Could this home invasion ordeal finally be nearing its finale?  Just a few weeks short of a full year after it happened, it looks like it is.

I received my subpoena for trial over 2 weeks ago.  We were ordered to appear at 8:30am, Monday, June 23, 2014.  The very prospect of court hung over me like a dark cloud the entire time that document was affixed to my refrigerator.  I had testified at this man’s preliminary hearing.  Having a victim take the stand during a prelim is actually highly irregular but the defense was desperate.  Despite the claim of the defense attorney to the contrary, I think they just wanted to rattle me.  On the inside, it worked.   Fortunately I was able to maintain my composure.  On the outside, I was bulletproof.  Anyway, I was particularly anxious on Sunday night.  I didn’t want to go AGAIN, but even more, I just wanted this to end.  I lost count of how many hearings and status updates we attended between this guy & his accomplice, but let’s just ballpark it at 10.  We called in as required to find out that our scheduled appearance had been delayed.  They no longer needed us first thing, just the prosecutor and detective.  We were instructed to call and check status again at 11:00am on Monday.

The delay was just more time for the angst to rise.  Jariel Herbert was guilty.  I knew it.  He knew it.  The prosecutor, the lead detective, and the defense attorney knew it.  Hell, with all of the back and forth, “I will plea”, “I won’t plea”, I’m pretty sure the judge knew it too.  Yet for months this snake put his every effort into slithering out of the ramifications of his actions.  He spun elaborate tales.  He convinced others to lie for him.  The prosecution was sick as hell of dealing with him.  When I spoke with prosecutor Boer last week, he seemed defeated.  He was nearly willing to make a ridiculously generous plea deal just to rid his desk of this compulsive liar’s file.  I wouldn’t have it.

So, it looked very much like we were headed for trial.  I assumed jury selection would begin after plea talks failed once again.  Much to my surprise (and from what I understand, the surprise of Jariel’s own lawyer) Jariel Herbert stood in front of the judge and finally admitted his guilt.  He suddenly and unexpectedly admitted to the charge of home invasion in the first degree.  The prosecution only had to drop the conspiracy charge (which was the deal on the table for months).  I don’t know why he changed his mind in the final hour, but his decision lifted a weight I had carried for nearly a year.

I have one more trip to the courthouse on my agenda.  I will be at sentencing to speak my mind in front of the judge.  After that I will be obtaining a copy of all court transcripts related to this case and assembling the complete true story of what happened in the early morning hours of July 8, 2013, and the subsequent events that were set into action because of it.

Oh, and to update you on the outcome after my post I’ve Had Enough (a rant), Jariel’s accomplice, Tommy Libbet, has been apprehended.  Thanks to a couple of tips (one that generated from my post) we were able to narrow his location to pretty much my own backyard.  Community officers took him in last Monday.  His sweet plea deal is out the window.  This is the latest in the 19 year old’s vast collection of mug shots.


Images from https://www.accesskent.com/InmateLookup/

I’ve Had Enough (a rant)

I’m angry. As I have stated in the past (The 7 Deadly Sins ~ Day 4, Wrath), I don’t handle anger well. It’s all-encompassing. I’m obsessing over it. I can’t write. All I can think about is how mad I am. Why am I so upset? Because I was right. In this case, that is the last thing that I wanted to be.

I asked the prosecutor not to go easy on him. Living across the street from him, I knew that this was not a dependable human being. I had heard him taunt passersby. I saw him behave violently toward his own family members. HE BROKE INTO MY HOME WHILE I SLEPT AND STOLE NEARLY EVERYTHING OF VALUE THAT I OWN. Then, he sold my possessions, out of a garage that I can see from my front window, right under my nose, to shady individuals who absolutely had to know that they were purchasing someone’s stolen property (what kind of human excrement does that?) After the robbery, my dear neighbor offered to help find the culprits. He told me he’d keep his eyes open and ears to the ground. He came to my home to check on the progress of the investigation. This man pretended to care about my plight, simply to gain information about the case, all while selling our belongings to strangers. Yes, his partner in crime was the ringleader. Yes, it was important to get him. No, it was not worth setting this guy free to do it. Now I’m being told that we don’t even NEED Tommy’s testimony to convict his accomplice. When the prosecution made the disappointing decision to cut him some slack, I expressed my extreme displeasure. I was dismissed. I was told, “If he screws up, he serves out the rest of his sentence in jail.” I knew it wasn’t that simple. I’ve seen him abscond before. Even prior to this fiasco the police were constantly looking for him. When they found him once, I watched this kid fiercely resist arrest from my own front yard. So did my youngest child. I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN.

