Panic Button

Season 2 - Panic Button: Operation Wildfire *trigger ⚠️ warning* Mark your calendars for the podcast release of the summer. Come with us on a journey through rural Oklahoma, on the backroads and through the courthouses as we track a serial domestic abuser who is still out there. One person with a trail of victims as long as Boston Pool Road winding all the way back to 1997. What will it take for a punitive system to hold a known violent offender accountable? So many folks said that April Wilkens should have held back, should not have shot so many times, should have left. But what happens when an abuser is left unchecked in Oklahoma? Women are getting life sentences for fighting back — but men go on to abuse with impunity. Join us for this multi-part serial podcast to be released June 27th, 2023. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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Episodes

The Other Murder | 8

Tuesday Aug 16, 2022

Tuesday Aug 16, 2022

Before we get to the defense case, we wanted listeners to hear the story of some suppressed evidence in the case. In October of 1997, Terry's nephew lived in Kansas City and was in an on-again-off-again relationship with a girl named Anastasia. Anastasia was found shot on the morning of October 23rd, 1997 in a cemetery.
When Terry heard about Anastasia's death, he told April--"She got what she deserved, and you're next." Even though April's attorney's tried to get this in at her trial, the court suppressed the evidence after the State motioned to keep it out. In this episode, we discuss Anastasia's murder, and the other crazy case tied into this story.
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The website about Anastasia maintained by her father, Robert Witbolsfeugen: https://www.stasia.org/
The website for advocates of Byron Case's innocence. http://www.freebyroncase.com/
A book by one of the jurors in Byron's murder trial: https://www.amazon.com/Skeptical-Juror-Trial-Byron-Case/dp/0984271600
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubz at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

Manipulating the Truth | 9

Tuesday Aug 23, 2022

Tuesday Aug 23, 2022

This week's episode we talk through the first part of the defense's case in April Wilkens' murder trial.  April testified in her own defense for three days about how she was pushed to a breaking point after over two years of horrific abuse. Coupled with a total apathy on the part of the police, April felt the only choice she had was to defend her life.The rest of the defense's case centers on what led April to have to fight for her life the night of April 28th, 1998. Even with all the evidence of April's prior abuse coming in, the jury has a hard time making sense of the scrambled timeline. 
_________________________
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at freeaprilwilkens.com.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubs at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

Tuesday Aug 30, 2022

This week's episode we talk through the second part of the defense's case in April Wilkens' murder trial.  We look at what the prosecution had to prove to overcome April's claim of self defense, and the difference between traditional self defense and the defense of Battered Womens' Syndrome. 
April's attorney called an expert witness to explain to the jury what Battered Women's Syndrome was, and how it could explain April's behavior leading up to Terry's death. Unfortunately, instead of explaining anything he calls April's behavior "stupid" and "unreasonable" from the stand.
_________________________
See the Battered Women's Syndrome instruction send back with the jury in April's murder case: okappleseed.org/episode-10-show-notes
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at freeaprilwilkens.com.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubs at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

The True Experts | 11

Tuesday Sep 06, 2022

Tuesday Sep 06, 2022

On the last episode, we heard about how April's expert witness at trial, Dr. John Call, was not truly an expert in Battered Womens' Syndrome. So, on this episode we wanted to hear from some real experts about domestic violence, how the research has changed since April's trial, and the biggest issues with John Call's testimony.
We welcome two experts: 1) Molly Bryant, Licensed Master Social Worker, who formerly worked with victims at Domestic Violence Intervention Services, and 2) Angela Beatty, Chief Program Officer at YWCA Oklahoma City who is working on her Masters' in Social Work. Both of these experts are certified Battered Womens Syndrome experts in Oklahoma Courts. This discussion with them was so enlightening and further helped us realize what was missing from April's defense. 
___________________
DVIS 
YWCA Oklahoma City 
Research on trauma informed care for domestic violence survivors
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at freeaprilwilkens.com.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubs at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

The Aftermath | 12

Tuesday Sep 13, 2022

Tuesday Sep 13, 2022

On the final episode of Season 1, Panic Button hosts discuss the verdict. Listeners will hear from a juror what the focus of jury deliberations was, and how they came to decide April was guilty.
Listeners will also hear what happened on appeal and where April's case stands now. 
If you want to follow our efforts to change the laws in Oklahoma to allow criminalized survivors like April to be resentenced by the court after a showing of abuse, sign up at freeaprilwilkens.com or okappleseed.org.
___________________
Lynn Worley's 2009 letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board 
Don Carlton's marriage certificate showing Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals judge Charles Johnson performed his wedding.
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at freeaprilwilkens.com.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubs at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

Tuesday Oct 11, 2022

On September 24th, 2022, Panic Button hosts Colleen McCarty and Leslie Briggs were featured on a live panel with domestic violence expert Molly Bryant, and #freeaprilwilkens advocate Amanda Ross. Amanda is April Wilkens's niece. The panel was moderated by local indigenous activist Apollonia Piña. The panel was hosted by the Center for Public Secrets in Tulsa. 
Listen to the event audio, and hear the audience Q&A as the panel discusses April's case, as well as the larger cultural question of how create a survivor-led revolution in domestic violence policy.
__________________________________
Center for Public Secrets - https://www.centerforpublicsecrets.org/
Detailed Timeline of Events in April's Case compiled by April herself with help from her niece, Amanda: https://aprilwilkensblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/timeline-of-events/
Sign the Change.org petition to support April's release: https://www.change.org/p/oklahoma-pardon-parole-board-commute-the-life-sentence-of-abuse-survivor-april-wilkens?signed=true
Donate to keep our work going!: neappleseed.org/okappleseed
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Learn more about criminalized survival at www.survivedandpunishedny.org/.
Learn more about the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act at www.nysda.org/page/DVSJA.
Follow the #freeaprilwilkens campaign on Instagram at @freeaprilwilkens, on Twitter and on their webpage at freeaprilwilkens.com.
Colleen McCarty is one of the hosts, executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed, and producer.  Leslie Briggs is the other host who is a civil rights and immigration attorney, and producer. Rusty Rowe provides substantial audio production support. We're recorded at Bison and Bean Studios in Tulsa. Additional support from Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner. Our theme music is Velvet Rope by Gyom. 
Panic Button is created in partnership with Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie Briggs. Follow OK Appleseed on Twitter and Instagram at @ok_appleseed.
If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our Panic Button podcast community on Bookclubs at bit.ly/3NRHO8C.

Update

Friday Feb 24, 2023

Friday Feb 24, 2023

Leslie and Colleen give a short update on April's case, the efforts in Oklahoma to bring justice to survivors, and the activities happening in Oklahoma next week to support HB 1639, a bill that will help people who were victims of domestic violence at the time of their crime get sentencing relief.
 
 
______
TRANSCRIPTION
SPEAKERS
Colleen McCarty, Leslie Briggs
 
Leslie Briggs  00:17
Hey, Colleen.
 
Colleen McCarty  00:18
Hey Leslie,
 
Leslie Briggs  00:19
welcome back to the studio.
 
Colleen McCarty  00:21
I'm so glad to be back here. Bison & Bean with you.
 
Leslie Briggs  00:25
It's been too long.
 
Colleen McCarty  00:26
It's been a wild ride,
 
Leslie Briggs  00:28
guys, we have updates.
 
Colleen McCarty  00:30
We have so many updates. We never sleep. So
 
Leslie Briggs  00:34
we do not sleep. It's gnarly. I'm so tired.
 
Colleen McCarty  00:38
We don't wish this on you. But we're happy to give you all the updates and all the work we've been doing for the last six months since we wrapped our last episode of panic button. The April Wilkins case. Yeah. What's been happening?
 
Leslie Briggs  00:51
Well, I came to work for you. Oh, that's
 
Colleen McCarty  00:53
right. Pretty sweet. That
 
Leslie Briggs  00:56
happened a little while ago. So yeah, I'm the new legal director at OK Appleseed, the nonprofit that puts on the panic button podcast. What do you do at Oklahoma Appleseed, Lesley. Well, I try to execute your vision. protect the rights of every Oklahoman. We're doing a lot of cool stuff. Really.
 
Colleen McCarty  01:14
Oh my gosh, I know every day I wake up and I'm like, I can't believe I get to do this for a job. And
 
Leslie Briggs  01:19
me too. I love it so much. Yeah, chaotic, and awesome. Just like us just like just a good time, dude,
 
Colleen McCarty  01:28
seriously, we strive for a good time. And seeking justice at the same time. Right. And so in service of seeking justice, we we did this big story about April's case that all of you have heard and I hope it has lit a fire under you because it lit a fire under us. And in service of seeking justice for her. We wrote what's called a post conviction relief application. And I'm going to let Leslie talk to you about what that means and and how we're trying to help her get out of prison.
 
Leslie Briggs  01:57
Yeah, we actually wound up doing that throughout the fall before I came on full time with OK Appleseed. And it's based on new evidence that we uncovered. And we believe that evidence warrants a new trial, or a vacation or sentence, or modification to time served. And that's what we've asked the court to do. We were we lost at the district court, you can go and read all of the pleadings online if you're a legal nerd, or you just want to know more about what the evidence was that we found, but it's currently on appeal. We appealed that district court decision to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. And if we lose there, we're going to take it all the way to the top.
 
Colleen McCarty  02:39
How long does it usually take to hear back from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals?
 
Leslie Briggs  02:43
Oh, I mean, I don't know what the what an average time is, but probably several months, I imagine will be on appeal through the summer at least. And then maybe have a decision at the end of the summer.
 
Colleen McCarty  02:55
Have you talked to April about how she's feeling about all of this?
 
Leslie Briggs  02:59
I think April, I mean, April has been through every possible legal hurdle, multiple times. I mean, she has this is her third post conviction relief application. And she's been through the appellate process before so April kind of knows how to temper expectations and just see what happens more than anything, though. I think April is extremely motivated and excited about the other work we've been doing, which I'm hoping you'll ever give everyone an update about which is our legislative push to change the system.
 
Colleen McCarty  03:32
Yeah, so the nice thing about Oklahoma Appleseed is that we work across multiple sectors of the legal system. So we have been working on multiple fronts to bring justice to April and people like her. That's one of the nice things about the Appleseed model is we work on multiple fronts of the legal system. So we can work in the courts for direct advocacy. But then we also work at the legislative level, and the legal research level and the community organizing level and this project with April and criminalized survivorship in Oklahoma has kind of touched all four of those areas in different ways. We were really trying to think outside the box about how we could help April but not just her but everyone in her situation. And we started looking around the country to see what other folks have been doing. And we found this big group in New York that passed a bill called the domestic violence survivor Justice Act, and that has helped several people since it was passed in 2019. Essentially, people who are in prison who can show proof that they were abused at the time of their crime and that the abuse was substantially related to the crime can apply to their sentencing court and receive sentencing relief or a lower sentence. So we thought about how we could make that something that was really made for Oklahomans by Oklahomans. And we worked with a bunch of groups here in Oklahoma to sort of figure out what survivors need. And we also got several survey responses from over 100 survivors and an Oklahoma prison here where April is called Mabel Bassett. And we've started to put together really what these experiences look like, and how these people are being prosecuted for crimes that stem from their survivorship. And we worked together to come up with some language that we thought would formulate a nice law change here in Oklahoma that would give a lot of these people sentencing relief, but then would also provide a mitigation procedure for people who are currently being prosecuted that can show they can show in a sentencing hearing any evidence that they have of their abuse and get a shorter sentence on the front end of the system, too. So it's not just a retroactive reform, it will do both things which we were pretty excited about putting this together back in the fall, and we were not sure where it was going to go. And then we heard back from a Republican legislator in Oklahoma named Toni Hasenbeck, who's from Elgin, Oklahoma, and she is a fierce champion for women's rights. And she was very disturbed by some of the stories that we were hearing from survivors in prison. And she agreed to author this bill for us.
 
Leslie Briggs  06:22
So Bill have a number. The bill does have finally
 
Colleen McCarty  06:24
has a number. It's HB 1639. It's starting in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. And it will be traveling through it's been introduced, and it has language and we expect it to be heard in committee. Next Wednesday, which is the 28th of February, the year of our Lord 2023. At 10:30am. In the rotunda
 
Leslie Briggs  06:49
Be there or be square. Yeah, right. Yes. We want you to come join us. We have we're doing a ton of stuff at the Capitol next week in celebration and advocacy of this monumental and historic effort that Rep. Hasenbeck is undertaking and Colleen's gonna give you some of those deets.
 
Colleen McCarty  07:08
Yeah, so we'd love to see anyone who's in the Oklahoma City area next week. We have two capital days that volunteers are free to come and meet us in the Supreme Court hallway. We will have water and snacks and talking points and anything you will need to be prepared to speak to your legislators. That date is February 27. We will start advocating at nine and probably be there all day until five. There's a bus leaving from Tulsa, Oklahoma from OSU Tulsa downtown. That will leave at 830 and arrive to the Capitol at about 10 and leave the Capitol at about three and be back by 430 to make sure everyone can pick up their kids and things like that. So if you need a ride, do not hesitate to hop on the just bus just bus I named it myself if I'm really proud of it.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:05
Oh man,
 
Colleen McCarty  08:06
just bus or bust.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:10
Say that three times. Dude, that just bus bust just bear in Tulsa. You do not want to miss that just but
 
Colleen McCarty  08:21
I feel like we're gonna I'm gonna set everybody up with a playlist and it's gonna be fire so far. So get on the bus or don't drive your ass down there.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:30
I don't care. We want to see you there, though.
 
