Barbara Opel, Jerry, Barbara discussed on Scene Of the Crime
I'm happy to say that you know. This is a happy story where she is a breast cancer survivor. And so yeah. But but i can only imagine that conversation on that you know setting that up on that airplane ride. What am i going to say to my dad. Because you know we all know roles reverse right many cases with your parents sometimes and those are hard conversations dads in this tough spot of being in between right so he's trying to take care of his mom but he needs to be taken care of and you know his family lives out of state. There's nobody there to to do that. Caretaking for him right and so sometimes it. Is that face to face conversation with your loved one where you can you know does have an impact craig than walks into this horrific scene like what is going on. Yeah well jerry hyman. His dad was born in north dakota in nineteen thirty seven. He moved to washington as a kid. Graduated from rogers. High school in spokane. According to the obituary published in the everett herald. He joined the minute man program soon. After promising to commit eight years of service to the army reserves in exchange for college tuition he went on to work at boeing. For most of his adult life he got married and had four kids three boys and one little girl he liked to fish and camp and he had a cabin where he would often host family. Gatherings jerry wasn't perfect he was married and divorced four times but even his ex wife mary lou. Cannon had been married to him for seventeen years before their divorce said later that jerry was a kind and generous man and that even after they split up she still loved him in two thousand. Jerry was living with his elderly mother. Evelyn home in everett. It was a big two story house with four bedrooms. More than enough room for the two adults and jerry was going through this really difficult period in his life about six months earlier. He'd been diagnosed with terminal cancer and he'd consider treatment but he was worried about how he would take care of his mother. If he was in chemo and then barely able to take care of himself. Evelyn suffered from alzheimer's she needed round the clock. Care for everything from bathing. Feeding and jerry was a devoted son. He didn't wanna put her in a nursing home. He wasn't sure how much time she had left and he said he really wanted to be lucid and coherent in her final days. He wanted to have mom close to him at home where we can make sure she was getting the best possible care so when he met a woman named barbara opel who offered to help him care for his mother in exchange for a place to stay. They must've seemed like a real ideal situation. Not only would barbara be able to help with mom but she had three children and our oldest daughter who was thirteen would also be able to help with some of the chores around the house and kind of the babysitting grandma when the adults were busy in so many of our cases. Can we talk about the vulnerable woman. Being stopped by a predator right and it is absolutely being set up as jerry is is seemed so vulnerable. Oh absolutely meeting barbara opel. I mean he was just probably like. Oh my gosh thank you. And there's so many unsung heroes who are caregivers and who do come in and like help the family i feel like we're setting that you set this up. That barbara is not one of those people. She is certainly not now for the story. This week we spoke with burl barer. Who has an impressively long resume. Including being the host of one of the very first true crime podcasts. True crime uncensored. He's also a published author with many true crime books under his belt. Including mommy said. Kill which is about the murder of jerry. Hyman hooper caregiver whose mother and barbara gives a great sales pitch of why it should be heard. She's got his wonderful fourteen year old daughter and he hires her and she and her daughter boob. Into jerry's house aaron everett and he's taken care of grandma and everything's delightful jury however has cast a bizarrely. Taking care of himself is their focus. More on his mother take care of her so in exchange for taking care of evelyn. Barbara opel her thirteen year old daughter. Heather her eleven year old son. Derek and her seven-year-old daughter tiffany would get to live at jerry's house rent-free according to an article in the new york daily news. The family hadn't had a stable home in years. They lived in twenty two different places over seven years. So that's like three places a year including living in their car part of the time. They benefited from different apartments nearly a dozen times for not paying the rent so getting to live in a real home where they wouldn't be kicked out for failing to pay. That must have felt like a godsend for them as well. And based on your description you know we can only imagine what these kids have been through and her youngest is seven years old eleven years old and i think that to set this up. you know. we're going to be wondering why there's something called the trauma bond but when we first started working with the podcast. I'd never heard that term before. And so i was looking it up on medical news. Today and a trauma bond is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abuse person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who abuses them. The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person. A barbara opel. right totally. See where somebody might say. Here's this single mom with three young kids trying so hard to make ends meet. She just can't catch a break. I mean i could see where somebody might have some sympathy for this person. We'll kids are so bonded to their mother. And so anyway. This is that there's the cycle reinforced cycles of abuse. Followed by remorse. Stockholm syndrome is one