I was in a room with a lawyer within three hours of being booked and placed in the tank. This was of great curiosity to my fellow inmates: what sort of connections did I have? I told them I called in a favor from my employer. This was greeted with great suspicion. Some guys had been there for several days, and here I am meeting with counsel after a few hours. And I'm a shooter. Whitey gets all the breaks.
The lawyer assured me I had a wait of maybe two hours while bail was processed. I was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, not attempted murder, so Angel was pretty much putting the bail on his AmEx card. So long as I showed up in court, he'd get his money back.
Bekka threw herself at me when I came out of the release door. We'd been apart for maybe eight hours, but it felt like a month. She asked me, "Do you still want to carry a gun?" I told her that when someone is trying to shoot me, hell yes. I wouldn't --- I couldn't--- do anything different than what I'd done. If I hadn't stopped Rick, he would have gone inside. I didn't like to think of what would have happened. So yes, I protected you by using a gun. Rick would have shot Bekka out of spite, the same reason he wanted to shoot me.
I was found not guilty, the shooting was found to be in self-defense. The trial only lasted two days, and Angel's lawyer was a shark: just about everything Rick said was found to be inadmissible or irrelevant. The court didn't want to hear about mobsters shunting him off to Vegas against his will or how his job had been stolen by a twenty-one year old punk rocker.... They were concerned with what happened in that driveway on the day in question, and we were believed when we told them he shot first.
Rick's trial was also straightforward. It was determined that the defendant had a personal vendetta against Leonard Schneider, and drove from Las Vegas with the specific intent of inflicting bodily harm against him with a .25 caliber Raven automatic pistol (exhibit A). When the defendant showed up at Schneider's residence and place of work, he armed himself with the aid of witness Vincent Morelli. Defendant confronted Schneider and Morelli at Schneider's place of work and fired one shot, wounding Morelli. He swung towards Schneider, who fired four shots with a 9mm Beretta pistol (exhibit B) at the defendant, wounding him in both legs. Schneider then contacted San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
The jury deliberated six hours before returning a guilty verdict for attempted murder.
Sentence: sixteen years, eligible for parole after ten.
I didn't get off scot-free, though. I was charged with carrying a concealed weapon --- I had no excuse for wearing the shoulder holster --- and was found guilty on the say-so of the deputies who responded. Not too big a deal: one year probation and a prohibition on buying any firearms during that time. I went to the offices down on Meadowlark Ave. twice a month to check in, assure my P.O. that I was staying out of the bars and not using any guns, and that was it.
All of this went over just swimmingly with my folks. I was now their son the felonious pornographer. They couldn't wrap their minds around the fact that I'd shot a man before he had the chance to shoot me..... And he was going to shoot me. On their planet, there are no conflicts that can't be solved by talking them through. Here on earth, however....
On weekends, Bekka began spending a lot of time with the wives of Angel, Vinny, and Frankie. They offered a lot of elegance that I simply didn't know how to provide. Bekka would drive up and they'd all have lunch together someplace snooty, like on Wiltshire Boulevard. The wives loved Bekka's fashion sense, a sort of goth-y hipster sort of look, and actually began incorporating it into their own dress.
A relief to Bekka was she was able to talk about the industry freely and have people around her who understood. Two wives were former performers, and the third had worked as an editor.
They also discussed the family. They alleviated a lot of her fears about being associated with the family.
She came home one Saturday evening and told me that if I wanted to join the family, it was all right with her. She was no longer frightened of what could happen.
This is quite a shock.
I'll have to think about it.