Colleen McCarty  08:32
We want to see all of your faces, even if it's like, I'm just here because I listen to the podcast. I don't care. I want you there.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:38
Yeah, we want you there. We think that I mean, just to support this bill to support what rep Hasselbeck is trying to achieve. For survivors of domestic violence in the state of Oklahoma. It's I mean, it's historic. It's something that we need
 
Colleen McCarty  08:52
it is we just found out that the 2020 numbers showed that more women in Oklahoma are killed by their partners than any other state except one. So we're second in the nation for the number of women being killed by their intimate partners. But then we also know on the flip side, when those survivors rarely are the ones that live in an altercation like that. They're getting life and 30 years and 40 years in prison. And it's not a rare situation.
 
Leslie Briggs  09:19
Yeah. Which is actually kind of a good segue. But it's a good segue into
 
Colleen McCarty  09:25
our teaser, we're previewing also today this season two for
 
Leslie Briggs  09:31
season two, panic button, season two. Should we say the title?
 
Colleen McCarty  09:35
Yeah, we should say the title. That's a good title.
 
Leslie Briggs  09:38
Operation Wildfire.
 
Colleen McCarty  09:40
Yep. Panic Button. Season two Operation Wildfire. We can't spoiler you tonight about why it's called that.
 
Leslie Briggs  09:47
No sport. Yeah, no, absolutely no spoilers, but we'll just say this that like the question. I think that season two is going to be exploring is a lot of people. Plenty of people We'll have rightly asked, Why didn't April just leave? Like, I think that that's not an a strange question to wonder? Like, why didn't April just get out and get away? And so season two, I think is gonna we're gonna really get to explore what happens when they when someone does. What happens when someone gets away? Yeah. What happens to the abuser? What happens to that person? And
 
Colleen McCarty  10:25
yeah, I also think it speaks to what happens when people band together to try to stop a violent person. Yeah. And the power in that but also the questions that that kind of like causes
 
Leslie Briggs  10:43
the obstacles, the challenges and then yeah, like the I think yeah, questions about tactics, questions about results, questions about, I think systemic. I guess failings is the word. But it doesn't seem to really do it justice. It's more like systemic. Like I'm thinking of, well, my sink is broken right now. So it's like, clogs, right? And like the way that the system is just clogged and can't function and you can't get get get the water through to the pipes on the down on this metaphor. It's working. With all these hand motions of sink troubles right now, what's top of mind. But
 
Colleen McCarty  11:26
I think also, it's just like, this is gonna sound like a rant. But for the majority of human history, people were just killing each other, and there were no consequences. Then we had a little bit of human history where the only consequences for any wrongdoing were death, and everyone's getting killed. And then it was like, Okay, well, we can't kill everybody. So let's wind that back a little bit, and just put people in prison for a really long time. But now, we're to this point where it's like, the only real violence at mass scale that happens in our society is violence against women. And there's really Yeah.
 
Leslie Briggs  12:08
What about like mass shootings?
 
Colleen McCarty  12:10
I mean, sure, that is a totally different crime type than what we're talking. Yeah. Yeah. Like a domestic violence call is made every second in America,
 
Leslie Briggs  12:22
right? I mean, we've seen the data here in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City, our largest metropolitan area. Yeah. So
 
Colleen McCarty  12:28
43,000 domestic violence calls made in 2021. And less than 1000 of those lead to arrest. And so it just starts to ask this question about like, this is the most prevalent type of violence that the system is the most bad at responding to
 
Leslie Briggs  12:46
that I agree with wholeheartedly. Like this violence is so prevalent, and our system doesn't effectively curtail it, or really even punish it, which it's a punitive system. I mean, if it does nothing, well, it punishes people. Well. Yeah, that's this,
 
Colleen McCarty  13:06
but not this. And then it's like, there are just so many ways to get away with it. Right. And the people who know how to get away with it, get away with really get away with it so much, really get away with it. And it's startling, it really is because like I come from criminal justice reform, where everyone's getting punished for every goddamn thing. Yeah. Yeah. And we're trying to stop people for getting punished as much as they are. Yeah. And then walking into this world of domestic violence advocacy and victims advocacy and saying,
 
Leslie Briggs  13:44
This is so warped way. So warped, yeah. Like, it's not capturing the right bad actors at the right moment.
 
Colleen McCarty  13:53
No, and it's not preventing any violence. No, it's actually like, allowing, we talked about this with April's case. But it's allowing these cycles of violence to like, expand and expand and expound because, you know, if you talk to people who work in trauma, or people who try to heal trauma, they will tell you that subconsciously or subconscious wounds are acting themselves out until something happens to cause you to heal it. And if you just keep not getting held accountable. Yeah, it just keeps getting like louder and bigger and more people getting hurt.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:30
Yeah, more chaotic more untethered. I think and those themes are going to be coming through in season two. Certainly.
 
Colleen McCarty  14:37
Yes, but you are going to meet some really fun character. So too.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:40
Yeah. And it's another Oklahoma based story. So we're, we're excited. We're in the research phase. We have two excellent, top notch interns that are plugging away getting us all the details and so they are basically legal research superheroes. I think I called them or Swiss Army Knife interns the other day. I love that they do everything for us there like, I mean, I will message either one of them at like 5pm It'd be like, I need this thing and I'm sorry. It will be like 615 They're like it's done.
 
Colleen McCarty  15:11
It's done. It's in the file.
 
Leslie Briggs  15:12
It's good. Love it. So excellent. So shout out. Alison cat. You guys are true heroes.
 
Colleen McCarty  15:18
Yes. So we don't want to take too much more of your time because we want you to start preparing to come to the Capitol with us next week. There's two days you can do that you can do that Monday the 27th or Thursday, the second we will be conducting community art projects and bringing people together and speaking to the survivor experience in Oklahoma. So we hope you will join us and stay tuned for season two of panic button.
 
Leslie Briggs  15:47
Operation Wildfire.
 
Colleen McCarty  15:54
Panic Button is a co production of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Leslie bricks. We're your hosts Colleen McCarty and Leslie Briggs. Our theme music is velvet rope by Guillaume the production team is Lesley Briggs and rusty row were recorded at Bison and be in studio in Tulsa. Special thanks to Lynn Worley, Amanda Ross and Ashlyn Faulkner for their work on this case. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at the hotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233 help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at Oka underscore Appleseed across all social platforms. You can subscribe right now in the Apple podcasts app by clicking on our podcasts logo and then hit the subscribe button. If you want to continue the conversation with other listeners, please join our panic button podcast community on book clubs. Join for free at BIT dot L y slash three in our H O eight. See. Thanks so much for listening

Tuesday May 30, 2023

The team at Panic Button has been hard at work producing Season 2 of the podcast. Here's a one minute promo to get you excited for the Season 2 release on June 27th, 2023!

S2:E1 Burning Ember

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

We’re back with Season Two of Panic Button. This Season is called Operation Wildfire. If the monster who hurt you was still out there? How far would you go to warn others? And what would you do if the justice system was no longer on your side? 
You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources at okappleseed.org/burning-ember. 
These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. 
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. 
For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Follow the OKAppleseed on Instagram at @OKAppleseed and on facebook at facebook.org/okappleseedcenter.
Episode Transcript 
Colleen McCarty  00:00
An important note before you listen to this podcast. This series Chronicles real events as they occurred over the last 30 plus years, during the course of multiple court cases and criminal investigations. During the course of these events, there were many systemic failings and harm that could have been prevented. We ask that you reserve judgment until you've listened to the entire season, and that you consider the lives that were affected by these events. This podcast includes graphic accounts of domestic and sexual violence. So listener discretion is strongly advised.
 
Heather  00:38
It wasn't about jealousy was about loving him, it wasn't about what's gonna be in his life. This was about how do I make him accountable so that he can get to the next one. So at the beginning, there was a lot of more risky sexual stuff going on. And I didn't have a problem with that. But then after we got married, like the day we got married, we were driving the day after we were driving home. And he looked at me, we were still in Arkansas. And he looked at me and he said, you understanding my property now. And at that moment, everything just spiraled out of control. The sexual stuff escalated into pure torture, pure torture was systematically pulled away from my family. Looking back, it was classic, methodical abuse, you'd love to walk up and just backhand me in the mouth, to get my mouth, my lip to bleed. And then he pulled me in and suck the blood off my lip, it became very apparent, but no, he needed to be held accountable for everything that he had done. Oh, man lost trust, trying to love a good woman and that this was a methodical and iving pattern of behavior from him. It's not been taken seriously, like so many different agencies. The day that I got beat up in October, that was actually take him to a district attorney, and that she said that they weren't interested in pursuing it. Why life from this time I left him and tell probably April, was a complete whirlwind. My kitchen table was full of papers, trying to figure out how to stop him from getting to the next one. None of this, none of this ever has been about revenge, or about getting even or being jealous. None of this has ever been about that. It has always been about how can I make sure he doesn't get to do this to somebody else? I don't want somebody else to have to live like this, the wife after me. And so living with the same stuff, probably worse. Amen. I failed. That's where you look at this. And once you start to figure out the atrocities that he did, and it just thickens and the plot just gets bigger and bigger and you're like, oh my gosh
 
Colleen McCarty  03:02
that was Heather. She was the fourth wife of Jim Lumet. They met on plenty of fish in 2017. When Jim was embroiled in a defamation suit, he brought against a woman who claimed he was a serial abuser. Back then Heather was on his side, attending court with him and staring across the aisle at the women who were hell bent on taking her husband down. But at home, she would face physical punishment, whatever Jimmy didn't get his way. And sometimes even when he did, Heather and Jim lived in Iowa together where she works as a nurse. But Jim is originally from Cleveland, Oklahoma. Jim's abuses started as early as we can tell in northeast Oklahoma in the early 1990s. He moved from Cleveland to Tulsa after his first marriage, when that started when he was just 16 and didn't divorce. There was a darkness in Jim even back then. But he wasn't all bad. At least not yet. But the culture of non accountability. Jim was steeped in in Oklahoma, opened door after door for him to continue accelerating his violence against women. Violence that would go on to consume the physical safety, finances and mental health of over a dozen women. I'm Colleen McCarty, an attorney in Oklahoma who works to uncover systemic and justices. I'm the Executive Director of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. Last year, we launched this podcast to shed light on a decade's old murder case from Tulsa County, April Wilkens shot and killed her abuser after years of physical and sexual abuse. April is still in prison to this day, despite our numerous legal attempts to free her.
 
Leslie Briggs  04:53
And I'm Leslie Briggs, also an attorney and the legal director at Oklahoma Appleseed when we uncovered Brady violations in April's case last year through our podcast investigation. We filed for post conviction relief based on prior perjury. We discovered the arresting officer in her case had committed. But April's case got us wondering if a woman gets life in prison for fighting back. What kind of consequences are men facing for doing the actual abuse? That question led us to the cases of Jim lumen. Jim has had at least eight women accused him of serious domestic abuse and a police report or legal filing, and many others have simply shared their experiences with us or with trusted friends and family. But to begin unraveling this tangled web of survivors, we need to go back to 1998 right here in Tulsa, just a few weeks before April Wilkens would fatally shoot Terry Carlton and self defense. Welcome to Season Two of panic button. Operation Wildfire. This is episode one, Burning Ember.
 
Colleen McCarty  06:03
So the story is actually really a lot longer than I originally thought. And it spans across multiple decades, multiple people and multiple states, you would be surprised to learn that it actually starts a few miles away. And within a few weeks of when April Wilkins, shot Terry Carlton and Self Defense in April of 1998, in Tulsa, and we ended that story with her serving a life sentence in prison and having served the last 25 years behind bars and Mabel Bassett. So I think it's really interesting that we're about to examine a story of someone who has committed perpetual and chronic violence in the same place with the same court system and how differently that person has experienced the court systems then
 
Leslie Briggs  06:56
how April did, this individual has not been held accountable, not in Oklahoma, accountability has been fleeting,
 
Colleen McCarty  07:03
fleeting, to see belief, like invisible imaginary.
 
Leslie Briggs  07:10
So let's go back to April, April of 1998. We're at the University of Tulsa College of Law,
 
Colleen McCarty  07:16
which is interestingly, where we both went to law school streaming. So we have a fun place in our heart for this law school. And I think our listeners will appreciate what ends up happening
 
Leslie Briggs  07:24
there. Yeah. And we're gonna tell you the story of we're giving our codename. Yeah.
 
Colleen McCarty  07:29
So this individual that we're telling the story about does not want to go on the record publicly because of personal reasons. And so we're calling this person codename ember. To be
 
Leslie Briggs  07:38
clear, she has given us permission to tell her story on her behalf. But she did not want to give a recorded interview and wanted us to not use her real name.
 
Colleen McCarty  07:46
That's correct. However, everything that happens in the story is documented by either personal notes, emails, or court records. Codename Ember is actually a law student at the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1998. In April, Ember is dating and meeting, guys. And at that time, the Internet was relatively new. And online dating was like a brand new thing you would get on your AOL? Dial up internet, your AOL chat room? Yeah. So you can I can hear it now. Me too. She had met a man online. His name was Jim Luman.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:28
And he sort of builds trust with her immediately by telling her that his sister's a lawyer, right?
 
Colleen McCarty  08:34
Yes. Also, when you're a young law student, and you are really pretty new to the profession. It's kind of exciting and interesting to meet other lawyers who have been in practice for a while. That's true, too. So I think that was probably something that attracted her at
 
Leslie Briggs  08:49
first. So Ember actually goes and like confirms that fact, right? That this guy, Jim Luman, he's got a sister who's a lawyer, and she decides, Okay, well, I met this guy online, but he's telling me the truth.
 
