I am an old Kentucky ridge runner. I was born in a pick-up truck on the side of the highway. My father, Robert Lee Harris, was a moonshiner. My family line goes back to the Cherokee and English who built this great country. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and was sent to foster homes and Chaddock Boys School. It is the trip to Chaddock that landed me in Quincy, Illinois. It is the Quincy courts that sent me to the big house.
The first time I went to prison, I was guilty as hell.
I dropped the hammer on one mean bastard who took my good nature for a sign of weakness. First he stole from me. Then threatened to cut my unborn daughter from my wife’s round belly. Now a man that won’t lay his life down for his own has no balls. So I took care of my business. For I lived the biker lifestyle. Embraced the one-percenter code. Family, getting paid, getting laid, and getting high was my creed.
So in November of 1984 I drove out to the Plainville Blacktop home. I cut the phone lines. Silenced the dogs. Then I took a sawed-off shotgun and shot him right in the face. Look it up in the newspaper records of the Quincy Herald-Whig.
Now the men that I lived with. Rode with, worked with and partied with had a code. If you got a beef with another man you take the battle to him. You do not go after his family. No drive-by shit was allowed there. You step up and deal with him, or you let it go. So I stepped up and dropped the hammer on his ass. For that I took a plea bargain of ten years in the long house. It was a fair sentenced handed down by the Judge. For I had taken the law into my own hands. Looking back at myself during those years I would have done the same thing.
For once you get into growing and selling marijuana, the hustlers and con artist come looking to get something for nothing. It is a dog-eat-dog life. Fast money, hot cars and fine women were the prizes of that illegal gain. Everybody wanted it. If you seemed weak, if you could be beat and played as a sucker, the hounds of hell would feast upon your corpse.
But I was nobody’s punk. So when push come to shove I stepped up. I protected mine. I took the plea and went down and served the five years the judge gave me. It was a fair deal. I wrote my little ones. I sent them Christmas and birthday presents. I called when their Mom allowed.
When my time was up, my little girl was in a bad way. See I have two boys by my first wife and a daughter, Amanda, by my second wife, Glenda. Since Glenda is dead now, it would not be fair to speak about her.
My little girl Amanda—I had a great love for her. So when I went home, I got custody of my little girl. I owed her a better life than her mom could give her.
Now those five years were some long calendars to pass. I must admit it took all the fight from my ass. I just wanted to become a straight john–pay my taxes and be with my kids. So I went back to Quincy and went to work in the factories. I got my bankroll together. I bought my first house and gave my daughter her first bedroom, her first real sense of security. Every time I looked into her eyes I could see her relax and believe in me. This made me become a better man. For I was her world. She needed me to walk the line.
I was working long hours at a factory in Quincy. I was fired for union activity at the Titan Wheel Manufacturing Company. I sued and took a settlement. This allowed me to start my own company: H&H Unlimited was my home remodeling and tree removal service. It was sweet to be my own boss, and we were making it. The name H&H Unlimited was Amanda’s idea: Harris and Harris against the world. She was my shadow. My compass to the straight & narrow.
Now I was an ex-con walking the straight and narrow. The man never thought I noticed him trailing me. Watching me. But I did. I set up shop for me and Amanda at 821 South 11th Street in Quincy. Judge Chet Vahle had taken a chance on me. He had given me custody of my little girl while still on mandatory supervised release.
Now my first wife is a mean and vindictive woman. If you look up scorned woman in the dictionary you will find her picture and address. When we divorced she took hate to the ground I walked, and the air I breathed. With her there was no middle ground of being friends together with our two boys.
When I went to prison she filled my boys’ heads with lies trying to drive a wedge between us. In her view, the two of us could not both be in their lives. She made them make a choice—her or me
My oldest son started coming around when I got out. He stayed weekends and sometimes longer. Rod loved to play myself against his mom. As a teenager he tried to get by with all his bad behavior by running from his mother’s home to mine.
Yes, I had to give him shelter when she no longer could deal with him, but she held the fact she had custody over my head. My son picked up on this. So every time he got in trouble at my house he called his mom. She would run right over and tell me I could not punish him. So he would pack up his stuff and go home.
But the fly in his ointment was Big Dan, a biker my first wife would marry. Big Dan saw right through his shenanigans. He put his foot down. So Rod came to live with Amanda and me at 821 South 11th Street.
Now no one wants to believe their own child would betray them, but that is what happened. My son got caught selling drugs from my home. I kicked him out. After two weeks at his Mom’s house he would steal a car and burglarized a tavern. Then he filled up at a gas station in southern Illinois. The police caught him and placed him in the Quincy Youth Home. His mother got me barred from seeing him and convinced him to sign a false statement saying I told him I committed two robberies—the Silver Dollar Tavern robbery and the Kelly’ Restaurant & Bar armed robbery. Once he signed the statement, his charges disappeared. He was given probation and released to his Mom.
In later blogs we will dissect what happened—suffice it to say that as I was going to pick up Amanda from school one afternoon, the police were there to arrest me.
So many points of criminal law were violated to put me in jail: the hand-written police statement drafted by Juvenile Officer Copley was not worth the ink it was written with; then there were the inept actions of my assigned attorney, who allowed this most bogus fabrication of evidence to reach the jury.
To give him credit, when my son took the stand, he tried to tell the truth. He denied it was his statement. The State’s Attorney Scott Walden knew that my son would not testify to the statement drafted by Copley. But he called him to the stand for the sole purpose of introducing this most illegal document to the jury. It would be the coup de grace in my shame of a trial. My first trial lawyer, Talmadge Brenner, would have gotten me a not guilty verdict, for I had alibis for these two robberies. But Brenner was dismissed from defending me, for no apparent reason. Brenner had talked to my son and learned that he had not even read the statement he signed. He only signed it to be released from juvenile jail.
So there is a great mystery here. “Why would State’s Attorney Walden need to create false evidence and suborn perjury to get a conviction?
In these blogs, I will lay out their dastardly deeds, one after another, for your consumption. Then, when you know all the facts, you may pass judgment.