Guide Grab the Devils Tail : Confessions of a Convict Turned Police Informant

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His romance with a beautiful model ends tragically when a Toronto Metro policeman shoots her 'accidentally'. Upon his release Patrick launches into a crime spree that ends with him being charged with multiple crimes. He skips bail and hides in a remote work camp north-eastern British Columbia. He is recaptured and while awaiting a court hearing in Calgary he masterminds a daring escape, steals a car and begins a cross-Canada crime spree with an increasingly dangerous fellow escapee. They are recaptured and both sent to Dorchester Penitentiary where his dangerous fellow escapee plots to have him killed.

I went, I went crazy. She sensed him watching her closely — every tremor on a face she tried hard to make into a mask. More than once, he would stop his account to ask her what her expression meant. Nothing, she said. She pressed him to keep going. He said he strangled Josephine Vargas. He said he strangled Martha Anaya. Near the end of their seventh hour, Trapp asked him why he had left Cano out of his account of the killings.

His story began to shift, incorporating Cano but only as a passive observer. Gordon had planned to take the blame if they ever got caught. The conversation was a quietly protracted struggle for advantage, and she knew the outcome would be shaped by intonations, micro-expressions and her moment-to-moment ability to improvise skillfully. If she breathed too hard, he seemed to notice and clam up. He was sensitive to the slightest sign of judgment. You have no evidence. She said she would dig for them personally, even if she was only able to find bones.

But she needed his help. Gordon described a relationship with Cano that was not just protective but violently possessive. Once again, he denied that Cano had helped to murder Estepp. Finally, in the middle of their ninth hour, Gordon said he would tell her everything she wanted to know, on the condition he could see Cano.

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The 10th hour, time for dinner. She had Panda Express brought in.

They ate together. And just like, took everything I did for granted.


This was an important breakthrough, but they were only partway there. She thought the key to breaking Gordon might be his relationship with his co-defendant. Gordon loved Cano more than Cano loved Gordon. Trapp thought that would devastate Gordon. She liked it. She thought it might work. Gordon stared into empty space as if crestfallen, and seemed to withdraw deeper and deeper into his blanket. The silence stretched for more than a minute, and Trapp knew better than to fill it. Finally Gordon cleared his throat, and as their 11th hour turned into the 12th, his love for Cano seemed to curdle before her eyes into rage and hate, and when he began to speak again, she knew the room was finally hers.

Now, in his account, he and Cano were collaborating partners in a series of abductions, rapes, murders and cleanup jobs that grew more methodical and sophisticated as they progressed. They would cruise Anaheim and Santa Ana in search of sex from prostitutes. They knew women would be reluctant to get into a car if they saw two men inside, so one man would drive while the other hid in the back seat.

All of the women cried and begged; some spoke of their kids. He said Cano would strip the bodies and clip the nails and throw the bodies away. They chose the evening of trash pickups to do their work. It was late.

Grab the Devil's Tail Confessions of a Convict Turned Police Informant

The nightly fireworks above Disney had boomed and faded. As the 13th hour began, she stepped into a hallway full of cops eager to congratulate her. She brushed past them toward the bathroom. All day she had fought against emotion, bottled up every feeling that might threaten to flicker across her face. But now she stood at the mirror, her makeup gruesome under the sudden flood of tears.

She was heading back into the interrogation room when the FBI agent stopped her.

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Take a few minutes. When she returned, her face clear, she conveyed no impression of the toll the interview had taken on her.

What went wrong? But right now Trapp was thinking about how to recover the bodies of the missing women — a logistical nightmare, but at least she knew enough to get started. And she was thinking about something else Gordon had said — something she had tried hard not to react to. He had mentioned a fifth victim, a woman who had vanished so completely it had drawn no law enforcement notice at all. The mountain grew relentlessly, 7, tons of garbage hauled up the switchbacks every day to be unloaded and crushed and pulverized.

Matter dissolved into its atoms, urged along by science, and the mountain grew. Julissa Trapp thought it was possible, just maybe possible, to do what she and her partner had come for: Find the bodies of four murdered women they believed were buried somewhere on the acre site. The landfill engineers performed careful calculations, and told police where they would need to look. The bodies were probably somewhere within a three-acre range in a northwest section, 18 to 25 feet deep.


With growing dismay, Trapp watched the choreographed dance of the big machines — the unloading trucks, the shoveling dozers, the crushing tractors with steel-spiked wheels, all mobilized for war against inconceivable volumes of trash. Finding a single bone would be an extreme long shot. The FBI said it had had no luck in similar efforts.

And because nobody could be absolutely sure the women were here, they might have to search a second landfill 60 miles away. There would be no dig. For Trapp, finding the women was about more than collecting evidence. She wanted to return them to their mothers. As trial approached in State vs. Steven Gordon in late , a schoolteacher friend invited Trapp to speak to her second-grade class in Riverside County. It was a welcome distraction from the grimness ahead.

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To find the cookie thief, they had to follow clues — crumbs and mouse prints. She explained that her job was like that. She was a police officer, and a certain kind of police officer known as a detective, and a certain kind of detective who helped when people had died. She caught bad people. The second-graders wanted to know: Had she ever arrested anyone? Had she used her gun on anyone?

Was she afraid of the bad people? There was a strange symmetry to it. She had been talking to a room full of students when her buzzing cellphone drew her into the case more than two years earlier. Back in Orange County, pretrial motions were underway. Gordon was charged with four rapes and murders, though only one body had been found. As lead detective, Trapp would sit at the prosecution table next to Assistant Dist. The real question was how bizarre the trial would become, with an erratic and furious defendant determined to represent himself and driven by a logic only he grasped.

Steven Gordon the murderer might have wanted punishment, but Steven Gordon the lawyer wanted to punish the justice system he had long raged against.