad luck. Don’t serve, don’t be traumatized, don’t take meds, don’t use social media? I don’t know.