On Saturday, October 22, 1977, University Police Chief John Kleberg placed the area of Ohio State University’s medical school under heavy police security. Armed officers patrolled the campus in cruisers and on root, and armed observers watched from rooftops. Women were warned not to walk alone, and to be cautious of men when entering their cars.
For the second time in eight days, a young woman had been kidnapped from the campus, at gunpoint, between seven and eight o clock in the morning. The first was a twenty-five-year-old optometry student, the second a twenty-four-year-old nurse. Each had been driven into the countryside, raped, made to cash checks and then robbed.
The newspapers published police photographic composites, and the public responded with hundreds of phone calls, names and descriptions—all worthless. There were no significant leads and no suspects. Tension in the university community mounted. Pressure on Chief Kleberg grew more intense as student organizations and community groups demanded the capture of the man Ohio newspapers and TV broadcasters had begun to refer to as “the Campus Rapist.”
Kleberg put Eliot Boxerbaum, the young investigations supervisor, in charge of the manhunt. A self-styled liberal, Boxerbaum had become involved in police work while attending OSU following the student disturbances that closed the campus down in 1970. After his graduation that year, he was offered a job in the university police department if he would cut his long hair and shave off his mustache. He cut his hair, but he balked at shaving his mustache. They hired him anyway.
As Boxerbaum and Kleberg examined the photographic composites and the data provided by the two victims, everything seemed to point to a single assailant: a white American male, between twenty-three and twenty-seven, weighing between 175 and 185 pounds, with brown or reddish-brown hair. Both times the man had worn a brown jogging top, jeans and white sneakers.
Carrie Dryer, the first victim, remembered that the rapist wore gloves and carried a small revolver. Occasionally his eyes drifted from side to side—the symptom of an eye condition she recognized as nystagmus. He had handcuffed her to the inside door of her car and drove her to a desolate country area, where he raped her. After the rape he told her, “If you go to the police, don’t give them my description. If I see anything in the newspaper, I’ll send someone after you.” As if to prove he meant business, he took names from her address book.
Donna West, a short, plump nurse, said her assailant carried an automatic pistol. There was something on his hands—not dirt or grease, but an oily stain of some kind. At one point he had said his name was Phil. He cursed a lot. He wore brown-tinted sunglasses, and she never saw his eyes. He took the names of relatives and warned her that if she identified him, she or someone in her family would be harmed by a “brotherhood” that would carry out his threats. She, and the police, assumed he was boasting about being part of a terrorist organization or the Mafia.
Kleberg and Boxerbaum were confused by only one significant difference in the two descriptions. The first man was described as having a full, neatly trimmed mustache. The second was described as having a three-day growth of beard but no mustache.
Boxerbaum smiled. “I guess between the first time and the second he shaved it off.”
At the Central Police Station in downtown Columbus, Detective Nikki Miller, assigned to the Sexual Assault Squad, checked in for the second shift at three o’clock. Wednesday, October 26. She had just returned from a two-week vacation in Las Vegas, feeling and looking refreshed, her tan complementing her brown eyes and feathercut sandy hair. Detective Gram-lich of the first shift told her he was transporting a young rape victim to University Hospital. Since it would be Millers case, Gramlich gave her the few details he had.
Polly Newton, a twenty-one-year-old student at Ohio State, had been abducted behind her apartment near the university campus at about eight o’clock that morning. After she parked her boyfriend’s blue Corvette, she was forced back inside and told to drive out to an isolated area in the countryside, where she was raped. Her assailant then made her drive back to Columbus to cash two checks, before having her drive him back to the campus area. Then he suggested that she cash another check, stop payment, and keep the money herself.
Because Nikki Miller had been on vacation, she hadn’t read of the university Campus Rapist or seen the composites. Detectives on the first shift filled her in on the details.
“The facts of this case,” Miller noted in her report, “are similar to those of two rape/abductions . . . being handled by the Ohio State University Police, that occurred in their jurisdiction.”
Nikki Miller and her partner, Officer A. J. Bessell, drove to University Hospital to interview Polly Newton, an auburnhaired girl.
The man who abducted her, Polly said, had told her that he was a member of the Weathermen, but that he also had another identity—as a businessman—and drove a Maserati. After Polly was treated at the hospital, she agreed to accompany Miller and Bessell to search for the place she’d been forced to drive to. But it was getting dark and she was becoming confused. She agreed to try again the following morning.
The Crime Scene Search Unit dusted her car for fingerprints. They found three partial prints with sufficient ridge detail to be used for comparison with any future suspects.
