At the outset of this post, I want to say that the current day Birmingham Police Department has treated us like human beings and were completely above board. It took a little getting used to. No manipulation, no deception, no alternative agenda. I would think any police agency still involved in this case would understand the need for transparency, even if there are no concrete answers. But that’s not how most of them roll.
After the offer was extended for us to view what the BPD still had on Tim’s case, one of my brothers went in on two separate afternoons to look at the files and other materials. It consisted of loose documents, a three-ring binder, a wooden tip box with file cards, three tapes and two bankers boxes. It took hours. He took notes and was allowed to take screen shots to assist us in formulating a FOIA request.
He would later summarize his notes in a six-page, single-spaced document. Most of the files had been moved to the MSP Oak Park Headquarters years before. Moved to the black hole. This was what was left behind.
What remained was depressing and disjointed. Some of it we recognized from the MSP FOIA response from over a decade before, and you will, too. One of the loose documents was a newspaper with an article about that crime-fighting whiz, assistant oakland county prosecutor Richard “No Deals” Thompson, who had acted as a drug buyer in Shane Park back in the day. There was a big photo of him in his office after his big drug bust assist. It made me ill.
The bulk of the documents involve the 1992 investigation into information provided by “confidential informant” Helen Dagner. The order of these files is not ideal and many copies are illegible. No, I don’t have better copies, no I did not attempt to enhance the copies.
I tried my hardest not to annotate or editorialize with these documents, but some of the margin notes (and any highlighter) are mine. And yes, there are redaction errors; they are really unavoidable.
I suggest reading the documents in this order so they make a little more sense:
Interview transcripts (scan pages 219-425)
Police narratives, records, etc. (scan pages 456-608)
Helen notes and handwritten letters (scan pages 90-218)
Handwritten notes, Commander Don Studt (scan pages 1-89)
Ridiculous notes and writings of unknown origin (scan pages 426-455)
Not included in the above, but related, are maps drawn by the interviewee to demonstrate to Commander Studt his photographic memory and his command of the relevant areas even 15 years after the last murder.