Colleen McCarty  08:59
Yes. And they begin dating. And it's a typical dating relationship, it seems. And even though he was relatively young, he was already divorced from his first wife and had a young son. So she would sometimes meet his son on the weekends, and they would hang out and she would see him as a dad. And it seems like relatively early in the relationship, Amber started to realize that this wasn't going to be very serious of a relationship for her, but because of how well Jim charms people, and it's very romantic in the early phases of a relationship. She was like, kind of swept off her feet.
 
Leslie Briggs  09:38
Yeah, I mean, I think he's been described as just this really charming, interesting, romantic kind of guy. Yes.
 
Colleen McCarty  09:45
And also, like what we see in a lot of these relationships after we've talked to so many survivors is that it's called love bombing. Right? So you would just sort of really quickly in the relationship and really intensely be expressing Seeing your feelings and that you're in love and that this is the person you want to be with for the rest of your life, and let's get married and never felt like this before. And this person makes you feel so special. And you're the one and all of these kinds of things that you say that in a normal relationship probably don't come on for maybe a couple of months. This is sort of like way faster than that. And way more intense than that.
 
Leslie Briggs  10:25
Yeah, I mean, because we see, we have letters, I thought it was interesting it also when we got these documents, we actually got a copy of the envelope that he sent the letter in. And he sent it in a letter addressed to Ember, but rather than using her last name, he wrote in lumen, his last name,
 
Colleen McCarty  10:43
so they've been together for a couple of months, and he addresses a letter to her in the mail to her first name,
 
Leslie Briggs  10:51
Mrs. Ember Luman. Okay, wow, Mrs. That's pretty a lot. And it's not even months, it's I mean, weeks, it's within a few weeks. So it says, "Dearest Ember, I thought I might give you a little surprise, since I'm going to be gone this weekend, I thought a little letter from me might pick you up. If you were in fact missing me. I already miss you. And I haven't even left town yet. I cannot believe that I am already lost when you are not with me. But I guess it means that everything is going good. Since I already feel this way. I'm sure you're getting tired of hearing this. But I truly have never felt like this before about anyone in my whole life. Nothing has ever felt so right and comfortable. I never thought that I would be able to choose the person I wanted to marry. And I certainly never thought that I would ever have the perfect match that I have with you. There is nothing more that I want in my life than to marry you and spend the rest of my life being partners with you. Then on to seven kids, you also need to think about that real hard. And be sure before you marry me, because after you've done it, there is no getting out. You never get to leave me after you're here. No divorces or separations or anything, you're just going to have to be stuck with me forever. So you had better be sure I am what you want. I really wish that you could go with me this weekend. I think it will be fun. Although it will not be as fun for me as it should be. Since I will be spending the majority of my time missing you. You know what? Promise not to tell anyone. I'll tell you if you promise, I love you. So anyhow, I better get to work so I can get out of here. You will be on my mind all weekend. And I hope that your weekend goes good. I'll be counting the minutes until Sunday when I can see you again. Have fun and be good. I love you, Jim."
 
Colleen McCarty  12:47
It's a lot. It's a lot. It's a real lot. I mean, I also like when I read this earlier, I didn't notice this part as much. But I'm noticing now that he says I never thought I would be able to choose the person I wanted to marry.
 
Leslie Briggs  13:01
I noticed that too. And we have to talk about Dawn. So Dawn is Jim's first wife, they're actually highschool sweethearts. They get married in November of 1991. But Jim's mom has to sign an affidavit of consent, because he's only 16 years old. There's not a consent on file for dawn. So I don't know how old Dawn was at the time. But seven months after they get married. Their son is born in June of 1992.
 
Colleen McCarty  13:32
And that's not to say they didn't really feel love for each other. They were teenagers, you know and love and they were expecting a child. So that's a lot for people who are really young. Yeah. And we tried to talk to dawn to see her impressions of her time that she was with Jim, but she has refused interview for this podcast. So yeah, and
 
Leslie Briggs  13:52
the reason that Dawn is relevant to Ember's story is that she serves as a warning for her. You know, it's not clear from embers memories of it now, you know, almost 30 years later, whether it was necessarily an intentional warning, or if it just was someone being honest about their experience and and about what to expect because we know that as Emperor reports it to us, Dawn warned her to protect her birth control so that it wouldn't be tampered with.
 
Colleen McCarty  14:20
That's a heavy,
 
Leslie Briggs  14:21
that's a heavy warning. Yeah. That he would attempt to get her pregnant as a means of control.
 
Colleen McCarty  14:27
Especially since we know that Dawn did get pregnant, probably unintentionally.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:31
Who knows? Yeah. Who knows? Because I mean, but Dawn
 
Colleen McCarty  14:35
also warned ember that she said to ember that she was physically abused.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:41
So Dawn is relevant to the story in that she really does serve as a warning for Ember and invert. She's a young law student. She's like a smart and savvy individual. She's actually not from Oklahoma. She's from the entire opposite side of the country. She's here to go to law school. She doesn't have family nearby. And yet she manages to get Out of this relationship after what transpires? So we'll walk through that in a minute. But she manages to get out of it by the end of August of 1998.
 
Colleen McCarty  15:09
Yeah. Be and she credits that largely to the early warning signs from non.
 
Leslie Briggs  15:16
Yeah. Then she credits, she credits the resources also that were available to her. But yeah, she noted for us that that Dawn was pretty instrumental. And
 
Colleen McCarty  15:24
she wanted the message to come through in this podcast that she was really grateful for that. That's right.
 
Leslie Briggs  15:32
So we get that letter from Jim to Ember. In April of 1998. We also have another letter from the April time period of 1998. And all it says is, guess what? I love you. And you better know who it's from. Smiley face, smiley, smiley face, exclamation point. We don't have a ton of detail about the April to June period of their relationship, but they do move in together. And then we get to June of 1998. So June 10 1998, the first incidence of physical violence, and I'll just tell you directly from her notes, they were in the car, he was upset. He felt that she was in a bad mood. And he didn't like that. He was taking her to a meeting for work, she finally insisted that he take her home. But he pretty much lost it, grabbed her hair, and started banging her head against the window. When they finally got home, he choked her. He took her car keys, so she couldn't leave. He finally calmed down, said he was sorry. And he talked her into going back to work.
 
Colleen McCarty  16:53
The deal with the car is really interesting. To me, that seems like a source of a lot of the things that happen.
 
Leslie Briggs  17:02
Yeah, we're gonna see throughout this season that many of his incidents of violence take place in moving vehicles.
 
Colleen McCarty  17:09
Yes, extra scary, really scary. Because not only are you being physically hurt, but you could wreck and hurt everybody. Other people too,
 
Leslie Briggs  17:17
right? But the idea that like he felt that she was in a bad mood, like, was she in a bad mood? Was she not? We don't know. But he certainly felt that she was. And he didn't like that. So I'm going to bang your head against the car window, choke you, and take your key and prevent
 
Colleen McCarty  17:39
you from going to work by the way, which when you're a summer associate, at a firm like she's not showing up isn't an option.
 
Leslie Briggs  17:47
And so the relationship, you can see immediately the cycle, right of like a period of romance, love bomb, charisma charm.
 
Colleen McCarty  17:58
Let's move in together. I've never felt like this before.
 
Leslie Briggs  18:02
Yeah. And then something that is seemingly so insignificant. If let's just say she was in a bad mood, like, how, how do we get from, you're in a bad mood to I'm choking you. And the first incidents of violence.
 
Colleen McCarty  18:18
That's the first time that he ever hurt her. Can you imagine being like a 20 year old law student from out of state who just got strangled and you're like sitting at your firm associate job like
 
Leslie Briggs  18:31
trying to write a brief? I don't I wouldn't have been able to do it full on breakdown.
 
Colleen McCarty  18:35
But I think the fact that like it gets normalized so quickly is a big part of this is it's like, Look, I'm sorry, I fell off the handle, just go back to work. It's fine. And then you kind of go back to work and you're sitting there in your head like Did that happen? Maybe it didn't happen. Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe it wasn't as bad as I thought it was.
 
Leslie Briggs  18:55
There's so many different ways that we wind up staying when we should have left. And I think Professor Kate Waits, who
 
Colleen McCarty  19:01
is actually no longer teaching at TU, but she was the dean's wife and she was a law professor in her own right. And she was teaching a domestic violence law class at the time that this incident happened
 
Professor Kate Waits  19:14
because everybody has stayed quote, too long at something, a relationship, a job, a fraternity or sorority, a sports team, etc. And this again is a way sometimes to have men start to understand because men have stayed too long. So they list all the reasons money sometimes it's good, the devil you know, minimization denial on and on. I end up saying okay, these are all the reasons she stays plus leaving is dangerous. Just about all the abusers I'm aware of say you'll regret leaving me and she and the one thing she knows, either consciously or subconsciously is that the Worst incidents of abuse almost always follow some kind of assertion of independence on her part, because that means he's losing control.
 
Leslie Briggs  20:10
So like, That's June, and then we get to July and I'm just gonna read you verbatim from her diary that she shared with us. "July. I remember one fight in July, very vividly. Jim and I had both been drinking. On the way home. He burned me with a car cigarette lighter. I was upset, and he burned his arm to show me that it really didn't hurt and I was overreacting. Once we got home, we continued arguing. It was the same thing with hair pulling and poking at my eyes. He also choked me. He decided that I needed to leave and he took all my clothes out of the closet and threw them down the stairs. He then called the police. I was in the bedroom and Jim was downstairs. When the police arrived. The female officer came upstairs and talk to me. She saw his handprints around my neck and the burn mark and asked me to press charges. She offered to take me to the shelter. I would not press charges or go to the shelter. After the police left, he continued choking me, pulling my hair etc. Finally, he got his gun and left. He did return later that night. When I later asked him about the gun, he said he took it because he was planning to kill himself. This was the incident when I decided to leave. It took about two weeks, but I finally got all of my stuff moved out into a friend's house. I stayed with another friend that night. And the next day when she dropped me off, Jim was waiting. I got back in the car and we drove off. He called and I did talk to him. I also went that day to the divis shelter to talk to a counselor and decided not to stay because I had finals in the environment at the shelter is not very conducive to studying. I remained at my friend's house for several days. During that time, Jim convinced me if I would go back to him, he would go to AAA meetings and counseling. I believed him and we found a house and moved into it. You never attended an AAA meeting or a counseling session." And there of course, were other incidents in July that she describes of like hair pulling poking at her eyes, banging her head against the wall or floor or whatever hard surface was available. And one of those incidents he was banging her head so hard that she lost a contact or poking her eyes are poking your eyes. Yeah, like whatever was happening. Her contact came out.
 
Colleen McCarty  22:30
Let's break this whole thing down the July situation. Let's do it. Okay, so we've gotten from I Love You, I've never felt like this before. I want to move in with you. I want to marry you Mrs. Lumen, too. The banging the head in the car and the choking in June, then by the time we get to July, that's really only a couple of weeks the fighting has become so routine that it's difficult for her to pick out certain incidences, but one of them emerges pretty, like clearly.
 
Leslie Briggs  23:00
Yeah. And that, that that incident with the cigarette burns from the, the lighter in the car is gonna show up again in the protective orders.
 
Colleen McCarty  23:10
Yeah, I think that's really important to note that like this is her account shortly after things happened. And she's talking about how he just reached over and burned her with a car cigarette lighter. If you guys remember, like back in the day, some of you guys weren't well enough to know this. But like there used to be these lighters that you would push in, in a car you would like push it in, and it would heat up basically like fire. I mean, it was like fire, it was like a little electric electric electric coil lighter, that you could stick on the end of a cigarette, and it would light the cigarette. And that was what it was for. But also it was like, obviously very hot. And if you touched it with your skin, it would leave a mark. And so he takes that and he puts it on her skin while they're fighting. And then she you know, is upset and hurt, like physically hurt by that. And he then burns himself to show her that this doesn't hurt that bad, which I think is such like an act of gaslighting and manipulation to be like, Look, you're such a wuss, I can take the pain. Why can't you take the pain like trying to normalize physical pain as a part of your relationship?
 
Leslie Briggs  24:16
Yeah, which will we will we'll see that in later relationships as well.
 
Colleen McCarty  24:20
And then we have the female cop that comes in. I love her because she comes in and she says and he's trying he's the one that called right. So like this could have easily gone down the different way because if they believed his story, then she would have gotten arrested. Yeah, potentially. But instead, they actually investigated and they talked with her upstairs separate from him notice the marks on her. And they conclude that she's the real victim in this situation.
 
Leslie Briggs  24:46
I love when the police get it right.
 
Colleen McCarty  24:47
I know it's good, it's good. But then then we're gonna have something that happens all the time, which is that they say you need to go to the shelter and you need to get away from him and the victim says no. And the fact is you can't make somebody go I think like people work in victim services have this challenge all the time where it's like they know the person's in a dangerous situation, but they can't force the person to leave. And so that officer leaves. Jim actually continues the abuse of her after the police were there. And can I just to say that like offenders who strangle are 750% more likely to go on to kill someone?
 
Leslie Briggs  25:27
Wow, is that that's a that's a real stat. Wow.
 
Colleen McCarty  25:32
750%
 
Leslie Briggs  25:34
What does that what does that really mean? Does that mean that like every choker eventually becomes a murder,
 
Colleen McCarty  25:38
it means that the people who end up getting killed 750% more likely that earlier in the cycle of violence, they were strangled.
 