Miller and Bessell drove Polly back to the Detective Bureau to work with the department artist at making a composite drawing. Then Miller asked Polly to look through photographs of white male sex offenders. She studied three trays of mug shots, a hundred to a tray, with no success. At ten that evening, exhausted after seven hours with the police, she stopped.
At ten-fifteen the next morning, detectives of the Assault Squad morning shift picked up Polly Newton and drove her to Delaware County. In the daylight she was able to lead them to the scene of the rape, where they found 9-millimeter bullet casings near the edge of the pond. That, she told one of the detectives, was where the man had fired his gun at some beer bottles he had tossed into the water.
When they returned to headquarters, Nikki Miller had just arrived on duty. She sat Polly in a small room directly opposite the receptionists desk and brought in another tray of mug shots. She left Polly alone and shut the door.
A few minutes later, Eliot Boxerbaum arrived at the Detective Bureau with Donna West, the nurse who had been the second victim. He wanted her to go through the mug shots, too. He and Chief Kleberg had decided to keep the optometry student in reserve for a line-up identification in case the mug-shot evidence didn’t hold up in court.
Nikki Miller sat Donna West at a table in the corridor alongside the filing cabinets and brought her three trays of mug shots. “My God,” she said, “are there that many sex offenders walking the streets?” Boxerbaum and Miller waited nearby as Donna studied face after face. Looking angry and frustrated, she flipped through the photographs. She saw a face she recognized—not the man who’d raped her, but a former classmate, someone she’d seen on the street just the other day. She peeked at the back and saw he’d been arrested for indecent exposure. “Christ,” she mumbled, “you never know.”
Halfway through the tray, Donna hesitated at a picture of a handsome youth with muttonchop whiskers and dull, staring eyes. She jumped up, nearly knocking the chair over. “That’s him! That’s him! I’m positive!”
Miller had her sign her name on the back of the photograph, then got the I.D. number, checked it against the record and wrote down, “William S. Milligan.” It was an old mug shot.
She then slipped the identified photograph three quarters of the way back in a tray Polly Newton had not yet looked through. She, Boxerbaum, a detective named Brush and Officer Bessell went into the room to join Polly.
Nikki Miller felt Polly must have known they were waiting for her to pick out one of the photographs in that tray. Polly fingered the cards, flipping them carefully, and when she reached the halfway point, Miller found herself growing tense. If Polly picked out the same mug shot, they had the Campus Rapist.
Polly stopped at Milligans picture, then went past it. Miller felt the tension in her own shoulders and arms. Then Polly turned the photos back and looked again at the young man with the muttonchop whiskers. “Boy, that sure looks like him,” she said, “but I can’t say for sure.”
Boxerbaum was hesitant about filing for a warrant for Milligan’s arrest. Even though Donna West had made a positive identification, it bothered him that the picture was three years old. He wanted to wait for the fingerprint check. Detective Brush took Milligans I.D. down to the first-floor Bureau of Criminal Identification to match his fingerprints against the ones lifted from Polly’s car.
Nikki Miller was annoyed at the delay. She felt they had a good start on the man, and she wanted to go after him. But since her victim, Polly Newton, hadn’t made a positive identification, she had no alternative but to wait. Two hours later the report came up. The print of the right index finger lifted from the outside glass of the Corvette’s passenger door and the right ring finger and right palm were Milligan’s. All fair-value prints. A ten-point match. Enough to take to court.
Boxerbaum and Kleberg still hesitated. They wanted to be absolutely sure before going after a suspect and asked that an expert be called in to evaluate the prints.
Since Milligan’s prints matched those lifted from her victims car, Nikki Miller decided to go ahead and file for kidnapping, robbery and rape. She would get a warrant for his arrest, bring him in, and then Polly would be able to look at him in a lineup.
Boxerbaum checked with his chief, Kleberg, who insisted the university police should wait for the expert. Shouldn’t take more than another hour or two. Better to be certain. It was eight that evening when the outside expert agreed that the prints were Milligan’s.
Boxerbaum said, “Okay, I’ll file for kidnapping. That’s the only crime actually committed on campus—our jurisdiction. The rape happened somewhere else.” He checked out the information that had come in from the Bureau of Criminal Identification: William Stanley Milligan, a twenty-two-year-old ex-convict, had been paroled six months earlier from Ohio’s Lebanon Correctional Institution. His last-known address was 933 Spring Street, Lancaster, Ohio.
Miller called for a SWAT team, and they assembled in the Assault Squad office to plan the approach. They had to find out how many people were in the apartment with Milligan. Two of the rape victims had reported him saying he was a terrorist and a hit man, and he had fired a gun in Polly’s presence. They had to assume he was armed and dangerous.
