Murder, Sex and Reportage
Alright, my little plan to wrap up this monstrosity has been foiled by none other than Jim Greenhill himself. Check out the comment below the "Someone Has To Die Tonight, Again" post (it's below Mutha Fuka's little ADHD outburst). He says I made a little mistake. Specifically, he says he never talked about killing his parents or his wife.
Such a minor issue, really. I mean, haven't we ALL talked killing our parents or our wife (or husband) at one time or another? The key thing is that you not actually do it. Still, I should clarify why I wrote what I did. And it segues nicely into the Dateline show I mentioned yesterday.
In that two-hour fiasco of incredibly compelling television that aired in 2002, Jim talked about his own homicidal fantasies and attraction to Kevin Foster, who he was interviewing on Florida's Death Row. Was it sexual? Well, Jim's wife, Carol Huser, seemed to think so. Morrison asked her: "Was your husband falling for a psychopath?"
"I think what you're looking at here is the dark side of falling in love," was part of her answer.
When he wasn't visiting Kevin, Jim was writing the sociopathic killer numerous letters. He read one on the Dateline show in which he told Kevin, "I wish you were out. I was born at the wrong time in the wrong place. It'd be awesome, though, if I could pick up the phone and say 'Hey, bro, I've got some ideas for tonight. Let's go get it on. They ain't seen nothing.'"
He's talking about going out and killing people with Kevin Foster. On the Dateline show, Morrison talked of a letter Jim wrote Kevin "about a violent dream he had just had. In it, Jim walked into a Victorian house and slaughtered everyone inside."
The video then cut to Jim jogging through the woods, a recurring image in the show, while he read the letter he wrote to Kevin.
"Mr. GREENHILL: (Voiceover) I have, vividly, killed every single person in the house in their beds. I am going to escape, scot-free. Here's the kicker, I do not experience this as a nightmare. It is just a dream.
MORRISON: (Voiceover) This was something Kevin seemingly wished to explore. 'What if you could pull three or four capitol cases in one day with no chance of getting caught,' he wrote. 'What if you could get away with murder?' And this was Jim's reply: Murder would excite him, sexually.
(Photo of Kevin; Greenhill reading letters)
Mr. GREENHILL: There's a quivering in my crotch. I stare down there, involuntarily, just contemplating the question and I am quickly aroused. But it's more than that.
(Voiceover) I feel something in my arms, in my hands, in my chest, in my whole body, and I recognize it as adrenaline. It's so strong. I actually have a slight tremor at first, my pulse increases, my breaths shorten. Most interesting to me, I am about as fully aware of all around me, the light, the breeze, the feel of life, as I ever get.
(Greenhill jogging through the woods)
Mr. GREENHILL: Now this is not normal, bro. I know it ain't. I have lived with it and repressed it and pretended it isn't there since before my teens. And the only person I've ever told is you.
Okay, that's where I got the stuff about his parents. I mean, he's talking about walking into a Victorian house and killing everyone inside. Jim grew up in a Victorian house in England. And while he's reading the letter, they showed pictures of his childhood. That's the way I remembered it. If I was wrong about it, I apologize.
Now, where did I get the stuff about Jim talking about killing his wife? Well, here's what Morrison says of how Carol Huser became a central figure in Jim and Kevin's ongoing fantasy talk:
"Jim never told Kevin about his wife. It was Kevin's mother who found out and told her son, who, furious, demanded an explanation. He got it. Privately, far from his wife's domain at the morgue, Jim told Kevin that his was a loveless marriage. 'She who must be obeyed,' as he called her, was oblivious to the secrets the two were sharing. She was authoritarian, possessive, rigid and corporate. Jim spent hours complaining about her. It was as though Jim wanted to tell Kevin all, as though it were liberating."
Morrison's words were voiced over on a scene where Jim and his wife are cooking and eating dinner in their house. Blissful Americana -- then they threw in a picture of Kevin's hornery face.
Then it gets good and sick. Here's the excerpt from the show from which I extrapolated that Jim had spoken to Kevin about killing his wife:
MORRISON: What did [Kevin Foster] want to do to your wife?
