When I recently read the old news that polygrapher Chet Romatowski and Oakland County Sheriff’s Sgt. William Harvey are alleged to have conspired to falsify and withhold key evidence in order to convict Melvin and George DeJesus in 1997, I felt a rage that was almost physical. Fucking Oakland County and the fucking MSP “Polish Polygrapher.” The prosecution and the cops have every advantage. And still, they cheat. https://catherinebroad.blog/2023/11/09/so-outrageous-cheating-to-win-at-any-cost-worked-for-a-time-but-now-its-gonna-cost-you-and-not-as-much-as-it-should/ . Need to convict somebody without sufficient evidence? Need someone to be released to hit the streets so they can rape more kids? Watch this.
I remembered old Chet’s name from the interview of private polygrapher Larry Wasser, so I dug that thing out and reread it. It deserves a little more scrutiny.
As the FOIA coversheet states, the interview was November 30, 2007. Wasser had evaded testifying under oath in response to an investigative subpoena in Wayne County by maintaining he just couldn’t remember the name of the man he polygraphed for a CSC case at the request of attorney Jane Burgess. He could recall that this man told him, among other things, that he had been polygraphed before–in the OCCK case, of all things. Conveniently, he had destroyed his old records–so what to do?! He and his attorney, James Feinberg, proposed a “solution”–Wasser would meet with detectives to review the few case files from Flint where Ralph Cabot was the polygrapher in the OCCK case. Hell, he may even be able to provide more details once his recollection was refreshed.
Patrick Coffey, the polygrapher who witnessed Wasser’s “excited utterance” about the OCCK case in July 2006, had already given his testimony under oath. Perjuring yourself in a murder case is a felony. * (See comment update.) Wasser had gotten what he needed–a court order forcing him to give up the name of this client (name only) so he could save face with his voodoo polygraph association, and to avoid testifying under oath. And still, when the day came to meet with detectives, he was a total asshole. Go figure.
As the transcript makes clear, the interview was videotaped. The interview is conducted by Det/Sgt Cory Williams (then with Livonia PD) and Det/Sgt Garry Gray (MSP). Son of TFF (task force failure, Robert Robertson), Det/Sgt Dave Robertson monitored the taping “from a separate location.” Your tax dollars at work.
As Wasser reviews Chris Busch’s file, he says “Yes, oh, now it’s starting to ring back. The name doesn’t mean anything to me, but the factual situation where he’s talking about him going, coming back from Europe, that rings a bell.” BLK 01125.
Being abroad rings a bell for Wasser. “But here, something else. Now I’m, you better, Cory you better not quote me. I’d be really pissed at you, because you quote me and cut it out, I would check this area out, Sanford or Hillman, is that up North?” BLK 01128.
“[B]ut my thing is, between us, and I’d deny I’m telling you this, I’d check out Sanford or Hillman . . . ” BLK 01129 “Something about north. I don’t know, shit 30 years ago, if there was any evidence up there, it’s . . .” BLK 01129.
Det. Williams reminds Wasser that he previously remembered this client of his had committed suicide. “Shortly afterwards,” says Det. Williams. BLK 01130. I assume this means shortly after the attempted private polygraph Wasser was readying to conduct with Busch. Both agree this has got to be the man Wasser told Patrick Coffey about. Continuing his charade, Wasser adds: “I, I’m, I’m the name I’ll tell you right now, Busch, I would never ever, that name would never meant anything to me.” BLK 01130.
Wasser then tells detectives that he never kept a log book of his polygraphs and that he doesn’t have old records because he’s moved a few times and is not required to keep them beyond five years. He denies the information Det. Williams had gotten that Wasser never threw anything out. BLK 1130.
At BLK 01135, Wasser denies previously telling Det. Williams something Busch said or did (it’s redacted) in his office made him think Busch was involved in the OCCK case. Wasser tells Det. Williams he must have misunderstood; no he “just had a feeling, it’s a guy, you know, doing it, being an examiner.”
At the end of the page, Wasser swears at Det. Williams. “You better not,” “I’d be really pissed at you,” “I’d deny saying this;” this is a man who is used to the cops playing ball with him. What the literal fuck?
But by page 01136 Wasser walks a little closer to the flame.
Okay. And then, okay, I asked him did you ever take a polygraph, he said yes. And I said who gave you the test. He said Michigan State Police. Now thinking, I said where’d you, oh no, then he said, I said what was it regarding. He said that Oakland, those missing kids in Oakland County, something to that affect [sic]. And I said well how’d you do. [Redacted] it and I may have asked him because I don’t know why Flint sticks in my mind, because I knew the one that did all, most of the testing was Chester [Romatowski]. Chet and I were like this and, and he knows I’m gonna deny this, if this guy had told me I killed these kids, I would’ve very quietly spoke to Chester. . . . And that would‘ve been the end of it.BLK 01136-37
After some back and forth with Wasser’s memory difficulties, Det. Williams points out: “Well he must’ve mentioned something about up north or something to you.” 01137. Wasser responds “Boy, I don’t know I, you know, something sticks in my mind about north and I don’t, I can’t put my finger on it, but I do, I would check to see where, you know, if his parents had a place there.” You mean the place attorney Jane Burgess, her husband and young son spent a weekend?
Det. Williams: Okay. Something made you inquire with Jane Burgess after this polygraph.
Wasser: No I didn’t. I told her, I said Jane I don’t know if you know that your client had taken a previous polygraph Oakland County, ah, child, ah, mult, you know, killings. So she, I think she told me she didn’t know that.
