continued "It's not just San Diego police," he says. "This probably would have happened in Portland, in Seattle too. How many crimes are really getting solved, based on good old shoe leather? I bet if you do a statistical trace on it, the majority of crimes are being solved by 'tipsters.' Somebody calls and says, 'The guy you're looking for is in room 32, Motel 6, on La Mesa Boulevard.' And that's why the police are so interested in working with shows like America's Most Wanted, because it looks like they're really doing something, but really, they're just waiting for someone to call. I don't know what you call that. I guess it's the way they gotta do their business. Me, I'd want to get out and do something."
* * *
"Okay. Here's another problem," John Stevens says after we've crossed the road. We're at the entrance to La Jolla Pacific Apartments. "One of the anomalies of this investigation was that the police released the crime scene so early. They overlooked [David's] telephone caller-ID box."
Apparently, while examining David's room later on the day he was murdered, the police failed to identify the caller-ID apparatus. It was two more months before his family noticed the box. They found it while going through the personal effects from David's apartment that the police had released to them. They played it and discovered that someone had called David an hour before he died.
A telephone number is posted on a sign at the doorway. We're looking at the entrance phone. Trigon Model 100. "When you use this intercom, it shows up on the caller-ID box as belonging to the La Jolla Pacific Apartments," says Stevens. "[On David's caller- ID records] we saw an incoming call recorded at 3:05 a.m. We backtracked it through the apartment manager to this phone here. So we know someone dialed this phone at 3:05 a.m. They would have had to call Dave. Dialed his three digits...'Hey, Dave, I'm here, open up!' He'd have buzzed and let them in. To have had that information up front and not two months down the line could have been crucial."
David's LeBaron would have been parked in the number 12 space in the ground-level garage. Even that, Stevens says, is significant. "Twelve is against the wall back there. The [day after David's murder], the family was here. They discovered an approximately one-gallon gas can empty in a brown bag in space number 11. They brought it to the police's attention, but to this day we don't know really what happened. Is it connected? I don't know."
And this is the other main beef Stevens has with the SDPD, and specifically Homicide Team 3, with Sgt. Martin in charge of the case Stevens claims the police leave the victim's family in the dark.
"They don't call Gerald. Period. This is a big thing missing from San Diego Homicide. Call it the 'bedside manner.' I think you can do wonders with a little PR. Just be nice, even if you don't want to be nice. I don't want to tell you anything, so I just have a junior detective call you up and say, 'Everything's going okay, don't worry...' A little of the public relations stuff makes us all feel good. And that gets back to why I'm so damned angry wherever I go with law enforcement -- and I know it gets me in trouble -- they don't have to be nice if they don't want to. Who's going to do anything? Everyone's always apprehensive about speaking against the police, about doing anything because 'Oh, my God, we might be obstructing justice, or interfering with an investigation.' So they've got you every way you go! And guess what? Nothing gets done.
"Gerald spoke with Sergeant Martin about taking a look at the burned-out car. We wanted to see it so we could photograph it.... Just look it over. Gerald was told in no uncertain terms, 'No. You can't see it.'"
Gerald Stevens, who John Stevens says is paying his expenses for this trip, held out high hopes for a Crime-Stoppers segment on David's murder to be played on local television. It never happened, despite Gerald's $10,000 reward for information on his son's murder. When AmericaUs Most Wanted did a segment on David's case, John Stevens says Gerald waited in vain to hear from Sgt. Martin about the response from tip-giving viewers.
"Here is the problem that we have with Mr. [Gerald] Stevens," says Sgt. Martin. "I shared information with him, and asked him not to share it with the press, and then he did share it with the press. [He and John Stevens] got on [KOGO talk] radio and said that I hadn't told them anything, which wasn't true. I pretty much kept him up to date on everything. And then he wanted to know every little detail, and I told him I wasn't going to tell every little detail. Because it would compromise the investigation. Because every time he gets a little bit of information, he puts it out to the public. And that's going to impact our ability to -- if and when we get a suspect -- complete the investigation and go forward with a prosecution."
Martin says he never had committed to staging a reenactment for a local Crime-Stoppers show. "We did not do a reenactment and we never said we were going to do a reenactment, particularly in light of the fact we had the AmericaUs Most Wanted thing. We don't do a reenactment of every murder. And the reality is, what are you going to reenact? A burning car? We have footage of a burning car, and that's already been shown on television, several times. There have been several press releases. It's been publicized rather well."
He says AmericaUs Most Wanted generated about 30 telephone responses. "But there wasn't anything to tell the family. One or two tips appeared to have something to them, but we didn't come up with anything. A lot of people called up and said, 'Why don't you look at the bar next door [Dancers, near Perfect Match]? Why don't you look in the gay community?' 'Talk to his boss.' All were things that we had pretty much done. But there really wasn't anything of real substance.