Officer Craig of the SWAT team suggested a gimmick approach. He would use a dummy Dominos pizza box, pretending someone from that address had ordered it, and when Milligan opened the door, Craig would try to look inside. They agreed to the plan. .
But ever since the address had come through, Boxerbaum had been puzzled. Why would an ex-convict come forty-five miles, all the way from Lancaster to Columbus, three times within two weeks to commit rape? Something wasn’t right. As they were about to leave, he picked up the phone, dialed 411 and asked if there was a new fisting on a William Milligan. He listened for a moment and then jotted down the address.
“He’s moved, to 5673 Old Livingston Avenue, in Reynoldsburg,” Boxerbaum announced. “Ten minutes away by car. On the east side. Now, that makes more sense.”
Everyone looked relieved.
At nine o’clock Boxerbaum, Kleberg, Miller, Bessell and four officers from the Columbus SWAT team set out in three cars at twenty miles an hour on the freeway, their headlights bouncing back off the densest fog any of them had ever seen.
The SWAT team got there first. What should have been a fifteen-minute drive had taken an hour, and then it took another fifteen minutes to find the right address in the winding, newly laid-out street of the Channingway apartment complex. While they waited for the others to arrive, the SWAT officers spoke to some of the neighbors. There were lights on in the Milligan apartment.
When the detectives and university officers arrived, they all took positions. Nikki Miller hid out of sight on the right-hand side of the patio. Bessell went around the comer of the building. The remaining three SWAT officers took up positions on the other side. Boxerbaum and Kleberg ran around back and moved up to the double sliding glass doors.
Craig took the dummy Domino s pizza box out of the trunk of his car and scrawled on it, “Milligan—5673 Old Livingston,” with a black marking pen. He pulled his shirttail out of his jeans to cover his revolver and walked casually to one of the four doors facing the patio. He rang the bell. No answer. He rang again and, hearing a noise inside, struck a bored pose, one hand holding up the pizza box and the other on his hip near his gun.
From his position behind the house, Boxerbaum saw a young man sitting in a brown easy chair in front of a large color TV set. To the left of the front door, he saw a red chair. An L-shaped living room/dining room. No one else in view. The TV watcher got up from the chair and went to answer the front doorbell.
When Craig rang the doorbell again, he saw someone peer at him through the glass panel beside the door. The door opened and a handsome young man stared at him.
“I got your pizza.”
“I didn’t order no pizza.”
Craig tried to look past him into the apartment and could see Boxerbaum through the open drapes at the rear glass doors.
“It’s the address I got. For William Milligan. That your name?”
“Somebody from here phoned the order,” Craig said. “Who are you?”
“This is my friend’s apartment.”
“Where’s your friend?”
“He ain’t here right now.” He spoke in a dull, halting voice.
“Weil, where is he? Somebody ordered this pizza. Bill Milligan. This address.”
“I don’t know. The people next door know him. Maybe they can tell ya, or maybe they ordered it.”
“Would you show me?”
The young man nodded, walked to the door a few steps across from his own, knocked, and waited a few seconds and knocked again. There was no answer.
Craig dropped the pizza box, pulled his gun and pressed it into the back of the suspect’s head. “Freeze! I know you’re Milligan!” He snapped handcuffs on him.
The young man looked dazed. “What’s this for? I didn’t do nothing.”
Craig jabbed the gun between his shoulder blades, pulling Milligans long hair as if yanking on reins. “Lets get back inside.”
As Craig pushed him into the apartment, the other SWAT officers stormed in around him, guns leveled. Boxerbaum and Kleberg came around front to join them.
Nikki Miller had the I.D. picture out, showing a mole on Milligans neck. “He’s got the mole. Same face. Its him.”
They put Milligan in the red chair, and she noticed he stared straight ahead with a dazed, trancelike expression. Sergeant Dempsey bent and looked under the chair. “Here’s the gun,” he said, sliding it out with a pencil. “Nine-millimeter magnum. Smith and Wesson.”
A SWAT officer turned over the seat of the brown chair in front of the TV set and started to pick up a bullet clip and a plastic bag with ammunition, but Dempsey stopped him. ‘Hold it. We’ve got an arrest warrant, not a search warrant.” He turned to Milligan. “You want to let us go ahead and search?”
Milligan just stared blankly.
Kleberg, knowing he didn’t need a search warrant to check whether anyone else was in the other rooms, wandered into the bedroom and saw the brown jogging suit on the unmade bed. The place was a mess, laundry strewn all over the floor. He glanced inside the open walk-in closet, and there on the shelf neatly stacked, were credit cards belonging to Donna West and Carrie Dryer. Even scraps of paper taken from the women. The brown-tinted sunglasses and a wallet lay on the dresser.