Williams: Okay, but after that, you asked about a year later.
Wasser: I, I was approx, I can’t remember. She called me about another case and this thing always stuck in my mind.
Wasser: Because there was something about this guy that was so strange. I just can’t put my finger on it. He never made any admissions to me. He, that, it was just strange about must [?] him, you know.
Det. Gray then cuts in, offering a lifeline, and that’s the end of that. BLK 01138
More bullshit at page 01139–Wasser: “But I’ll tell you this, Europe, not so much England, Europe really sticks in my mind. Boy oh boy, I’m glad I saw these notes.”
Det. Williams then asks, so how would you have gotten into a conversation with him about a trip he made in 1976? (Like maybe the trip Busch returned from just before Mark Stebbins was abducted?). Oh, you know, just talking with the guy, says Wasser.
At page 01141, more denials from Wasser–I never said that last night on the phone, Cory; “pay attention to what I said.” Sure, Larry.
Det. Williams flat out tells this deceptive gas bag: “We’re looking for your help. I want your help.” 01146.
This POS Wasser has the temerity to respond “First of all you put me through an enormous amount of grief.” YOU got yourself here, Larry. Not Patrick Coffey, not Cory Williams, not me. YOU, you lying, entitled sack of shit.
And I’m quite sure you had your polygraph association pay for whatever attorney fees Jimmy Feinberg charged you.
By page 01149 the discussion is back to Wasser throwing names of old boy MSP polygraphers around. Call retired Lt./Det. Thomas McMann who lives in Arizona now–he’ll tell you what a stand-up guy I am.
So now 13 pages after Wasser says that hypothetically (and I’ll deny it, be pissed at you, call bullshit, tell you to pay attention to my carefully parsed words) that if Busch had told him he killed kids, he would have quietly called Chet Romatowski “and that would be the end of it,” a little more truth slips out.
In seeking to bolster his argument that Busch never made any admissions to him, Wasser tells Det. Williams to call McMann because he can back this up. “[B]ecause he and I and Chet, we were tight and I told him that I had this crazy guy in my office and it just
Williams: What made you think he’s crazy, that’s what we’re trying to get at
Wasser: I don’t know. Maybe because he said something about other kids. I can’t remember.
Despite wading into this territory, moving closer to shit getting real, by page 01151 Wasser says: “Do me a favor, Cory. When we were down at the prosecutor’s office I saw an envelope, they had my name on it. Would you get my name off the God damn envelope.”
Page 01153: “Listen, I told you Cory, and I’m gonna say it again if this guy had made an admission to me that he killed somebody involved in this case, I would have dropped a dime with Chester,” and also his close friend Lt. Thomas McMann.
And oh yeah, I asked this guy what do you do for a living? “I don’t even think this guy worked.” 01160. Of course this fat, rich boy didn’t ever really work; but no, no way the name Busch means a thing to me.
And back to McMann. Wasser says he must have had a strange feeling about Busch, “Because I mentioned it to, I mentioned it to McMann. McMann at that time was really interested in, in this Oakland County thing and also when this was happening I remember discussing I had this kooky guy there and Tom said to me, bring your son down so we can fingerprint him. . . . He was 5 or 6. I remember that. 01162. I bet you do.
At page 01166, Det. Williams asks this circle-talker, this obfuscater if this client and his family are dead, what are you afraid of?
Wasser: I’m not afraid of anything. If this guy told me (unclear) if this guy told me that he kills one of these kids, fuck, I’d tell you
Gray: You’d tell ol’ Chet wouldn’t you, ol’ Chester.
Wasser: Chester would have known like that (snap fingers) and Chet, and Chester would have done it. Shit we, you don’t understand how close we all were. I mean we’d call
Interrupted by Det. Gray. 01167.
Near the end of page 01169, Gray says Chet’s living down in Florida now–“I was reading the retiree bulletin this afternoon because I’ll be one.” Wasser tells detectives that when ol’ Chet moved to Florida “he didn’t want to be bothered with anybody, he didn’t want anybody to know where he was living.” 01170. Especially process servers, I guess.
At the end of the interview, detectives ask this POS to contact them if he recalls anything that would help. “No,” he responds, “[t]here isn’t anything there because I tore up everything.” 01188. I’ll just bet you did. I hope you have thought a time or two about my 11-year-old brother over the years as you watched your son grow up.
And the final sentence goes to Wasser “Cory, can you, you need to keep my name out . . .”
Stand up guy, that Larry Wasser. In a just world the grand jury Jessica Cooper called in the OCCK case would have heard testimony from men who could help answer just how corrupt this case is. This includes everyone still living whose names are on the Flint files for Busch and Greg Greene, the names of everyone who responded to the Busch “suicide” scene and others who have kept silent. Larry Wasser, Chester Romatowski and Thomas McMann would have been put under oath. Maybe we would have gotten answers about the date Wasser had this sit down with Jane Burgess’ client and how soon afterward he wound up dead in his bedroom at his parents’ Bloomfield Village home. I say maybe because I don’t expect that these polygraphers would tell the truth about much of anything in this case. “I don’t recall.”
Oakland County would never touch such an inquiry. And Jessica Cooper would be the last person to ever make trouble for her buddies, Wasser-Feinberg-Burgess. Could the feds ever get involved before every last one of these oldsters kicks the bucket? Oh right, the FBI that helped sweep the observations of witness Doug Wilson under the rug in the summer of 1977? The FBI who has an agent in Oakland County who previously worked for the Oakland County prosecutor’s office and consistently undermined Det. Williams and sided every time with Cooper? Never mind.