I can’t continue to sit here and do nothing. I am seething. I spent hours combing social media sites looking for clues to Tommy Libbett’s (aka Tommy Norfside Savage) whereabouts. I found a recent picture of him smoking a joint, smart for a guy on parole. In the background, I can see a couch, photos on the wall, and a picture collage on a shelf. I’ve compared those surroundings to pictures posted by every one of his contacts. I think I know where he is. That just makes me more furious. If I’m right, the same people who got away with harboring him before are getting away with it now. Anyway, this guy has a GRPD task force on his ass. I still think I’ll find him first. It’s a question of desire. Mine absolutely outweighs theirs right now.

If you’ve seen this guy, call the Grand Rapids Police Dept at (616) 456-3403 immediately, please. He WILL be present to testify against his co-conspirator, Jariel. If you think this kid sounds bad, I’ve got much more to tell you about that accomplice. Thankfully, after much hassle and a decent sized scare, they managed to finally put that guy behind bars, where he sits, awaiting trial. Trial is scheduled to begin this month. Part of the plea deal that allowed Tommy to do just 10 months for his part in the home invasion in the 1st degree (a felony that carries up to a 20 year sentence), was that he would testify. I intend to hold his ass to it.


The 7 Deadly Sins ~ Day 2, Greed

I was not planning a short story for today, but that’s what is happening anyway. When you are jolted out of sleep at 3:28am to the sound of 5 quick gunshots, the brain juices start flowing, even if you’d rather fall back to sleep. We got up and checked our surveillance cameras. While the shots were certainly nearby, they weren’t close enough for us to capture any footage of what happened. For a long period of time after that I just laid there, thinking up scenarios that could result in middle of the night gunfire in a residential neighborhood…


“I’m telling you, there is a fortune in there.”  Jesse whispered from his crouched position in the bushes outside of Mr. Butler’s home. “I saw where he kept it when he paid me to mow the lawn yesterday. Follow me.”

Thomas was skeptical. His older brother was always getting him into trouble. At just 17 years old, Jesse had already been in and out of juvenile detention centers more times than Thomas could count. He did not wish to follow in his brother’s footsteps, but he feared his brother. Jesse was 4 years older and had a temper to compliment his penchant for stealing.

Besides, Mr. Butler certainly did not life a lavish life. His home was old and dilapidated. He didn’t own a car. Jesse & Thomas’ mother often drove Mr. Butler to the store and to his appointments. Even if there was an actual treasure in there, he couldn’t imagine it was enough to justify what they were about to do. “Jesse, c’mon, lets just go home. I have a bad feeling about this.”

“He’s an old man, Thomas. Nothing is going to happen you little chicken.” Jesse teased. With that he crept around the corner of the home, still concealed by the thick shrubbery surrounding the house on 3 sides. Jesse sighed and reluctantly followed.

The rustling of leaves, the snapping of twigs beneath his feet, and his own heartbeat were the only things Thomas could hear as he followed his brother closely. It felt like a bad dream. Thomas was convinced that he would wake up, warm and snug in his own bed, at any moment.

“There! An open window.” Jesse reported. “Come here. I’ll give you a lift.”

“I’m not going in first!” Thomas objected.

“God you baby, you have to go in first. You can’t reach that window without help.”

Reluctantly Thomas conceded to his brother’s reasoning. He put his right shoe into his brother’s cupped hands and allowed himself to be hoisted up to the window. He quietly opened it wider and shimmied his way through. Once inside he turned and whispered nervously to Jesse, “Ok, your turn.”