He went to tell Boxerbaum what he’d seen, and found him in a dinette that had been converted into an artist’s studio.
“Look at this.” Boxerbaum pointed to a large painting of what seemed to be a queen or an eighteenth-century aristocratic lady dressed in a blue gown with lace trim, sitting beside a piano and holding sheet music. The detail was amazing, it was signed “Milligan.”
“Hey, that’s beautiful,” Kleberg said. He glanced at the other canvases lined up against the wall, the brushes, the tubes of paint.
Boxerbaum slapped his forehead. “The stains Donna West said he had on his hand. That’s what they were. He’d been painting.”
Nikki Miller, who had also seen the painting, came up to the suspect, still sitting in the chair. “You’re Milligan, aren t you?” He looked up at her, dazed. “No,” he mumbled. ^
“That’s a beautiful painting over there. Did you paint it?” He nodded.
“Well,” she said, smiling, “its signed ‘Milligan.’” Boxerbaum walked up to Milligan. “Bill, I’m Eliot Boxerbaum of the OSU police. Will you talk to me?”
No response. There was no sign of the eye-drifting Carrie Dryer had noticed. ^
“Has anyone read him his rights?” No one answered, so Boxerbaum pulled out his rights card and read it aloud. He wanted to be sure. “You’re accused of kidnapping those girls from the campus, Bill. Do you want to talk about it?”
Milligan looked up, shocked. “What’s goin on? Did I hurt anybody?”
“You told them other people would come after them. Who are they?” ^
“I hope I didn’t hurt anybody.”
As an officer headed into the bedroom, Milligan glanced up. “Don’t kick that box in there. You’ll blow it up.”
“A bomb?” Kleberg asked quickly.
“It’s … in there …”
“Will you show me?” Boxerbaum asked.
Milligan got up slowly and walked to the bedroom. He stopped at the door and nodded in the direction of a small carton on the floor beside the dresser. Kleberg stayed with Milligan while Boxerbaum went inside to look. The other officers crowded behind Milligan in the doorway. Boxerbaum kneeled beside the box. Through the open top flap he could see wires and what looked like a clock.
He backed out of the room and said to Sergeant Dempsey, “You’d better call the fire department bomb squad. Kleberg and I are going back to the station. We’ll take Milligan in.” Kleberg drove the university police car. Rockwell, from the SWAT team, sat beside him. Boxerbaum sat in back with Milligan, who didn’t respond to questions about the rapes. He just leaned forward, awkward because of the handcuffs at his back, and mumbled disconnected remarks: “My brother Stuart is dead . . . Did I hurt anyone?” ^
“Did you know anjj of the girls?” Boxerbaum asked. “Did you know the nurse? ’
“My mothers a nurse,” Milligan mumbled.
“Tell me why you went to the OSU campus area for your victims.”
“The Germans are going to come after me …”
“Lets talk about what happened, Bill. Was it the nurses long black hair that attracted you?”
Milligan looked at him. “You’re strange.” Then, staring again, he said, “My sisters gonna hate me when she finds out. ’ Boxerbaum gave up.
They arrived at the Central Police Station and took their prisoner in through the back entrance up to the third-floor processing room. Boxerbaum and Kleberg went into another office to help Nikki Miller prepare the affidavits for the search warrants.
At eleven-thirty Officer Bessell read Milligan his rights again and asked if he would sign the waiver. Milligan just stared.
Nikki Miller heard Bessell say, “Listen, Bill, you raped three women and we want to know about it.”
“Did I do that?” Milligan asked. “Did I hurt anyone? If I hurt someone, I’m sorry.”
After that, Milligan sat mute.
Bessell took him to the fourth floor slating room to get him fingerprinted and photographed.
A uniformed policewoman looked up as they entered. Bessell grabbed Milligan’s hand to begin the fingerprinting, but the prisoner jerked back suddenly, as if terrified to be touched by him, and moved behind the policewoman for protection.
“He’s scared about something,” she said. Turning to the white-faced, trembling youth, she spoke softly, as if to a child: “We’ve got to take your prints. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I—I don’t want him to touch me.”
“All right,” she said. “I’ll do it. Is that okay?”
Milligan nodded and let her fingerprint him. After the fingerprinting and photographing, an officer led him away to a holding cell.
When the search warrant forms were completed, Nikki Miller phoned Judge West. Hearing the evidence she had, and considering the urgency of the matter, he told her to come to his home, and at one-twenty that morning he signed the warrants.
Miller drove back to the Channingway apartment complex through the fog, which had gotten even worse.
