Meth in the News
Professor Nicholas E Goeders
I sat down on Sunday, July 17, 2016 to start this week’s Meth in the News column, but I just could not come up with the words. My heart went out to the families of the three brave law enforcement officers who were senselessly murdered in Baton Rouge.
And I also remembered the five brave men who were murdered in Dallas on July 7.
My prayers go out to the families and friends of all who were murdered and injured in these horrific attacks on the very people who serve and protect each and every one of us.
But because we were still in shock due to the shootings in Dallas, many of us may not have been aware of another shooting of multiple civil servants and a law enforcement official that transpired at the Berrien County courthouse in Michigan just four days later on July 11.
On that Monday, Larry Darnell Gordon, 44, of Coloma Township, Mich., was being transported within the courthouse for a court proceeding. While being transferred between his holding cell and the courtroom, Gordon attempted to escape.
Even though he was handcuffed with his arms in front, Mr. Gordon was able to disarm Berrien County Deputy James Atterberry Jr. Gordon took Deputy Atterberry’s service revolver and began shooting, wounding the deputy.
Gordon then shot and killed two court bailiffs, Joseph Zangaro, 61, and Ronald Kienzle, 63. He also shot and wounded a civilian, Kenya Ellis, who was a security guard at Benton Harbor High School.
Gordon was still holding a hostage when he was finally shot and killed by other officers who responded to the scene.
How terribly tragic and senseless!
What were Gordon’s charges? If you guessed that meth was probably involved – right you are!
It all started back on April 20 when Coloma Township police went to a home that Gordon shared with his ex-wife, Jessica Gordon, 39, on Tannery Drive to arrest him on a domestic-violence misdemeanor warrant.
When they arrived at the home, the police thought that they heard a woman crying in a shed located on the property, and as they approached the shed they noticed that a light was on inside.
Gordon was in the shed, and when he saw the police approaching, he ran and climbed over a privacy fence. Police found him under a neighbor’s backyard deck and arrested him there.
They also found a frightened 17-year-old girl inside the shed.
Apparently the teenage girl and Gordon had been in some sort of sick, meth-fueled relationship since October of 2015. Court documents revealed that Gordon gave the girl meth in exchange for sex.
According to a statement by Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic, “He gave her methamphetamine in exchange for sex, forced some penetrations, and assaulted her with weapons, and assault by strangulation. He also video recorded the sexual activity.”
Police reports documented that, “(The victim) stated Gordon would lock her in the shed when he would go away, keeping her from leaving and (to) hide her from Gordon’s wife.”
On at least one occasion, Gordon stuck a staple gun to the girl’s head and then threatened her with a folding knife while he sexually penetrated her against her will.
The girl told authorities that Gordon was convinced that she had hidden his drugs in her vagina, and on four to five occasions sexually assaulted her while accusing her of taking his drugs.
When they searched the shed, police officers found eight grams of crystal meth, about 30 grams of marijuana resin, a digital scale, two marijuana pipes, a glass pipe with burnt residue, a metal straw with white residue, a plastic straw with residue, a cell phone, a digital camera, binoculars, a folding knife, a collapsible baton and cash.
Police also found four videos on his cell phone showing Gordon and the girl involved in sex acts while inside the shed.
Gordon was facing a host of charges, which almost certainly prompted his ill-fated escape attempt. These charges included five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of production of child sexually abusive material, two counts of assault by strangulation and single counts of kidnapping, possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Prosecutor Sepic told reporters that Gordon was facing up to life in prison.
Prosecutors were also investigating a similar incident involving a 16-year-old girl in 2006 in Berrien County, but they had not yet filed charges.
Nevertheless, no one needed to die in the Berrien County courthouse that day. How tragic!
This next case was hard for me to believe. In fact, I made sure to verify the facts in this case through multiple sources before I decided to report it.
This case comes to us from Star Prairie, Wis., a village of 561 souls located along the Apple River in St. Croix County.
Sarah Bradehoft, 27, had recently moved to Star Prairie from Florida, ostensibly to start a new life. She had been living in a residence there with three other adult women and four of her six children since Easter.
Local undercover officers were conducting a prostitution sting based on advertisements placed on the website, Backpage.com. Apparently prostitutes use this website to solicit men seeking their services.
Ms. Bradehoft was using the alias ‘Sabrina Clark’ and unknowingly exchanged several messages with an undercover officer. She directed him to meet her at her residence located in rural Star Prairie.
Imagine their astonishment when the undercover officers raided the residence on May 12 and discovered that Ms. Bradehoft had been conducting her “business” out of a chicken coop on the property.
Yes, you read that correctly – a chicken coop!! Have you ever smelled a chicken coop?
Perhaps the other “ladies” at the residence did not want her to conduct her “business” inside the house. But in a chicken coop? I am at a loss for words.
Ms. Bradehoft admitted to performing sexual acts on at least five “clients” inside the chicken coop in exchange money, which she called a ‘donation.’ How appropriate!
Ms. Bradehoft claimed that she needed the money to return to Florida. I guess she was not happy in Wisconsin. I would be unhappy too if I had to conduct my “business” in a smelly chicken coop.
The other ladies told the officers that they were concerned for the welfare of Ms. Bradehoft’s four children. A hair follicle test of her two-year-old revealed the presence of, you guessed it, methamphetamine and amphetamine. Cocaine was also found.
Ms. Bradehoft was charged with three counts of misdemeanor prostitution, one count of felony neglecting a child, and one felony count of second-degree reckless endangerment. She was released after posting a $500 cash bond.
Her children were removed from the residence. Thank God!
Remember, no one is immune from the effects of meth. No one! Don’t try it – not even once!
If you are an IV meth user, especially a woman, I want to hear from you. I want to learn more about what meth does to you and your body to better determine what needs to be done to help you. I also want to know your story – how you started using meth and whether or not you also appreciate the differences between smoking meth and slamming it. Please contact me in complete confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will remain completely anonymous. I will never print anything about you that will betray your trust in me, and I will never judge you.