Leslie Briggs  25:47
That's a terrifying statistic.
 
Colleen McCarty  25:48
It really is. So I just think that we know now like what we didn't know then was that choking is a really big warning sign for lethality.
 
Leslie Briggs  25:58
I think it's interesting that in one of her communications with us Amber noted that her prior attorney, Lynn Worley, the triumphant return of one more I am that return of Lynn Worley. Lynn, I don't know if you listened to our podcast, but we love you girl are fans, huge fans. So Lynn Worley represents her in her protective order hearing and like when they get all the way through the end of it and she gets the final order entered. Lynn tells her hang on to your your documents, because someday a district attorney is going to call you to testify in a murder trial.
 
Colleen McCarty  26:31
That was pretty much the most pointed thing I've ever heard. Yeah, and let's just remind our listeners that Lynn actually was one of the advocates that went into the jail with Davis in 1998, the same year to help counsel April Wilkins, and she ended up writing a letter to the Pardon and Parole Board in April's case that detailed how disappointed and shocked she was that April was prosecuted in the first place, and then a let alone convicted. And then it disturbed her to such a great degree that she almost left Oklahoma, and went to practice law somewhere else. And now we see Lynn again, who's representing another victim of domestic violence at the time, our friend Ember, and she is just as much of a powerhouse
 
Leslie Briggs  27:15
on that case. Well, I just think it's like, it stuck with ember. I mean, she did it, she did what her attorney advised her to do. She did,
 
Colleen McCarty  27:22
she kept boxes of every letter, printed out every email and had all of her notes that she kept from every incident of the violence that happened, which is at this point, 25 years old, and and kind of incredible that it's survived all of her moves. And every place she's ever been in some of the other
 
Leslie Briggs  27:40
ways that like Jim exerted control over her, I didn't realize this, but she she points out to us at one point, you know, he was driving me places, and that's when some of the abuse occurred. But she notes I had my own car, but Jim destroyed it. So I had to sell it and get rid of it. And you know, looking back, she realizes this was another method of control. Well, you can't leave somebody if you don't have a car. So Amber, after the July incident, she leaves for a little while, Jim, of course, makes these overtures of I will change, I will get help, I will go to AAA, I will stop the drinking, I will get counseling, I will be a better man for you. But of course, when you love someone, and they are abusive towards you, we know this from the experts that we have spoken to, all you want is that you want the abuse to stop.
 
Colleen McCarty  28:26
And you want the person to change and be better you want. You want them to live up to the potential that you see in them.
 
Leslie Briggs  28:31
That's right. And so in Burgos back and they move in together into a home.
 
Colleen McCarty  28:36
And of course, after they get back together. And we hear this from a lot of survivors as the reason I say of course, but in this situation. Jim did not go to therapy, and he did not start going to AAA.
 
Leslie Briggs  28:47
Yeah, so let's talk about August of 98. So there's a couple of incidents. And then there are these emails. So like, I would like to contrast what she describes as happening with the emails that she's getting from him. So I'll just set the scene with with what she describes there's, there's these two incidents of abuse that she remembers. One was an August 17. She and Jim had been drinking at the petroleum club here in Tulsa and Jim was way too drunk to drive. So she tries to she suggests, well, you know, I'm gonna drive us home, we're not gonna get a drunk driving accident, and he got upset. She refused to get in the car and he tried to physically force her into the car, who's pulling your hair poking at her eyes. And a passerby sees this and tries to intervene. And Jim threatens him, he's not really able to provide much help to Ember, but I think it does interrupt the violence because the conversation becomes embers embarrassing him public shame, and then he relents and lets her drive home. After all of that,
 
Colleen McCarty  29:43
in the process of him forcing her into the truck, she actually lost a contact again, and ended up with bruises on both of her arms and a really big bruise on her knee. So this wasn't just like, like shoving somebody into a car. It's like causing bruising, and then he finally just relented, let her drive home.
 
Leslie Briggs  29:59
But then Two days later, he sends her an email. He sends her a horoscope. I guess he found somewhere on the internet. Would you like to read it?
 
Colleen McCarty  30:07
Yeah, I really liked the horoscope a lot because I kind of like in my spare time, I'm kind of like an astrological weirdo. I don't know I kind of got on Instagram and got really into like those stupid horoscope posts.
 
Leslie Briggs  30:19
Hey, man, amen. Don't horoscope shame.
 
Colleen McCarty  30:21
Like I cannot tell you how many times I have like saved an Instagram post about being a Gemini. And because I'm a Gemini and everyone hates Geminis anytime. I don't know, you're so loving. It's a whole look it up on Instagram. So he finds this, I guess he subscribes to this email. And this is 1998. Remember, so he subscribes to this email horoscope update. And Ember is a Leo. So he sends her this horoscope and it basically says this is applicable to you. And the horoscope says, Love scopes for Leo from 817 to 823 1998. Leo, you have many people in your corner right now, Leo, the same isn't true for your sweetie. However, it's time for you to pay attention to your mates needs. He or she is confused. Now. It's up to you to reopen the lines of communication, you can easily do this being the warm hearted soul that you are. If a thoughtless remark has slipped from your lips, think first about the origin of the feeling, then you can make your amends.
 
Leslie Briggs  31:36
I don't think that that was from a horoscope website. I think he wrote it. I'm just like, that does not sound like a real horoscope. And it's two days after they have that very public physical fight. I mean, not a physical fight. He's physically abusive to her in public.
 
Colleen McCarty  31:49
I want you to like remember back to when like there were horoscopes and like the urban Tulsa weekly. And they wouldn't be like these tiny little paragraphs and it would be like you're having a lucky day to day your lucky numbers or 714 and 16 take a chance
 
Leslie Briggs  32:05
on a there you know like
 
Colleen McCarty  32:09
Sorry, and he wants you to make amends and pay attention is
 
Leslie Briggs  32:14
you have to open the lines of communication. Leo, your partner
 
Colleen McCarty  32:18
is struggling with communication. It just sounds and this is your fault.
 
Leslie Briggs  32:23
It's like I mean, if he wrote that that's psychotic.
 
Colleen McCarty  32:27
If he if he didn't write that that's psychotic.
 
Leslie Briggs  32:30
Yeah, if you just if you found it and decided it was applicable, psychotic,
 
Colleen McCarty  32:34
if someone in the universe wrote that horoscope that is not Jim. I feel fucking scared for horoscopes. And for everyone on this planet. For real 1998 Astro net. If you are out there,
 
Leslie Briggs  32:53
comment, let us know. Because I went to the the URL that's in the email and it didn't exist anymore if it ever did.
 
Colleen McCarty  33:01
Okay, so this is like a very chaotic week. You have the 17th where he's embarrassed in the street in front of that man and she has bruises from him pushing her into the truck. very chaotic. Then he sends her the Leo horoscope right. And it is like you are the problem. Please be better.
 
Leslie Briggs  33:15
What the fuck? I laugh I laugh because it's so fun as sofa. Like, if you're new to the podcast, please no. Like, we don't actually find this funny. It's just so fucked.
 
Colleen McCarty  33:26
It's fucked. And we say fucked a lot. Okay, so then she talks about August 22, which is just a few days after the Leo horoscope which says I do you remember being on the bed and he was choking me. My puppy started growling and barking at Jim. And he started hitting the puppy. After the Puppy stopped. He continued to choke me. Jim had not been drinking during that time. Man animal abuse.
 
Leslie Briggs  33:53
Yeah, we see that we see that in later relationships as well. There's a pattern is going to emerge as we go through this season of the podcast. And I mean, it's methodical. That's on August 22. Yeah. Then we have the August 25 email. What happens on August 25? Well, he's all he emails. Her is. I love you more. And I think of you all day every day. And it's like in big bold letters. It's like the it's centered into the body of the email, lots of exclamation points. And then on 826 Well, I tell you what, creep I am sure that I do love you more. I don't like being so stressed out either. And I'm sorry for the shit that rolls down to you sometimes. If you want to know what you can do to help. Just stay by me. I love you more than anything, and I am definitely yours forever. It's like, what a manipulation of like, I'm so stressed and I just need you to bear with me. Get through it with me stay by me.
 
Colleen McCarty  34:56
I'm so stressed that I'm beating your dog and choking you until you're unconscious. I'm Sorry for that rolling down to you.
 
Leslie Briggs  35:02
And that we also know from from embers notes that he was pushing marriage like early and hard. And she never had any intention of marrying her. But she gets this idea that as she's deciding to leave, for the final time, she finally like, tells him look, go for October. We'll get married in October. And she explains that says, like, I just thought it would get him off my back so that I could get out.
 
Colleen McCarty  35:24
Well, again, she believed that that was enough time for her to get out and leave. Like she was putting him on ice for enough time for her to make a plan and get away from him.
 
Leslie Briggs  35:34
And that's happening, I think, and I think that's happening in August here too. Because the day after that email of like, I'm sorry, the shit rolls down to you. He sends another email.
 
Colleen McCarty  35:43
What's that email say?
 
Leslie Briggs  35:45
"I have only one word for you. October. Better be marrying me. Love you." And again, that's like, it's all caps. It's like huge font. And it's centered in the body of that.
 
Colleen McCarty  35:56
I mean, when you just read that I got like physically sick and scared. Yeah. That doesn't feel like a romantic email anymore.
 
Leslie Briggs  36:04
No, it doesn't. It feels like a threat.
 
Colleen McCarty  36:08
It's like, you're with me forever. You've seen exactly who I am. And you have to be with me no matter what.
 
Leslie Briggs  36:14
Yeah. So let's talk about September. What happens in September? Again, I think it's best to just read it in her words. I mean, these are her words that she wrote contemporaneously, September 2 1998. I was late picking him up from work. He was upset because he had to wait on me. I did not question him about it until we got home. When I did question him about why he was upset. His response was that I was not appropriately Sorry for being late. I felt that I needed to study and could not do so in that environment. So I was going to leave, he would not allow me to. And that led to arguing and name calling. He kept telling me that he was going to hit me and then he would hit me. Finally he decided to leave. And as he was leaving, I told him not to come back. That was obviously a mistake. He was of the opinion that it was his house and he could do whatever he wanted. My opinion did not matter. At that point. I could see in his face that he was losing control. I ran out the sliding door into the backyard. The yard is fenced and before I could make it to the gate. He caught me and drag me back into the house by my hair. He was telling me he would teach me a lesson. He put me on the floor and he was on top of me. He was pulling my lips and poking at my eyes. He started to choke me. By this time, I am begging him to stop and apologizing for everything. I was trying to push them off me. He was telling me he was going to kill me. I am uncertain if I blacked out. But I do remember losing feeling in my body and my arms dropping. The next thing I remember is Jim still on top of me. And excruciating pain in the shoulder. He told me that he should just shoot me. Apparently, at some point during all of that he had bitten me on the shoulder. We both looked at the bite mark. And he tried to convince me that it wasn't that bad. After that, we sat on the sofa. And he told me how it was all my fault. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror his handprints around my neck and at the bytemark. I then tried to escape out the front door. He caught me and dragged me back in by my hair and started to choke me again. I was then put in the bedroom and told to stay there. I thought about trying to climb out the window, but decided that was a bad idea. He came back into the bedroom and I was begging him to let me leave he wouldn't. He decided he would leave but only if I promised I would be there when he got home. I promised that I would. He was planning to pick me up the next day and take me to my 2pm class. He packed a bag, filled the ice chests with beer and left. As soon as he got out of sight. I left through the back door. I walked to the service station and called a friend and then called 911. Officer bucks Ben was one of the officers that came out. This was his second visit. He remembered me from the first time I told him I was now ready to press charges and showed him the bytemark he and another officer with me why packed a bag. And then they took me to the police station and took pictures of the bike. I was then taken to diverse shelter where I spent two nights. My question is why were charges brought?
 
Colleen McCarty  39:29
I have a really big question about that, too. We've never seen any police reports or any any filings of charges on this incident
 
Leslie Briggs  39:37
two days after that September incident. She goes to get the protective order.
 
Colleen McCarty  39:41
So what does that look like Leslie when you go and file for a protective order?
 
Leslie Briggs  39:45
I don't know what it looked like in 1998. But I assume it looked pretty similar to today. you file your petition. Often you will file for an emergency order in addition to the final order. And in this case an emergency was granted It was started than it was served on Jim. So he knew about it. What do you have to say? I will tell you what the allegations were that she wrote, right? The allegations really mirror her notes. But she writes out what happened on September 2, that he choked her, he dragged her by the hair, he threatened to kill her, he bid her poked at her eyes pulled it or Matt pulled at her mouth. And so she describes it as pulling at the mouth. But what we know that Jim lumen does to many of his victims is something that is called a fishhook, where he will insert two, maybe three fingers into the mouth, and pull violently at the cheek, and it will rip your gum away from your teeth line and tear the skin of your cheek, often drawing blood. And so I want to be clear that when she says pull at the mouth, what we're talking about is a really violent act. And that's going to emerge as one of his kind of signature moves. And so she lays out what happened on September 2, her protective order, the emergency order is granted, it served on Jim. And then he does something interesting,
 
Colleen McCarty  41:13
something we see a lot of people who act violently do, especially those who are familiar with the court system and have been through this process in the past. Two weeks after the protective order is filed by Ember, probably right around the time he gets served. But with the protective order, he heads his ass down to the courthouse and he files his own protective order. And in that protective order that he files against Ember, he states,
 
Leslie Briggs  41:41
he puts in some, there's some fascinating things that he does with this. And I want to kind of go through his petition because it's so it's such a manipulation.
 