Mr. GREENHILL: (Voiceover) He--he said that if I would like it, he would like to go into the morgue and conduct a live autopsy on her and perform sexual acts on her.
(Person wheeling corpse in morgue)
MORRISON: On your wife?
Mr. GREENHILL: Yes.
MORRISON: What did you do when he said that?
Mr. GREENHILL: I actually didn't react.
MORRISON: What did you think?
Mr. GREENHILL: Sick. Very sick. That's what I thought.
MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jim still liked Kevin. Kevin was his friend. But these were concrete plans for real murder. This was not abstract fantasy anymore.
I don't know. Sounds like they talked about it. Or maybe Jim just listened. Either way, I'm pretty sure I wasn't wrong.
In the middle of all this murder talk, Kevin and Jim start talking about dispatching witnesses in the murder case against Foster. Remember, he killed Mark Schwebes, the band director at Riverdale High School in Lee County. Shot him on his porch while his cohorts watched. Why? Because they thought Schwebes was going to report them for trying to burn down the school's auditorium. Another excerpt from the show:
"MORRISON: Kevin told him another secret, even darker. This was not something that had happened. This was something that was going to happen, a plan. Jim says Kevin wanted to silence those who betrayed him after that murder. He wanted to punish them, especially his former best friend, Chris Burnett, the first to hand Kevin over to authorities. But how could Kevin do it from the depths of death row?
Did you go out and buy guns?
(Jail; photo of men; photo of Burnett; photos of Kevin and Burnett)
Mr. GREENHILL: Yes.
MORRISON: Did you tell Kevin you would be willing to kill another human being?
Mr. GREENHILL: Yes.
MORRISON: Did you tell Kevin that you would probably find some sexual satisfaction from killing another human being?
Mr. GREENHILL: Yes, I did.
MORRISON: (Voiceover) Here was a reporter who was writing letters of fantasy about killing, saying he was a downtrodden husband, confessing violent dreams, a follower with a loaded gun. Did Kevin believe he'd groomed the perfect accomplice? Was Jim ready for murder?"
Apparently not. Jim went to the State Attorney's Office and worked up a case against Kevin and his mother, Ruby Foster, instead. Ruby was Jim's point person for carrying off the murders. Jim wore a wire and excerpts of the tapes were played on Dateline.
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) Well, I'm going to kill Burnett first, because he's going to be the trouble. Torrone and--and Young are not going to--they're not going to be the same kit...
RUBY: (From audio tape) Why are you not getting Lesh?
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) Because Ke--because Kevin doesn't think that Lesh can testify.
RUBY: (From audio tape) But Kevin will get him later?
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) That's what Kevin said.
RUBY: (From audio tape) I don't care if you have to dig for them, you won't leave shells.
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) OK. you got it.
RUBY: (From audio tape) You swear to me you won't leave shells.
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) I absolutely promise. God--I swear to God.
MORRISON: (Voiceover) She also told Jim to sprinkle a powerful chemical on the bodies.
(Photos of Ruby and Kevin)
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) See, that's because...
RUBY: (From audio tape) Did he tell you about you getting a bag of lye, lime?
Mr. GREENHILL: (From audio tape) No, he didn't.
RUBY: (From audio tape) You do that, then the animals won't come and bother the hole and won't dig it up.
MORRISON: (Voiceover) And so the deal was done. The crime reporter had turned partner in crime.
After this part, they showed Jim aiming a gun. Are you following this? Are you seeing how insane this became?
Here's how Dateline ended its show:
"MORRISON: (Voiceover) Jim has guns now all over his house, and always within reach, just in case Kevin tries somehow to seek revenge. He expects that one day he'll hear that Kevin has been executed for the murder of a teacher named Mark Schwebes. Jim opposes the death penalty, but in his fantasy world he would like to be there the moment they pull the switch on Kevin, not for revenge, not for anger, but for friendship. (Greenhill working; gun; jail cells; Greenhill boating)"
You can look at everything and decide what you think. One thing that is certain is that all of this Jim did in service of the book he was writing.
Oh yeah, the book. I almost forgot. And the Army. Can't forget that either.
(My deepest apologies, but this beast will not die. Tomorrow will conclude SHTDT).
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.