Miller than phoned the mobile Crime Scene Search Unit. At two-fifteen, when they arrived at the apartment, she presented the warrants and they made the search. They listed the items removed from the suspects apartment:
dresser—cash $343.00, sunglasses, handcuffs and key, wallet, I.D. for William Simms and William Milligan, charge slip to Donna West.
closet—Master Charge cards to Donna West and Carrie Dryer, Clinic Card for Donna West, photograph of Polly Newton, .25 calibre [Tanfoglio Giuseppe] A.R.M.I. [sic] automatic pistol with five live rounds.
vanity—3 1/2 x 11 piece of paper with name and address of Polly Newton. Page from her address book.
headboard—Switchblade knife, two packets of powder.
chest of drawers—phone bill for Milligan, S & W holster.
under red chair—Smith & Wesson 9mm with clip and six live rounds.
under seat of brown chair—clip with fifteen live rounds and a plastic bag containing fifteen live rounds.
Back at the Central Police Station, Nikki Miller took the evidence to the clerk of courts, had it notarized and turned it over to the property room.
“There’s enough here to go to trial with,” she said.
Milligan cringed in the corner of the tiny cell, shaking violently. Suddenly, after a slight choking sound, he fainted. A minute later, he opened his eyes and stared around in astonishment at the walls, the toilet, the bunk.
“Oh God, no!” he shouted. “Not again!”
He sat on the floor, staring dully into space. Then he saw cockroaches in the corner and his expression blanked and changed. Crossing his legs, he hunched up close, his chin cupped in his hands, and smiled childishly as he studied them running in circles.
Milligan was awake a few hours later when they came to transfer him. He was handcuffed to a huge black man in a line of prisoners, which was led out of the lobby, down the stairs and out the back door to the parking area. They marched to the van bound for the Franklin County Jail.
The van drove to the center of the Columbus shopping area, to a futuristic fortress in the heart of the city. Its concrete walls jutted up two stories at an inward slope, massive and window-less. Above the second story, it loomed upward as a modem office building. The patio of the Franklin County Jail was presided over by a statue of Benjamin Franklin.
The van turned into an alleyway behind the jail and paused in front of the corrugated-steel garage door. From this angle, the jail stood in the shadow of the taller building it was attached to—the Franklin County Hall of Justice.
The steel door cranked upward. The van drove in and the door came down behind it. The handcuffed prisoners were led out of the van into the sally port, the area between the two steel drop doors beside the prison—that is, all except one. Milligan had slipped out of the handcuffs and was still in the van.
“Get down outta there, Milligan!” the officer shouted. “You goddamned sonofabitchin’ rapist. What do you think is going on here?”
The black man to whom Milligan had been manacled said, “I didn’t have nothin’ to do with it. I swears to God he just flipped ’em off.”
The jail door hissed open, and the six prisoners were herded into the passageway between the outer door and the barred area. Through the bars they could see the control center—TV monitors, computer terminals and dozens of officers, men and women in gray trousers or skirts and black shirts. When the outer door closed behind them, the inner barred gate opened and they were led inside.
The lobby was filled with black shirts moving around and the sound of computer terminal typewriters. At the entranceway, a woman officer held up a manila envelope. “Valuables,” she said. “Rings, watches, jewelry, wallet.” When Milligan emptied his pockets, she took his jacket, searching the lining before turning it over to the property room officer.
He was frisked again, more carefully, by the young officer, and then put into a holding cell with the other prisoners, waiting to be slated and booked. Eyes peered through the small square window. The black man nudged Milligan and said, “Ah guess you is the famous one. You got outta them cuffs. Now lets see y’all get us outta here.”
Milligan looked at him blankly.
“You just keep messin’ with these po-lice,” he said, “they’s gonna beat you to death. You c’n jus’ take my word, ’cause I been in the joint many times. You evah been locked up?” Milligan nodded. “That’s why I don’t like it That’s why I like to leave.”
When the phone rang in the public defenders office, a block away from the jail, Gary Schweickart, the tall, bearded, thirty-three-year-old supervising attorney, was trying to light his pipe. The call was from Ron Redmond, one of the staff attorneys.
“I picked something up while I was in municipal court,” Redmond said. “The police booked the Campus Rapist last night, and they’ve just moved him to the Franklin County Jail. They’re holding him on half a million dollars’ bond. You ought to get someone down there to do some first-aid counseling.” “There’s no one else here right now, Ron. I’m holding the fort myself.”
“Well, the word’s out, and there’ll be reporters from the Citizen-Journal and the Dispatch crawling all over the place. I’ve got a feeling the police are going to pressure the guy.”
In major felony cases, in which it was likely the police might continue their investigation post-arrest, Gary Schweickart routinely chose an attorney at random to send down to the county jail. But this was no routine arrest. The wide media attention given the Campus Rapist made the breaking of this case a major coup for the Columbus police department, and Schweickart assumed they’d be hounding the prisoner for a statement or a confession. It was going to take a major effort to protect his rights.