Colleen McCarty  41:51
There's couple important things about this document. He filed it two weeks after hers, September 16 1998. It is against Amber who we've been talking about. He is now the plaintiff and she is now the defendant. That's one thing that gets really confusing in these kinds of cases is they flip back and forth the plaintiff and the defendant. But he says the incident causing the filing of this petition occurred on or about September 2, July 13, of the same year of 1998. And he says do during an argument in home, the defendant or Ember became violent and began to repeatedly push me shove me hit me with forearm and elbow while I made various attempts to avoid confrontation and leave residence. Subsequently, after the fact the defendant stole numerous items from my house. Further on seventh 13th 1998, the defendant became violent burned my arm with a cigarette lighter, leaving a permanent scar while driving my automobile and repeatedly clawed me around my ribs and back drawing blood kicked me, I made every effort to avoid confrontation. Turn calling the police. But the police would not help me.
 
Leslie Briggs  43:24
I want to like talk about an interesting, I mean, remember earlier her version of the July event is he just like suddenly burned her and then burned himself to prove it, it didn't hurt. And he's now using that his own scar. What I mean, just it's a manipulation the whole way through. And I don't know if he had that planned in advance if he thought I'll burn myself and that'll be good evidence down the road if she ever claims that I hurt her. But he certainly makes use of it here.
 
Colleen McCarty  43:56
I think we'll see throughout the course of the season that things that happened in impulse often get twisted and used and manipulated in court proceedings much later. And I don't think it's premeditated at the time he committed that burn on himself. I think he just looked back and said this is something that I can obviously point to as violence against me, because look, here's the scar.
 
Leslie Briggs  44:23
Yeah. And also just like of note there, like her weight is listed, like on the form period asks for a physical description, so he like lists her weight, but then he makes this stupid little notation next to the listed weight. That says driver's license states that her weight is actually like 20 pounds lighter, right? Like I don't know, like, why are you I don't know why you're doing that other than to like, I guess the only plausible reason maybe is like if police are gonna stop her they're gonna know that. Like, they won't be fooled because her driver's license is I don't know we No Shame, shame tack because
 
Colleen McCarty  45:02
this document, like we said before it gets served on the person that you're filing against. So she would see this. And she would see that he wrote the weight on her driver's license on the line, and then made a note out to the side of what her actual weight is. And that the cops would see that, and the court would see that and that she would see that and she's supposed to be ashamed about that. It's just like continuing the abuse.
 
Leslie Briggs  45:27
Yeah, it's just another manipulation. And, you know, Amber described to us the process of going into the protective order hearings, and I guess she had given him a pen, like a nice fancy pen. And he decided to work to wear it that day. She describes, she described it to us as like, I can't really explain it. But it felt like a manipulation. And it felt like a fear tactic. And it worked. It made her very fearful, just like the sight of that pen, as if it were, I don't know,
 
Colleen McCarty  45:53
she described it as like a way of communicating to her without having to communicate to her and with a way of saying, I still have a piece of you or I still, like own you in some way. And like most people looking out from the outside, you don't know about these dynamics, would say like, it's just a pen. Right. But it's not just a pen to her. And he knew that, if he used it. Yeah. And at a time when he when would be the only time when he knew he would see her in person which was in court because they can't see each other because they have, she was granted the emergency protective order. And he had to stay away from her. Right, and
 
Leslie Briggs  46:37
then at the hearing on the final order, which she gets a final order entered. But it's not until February of 1999. And it's interesting, it's not a time limited order. There's no time limit on it. And that's that, I mean, today you have there are times you can get permanent protective orders, but usually it's in very limited circumstances. But in this situation, it appears that she got a permanent protective order against him. He actually filed in 2010. And 1111 years later filed to dismiss the protective order, stating that she lived out of state. And he had not seen her in all this time. And there was no longer a reason for it that was actually denied. So it's still still on the books. His protective order was denied in the court minute states that he had he failed to prosecute, so we just never followed through on it. So we don't know what the court would have done if he had
 
Colleen McCarty  47:32
Yeah, personally think like, I'm just thinking about this now. And after hearing it all like your you guys who are listening are hearing a fully encapsulated experience of like the court system and the police working properly. In a situation like this. And she got away as a result she got away she got the she got the supports that she needed. She had people to in her life to tell her where to go, what to do how to do these things. She got the support from divish. She got the phone. And then she got the protective order, his filing against her failed. And then she was granted a permanent protective order and even all the way into 2010. He wasn't able to get rid of it.
 
Leslie Briggs  48:13
So September, I mean, that's pretty gnarly. And this is where she starts to really lean on her resources. Right?
 
Colleen McCarty  48:21
Yeah. Yeah. So she ends up calling a friend from law school, she had several close friends in her law school class. And they came and got her and took her to a gas station. And that is where she called 911 from the gas station, and the friend's boyfriend actually ended up being the person to tell her to call police and she describes him as very, a very calming presence during this time.
 
Leslie Briggs  48:49
Yeah, he was also a volunteer with like a domestic violence hotline, right?
 
Colleen McCarty  48:53
He had volunteered with DVIS in the past. Yes. And so he knew, you know, he recognized the signs. And he knew that she needed to call at least call the police and get this documented.
 
Leslie Briggs  49:02
Good men. We love good men of good men.
 
Colleen McCarty  49:07
And actually, she looked him up recently. And I looked him up recently. And he is a law partner at a local firm here and doing well. And so
 
Leslie Briggs  49:15
she didn't give us his name. But anybody knows can identify this guy from the circumstances. We would love to send him a thank you card because we love good men.
 
Colleen McCarty  49:25
So things went bad really fast. And this relationship went from April to September and she finally gets out. She calls her friends she stays at a friend's house. She contacts her law professor who was Professor Kate weights. So Ember felt comfortable going to her and confessing to her everything that was happening. Ember remembers her getting a cell phone from Professor weights. Professor waits doesn't remember that but we aren't so we aren't sure which way that ended up happening. But somehow Amber ends up getting a cell phone in 1998, which was like scarce
 
Leslie Briggs  49:57
Yeah, yeah, not widely used. In 1988, it's like the Zack Morris phone.
 
Colleen McCarty  50:02
It is like the Zach Morris Phone. And it's she didn't have to pay the bill. It was someone else's phone that she borrowed for a couple of months. And the reason was because she was going to be staying at friends houses and people were concerned that if Jim Kim came looking for her, she wouldn't be able to have shouldn't be able to call 911 or call the police or get away fast enough. And so her having the cell phone made her feel a lot more safe. And so she slowly starts to rebuild her life. And she's able to stay in school. Honestly, it's kind of a testament to her brilliance that she was able to stay in school, get good grades, and graduate and, and she ended up passing the bar. And she practiced for many, many years as a Jag attorney in the military.
 
Leslie Briggs  50:44
Yeah, she had a great career as a military attorney.
 
Professor Kate Waits  50:47
And let me tell you another really important part of me and her story, which was she had a lot of support her law school classmates, including several men, she was close to, you know, helped her move out and didn't blame her and all kinds of other things. But talking to her and we were just there wasn't a desk between us. We were just across two chairs from each other. After as she was, you know, getting ready to go. I remember I patted her on the knee and said, you've done good to get out when you did. And she the look on her face. And she says I recall she said, you know, my friends have been very supportive. But you're the first person who said that, you know, it's the difference between sympathy. Oh, something bad has happened to you. I'm going to hell and saying you know what, you are strong.
 
Leslie Briggs  51:49
At first blush. Amber's story is just like a million other women's stories. She went on to live a normal life and luckily, she got away from the person who was hurting her. But Ember was far from the only woman that Jim lumen would terrorize. He's a bit of a huckster a carnival barker, well trained to lure in unsuspecting women who are down on their luck, and uses his big personality and seemingly endless supply of money to charm them in a sweet love story.
 
Colleen McCarty  52:17
It's not so sweet once you start to see through the lies. Here are just some of the occupations that Jim lumen has had or pretended to have since he struck out on his own. In the mid 1990s. Mortgage Broker, mortician used car salesmen, carpet salesman, pilot, lawyer, entrepreneur, personal injury consultants, perhaps most intriguing for the story that follows is Jim's only job that aligns with his college degree in mortuary science, and Undertaker. The rest are half baked ventures or outright frauds that as one survivor put it, allow him to make 1000s of dollars while he lays around in bed naked.
 
Leslie Briggs  53:04
We have spent countless hours researching his past calling his exes, neighbors, childhood friends, landlords and family. poring over his court filings digging deep into protective orders entered against him and reading messages between himself and others about the chronic abuse he has perpetrated across almost three decades. courts
 
Colleen McCarty  53:23
and law enforcement in Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas have allowed him to continue abusing women virtually unchecked since 1997. We've spoken to eight of his victims for this podcast and research the stories of even more.
 
Leslie Briggs  53:40
He's sued the people who have accused him of assault and battery for defamation. And his mother's homeowners insurance has actually been sued by one of the victims because he beat her on his mother's property. And his mother knew or should have known that he had a violent temperament.
 
Colleen McCarty  53:54
This man is what's called a chronic batterer in all the time he has committed all this abuse. He has only served 10 months in prison in Iowa. And that was on a 10 year sentence that he entered into as part of a plea deal.
 
Leslie Briggs  54:09
This season on panic button. Operational wildfire. We're detailing the chronic abuse of Jim lumen and exposing the good ol boy system of Oklahoma courts up close and personal. We're looking at what happens when women band together to stop an abuser. Does working together make them more credible, or does it undermine their efforts to community safety? Is misogyny really the only reason our court system lets abusers roam free? Could it be that simple?
 
Colleen McCarty  54:35
If the monster who hurt you was still out there? How far would you go to warn others? And what would you do if the justice system was no longer on your side? You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources in the notes of this episode. During the season, we release new episodes every Tuesday at midnight. Get notified about new episode drops by subscribing and rate the podcast in your podcast listening app. These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Thank you for listening to panic button. Operation Wildfire and joining us and shedding light on the importance of ending domestic violence for good. I'm Colleen McCarty, and I'm Leslie Briggs. Panic Button is a production of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. were recorded at Bison and Bean studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our theme music is by GYOM additional editing is provided by The Wave podcasting. Our music supervisor is Rusty Rowe. Special thanks to our interns, Kat and Allison to learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed or donate to keep our mission of fighting for the rights and opportunities of every Oklahoman reality go to OkAppleseed.org.
 

S2:E2 Mafia Meat

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

 
 
Season two, Episode two: Mafia Meat. In this episode, we go on a quest through Jim's childhood and his hometown to see if we can learn anything from his somewhat murky early life. We want to understand what turns a man into a prolific violent abuser. And what, if anything, can stop him? 
 
The song you heard toward the end of the episode is Cleveland Summer Nights, by Wink Burcham. You can purchase his music on Apple Music or stream it on Spotify.
 
You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources at https://okappleseed.org/mafia-meat. 
These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. 
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. 
For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 
Learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed: okappleseed.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233. You can also search for a local domestic violence shelter at www.domesticshelters.org/.
If you have experienced sexual assault and need support, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) at www.rainn.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.
Have questions about consent? Take a look at this guide from RAINN at www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent.
Follow the OKAppleseed on Instagram at @OKAppleseed and on facebook at facebook.org/okappleseedcenter.
Transcript
Leslie Briggs  00:00
This episode contains graphic accounts of domestic and sexual violence, violence against women in particular, and language that is not suitable for listeners under 18 years of age. Other themes that you may hear in the following episode deal with suicide and addiction. Please use caution when listening.
 
Jim Luman Sr.  00:21
I've been an outlaw since I was three years old when I say that I don't say it. You know, I'm not like today's--I'm not a criminal. You know, I was well as the US Attorney call me a pecuniary threat to society. And I was, I paid the price after all of it's said and done, after all the years and I had to serve, they made it a misdemeanor.
 
Leslie Briggs  00:48
In this episode, we go on a quest through Jim's childhood and his hometown to see if we can learn anything from his somewhat murky childhood. We want to understand what turns a man into a prolific violent abuser. And what, if anything, can stop them? The voice you just heard is that of Jim Luman Sr., Jim's dad, Jim Luman's dad had a long and colorful criminal history. And he wasn't afraid to share some of that with us. I'm Leslie Briggs. And I'm Colleen McCarty. And this is panic button. Operation Wildfire. This is episode two, Mafia Meat.
 
Colleen McCarty  01:26
So last week, we introduced you to a man who we would call a serial abuser. He has been violent towards women since the earliest reports that we could find in court records about him from the early 1990s. Jim Luman has 12 known domestic violence victims has a particular method of identifying his victims, seducing them into isolation and control. But how did he get that way? I think to understand Jim, you've got to understand where he's from. Jim's from a really small town in Oklahoma called Cleveland, which is not to be confused with Cleveland, Ohio, and also not to be confused with Cleveland County. Cleveland, the town in Oklahoma has a population of about 3282 people, the median income for a household and this was really surprising to me when I looked it up is about $28,861. And a medium income for a family is $36,585. Males had a median income of $30,000.99, females had a median income of $19,000 and 122. That feels like a huge pay gap. Not only is it a pay gap, but that is extremely impoverished those right, those are under statewide, statewide. Median is like 42, I think for a family. Yeah. And so you can see that, you know, living in Cleveland has a very low cost of living, but also there's a very low ability to earn any type of discretionary income, you're gonna see a lot of financially desperate people, making families with other people around them, because there's just no other way to like survive.
 