“Relax, I’m coming. Is the coast clear?”

“I don’t know. I’m in the bathroom. The door is shut.” Thomas replied.

“Well open the door and check, idiot.” Jesse insisted.

Thomas felt like he could cry. He didn’t want to be there. His eyes began to well with tears.

“Thomas! IS THE COAST CLEAR?” By this time Jesse was almost through the window. Thomas knew better than to ignore his brother’s orders. He also knew not to let his brother see him cry. He inhaled deeply, closed his eyes and pushed the bathroom door open…

Eugene Butler was born during The Great Depression. A blue-collar man, he never learned to trust financial institutions with his hard-earned income. He did things the way his father did things. He kept his cash where he could see it; at home, locked in a vault. After witnessing a number of times what the desperate were willing to do for cash, he obtained a Glock .9mm to defend his keep.

Eugene lamented his decision to allow that hoodlum, Jesse, to see his hidden stash. It frustrated him that he suffered such a lapse in judgment. That kid was a neighborhood plague. His mother was a kind woman, but worked long hours outside the home. She could not keep tabs on the boy. Eugene thought by paying the kid to do odd jobs he could deter Jesse from finding further trouble. Unfortunately, the effect had been the opposite. The more money Jesse made, the greater his desire for material possessions became.

Eugene’s dissatisfaction with himself kept him awake most of the night. It was almost 3:30am when he got up to warm himself a glass of milk. He was in the kitchen when he heard the sounds of whispers in the adjacent bathroom. He moved swiftly and quietly. Without flipping on a light or making a sound, Eugene retrieved his Glock and returned to the kitchen. He stood in the darkness and waited.

Eugene lingered in the shadows holding his breath as the bathroom door slowly opened. He already regretted what he had to do. Jesse was dangerous. Not only that but he had at least 1 accomplice with him. Eugene was old. He could no longer defend himself with his bare hands. The gun shook in his trembling hands. Damn it, kid. Why did you have to prove me right this time? Eugene thought.

The door opened completely. Eugene aimed in the direction of the activity and squeezed the trigger.


As soon as Eugene heard the thud of a body hitting the floor, he turned on a light. He was mortified by what he saw. He immediately fled to call 9-1-1. Jesse began to wail.

“Thomas! Thomas!! No, no, no, no, Thomas, no,” Jesse pled as he cradled his brother’s head in his lap.

The 13-year-old began to cry. “Jesse, please can we go home now?” Thomas asked through gasped breaths. His little body then seized and began to shake. A few long seconds later, he was gone.

Jesse sat there, covered in blood, clutching his little brother’s body until police arrived. He readily offered his wrists to the officers without making eye contact. He continued to stare at his only sibling, lying there motionless. His desire to undo what he had put into motion consumed him. He longed to bring his brother back. As they placed handcuffs on him, Jesse finally fully understood what his mother had always told him, “He who is greedy is always in want.”


Remember, if you have a Greed post to share, comment on this post with a link so we can check it out.

Writing Prompt: 7 Deadly Sins

Day 1 ~ Sloth

Outstanding photo “Seven_Deadly_Sins__Greed” by the very talented stay_young on DeviantArt.com.


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In an Alternate Universe…

Just to give you a little back story, last summer my home was robbed in the middle of the night by two men while my family and I slept. They literally stole everything of value from the main floor of my house. The culprits, dangerous men as it turns out, have since been apprehended. However, the judicial phase has been long and frustrating. Trial for the 2nd defendant, a master of stall tactics, won’t even begin until around the 1 year anniversary of the home invasion. I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, living by my own set of rules in an alternate universe somewhere. We wouldn’t have been forced to spend so much time wading through piles of verbal excrement if I was…

Con man, thief, perjurer,
You revel in your duties as a
Depraved sycophant of the diabolical.
You can’t hide beneath this cloak of lies.
My Lasso of Truth will
Expose you!


Oh, and yes, that is me in the above picture.