Schweickart decided to slip over to the Franklin County Jail. Just a few words with the man to introduce himself as a public defender and to warn him not to talk to anyone but his attorney.
Schweickart was admitted to the county jail in time to see two police officers bring Milligan in through the sally port and turn him over to the sergeant in charge. Schweickart asked the officer to let him talk briefly with the prisoner.
“I don’t know anything about what they say I did,” Milligan whined. “I don’t remember. They just came in and—”
“Look, I just wanted to introduce myself,” Schweickart said. “A crowded hallway isn’t the place to go into the facts of the case. We’ll have a private conference in a day or so.”
“But I don’t remember. They found those things in my apartment and—”
“Hey, don’t go into it! The walls around here have ears. And when they’ve got you upstairs, be careful. The police have lots of tricks. Don’t talk to anyone. Even other prisoners. Some of them could be plants. There are always guys around waiting to pick up information to sell to somebody. If you want a fair trial, keep your mouth shut.”
Milligan kept shaking his head and rubbing his cheek, trying to talk about the facts of the case. Then he mumbled, “Plead me not guilty. I think I may be crazy.”
“We’ll see,” Schweickart said, “but we can’t talk about it here.”
“Is there a lady lawyer who could handle my case?”
“We’ve got a lady lawyer. I’ll see what I can do.” Schweickart watched as the officer took Milligan to change from his street clothes to the blue jump suit worn by all felons in the county jail. It was going to be difficult to work with a panicky bundle of nerves like this guy. He wasn’t really denying the crimes. All he was saying, over and over, was that he didn’t remember. That was unusual. But the Campus Rapist pleading insanity? Schweickart could guess what a field day the newspapers would have with that.
Outside the Franklin County Jail, he bought a Columbus Dispatch and saw the front-page headline:
Police Arrest Suspect in Campus-Area Rapes
The story reported that one of the victims, a twenty-six-year-old graduate student raped almost two weeks earlier, would be asked to view a police line-up to identify’ the suspect. And there at the top of the story was a mug shot labeled “Milligan.” Back in the public defender’s office, Schweickart called the other area newspapers and asked them not to run the photograph because it might prejudice the line-up on Monday. They turned him down. If they got the picture, they said, they’d run it. Schweickart scratched his beard with the bit of his pipe, then started to phone his wife to say he’d be late for dinner.
“Hey,” came a voice from the door of his office, “you look like a bear caught with his nose in a beehive.”
He looked up and saw the smiling face of Judy Stevenson. “Oh, yeah?” he growled, hanging up the receiver and smiling back. “Well, guess who asked for you?”
She brushed her long brunette hair back out of her face, revealing the beauty mark on her left cheekbone. Her hazel eyes questioned.
He pushed the newspaper toward her, pointed to the photograph and the headline, and his deep laugh filled the small office. “The line-up is Monday morning. Milligan asked for a lady lawyer. You’ve got the Campus Rapist.”
Judy Stevenson arrived at the police line-up at a quarter to ten Monday morning, October 31, and when they brought Milligan to the holding cell, she saw how frightened and desperate he looked.
“I’m from the public defenders office,” she said. “Gary Schweickart said you wanted a woman lawyer, so he and I will be working together. Now, just settle down. You look as if you’re going to fall apart.”
He handed her a folded paper. “My parole officer brought me this Friday.”
She uncreased it and saw it was an “Order to Hold” from the Adult Parole Authority, to keep Milligan in custody and to inform him that a preliminary hearing on a parole violation would be held in the Franklin County Jail. Because the police had discovered weapons at his home during his arrest, she realized, his parole could be revoked and he could be immediately sent back to Lebanon prison near Cincinnati to await trial.
“The hearing is a week from this Wednesday. We’ll see what we can do to keep you here. I’d rather have you in Columbus, where we can talk with you.”
“I don’t want to go back to Lebanon.”
“Now, just take it easy.” .
“I don’t remember doing any of the things they said I did.” “We’ll have a conference later. Right now you’ve just got to go up on that platform and stand there. You think you can handle that?”
“I guess so.”
“Brush your hair out of your face so they’ll be able to see you clearly.”
The police officer led him up the steps to join the others in the line, and he was placed in the number 2 position.
Four people were present at the line-up to make identification. Donna West, the nurse who had identified his mug shot, had been told she wasn’t needed and had gone off to Cleveland with her fianc6. Cynthia Mendoza, a Kroger store clerk who cashed one of the checks, did not identify Milligan. She picked number 3 instead. A woman who had been sexually assaulted in August under very different circumstances said she thought it might be number 2 but she wasn’t positive. Carrie Dryer said without the mustache she couldn’t be sure, but number 2 did look familiar. Polly Newton made positive identification.