Leslie Briggs  03:04
Yeah, I can't. I mean, $19,000 a years is hard. I mean, that's hard to imagine for me. Look, man, look, now that I'm a millionaire, we're public interest lawyers. But like that is that's truly hard to imagine.
 
Colleen McCarty  03:20
Yeah, it's shocking. So like most towns in Oklahoma, Cleveland was founded in the late 1800s as a trading post between white settlers and the Osage people. And it is an extremely small and close knit community in a really small county called Pawnee, Leslie, and I spent an afternoon in Cleveland trying to learn what the community is like from the people who live there.
 
Leslie Briggs  03:47
Like, it just seems like Cleveland is America. Do you know what I mean? Like it's just,
 
Waitress  03:51
it's a small, regular small town right now. Like all small towns, they all have their secrets. Oh, yeah. Jenning's yard forever, and just couple of years ago, 20 years.
 
Leslie Briggs  04:16
That was our waitress at the Hickory House, one of just a handful of restaurants in Cleveland. She was telling us about a separate crime involving the discovery of buried bodies in a nearby town. She didn't want to elaborate about what she thought was crooked, or what other secrets that Cleveland has. But she wasn't the only person we spoke to who felt that the town had things to hide. We'll hear more about that later.
 
Colleen McCarty  04:42
Our trip to Cleveland was unusual, largely because we got the sense that even though the community is close knit and outsiders are regarded with suspicion, the insular nature of the community doesn't always lead to justice or accountability when someone causes harm.
 
Leslie Briggs  04:58
Okay, Cleveland is why why So there's like 4000 people in Cleveland.
 
Gary  05:03
Roughly. Yeah, maybe. Everybody knows everybody's fucking business all the time. Yes. Oh, pretty much yeah I got away with the last time I had syphilis, nobody heard about
 
Leslie Briggs  05:33
why is it good and bad? Because
 
Bar Patron  05:44
Too bad. Everybody knows us and like we're just a phone call away  or something we could assist people on the side.
 
Leslie Briggs  05:57
I don't know you hear about like, okay, we're from Tulsa. And it's not the biggest city but like, I barely know my needs. That's why, right?
 
Bar Patron  06:06
Like if I was all my neighbors, personally,
 
Leslie Briggs  06:09
they this is my point. So you could somebody if you needed help, right? I don't know that. I could do that. But that's the difference between like, Cleveland, or maybe a business
 
Bartender  06:21
Put it this way, I'd call my neighbors before I'd call the cops.
 
Colleen McCarty  06:25
Interesting... this town is about 30 minutes outside of Tulsa, which is Oklahoma's second largest city and it has almost half a million people. So even though it's pretty far out in the country, it's really close to a fairly large urban center. And one of the most famous residents of Pawnee County was Pawnee bill he starred in the Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show back in the turn of the century times and he ended up creating his own Wild West show called Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show. And it's still reenacted in Pawnee every year at Pawnee Bill's ranch,
 
Pawnee Bill  07:03
and Indians from across the western frontiers. Lady, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, are you ready for a real round last show?
 
Leslie Briggs  07:21
That shits a hell of a show, I have to say you've been to this was like 12, so I don't actually remember it. The rant
 
Colleen McCarty  07:27
is said to be haunted by the ghost of Ponyville and his wife, and the people have also seen the spirit of their son near the water tower where he tragically hanged himself near the ranch. More recently, Cleveland has grown into the big city as one attorney who worked in Pawnee County described it. It's home to the only remaining bar in the county, the Cleveland lounge, they serve cans of beer take cash only, and you can still smoke cigarettes inside Wellesley and I had a couple of beers at the Cleveland lounge to see if anyone would talk to us about what this little town with a big history is like today, or at least what it was like when Jim was everywhere
 
Leslie Briggs  08:11
Okay, tell me about 1990 We're in Cleveland. What's it like
 
Gary  08:16
1990 in Cleveland was pretty pretty friggin awesome.
 
Colleen McCarty  08:25
That's Gary. He grew up in Cleveland in the 1980s and 90s. And went to high school with Jim and Christen. He spoke very fondly of his high school days in Cleveland.
 
Gary  08:35
Had a country store little game room ran on the other end of town and there's a lot of kids that's where we showed up to go look for parties build a certain Palace Drug parking lot and drink beer. Remember that the party was always at Osage. and then the they ended up in Osage that's why I live in Osage.
 
Leslie Briggs  08:56
near a bunch of bodies of water right? You would think people are like come on.
 
Gary  09:00
It's actually only near one body of water. It just wrapped around Arkansas, Arkansas River Keystone the wraparound but Osage Point back then was a whole bunch of water there and you can go out swim. Go fish. Dogs had hit Boston pool roads and do some partying there's the Y out there you go party and well, you can look up there's a musician named Brent Giddens. Have you ever heard him he actually has a song Boston Pool Road a pretty much nailed it and then you got you got a guy that he wrote a song if you look at Wink Burcham he wrote a Cleveland Summer Nights. It was a lot of backroadin' partying. You start out on Main Street and then the then the contract or which were the Mexican restaurant leaves I'm sorry, like,
 
Leslie Briggs  10:01
Okay, are you just like driving and drinking beer the whole time and the cops aren't doing anything. Please be
 
Gary  10:06
able to set their Palace drug parking lot, you'd be able to set their back in the early 90s. If you had beer as long as you just didn't show it, they pull up you had your beers. If you wasnt being a dick head or you know, go to the country store let's pull in. And we're always playing it out when it got pull in check out but we'd always have like five people sitting upstairs and they go check them out. And then we'd have like five or six people pull in and block out the cops in. Everybody that had beers and weed all their Joe Devoe Road. All party now called bullpens go down both pretty often ran back in the 90s.
 
Leslie Briggs  10:56
What happened?
 
Gary  10:57
Like I mean, everybody's got a fucking phone and they want to sit there and do this all goddamn day long. They will sit in their basements and drink beer and not drink beer they play video games. World of war or some shit?
 
Bartender  11:13
Don't blame Nintendo you son of a bitch!
 
Gary  11:18
Sorry, Mario.
 
Leslie Briggs  11:21
You can imagine that like, there's not a ton to do?
 
Colleen McCarty  11:24
No.
 
Leslie Briggs  11:25
And you're probably getting into trouble.
 
Colleen McCarty  11:29
I mean, there's not much else to do but get into trouble. And I think even people in Tulsa feel that way. So I can't imagine how people in Pawnee County feel when they're growing up. And there's nothing to do, right. So it's in this environment that Jim was born in Cleveland, Oklahoma in 1975 to Jim Luman, Sr. and Patsy Luman, whose maiden name was O'Donnell. Jim was the youngest of two and his sister was 12 years older than him. By some accounts, Jim had a normal childhood.
 
Tutu  11:59
I know Jim, when we came to the United States, like in 1980. Their family was like wonderful to us. You know, like they accepted us. And we played you know, like all throughout the childhood years, we even were on the same soccer team. He had a motorcycle that he he kind of led me right in the back, you know, time to time.
 
Leslie Briggs  12:22
That's Tutu when he was seven, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Cleveland, Oklahoma. He remembers Jim's family as kind and welcoming to him. Despite being an outsider in a place that might not always welcome people who are different.
 
Colleen McCarty  12:37
One of Jim's other classmates growing up was a woman named Christen, she grew up with Jim in Cleveland. And eventually, many years later, Jim would smashed Kristen space into his mother's gravel driveway during a harrowing assault in 2014. We'll hear more about that in a later episode.
 
Christen  12:54
Here's Christen. first memory of him is probably at the laundromat as a child, maybe I'm five years old or so. And my mom takes the laundry there, and his grandmother and grandfather owned the laundry mat. So he was there playing and I don't remember much other than, you know, just playing Chase and, and was showing me how he stole all the coke out of the coke bottles that were in the glass bottles that were there, he popped off all the lids and Drake called the coke out or whatever. But so that's like first memory. And then, of course, we went to click on schools together. And we were both in the same graduating class of '92. Everybody knew who he was because he would know he dressed differently. I remember him getting in trouble because he wouldn't stop driving a car to school, he didn't have a license to drive. So they would tell him or, you know, give him suspend him or whatever trouble you get into for continuing to drive to school when you're on the license. And it was like a red Ferro, if I'm saying like a little tiny red car. And mine. Well, you guys don't know. But the high school and his mother's house is like you could walk there. It's like a quarter of a mile. But he would drive that car up there and get in trouble. I mean, he's like, obviously just trying to get in trouble. You know, I think people known for that his style and you know, getting in trouble.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:22
Everyone seems to know that Jim has trouble and very few people wanted to comment on it directly. So you know, Jim,
 
Gary  14:30
Jim, I won't say that on here.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:35
That includes Jim Sr..
 
Jim Luman Sr.  14:38
Well, if I if I lend credence to three or four out in there two or three or four, which I've I've never talked to him other than Marcy, now his ex wife.
 
Leslie Briggs  14:49
Even though Jim senior didn't want to comment on the allegations about Jim's abuse. He was willing to speak with me about his own criminal past. The first arrest we could find on Jim senior It was from 1969 in Okmulgee county because I had
 
Jim Luman Sr.  15:03
to escape from the McGee county jail over the first one to prison for other since convicted of six bags of pecan nuts in Okmulgee County.
 
Leslie Briggs  15:18
After escaping the oak multi county jail, Jim Sr. Went on the run to California where he says he went to law school at Pepperdine for two years under an assumed name.
 
Jim Luman Sr.  15:30
Yeah, when I quit, you know, no offense to you. I went to law school myself and I dropped out when the same error my wife went to Pepperdine. Pepperdine law school in California. Under a Believe it or not, it's under an assumed name
 
Leslie Briggs  15:44
because I had to are you willing to tell me what aliases you used?
 
Jim Luman Sr.  15:47
I can tell you what I remember. Girl I had to change my aliases about every month, I had to fire up the Xerox machine and start in wideout, start making me a new Birth Certificate. Get go get a new driver's life after John or Joe or George, whatever the hell I was usin'.
 
Leslie Briggs  16:04
Well, what's what was the one you used in law school? That was kind of the most interesting, do you remember?
 
Jim Luman Sr.  16:09
That was an individual that is, as far as I know, is still practicing law. He took credit. He took credit and I started it and he finished it. Wow. And naturally, you know, I'm not going to expose him.
 
Leslie Briggs  16:25
Eventually, Jim senior came back to Oklahoma and pled guilty to the pecan case crime in 1971. It takes a couple of years, we get to 1971. And Jim senior pleads guilty to the crime of grand larceny. No, because we don't have the case file on this. All we had are handwritten court minutes. They actually went and pulled like what I imagined to be like a very dusty, huge book of like, handwritten court minutes from the 60s and like, sent us pictures of the pages where this case was. They said they didn't have the case file, but they could give us the minutes. And so in the minutes it says that he pleads guilty in 1971. This charge is actually later vacated, but we don't have like the full appeal history. We don't know why he's able to on get a plea of guilty. Gets it vacated. And I would like for you as a resident criminal justice expert to explain why it's bananas to see a guilty plea vacated.
 
Colleen McCarty  17:19
I mean, I can't tell you like the history of like when guilty pleas started to become pretty much impossible to get out of it. COVID After this, but right now, if you make a guilty plea is essentially ironclad. I mean, if you admit to the court that you are knowingly and understandingly plead guilty, and you list out everything that you did, which is what you have to do when you plead guilty. Now you're on the record forever. Having said that, you did the thing. And so it's really impossible to back that up unless you can prove that you didn't know what you were saying that you didn't understand, like it's a translation issue. I've seen that happen where they've done a guilty plea or withdrawn a guilty plea for that. But otherwise, a guilty plea is pretty much signed, sealed, delivered, you're done.
 
Leslie Briggs  18:06
So that that is not the case in this 1969 case, it's ultimately it's vacated, we'll we're never gonna know why because the court file is gone. But that's what's in the minutes.
 
Colleen McCarty  18:15
I have a suspicion that I don't know if you want to put in the record or not it made but that he was cooperating with law enforcement, this criminal history and I've said this to you before, this type of criminal history smacks of somebody that cooperates with law enforcement.
 
Leslie Briggs  18:31
But he gets found guilty so many times though,
 
Colleen McCarty  18:33
and then it gets done. It gets undone and then it gets undone.
 
Leslie Briggs  18:38
Only twice. Well, three times, just three times. I know. Okay, so let's keep going. So also in 71, Jim senior pleads guilty in a federal court so that oak Mogi county case was in state court in 71, he also pleads guilty in a federal court to concealing a stolen motor vehicle, which had moved in interstate commerce and transporting a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce.
 
Jim Luman Sr.  19:03
Meanwhile, I got a federal conviction for test drive a Dodge two new Dodge Charger who Donny Stemmons, they're on East 11th Street that just decided to keep it for a while. I went to Leavenworth for that, but they meanwhile had found that was while I was out on a mug again. But meanwhile, they fall on the charger and got a conviction.
 
Leslie Briggs  19:27
It's interesting, because 21 years later in 1992, he's gonna try to vacate that sentence, despite only receiving two years for each charge. So like, he had completely finished and we're gonna, you're gonna I'm gonna tell you why. He had Wait,
 
Colleen McCarty  19:44
wait, wait, tell me this is from 71. He got to two years answers that probably ran concurrently. That means running together. So he'd served maybe two years on this. Yeah. And then in 1992 Yes. He goes back and try So vacate something that he's finished serving 20 years ago. Well, what?
 