type of trauma. Bonding as an example. So i think that these kids are ripe to be the definition of trauma bonded indoctrinated into this lifestyle that she has set up now. Jerry was in the process of selling his home in everett. Not sure why you know. Maybe he needed the cash to pay for medical expenses but he planned on renting a home nearby and said there would still be plenty of room for barbara and her family as well. So he's still taking care of all of these people and having so many kids. I know with you. You feel responsibility. It seems like that's personality. Where he says care for everyone right. Yeah right so few months later the whole crew moved into this. Two story rented house jerry. His mom and barbara had bedrooms on the main floor. While the three kids lived in the basement. Barbara not only helps with caring for grandma by this time. She's also taking care of most of the household business like paying the bills and she's using jerry's checkbook to do it with his permission so they've gotten to be fast friends pretty quickly. I mean she's really just taking over everything. So jerry can focus on taking care of his own health which could be an ideal situation if it weren't barbara opel right now. Ever it is not a small town by any means. It's home to a large boeing factory. Where geri spent much of his career but in a way has that small town feel so as an example. According to his family. Jerry had helped to build a local softball field and just so happened. It was the field where barbara's thirteen year old daughter would play. So we've talked about this before when you come from the same community or the same small town. There's that feeling familiarity. Even though you don't really know the person you sort of feel like you know where they're coming from. There's a kinship. A familiarity. that's there. I think that jerry would absolutely have that but barbara opel and her children. They've moved around so much. I'm sure the daughter yearn for these kids. Probably yearned for that. Yeah you know. In the fact that he again showing. What a giver. He is that he's a part of building this park for kids. You know he's a really giving person yes and thirteen year. Old heather by all accounts was a pretty exceptional kid. Despite being raised by barbara opel brew young lady. Very great student basketball player. The mother drove everybody nuts. 'cause she'd scream at your kids basketball games you know but the ways you do this better. You'll give your bedtime as far as other was absurd. Anything to please her. Mother mother was quite volatile and so it was like keep balmy happy. We don't want mommy yelling. You know bomb says we do even if bomb says kill was he did. I think we've all known these parents not the mom who says kill but like the parent. Who's on the sidelines. Like screaming at the wrath. And you wonder. What does that person like at home behind. Closed doors when there aren't a bunch of people watching. Yeah i mean. It is really hard to watch. I will say i mean i have to say. I do love rooting for my kids. Sporting event woman route is different. Ryan like rules at events. You feel their unwritten rules where you know. How much did you cheer. But i think that it is so uncomfortable watching another parent scream at their kids. It's a helpless feeling. I always want to go and support that kid or kid like say. You're not a bad king. You i know because they would probably be punished later for it by parent. Barbara seems like exactly the type of person who would do that. Exactly in the spring of two thousand one barbara hatches this plan because jerry has given her access to his bank account. She knows he has about forty thousand dollars in there from the sale of his old house. So she can just get rid of jerry. That money could be hers but how to do it. Her daughter heather who has now turned fourteen. Had apparently just broken up with a boyfriend and it's unclear if it was heather's idea or her mother's but heather gets involved with a guy who they've heard has ties with a local gang a guy named jeff grote. She picks up his kid. Who he's like seventy and with her mother's approval see takes them back to their place and has sex with it was on purpose or the encouraged to do this and when the kid comes out of the bedroom he had sex with for two year old daughter. Does the mother way to talk to. She's not there to talk to them about safe sex. She's due to talk to about murder. You know stupid my daughter do me a favor murder by employer barbeque. Even say like i'm it's like. This woman goes so far out into left field of like what were the mom is like ushering her. Fourteen year old to sleep with the seventeen year old and then after that it's almost like a transaction that's part of the transactional situation but she's so young. She doesn't understand that she's being used by her mother. And so many levels barbara opel was the kind of woman who wasn't just overbearing her own children but apparently she was like with most people much charismatic. in a charming way but she always a domineering. Wait a very forceful personality. Was woman stern woman. Lot of energy binder presentation and it was always says goes plus. They told the young man jerry to who wanted to kill had been very abusive to which wasn't true but they painted this story of poor little fourteen year old. Heather legal would just have sex with good persecuted by jerry which wasn't true it all. It was very nicely but she created the scenario. We're going to get him you know. And besides we're gonna get a bunch of money. What would you like to buy with the money. We're going to get barbara offered to buy her daughter at dirt bike and offer to help jeff by car if they'd help her. Get rid of jerry. It sounds like jeff might have been a little reluctant