On November 3, the grand jury handed down an indictment on three counts of kidnapping, three counts of aggravated robbery and four counts of rape. All were first-degree felony charges, punishable by prison terms of four to twenty-five years on each count.
The prosecutor’s office rarely got involved in assigning attorneys—even in major murder cases. The normal procedure was for the head of the Felony Division to assign one of the senior prosecutors two or three weeks in advance, by random selection. But County Prosecutor George Smith called in two of his top senior prosecutors and told them that the publicity surrounding the Campus Rapist case had stirred public outrage. He wanted them to handle the case and to prosecute vigorously.
Terry Sherman, thirty-two, with curly black hair and a fierce, guardman’s mustache, had a reputation for coming down hard on sex offenders and boasted that he had never lost a rape case before a jury. When he looked at the file, he laughed. “It’s a locked case. The warrants were good. We’ve got this guy. The public defenders have nothing.”
Bernard Zalig Yavitch, a thirty-five-year-old member of the prosecutors criminal-trial staff, had been two years ahead of Judy Stevenson and Gary Schweickart in law school and knew them well. Gary had been his law clerk. Yavitch had practiced law for four years as a public defender before coming to the prosecutor’s office. He agreed with Sherman that it was as good a case for the prosecution as he had ever seen.
“As good?” said Sherman. “With all the physical evidence, the fingerprints, the identification, we’ve got it all. I tell you, they’ve got nothing.”
Sherman talked to Judy a few days later and decided to set her straight. “There won’t be any plea-bargaining on the Milligan case. We’ve got the guy and we’re going for a conviction and the maximum sentence. You don’t have anything.”
But Bemie Yavitch was thoughtful. As a former public defender, he knew what he would do if he were in Judy and Gary’s position. “There’s still one thing they’ve got left—an insanity plea.”
The following day William Milligan tried to kill himself by smashing his head into his cell wall.
“He’s not going to live long enough to stand trial,” Gary Schweickart said to Judy Stevenson when he got the news.
“I don’t think he’s competent to stand trial,” she said. “I think we should tell the judge we feel he is incapable of assisting in his own defense.”
“You want him examined by a shrink?”
“We’ve got to.”
“Oh my God,” Gary said. “I can see the headlines now.” “The hell with the headlines. There’s something wrong with this boy. I don’t know what it is, but you’ve seen how different he appears at different times. And when he says he doesn’t remember the rapes, I believe him. He should be examined.” “And who pays for it?”
“We’ve got funds,” she said.
“Oh, come on, we can afford to have him tested by a psychologist.”
“Tell it to the judge,” Gary grumbled.
When the court agreed to a delay so that William Milligan could be examined by a psychologist, Gary Schweickart then turned his attention to the on-site hearing by the Adult Parole Authority at eight-thirty Wednesday morning.
“They’re going to send me back to Lebanon,” Milligan said. “Not if we can help it,” Gary said.
“They found guns in my apartment. And that was one of the conditions of my parole. ‘Never purchase, own, possess, use or have under your control a deadly weapon or firearm.’”
“Well, maybe,” Gary said. “But if we’re going to defend you, we want you here in Columbus, where we can work with you, not off in Lebanon prison.”
“What are you gonna do?”
“Just leave it to me.”
Gary saw Milligan s smile, the excitement in his eyes he had not seen before. He was relaxed, easygoing, trading jokes in an almost light-hearted way. A very different person from that bundle of nerves he’d met the first day. It might be a lot easier to defend him than he’d thought.
“That’s it,” Gary told him. “Keep cool.”
He led Milligan into the conference room, where members of the Adult Parole Authority were already passing around copies of a report by Milligan’s parole officer and testimony of Sergeant Dempsey that during Milligan’s arrest he had found a 9-millimeter Smith and Wesson and a .25-caliber semiautomatic with a clip of five bullets.
“Tell me, gentlemen,” Schweickart asked, rubbing his beard with his knuckles, “have these weapons been test-fired?” “No,” said the chairman, “but they’re genuine guns, with clips.”
“If they have not been shown capable of propelling ballistics, what makes them guns?”
“Well, the test-firing won’t be done until next week.”
Gary slammed his open hand on the table. “But I insist you make your decision about his parole revocation today or else wait until after the court hearing. Now, is this a gun or is it a toy? You haven’t proven to me that this thing is a gun.” He looked around from one to the other.
The chairman nodded. “Gentlemen, I believe we have no alternative but to postpone the parole revocation until we determine whether or not this is a gun.”