Leslie Briggs  20:05
Yeah, we're gonna talk about why well, I'm gonna, I'm gonna tell you exactly what he's doing. When I get to the end of this whole thing, Okay, keep going. Okay, so in 1975, that's the year that Jim Jr. was born. He also pleads guilty again, in federal court. I couldn't tell you what for the only reason I found this case was there was an effort to vacate it at an appellate court. And I found the opinion denying that, but in that opinion, they don't tell me what the 1975 case was, because He's appealing it in the 90s. Again, so we're talking about like, 20 years later, this guy's coming back and trying to like appeal sentences that he's already done the time on?
 
Colleen McCarty  20:39
Well, it's like he's finally just like, what? I'm just gonna guess. Okay, what is happening? He's incarcerated in the 90s. And now he's a jailhouse lawyer, and he has time to go back and learn post conviction procedure, and how to appeal for all these things. Because before he was already out, so what the fuck did he care, right, everything vacated. Now, he's bored as hell and sitting inside a cell in a DLC prison and 99 even though air conditioning, and he's learning the law,
 
Leslie Briggs  21:11
I'll tell you, you're like, mostly true on that. Okay, we're good, but we're gonna get to there's a more substantive reason why he's doing it. Okay. But in 1979, he actually has a jury trial and is found guilty for knowingly concealing stolen property in Washington County, Oklahoma. So that's back in state court. And that jury gives him five years in DC. But in 1983, he files for post conviction relief with the help of an attorney and the DA agrees that he should be sentenced to 18 months, credit for time served. So on the day of that hearing, he was a free man.
 
Colleen McCarty  21:42
This is crazy.
 
Leslie Briggs  21:43
So there was, I think, an intervening change in the law. I couldn't I couldn't figure it out. But I was like, what, what? Are you serious that the DA is just going to agree to give him a lesser sentence. But I would
 
Colleen McCarty  21:54
also say that the time period is important here. Like, we really didn't get tough on crime and quotes until like the mid 90s and DBAs. While they were really hard on violent crime back then, and like everybody was getting life and everybody was getting the death penalty. On low level property crimes, pretty much everybody was just running around doing crazy shit.
 
Leslie Briggs  22:17
Well, I mean, this guy was like, doing crimes. With crime in the 70s and 80s, this guy was doing crimes, and like to think so again, so he gets post conviction relief. And in the 90s, again, goes back to try to vacate his sentence of that was he was re sentenced to 18 months, the court denies his requests. And I want to read this because it's just like one of the funniest things I've ever seen a court right into their order. But this, this judge, who denies his request to like, change his sentence, a second time, because, again, he got five years from the jury re sentenced to 18 months, several years later, and then goes back and tries to get it completely undone in the 90s. It's
 
Colleen McCarty  22:58
like, it's like getting a strike and then trying to bowl a strike again, you know, like, just we've already before the
 
Leslie Briggs  23:05
pins are reset. You got to strike but then you just launched another. But so the court says in her order  "what defendant with a brain would object to a reduction in sentence from the original five years to serve in the penitentiary airy to 18 months credit for time served balance, if any suspended with full knowledge that he is a free person following the December 2 1983 hearing." The thing about this is that Jim Sr. had a plan much bigger than whether he was served a just sentence in the 1979 case, which he was attempting to overturn in 1983. Throughout the 1970s, Jim Sr. was charged with a crime every few years in both state and federal court.
 
Jim Luman Sr.  23:53
Well, I'll put it this way. When they when I would come up for a parole. They could call it a parole or they wanted to I call it a furlough because I knew that there was going to be a warrant 30 days,
 
Leslie Briggs  24:06
Jim Sr. is something of a prolific criminal throughout the late 60s 70s and 80s. When Jim Jr. is just a kid and having his teen years, Jim senior is charged and convicted numerous times for pretty high stakes property crimes. Was it I mean, were you were you around much when the kids were growing up there in Cleveland or were you you know, mostly away?
 
Jim Luman Sr.  24:28
Regretfully? I was not because they'll they knew they knew that address and I couldn't go
 
Leslie Briggs  24:36
Oh, wow. On the run. Yeah,
 
Jim Luman Sr.  24:39
yeah. Oh, so that if they if they didn't have me, they were looking for me.
 
Leslie Briggs  24:44
Well, quickly, just give a shout out to the court clerks and some of these like smaller counties. And in Tulsa County and frankly, like, Tulsa County will email me anything. It's wonderful. Not every county is like that. But for lots of these cases, because we were going back all the way to 1969 in the 1970s I mean, some of these folks were like crawling into the attics of the courthouse to find documents for us. So shout out to court clerks who, who can't ask crazy, good court clerks hair about the public having access to record. So shout out to those that appreciate the transparency truly. But the theme that emerges throughout this criminal history is that Jim SR is comples dog. And he is dogged about pursuing his appeals. And oftentimes he winds up acting pro se,
 
Jim Luman Sr.  25:28
went through a federal trial there, pro se case, I had a fool for a client, but I beat him, I represented myself in quite a few cases. And when I started represent myself well I was undefeated.
 
Leslie Briggs  25:41
And it's an interesting pattern that we're gonna see repeated with Jim Jr. Later on down the road.
 
Colleen McCarty  25:48
That's one of the things I find so interesting about what you have found is, you know, cue the foreshadowing, but we're gonna see a lot of pretending to be lawyers and lawyering for yourself on your own behalf and working through the system in ways that like, Oh, I got off on a technicality and things like that throughout this whole story. And it doesn't start where we thought it started. Yeah. And I heard like 70 years ago, and it'll
 
Leslie Briggs  26:19
be I'm looking at both of these individuals, Jim Sr. and Jim, Jr, who both have now at this point, pretty extensive criminal histories, but are both getting relief from courts on sentencing in ways that are like unfathomable, like, how are they getting relief? But okay, so that chaotic charge for the the knowingly concealing stolen property in 1979 happens. And then, and also in 1979. He's charged and convicted by a jury in federal court. This time, it's for the sale of six oilfield drill bits with a value of more than $5,000, which were moving in interstate commerce. So you can see like you wind up in federal court if you move between states to commit your crime. But in 1980, He's appealing that conviction. And the again, I want to just comment on what the appeal opinion says because one of the bases for Jim's appeal is that there wasn't any evidence that he knew that the drill bits were stolen. Nevermind that they were they did the exchange in a motel parking lot. And it was a cash deal and they refused a receipt and the drill bits were worth $15,000 And they sold them for six nevermind all of that. Okay. That's like circumstantial evidence that maybe you know, something is stolen. Sure. But on top of all that, in the opinion of the appellate court, they write, defendant lumen made several statements to the undercover agents during the negotiations indicating that he knew he was dealing in stolen property. These included a to b had to be careful because the heat quote was watching him and that he had to be watchful for quote, snitches be that he had recently, quote, lost a backhoe to police authorities and see that he also offered to sell other items such as a $6,500 gooseneck trailer for $2,000. Are you
 
Colleen McCarty  28:13
just walking around with some like $15,000 Oil drill bits for sale? Like for just that nature of the items themselves suggests that they were stolen my friend.
 
Leslie Briggs  28:26
Okay. Okay. So continuing, though, in 1987, Jim senior is indicted in federal court for quote, knowingly receiving stolen property. The outcome of that case, it's not clear to me the documents were unavailable on the federal court website. What we do have, though, is his co defendants appeal opinion and apparently, you know, during the trial, one of the witnesses referenced Jim, seniors, extensive criminal history and his attorney moved for mistrial and he got it. And yeah, you gotta miss train. What Yeah, you gotta miss trial, but Federal Court cares about the Constitution. Oh, wow. You know what I mean? Like, it's not like state court. The feds care about the constitution. He got retried, though. I don't know if he was found guilty because again, the case was like, the documents were not on Pacer. But then Okay, so that's 87. We get to 89. And the hammer finally comes down on Jim Sr. and this is in Tulsa County, and He is charged with and tried for, again, knowingly concealing stolen property. And this is the meat case, the
 
Colleen McCarty  29:32
infamous meat case.
 
Leslie Briggs  29:34
Here's what Jim senior says happened
 
Jim Luman Sr.  29:36
210 pounds of brisket meat, right? It's been struggling from the mafia of all people, really in the best word from that Tony Alamo church group.
 
Colleen McCarty  29:46
So small side quest for our listeners who don't know anything about the Tony Alamo Christian ministries that Jim was referencing, I think it's worth just a small little side path.
 
Leslie Briggs  29:58
90 seconds of chaos...
 
Newscaster  30:00
moved to our sickest story of the day and alleged religious cult leader has been arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona. Tony Alamo is accused of transporting young girls across state lines for sex. Alamo has said in the past, the age of consent for sex is puberty. Let that one sink in.
 
Colleen McCarty  30:19
Tony Alamo ran a church based out of Arkansas that had close ties to Tulsa. His wife Susan was also a member of the church and one of the leaders of the church and she died of breast cancer in 1982. And when that happened, the Church believed that she would rise from the dead so they embalmed her body and kept her on display for six months. It's fucking horrifying. Then she was in tuned in a heart shaped marble mausoleum on church property. It wasn't until the 1990s that the IRS kind of started to catch on to what was going on with Tony Lama Christian ministries. He actually created a whole separate entity, which was called Music Square Church. And the IRS actually ultimately concluded that both music Square Church and Tony Alamo Christian ministries were run for the sole benefit of Tony Alamo himself. So he had his 501 C three status is revoked on both of the entities and he was charged with federal tax evasion. And that's not even the end of it.
 
Leslie Briggs  31:26
Where does it go?
 
Colleen McCarty  31:27
He I guess, because his primary way of paying his bills has been eliminated from him, and the 2009 times. He is convicted of 10 counts of transporting minors as young as nine years old across state lines for sex. And a judge granted Alonso a maximum sentence for his crimes of 175 years. He ended up dying in prison in 2017,
 
Leslie Briggs  31:54
we're glad about that. I said what I said also apparently get in the mafia meat trade.
 
Colleen McCarty  32:01
So while they were running, Tony Alamo Christian ministries, apparently they were buying meat from the mafia.
 
Leslie Briggs  32:10
Wait, wait, wait, Becca, can you tell me more about the mafia? So let me just make sure we all understand. Jim Sr. Says he bought 210 pounds of brisket from the Tony Alamo church. And that's before the sex scandal came crashing down. And the church had stolen that meat from Montfort foods, which in fact, the Mapello Brothers meat Co that he's referencing did sell their business to Monfort foods. So I guess there's like an attenuated connection to the mafia here. And that's Jim Sr's version. But here's what we could find out by reading the appellate pleadings in the 10th circuit, "the general facts leading to petitioners conviction are not in dispute. On December 5 1988 95 boxes of meat were stolen from the Mon fort food distributing company in Tulsa. The next day, Petitioner rented a refrigerated trailer in Tulsa. Later in December, Petitioner traded boxes of meat, which turned out to be some of the meat stolen from mont-fort to Hugh Caraway and Wendell West, in return for various items." Full on just a bartering deal.
 
Jim Luman Sr.  32:13
Monfort foods used to be Mapelli brothers appellee. Brothers, Sonny Mapelli was out of all places, Des Moines, Iowa. I bought 210 lbs.  Well, I'm a lot more than that. But I was charged 210 pounds of brisket meat, about that from the Tony Alamo church group. I don't know if you're familiar with them Out of Dire, Arkansas. Oh, they was a big scandal in the 90s. And that, you know, I had they came in to testify that's, you know, they sold it to me if there's a problem with it, the third problem, but the jury didn't believe them. Church groups that were stealing meat, but they were some racketeers. Yeah, so that's what I got 30 for. And on top of that, I got 62 years consecutive.
 
Colleen McCarty  34:00
Here's some meat. What do you think he got for the meat, some really cool clothes from Dillards,
 
Leslie Briggs  34:06
one of the guys that he gave, he traded the meat to took it to a butcher. And the Butcher was like suspicious about the meat.
 
Colleen McCarty  34:14
Like bro, this is stolen meat.
 
Leslie Briggs  34:16
How was that butcher suspicious? 
 
Colleen McCarty  34:17
I can't tell you how I know. But I just know, I know that.
 
Leslie Briggs  34:21
This meat has heat.
 
Colleen McCarty  34:23
It looks stolen.
 
Leslie Briggs  34:25
Somehow he knew and so once...He must have alerted the authorities because after they figured out that Caraway, this guy that took the meat to the butcher got the meat from Jim Sr. They focus their investigation on him and so he's found guilty of that. And he's sentenced to 30 years in the in the State Department of Corrections. And that's in 1989.
 
Colleen McCarty  34:47
Okay, and I'm guessing that they use his after former so as we say to enhance his sentence.
 
Leslie Briggs  34:52
That's exactly right. So it's 1989 He's going to be in jail for 30 years to your point in the 90s. He's in Fucking jail know what he's doing on all those appeals is he's trying to undo his sentences so that he can then go back to state court and say, Look, you can't say that this is after former..
 
Colleen McCarty  35:10
There's no bases for the after formers of their snow after formers.
 
Leslie Briggs  35:13
Yep, you gotta let me out. So it's like, truly clever but you know, didn't work, that plan failed, but I gotta give it to you for points for creativity.
 
Colleen McCarty  35:20
I mean, there is nothing that a jailhouse lawyer won't try.
 
