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Stories by Stephen Meyer

You can run but you cannot hide (at least not in Tijuana)

Was James Gibson tortured by Mexican police?

When two Mexican police officers and two FBI agents showed up at his beachfront Playas de Tijuana apartment on October 17, James Gibson had reason to suspect that his attempt to start a new life ...

The Butcher Shop — Las Vegas glitz and mafia aura

Big beef in Mission Valley

Roberto DePhilippis, the owner of the Butcher Shop Steak House, got very angry one night last spring. In fact he had been seething since November of 1985, when his landlord, the Plaza International Hotel in ...

SDSU athletic director suffers ignominy

The fall of Mary Alice Hill

At 11:00 a.m. on July 24, 1985, a day one local writer called “Black and Blue Wednesday,” San Diego State University athletic director Mary Alice Hill abruptly fired two staff members and severed the contract ...

Mystery of the Gypsy Song

Boat never makes it from Guatemala to San Diego

It's the fourth of July at 6:30 a.m., and we’re driving down the twenty-seven-mile highway between Tapachula and Puerto Madero. the southernmost port on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Ken Franke, a retired Coast Guard captain and ...

San Diego Padres vs. the Union and the Tribune

Foul territory

"Sports writers have tremendous penis envy" says San Diego Padres catcher Terry Kennedy. “They're envious of our position, and they’re envious of our salaries. Every time they write about us, they rip us.” Kennedy, though ...

Al Ducheny fights the old guard — Chunky Sanchez, Rachel Ortiz, Jess Haro

Bad blood in Barrio Logan

As Alvin Ducheny and I roll through Barrio Logan in his dirty white Mercury Lynx, I ask him. “Why do so many people hate your guts, Al? You’d think you were a Communist or something.” ...

Willam Rust and the early troubles of USIU

Tales out of school

"We announce a building, and most campuses are announcing four or five, and that’s expansion?' exclaims William C. Rust. The president of United States International University was understandably touchy at the suggestion that the Scripps ...

How Walter and Alex Gutierrez duped everyone

The million-dollar duck head

Read part one of this two-part story. On February 21, 1985, assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Hayes was invited by Michael and Peggy duPont to attend a meeting at the office of their attorney, James Lorenz. ...

Point Loma's Michael and Peggy duPont scammed and accused of scam

Would you invest a million dollars in this hunk of concrete?

In September of 1979, Michael duPont met two extraordinary men named Walter and Alex Gutierrez. DuPont, whose great-great-grandfather was the founder of the E.I. duPont chemical company in Wilmington, Delaware, felt destiny breathing down his ...

The Long Trial of Ron Mix

Did the former football hero do anything wrong, or was he merely an innocent victim?

Those who know Mix find it hard to believe he is capable of wrongdoing; one attorney says, “He’s known for paying attention to the little guy. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about him.”

So You Want to Be a Doctor

Don't be surprised if UCSD School of Medicine turns you down.

"The pre-med nerd sits in the front row in his classes and asks questions all the time to display his knowledge;' explains Hu. "Usually he already knows the answer. He takes furious notes and carries a tape recorder."

Title to Trouble

The Gagosian mansion is a multimillion-dollar monument to the egos of wealthy and flamboyant men. It is also bad luck.

150 miles an hour on a bicycle

The calculated risk

Phone call. Long distance. Late one night in September. “John,” said a female voice John Howard recognized as that of his ex-wife in Houston. “I’ve been having these dreams, John.” “Dreams?” “Bad dreams. Dreams that ...

Why we even have the San Diego Historical Society

This is the way it was

On the morning of December 15, 1878 jailer George Nickel at the San Diego County Jail on Third Street inserted a key into the cell door of Jose Laguna, a.k.a. Ramon. Through the barred window ...

San Diego probation officers stretch themselves

The last chance

Three-thirty Friday afternoon. Gloria, a twenty-three-year-old drug addict convicted on two counts of grand theft, appears unexpectedly to see deputy probation officer Sherri Necochea at the East County Regional Center in El Cajon. One of ...

Anything for a Laugh

In 1980 psychologist Peter Grant owned a $750,000 home on Mt. Soledad. He had a thriving practice in La Jolla that brought him more than $200,000 a year. He regularly drew 200 to 300 people ...

Valley — where bad kids in Escondido are sent

Hard times high school

When he was fourteen years old, Robert Bertheola had an unusual sense of humor. One day he went into a bank in Los Angeles and placed a piece of paper before the teller that read, ...

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