to actually murder someone. According to court records he suggested that maybe just beating him up really bad would be enough to get him to stop abusing the kids but barbara insisted no he needs to be killed. So we're talking about a mom manipulating others to kill this man for her. And we've seen this so many times that cult of personality. I would put barbara on par with a cult leader and individual. That has a way of preying on the vulnerable and manipulating them to do their bidding. I mean that's why you can see how convincing she would be to the seventeen year old kid like yeah you know. He's totally abusing my daughter. And you have to do this and but another question that i'm always grappling with is. What is the price of a human life when it comes to these investigations. I think normal people would say priceless. What early there is a price. Jagmeet i in in some of the podcasts. That i've listened to the lowest was like five hundred dollars taking of a human life for five hundred dollars but there has been a study on this topic and the average for a contract. Killing is fifteen thousand dollars. I mean the price of a sedan of you sedan. Is that really what a human life is worth. And in this case it was a dirt bike and a and they wouldn't even get that as it would turn out so jeff decides. He is going to need some help to do this. So he contacts couple of his friends and heather enlists the help her fourteen year. Old best friend is well. On friday april thirteenth. It was friday the thirteenth. This whole crew lays in wait five teenagers and barbara barbara and the two girls stayed downstairs with the two younger kids. By the way the seven and eleven year old are down there in the basement as well to keep them out of the way. She leaves the boys on the main floor. One of them had a metal baseball bat. The other two had smaller souvenir bats like you'd get from seattle mariners. Game jury comes home and he's immediately attacked with baseball. Bats you guys are paying. You know better wells. He's hit the back of the head with baseball. Bat falls to the ground and kicked him. they're hitting with the baseball bat. Heather delivers the dacuda garage. So to speak she comes running up the stairs for the basement. Where for mothers gotta do cheerleading. You know go get him gives and she comes up with a knife and stabs him several times. So there's quite dead. Her best friend who is downstairs in the basic israel upset wants to run away in barbara grabs. Just how you run away with. Your best friend is upstairs kill it. Somebody you know is would be supportive and what fourteen year. Old girl is going to know how to handle that situation. And it's it's so unreal that this is actually happening. It's like we want to understand the motives or or the reasoning but there isn't any real reasoning or at least not any hints reactions to it again going back to that cult of personality trauma bond. And there's a group of kids who are doing this act. Altogether later on one of these kids would say they. Investigators asked him. Why did you take part in this if you weren't comfortable with it. You didn't really want to do it. Why did you do it. And he would say well they just kept asking me so i did it to get them to stop asking the. That's the mentality of a of a kid. Well i think you know. Sometimes that is and we. I think we asked these same questions when we did the wallowing episode where imam manipulated. And it's amazing. How lord of the flies things can happen. And it's unexplainable later but at the time it's like a the the vibe of everything is just so it's almost inevitable whether you help or not. You may as well help. I mean i think that. That's maybe the mindset. Yeah so we're going to jump ahead one week now to the night. That jerry son arrives from arkansas. He is coming all this way. Try and talk to his dad and to getting treatment for cancer. But jerry's a no show at the airport. Greg takes that shuttle finds the house dark. The door is locked. There's no sign of anybody inside. He goes around to the side of the house finds a window cracked and is able to climb in through the window and he finds his eighty nine year old grandmother sitting in a wheelchair in the kitchen. At the kitchen table there's blood splattered on her chair and on her nightgown she's clearly not been taken care of for quite a while. She's barely coherent and she had bits of newspaper in her mouth. Apparently she was so hungry. That you've been eating paper to stay alive and greg. I mean he's in a panic grim. Of course she can't explain what's going on. She's nonverbal and his dad is just nowhere to be found. This was kind of middle of the night when he arrived and so the next morning he went out searching all over the place including going to several bars in the area that he knows his dad. Like to hang out at jerry's body would eventually be found on the tulalip indian reservation. It had been covered in acid wrapped in bedsheets than dumped in a secluded area with all the evidence left at the scene of the crime. It didn't take long for investigators to put the pieces together. The live in caregiver. Barbara opel just up and vanished along with her kids the same time that jerry was found murdered and his elderly mother was abandoned but when they arrested barbara she told a very different story about what went down in that house. According to her jerry was a drunk who would get abusive with her her daughter even her daughters friends and i was able to get a copy of the interview conducted by police or at least parts of it. There are some bits missing. But at one point barbara tells investigators that heather's friend. Miriam was harassed by jerry on a regular basis including yelling at her one night about a week before the murder fain have fan names.