False Sense of Security

Pinkerton guards are supposed to keep criminals at bay. But sometimes, they are the criminals.

As Friday night gave in to Saturday morning, Jennifer Morey was putting up one hell of a fight.

"Please help me, I'm bleeding so much," Morey pleaded with the 911 dispatcher. "He cut my throat. I've got pressure on it, but it's spraying blood all over."

A few hours earlier, Morey, a 25-year-old lawyer, had been paying a Friday-night visit to the Ale House. Around midnight, one of her friends drove her home to the Bayou Park Apartments on Memorial Drive. The complex boasted 24-hour protection provided by an on-premises Pinkerton Security guard, and Morey, who lived alone, had chosen Bayou Park partly for that reason. She'd heard of Pinkerton; the name seemed old and strong, like Wells Fargo. It made her feel safe.

Morey went straight to bed. But around 4 a.m., she awoke with someone straddling her body and something pressing against her neck. Desperately attempting to shake off her dream state, she realized that she was about to be raped.

She tried to push the intruder off. But as her hands followed his arms toward her head, she realized that he was holding a knife to her neck. Still, she fought. During the struggle, the attacker slashed her throat, starting at her right ear then moving several inches down her neck, leaving her with a wound that looked like a second mouth. Blood poured over Morey, over her bed and over the stranger. The fight went out of her.

Grabbing Morey by her blond hair, the attacker pulled her off the bed, threw her into the bathroom and shut the door. He said that if she came out, he'd kill her. Morey, afraid he'd come for her again, placed her back against the bathroom door, slid down to the floor and, with all her remaining strength, pressed her feet against the bathtub in an attempt to keep the door shut.

Surrounded by her own blood, she was struck by the silence. Moments earlier, the apartment had been filled with noise: sounds from the struggle, her cries for help. Now the only thing she heard was the sound of a zipper. The man was zipping up his pants; she hoped that meant he was leaving.

After a few more moments that seemed like hours, she mustered the courage to leave the bathroom, afraid that she'd bleed to death otherwise. But her hands, slick with blood, couldn't grip the doorknob. Worse, she'd pressed so hard against the door that it was now jammed.

Morey laughed, an exercise of the darkest possible humor. She had fought off a would-be murderer; now she was going to bleed to death in her bathroom because she couldn't open a door that didn't even have a lock.

Finally, she pulled the door open. In the hallway, she fumbled for the lights, but when she flipped the switch, there was only darkness. She stumbled in search of the phone but, like the lights, it was dead.

She found her cell phone and dialed 911.
That night, Richard Everett was working his first shift as an emergency dispatcher. He tried to keep her calm until paramedics could arrive.

"You're doing fine," he told Morey. "Are you cut anywhere else?"
"All I know is my neck," she sobbed. Everett told her to check the rest of the body and instructed her to place a clean towel against her neck. For what seemed like forever, he tried to keep her calm, tried to keep her on the line.

After ten minutes, she told the dispatcher that someone was knocking at her door.

"Who is it? What's your name?" she yelled. A man replied, "Bryan Gibson."
Everett advised her not to open the door.
"They say it's security," she told the dispatcher.

"It's security?" Everett asked, obviously alarmed by the development. Neither the police nor the paramedics had contacted the building's security guard.

The dispatcher warned her not to open the door. It was excellent advice.

When Houston police officers arrived at the Bayou Park Apartments in the early-morning hours of April 15, 1995, they were greeted by Pinkerton Security guard Bryan Wayne Gibson.

Gibson was a mess. The 26-year-old was bleeding from his right hand. With blood on his face and his Pinkerton-issue shirt, he told the police that he, too, had been attacked, that an intruder had jumped to the ground from Morey's second-floor balcony and had wrestled with him before fleeing across a nearby field and into the darkness.

But as one of the officers shined his flashlight across the field, the dew-covered grass showed no footprints. And in Morey's apartment, police found a knife, male underwear covered in Morey's blood, and a Pinkerton Security cap.

When the officers searched Gibson, they found that he was missing his cap and underwear. Furthermore, he'd shaved his pubic hair, apparently in an attempt not to leave trace evidence at the scene of the crime. Instead of coming to Morey's door to help her, Gibson had most likely returned to retrieve his possessions -- and perhaps to finish off his victim.

Eventually, Gibson was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. But in Morey's opinion, Pinkerton Security should never have placed him in such a sensitive position.

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