Danny V didn’t even acknowledge hearing me. “You’re leaving here soon, right?” he asked without any reference to my last statement. It was as if I had not said anything.
“I hope so.”
“And you know a lot of people.”
“I guess I know a lot of people, why?”
“Maybe,” he started, “Maybe you can get one of them to testify in my behalf.”
“About what?” I asked.
“About my innocence and her lying.”
“How Daniel” I began in total amazement…how would anybody I know testify to that? Are you saying you want me to ask someone I know, who, by the way, has no clue whatsoever who you are, to get on the stand and lie for you? Are you nuts? Why would anybody do that?”
“Because I didn’t do it.”
But Danny V did do it, and unfortunately it was becoming increasingly obvious to me that Danny V was a full-fledged sociopath, the kind you read about in medical books or see in movies, but you never really expect to see in the flesh.
It turned out the DA’s arrogance was predicated on the fact that he had produced two more “Asian girls” in their early 20s to testify to violence and sexual assault on Danny V’s part. They had confirmed he’d done it, or at least had been accused of it before. Danny V had a type and he was just creepy enough for anybody who met him, especially a jury, to imagine him capable of it all.
It was confirmed for me during lockdown. Danny V was looking out the cell at the TV. “So you think you can dance” was on. (Inmates, as I’ve mentioned earlier, seem to watch the strangest things, and KC, the mod worker, who by the way had control of the remote, loved the show.) The judges were talking with a pair of contestants, and the female contestant, when one of the judges would give them a good score, hugged her partner. “Wow,” Danny V screamed at the top of his lungs – which demanded my attention, though his exclamation was addressed to KC, “Did you see that?”
“What?” I heard from outside the door.
“Did you see her hug him? If my girlfriend did that, I’d be very mad.”
KC, from outside our door asked, “Why…why would you be mad if your girlfriend, a dancer, hugged her partner… I wouldn’t. You’d better think about that one, homey.”
And I don’t really know if Danny V thought about it, but I did. Here was this guy in jail, on charges of sexual assault no less, and where people are listening all the time, screaming in horror about how mad he would be if his girlfriend hugged her dance partner. It didn’t look good for Danny V when it came down to impulse control.
It made me more than a little wary of him, but that was the irony. He was weak, unsure of himself, lost, and tentative. From my standpoint, he doesn’t pose much of a threat. But I suspect that’s how they, serial killers and rapists get there. They are abused and helpless for so long the rage builds. It’s harmless in a child who can’t defend himself. But put that rage in the body of a 28-year-old man, well…Danny V is what you get.
I’ve certainly come to not feel much empathy for him, but I do understand the process. Unfortunately, the more you know about him, the creepier his mannerisms and idiosyncrasies seem to get. It’s actually sad to watch him attempt to interact on any level with the guys in the module and see them reject him.
On one occasion Danny V found a Garfield comic strip episode particularly funny. Apparently Garfield was passing a pet store and stopped in to ask for a hamster, a bird, and a Coke. The inference of course was that he was treating the pet store as a fast food restaurant. The response from the gallery, those guys from the upper tier who were on their “unlock” and therefore had crowded around the table in front of the TV just outside our door, was more like “and you find this funny because?”
I watched from behind my book as, rejected, he retreated to his bunk.
Maybe that explains his charges. He’s tired of being emasculated…by everyone. I definitely see him lashing out and I’m afraid for Danny V that the jury will also see it.
He won’t survive in prison and I’m also concerned that he has started to discuss suicidal ideation. He has started asking me questions about strategically, how to kill himself. He wanted to know if it was true that twisting the head “really fast” could sever the spine, and could he do it to himself. I suggested to him gently, that that was a bit over-the-top and he needed to fill out an inmate request form to speak with mental health, which he did immediately. (I’d love to be a fly on the wall during that interchange.)
He does seem depressed and quite introspective. Maybe he’s not as disconnected as I want to believe. The real answer, though, is that he’s not depressed about what he is alleged to have done; he’s depressed about the reality of going to prison. He knows he won’t survive there. At least he knows he won’t survive there for sixty or seventy years.
I not sure he’s going to last until the trial.