At ten-fifty the following morning, Milligan’s parole officer delivered a notice that a parole revocation hearing would be held on December 12, 1977, at the Lebanon Correctional Institution. Milligan’s presence was not required.
Judy went to see Milligan about the evidence the Crime Scene Search Unit had found in his apartment.
She saw the despair in his eyes when he said, “You think I did it. Don’t you?’
“Its not what I think that counts, Billy. Its all this evidence weve got to deal with. We’ve got to review your explanation for having all this stuff in your possession.”
She saw the glazed stare. He seemed to be retreating from her, drawing back into himself.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Nothing matters anymore.” The next day she got a letter written on lined yellow legal paper:
Dear Miss Judy,
I am writing this letter because sometimes I can’t say what I feel and I want you more than anything to understand.
First of all I want to thank you for everything you have done for me. You are a kind, sweet person and you did your best. That’s all anyone can ask.
Now you will be able to forget about me with a clear conscience. Tell your office that I don’t want any lawyers. I won’t need one.
Now that you believe I am guilty, I must be. All I ever wanted to know, is for sure. All my life all I ever have done is cause pain and hurt the ones I love. The bad part is, I can’t stop it because I can’t help it. Locking me away in a prison will make me worse, like it did the last time. The shrinks don’t know what to do because they can’t figure out what is wrong.
I will now have to stop myself. I am giving up. I just don’t care anymore. Would you do one last thing for me? Call Mom or Kathy and tell them not to come up here anymore. I don’t want to see anyone again, so don’t waste their gas. But I do love them and I am sorry. Your the best lawyer I know and I’ll always remember you for being kind to me. Goodbye.
That evening the desk sergeant called Schweickart at home. “Your client tried to kill himself again.”
“Oh my God! What’d he do?”
“Well, you’re not going to believe this, but we’ve got to press charges against him for destroying county property. He shattered the toilet bowl in his cell and slashed his wrists with a sharp piece of porcelain.”
“I’ll tell you something else, counselor. There’s definitely something strange about your client. He smashed the bowl with his fist.”
Schweickart and Stevenson ignored Milligans letter firing them and visited him in prison daily. The public defenders office released funds to pay for a psychological evaluation, and on January 8 and 13, 1978, Dr. Willis C. Driscoll, a clinical psychologist, administered a battery of tests.
The intelligence tests showed Milligans IQ to be 68, but Driscoll stated that Milligan’s depression had lowered his score. His report diagnosed acute schizophrenia.
He is suffering from a major loss of identity such that his ego boundaries are very poorly defined. He is experiencing schizophrenic loss of distance and has a very restricted capacity to differentiate between self and his environment. … He hears voices that tell him to do things and yell and scream at him when he does not comply. Milligan expresses his belief that these voices are from people who have come from hell to torment him. He also speaks of good people who periodically invade his body in order to combat the bad people. … In my opinion, Mr. Milligan is not capable at present, of counseling in his own behalf. He is not capable of establishing adequate contact with reality to understand events that are transpiring. I strongly urge this man to be hospitalized for further examination and possible treatment.
The first legal skirmish came on January 19, when Stevenson and Schweickart presented the report to Judge Jay C. Flowers as evidence that their client could not assist in his own defense. Flowers said he would issue an order for Southwest Community Mental Health Center in Columbus to assign its forensic psychiatry unit to examine the defendant. Gary and Judy were worried, since Southwest was usually on the side of the prosecution.
Gary insisted that whatever came out during the examination by Southwest be privileged information, not to be used against their client under any circumstances. Sherman and Yavitch disagreed. The public defenders threatened to tell Milligan not to speak with the psychologists and psychiatrists from Southwest. Judge Flowers came close to declaring them in contempt.
They came to a compromise when the prosecutors agreed that only if Milligan took the stand in his own defense would they question him about anything incriminating he might have said to the court-appointed psychologists. A partial victory was better than nothing. The public defenders finally decided to gamble and allow Southwest’s forensic psychiatric unit to interview William Milligan on those terms.
“Its a good try,” Sherman said, laughing, as they walked out of Judge Flowers’ chambers. “Shows how desperate you guys are getting. But its not going to do you any good. I still say this case is locked.”
To prevent future suicide attempts, the sheriff’s office moved Milligan to a single cell in the infirmary range and put him in a strait jacket. Later that afternoon, Russ Hill, the medic, checking on the prisoner, couldn’t believe what he saw. He called Sergeant Willis, the officer in charge of the three-to-eleven shift, and pointed at Milligan through the bars. Willis’ mouth gaped. Milligan had removed his strait jacket and, using it as a pillow, was fast asleep.