Leslie Briggs  35:26
So he did, he did 17 years on that 30 year sentence, and it was released in 2007. In addition to the criminal charges that we were able to verify, through court records and legal pleadings, Jim Sr. also revealed that he engaged in illegal activity in Denver, of a specific and disturbing nature,
 
Jim Luman Sr.  35:49
practicing medicine without a license under Navy's name in Denver, Colorado. But back then it was just a misdemeanor. And I'm not going to tell you what kind of medical profession I was in. I'd tell you if you was a man a  but
 
Colleen McCarty  36:05
he was away from Jim, most of his developing years, he was away and then we know he was away on many of his shorter sentences during Jim's earlier childhood years. So we know that he was pretty much lacking a stable father figure through all of that chaos.
 
Leslie Briggs  36:24
Yeah. And I, you know, I don't mean to make light of that, because that's, I mean, that's traumatizing for a kid to lose a parent to the penal system. Yes. I just, it's just like stunning. The, I mean, he was a career criminal. So upon upon release in 2007, it sort of seems like I can't find any criminal activity. after that. It sort of seems like he aged out and retired to Kansas City, Missouri.
 
Colleen McCarty  36:47
Interesting, and then never commits a crime again, he turned himself around.
 
Leslie Briggs  36:51
Well, I looked, believe me, I scoured the surrounding states, and I found no crimes by Joe Lubin senior.
 
Colleen McCarty  36:58
Well, good job, sir. I mean, for turning your life around after you got out, yeah. But imagine growing up in such a chaotic house where all of that was going on. But we know that Jim's mom Patsy has been his longest standing, stable relationship that he's had in his whole life. And Patsy and Jim, and his sister grew up in a very small house in, you know, one of the side streets in Cleveland. And Patsy for a time owned a retail store called Purple Rain.
 
Christen  37:37
Here's Christen again, his mom Patsy did, or I believe she owned a clothing store for a little while in Cleveland called Purple Rain. And I recall them having like, things like guest jeans, like some labeled clothes or whatever. I remember he always dressed in those types of clothes, too. It's kind of it's kind of stuck out a little bit for Cleveland.
 
Leslie Briggs  38:09
We tried to contact Pat.
 
Patsy  38:11
Pat, please leave a message.
 
Leslie Briggs  38:14
Hi, Pat. My name is Les. But she didn't answer and didn't call back.
 
Colleen McCarty  38:19
We have some notes from Ember that indicate that Jim made comments about seeing his dad abused his mom.
 
Leslie Briggs  38:27
Yeah, I thought that was an interesting thing that Ember told us just that, you know, part of the cycle this whole, you know, Jim's kind of method, flowers and apology. You know, Amber kind of indicated to us that there was a moment where Pat was visiting, and Jim had recently given Amber flowers. And, you know, she had made some comments to Jim, that were like chastising in nature of like, you know, you shouldn't be doing what you're doing that kind of stuff. And Ember just remembers it is like, it seems like something that Pat had lived herself. Flowers after an abusive incident.
 
Colleen McCarty  39:03
Yeah, it was like she saw the flowers and she immediately knew that something happened, which isn't normal people's response to seeing fresh flowers in the house. Sure.
 
Leslie Briggs  39:12
Yeah. And Ember to this day, she told us she doesn't like to receive flowers because of her relationship with Jim. Both Christen and Heather, two of the survivors of Jim Luman, who you'll get to know throughout this season, told us that Jim shared stories of abuse between his mom and dad when he was growing up.
 
Christen  39:32
Jim said that he watched his mother be abused, but he watched his dad kick his mom. At some point.
 
Heather  39:40
He's told me that his dad was abusive to her in the past.
 
Leslie Briggs  39:44
Jim Sr. himself, denies that he ever laid hands on Patsy
 
Jim Luman Sr.  39:49
he called me an abuser. domestic abuser. That's what I've been married one time. Here's her number. You can call her ask her if you want to list How many hundreds Do you want? I siad  I guarantee you that any of them would open their door to me right now. I have never. Women's not made to beat on. I do not. I do not agree with that at all. In fact, I believe in putting them on the pedestal.
 
Colleen McCarty  40:20
So it is important to note that Patsy has consistently denied that Jim has ever done anything wrong.
 
Josh Kidd  40:29
His mom defends him to the to the well, probably to the death, but she defends Jim she absolutely believes that he's innocent of everything, at least at least when I spoke to her.
 
Colleen McCarty  40:41
That was Josh Kidd. Josh was a former business partner and attorney for Jim. He knew Jim and Pat when he was in practice here in Oklahoma. And then we come to Jim's older sister Cathlyn. Or as she's also known, Cathy, Cathy was much older than Jim, as we said about 12 years older, and she went on to become a lawyer. She was by all accounts that we've heard a great lawyer, she had her own practice. Jim is not a lawyer, but he's been around lawyers his whole life because of his sister. So something with Cathy that's really kind of pivotal and important is and tragic, honestly, is that she lost her life to suicide in 2006. And it's a really defining and tragic moment for this family.
 
Shannon  41:25
It was horrible on all of them. And I actually didn't find out about it till five or six days later, and I was talking with him. And he, he doesn't handle it, handle it well at all. It had a very, very big impact on him emotionally, because his sister was just old enough-- enough older than he was a she's kind of like a second mom without being that open.
 
Colleen McCarty  41:52
That was Shannon. She has been friends with Jim for more than 20 years. And she knew him. Well, when Cathy died by suicide in 2006. I mean, after what we've just heard from their family history coming from that little house in Cleveland to being an attorney, marrying a successful chiropractor having beautiful children. I think she was kind of like prized by Patsy. And the rest of the family is like, look, this is our success story.
 
Leslie Briggs  42:20
Yeah, I mean, think about that house is apparently like 800 square feet, where they grew up. And dad was in and out of jail. Mom is like running a retail shop, to make ends meet. And she goes on to become a successful lawyer with her own business, and a beautiful family. And it's like a huge, I mean, it's a tragedy that her life into the way it did.
 
Colleen McCarty  42:43
It really was. And the reason that I feel strongly about what happened with her and how sad it is, is because we have we did find this protective order that her then a strange husband filed a year before she took her own life. It's important for the listeners to get the context of what was happening in Kathy's life. Because from the outside looking in, if you're just a regular person in Cleveland, Cathy had it all. Yeah, beautiful home, beautiful family. And in 2006, like mental health wasn't what it is now.
 
Leslie Briggs  43:18
We aren't going to read the protective order into this episode. But there is one line that sticks out that I think everyone should hear. It says "My wife has a history of mental illness." I just think that's so fucking tragic.
 
Colleen McCarty  43:32
Yeah. It really is. Because I think people think if you get a good job, and you make a lot of money that you escape the generational and mental trauma that comes with growing up in poverty and growing up in abuse, and it just doesn't, it just doesn't and sometimes it makes it even worse.
 
Leslie Briggs  43:56
And the other thing about Cathlyn, too, that we haven't talked about yet is that she and Jim were running a business together in addition to her law practice, because Jim eventually goes to college and gets a degree in mortuary science. They were running the Cleveland funeral home and he's made comments to some of the women that he's been involved with about involving his own sister's body.
 
Christen  44:15
He told me that he prepared his sister's body for the funeral.
 
Karrah  44:20
And then he wanted to show me where his his dead sister lived. But before he showed me his dead says where his dead sister lived. He wanted to show me his dead sisters grave. So we went to the cemetery to see his dead sister's grave where he explained to her me that she was a she was an attorney. They had a business together. They had a funeral home together, and she killed herself, and he ended up having to he ended up having to get her body and embalm her body and prepare her funeral. and do all the funeral arrangements by himself,
 
Leslie Briggs  45:04
Colleen and I actually paid a visit to Kathy's grave. We felt that it was necessary because Jim took a number of the women to visit this headstone and told them that he wrote The epitaph himself says all the pain and grief are over, every restless, tossing past, I am now at peace forever, I am safely home at last.
 
Colleen McCarty  45:24
He kind of prides himself on having been the one to write the headstone. From what we understand, I don't know
 
Leslie Briggs  45:30
what to make of that, really, I don't know, it's unusual. And it's unusual that he's taking credit for having written it. And so this is his family environment. This is where he comes from. And these are the people who he grew up with and the people who probably know him best, I think it's pretty apparent Kathy was important to him. And that's obvious. We don't know whether he was fixated on her in some way. Or if this was a sibling rivalry, kind of a thing, or we don't know, right, but the one thing we do know is that the most constant thing in Jim's life is chaos. Once we get past, you know, his childhood and the chaos of his father in and out of prison and all of that, it becomes a chaos that he creates himself, and he forces upon other people. That's my opinion.
 
Colleen McCarty  46:17
Yeah, I think I'm not excusing the behavior. I'm trying to explain the behavior, which is sort of like what I do doesn't mean that the behavior harming other people is okay. But childhood trauma truly injures and shaped someone's brain in ways that cause very problematic behaviors. Do you truly think that someone growing up in a town like this with 2000 people made with women making $19,000, and that's adjusted for inflation, like back then probably $12,000 a year, that kind of poverty, that kind of systemic inequity happening in a community, and then you have a parent figure who's in and out of prison, it's just that that level of instability and we I would not expect this person to grow up to be a really healthy and like, proactive member of society. But at the same time, him and about a million other people in Oklahoma had that upbringing? Yeah. And not all of them are committing atrocious crime heinous every six to eight months, right. Some of them are, but not all of them. And so it does bring up this question of like, some people's brains are better at processing stress and healing from trauma and can heal from trauma faster, and they get put into environments where their relationships are truly healthy, and they heal from the things that happened to them. And other people take the things that happened to them as children, and they act those out on everybody in their life as they try to heal, what happened to them. And it just gets worse and worse and worse, until something actually intervenes and stops the behavior. It could be Yeah, what works could be a positive thing that could happen, like therapy, getting EMDR going into a like sensory deprivation tank and like your body is actually allowed to process and heal the trauma that happens to you. It's different for everybody, I think, but like, but it also could be a negative thing, like going to prison. for a really long time. If we took every person who committed systemic domestic violence over and over and over again, and we put them in prison for life, our economy would be debilitated. We would not be able to run a country. Because it's so common, because it's so many people. So many breadwinners why we don't do it. That's why we don't do it.
 
Leslie Briggs  48:58
Capitalism did this. God dammit,
 
Colleen McCarty  49:03
I should I blame capitalism. Not really.
 
Leslie Briggs  49:06
I just, I mean, but it all plays it all. It is all part of the same system.
 
Colleen McCarty  49:10
We don't care about having consequences for actions against women. Like we don't really care about women's safety and ability to live a safe life.
 
Leslie Briggs  49:23
We don't believe women either when they say they're unsafe. Like because that even just like considering that that might be the case is too much work. Let alone solving the fact that we're unsafe. I mean, like I just Yeah, I couldn't talk about this until four in the morning. And then I'll be just sad. No, I
 
Colleen McCarty  49:42
mean, that's, that's the thing is it's like we care more about putting someone away for life over a victimless crime like drugs. Yep. Then putting someone away for any amount of time for actual physical harm. Violence against a woman. Yep. And I was saying this to you two nights ago and you were like stop talking we have to put this on the pod but the idea that I could be in a bar and I could smash somebody over the head with a bottle and get probably a 15 year sentence in Oklahoma because I hit someone that I didn't know and then that I could go home into my house and do the exact same thing against my partner and get no time 30 Because that person lives with me and loves me right
 
Leslie Briggs  50:33
that these cases these cases are quote complicated and they are and we're going to see how complicated there are this season are fucking
 
Colleen McCarty  50:41
real complicated
 
Wink Burcham  50:42
could do no wrong we beat the pavement in the day and sweep the main drag all night long. We used to move along so slow, listening to the radio. Now I just go out and drink my fill, searching for the small town thrill of a Cleveland Summer Night. I know I'm gonna get it right. The big moon shining bright on a Cleveland summer night...
 
Leslie Briggs  52:00
Cleveland, Oklahoma seems like any other small town in America. But we know it's produced to prolific criminals, one proven to be much more violent than his father in a court of law. As we move through the season, I think you'll see that Jim is using these women to reach back in time trying to find those good old days that Gary told us about earlier in this episode, driving Boston Road, drinking and listening to Red Dirt music. Instead, he winds up leaving a bloody trail of destruction of women who loved him, or, at the very least trusted him. If we know anything at this point, it's that Cleveland, Oklahoma is a place where idle hands find trouble. But it's up to each individual whether that trouble will be good for the rest of the community.
 
Colleen McCarty  53:11
Next time on Panic Button, Operation Wildfire. All little boys grow up eventually. But what kind of man could leave a trail of more than a dozen known victims and yet only spent a few months in prison over a period of decades of abuse. It turns out this particular man is often described as fascinating to talk to and exceedingly charismatic. But underneath that charisma is something much more sinister. You can find links to pictures, documents and all our sources in the show notes of this episode. These cases serve as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of seeking help if you or someone you know is a victim. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local emergency number. For confidential support and resources you can reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Thank you for listening to panic button Operation Wildfire and for joining us and shedding light on the importance of ending domestic violence for good. I'm Colleen McCarty, and I'm Leslie Briggs. Panic Button is a production of Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. We're recorded at Bison and Bean studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our theme music is by GYOM. Additional editing is provided by The Wave Podcasting. Our music supervisor is Rusty Rowe. Special thanks to our interns, Kat and Allison. To learn more about Oklahoma Appleseed or donate to keep our mission of fighting for the rights and opportunities of every Oklahoman a reality go to okappleseed.org.
 

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