By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
What felt like hide-and-seek shifted into creepy I'm-standing-at-the-gas-station-at-the-corner-and-I'm-going-to-kill-you calls. Ilhan stopped wanting to know where Marc was and started warning him that he was going to die. After a few threats, Marc realized that Ilhan wasn't joking and called 911. The police wrote "threat to life" in the logbook, but there's no report of any further investigation, and the tape has been recorded over.
A few weeks later Marc was at Heaven dancing to the best club music in town. Marc loved to dance -- that's how he and Donna first became friends -- and years before he had won tickets to the Thrillertour in Laredo's "Dance Like Michael Jackson" contest. Marc was grooving to disco music on the dance floor, surrounded by walls covered in video screens. Ilhan followed Marc into the dark concrete club and told Marc he wanted him to come home. Marc wanted to dance. Ilhan started screaming at Marc and attacked him. Ilhan was escorted out of the club. Marc and his friends filed a report to a moonlighting HPD officer. The officer wrote down their driver's license numbers, but HPD has no record of the report. Officials told Ed and Gloria it must have been destroyed months later in a fire at the club.
One burly bouncer pulling him out of a club didn't yank Ilhan out of Marc's life. Ilhan kept calling and following and finding Marc. Feeling hunted, Marc lived out of his car, crashing at different friends' houses each night so Ilhan wouldn't know where he was. Marc kept moving. A few weeks after the Heaven disturbance, Marc was at another friend's garage apartment on Driscoll Street when Ilhan stormed into her apartment and started threatening to kill both her and Marc. After they told him to leave, Ilhan stood outside throwing rocks at the window, according to the police report. At 4:29 a.m. Marc called the police.
According to police reports, Marc told the officers that he and Ilhan had lived together for almost a year but that Marc had moved out six weeks before and Ilhan had been harassing him, trying to get him to move back in ever since. Marc mentioned the earlier threats and the Heaven disturbance, and an officer jotted them down. Marc wanted Ilhan to be given a trespass citation, something official and formal that would make him go away. When the cops arrived, Ilhan had left the window, but he was still circling the neighborhood driving past the apartment, watching. At the corner stop sign an officer pulled Ilhan over for a routine traffic check. Ilhan told the officer that while he was vacationing in Turkey, Marc had stolen a check and made it out to himself. Ilhan said he was just trying to get his money back. (Marc's family says Ilhan had told Marc to forge the check to pay some bills.) Ilhan handed over documents from Compass Bank showing that a forgery had occurred. Ilhan had proof, documentation, evidence -- all Marc had was fear and a witness who saw and heard Ilhan threaten Marc's life. The officer could have issued a warrant for Ilhan's arrest for making terroristic threats; instead he dismissed the trespassing and threat-to-life accusations and pursued the forgery. On the report filed, Marc switched from being the complainant to being the suspect.
Marc started working at Urbana, a trendy Montrose restaurant with mosaic-stained glass doors, when it opened in September 1997. He was a good waiter who cared about food and asked the chef all the right questions about how the entrées were prepared. Like most gay guys, Marc had a crazy ex-boyfriend story that made everyone laugh. But Marc's psycho ex wasn't just a staff anecdote -- he was a regular. Even when Marc wasn't there, Ilhan ate at Urbana two or three times a week, leaving $20 tips.
Ilhan quit school and started delivering pizzas for Papa John's. That schedule meshed with his main activity: driving around town searching for Marc. In his Prelude with tinted windows, Ilhan followed a regular route past all of Marc's friends' houses, JR's, Pacific Street, the movie theater and Urbana, anywhere he thought Marc might be. He wanted to know where Marc was at all times; he wanted to know why Marc wasn't with him. "We ran into Ilhan all the time," remembers Marc's friend (and fellow Urbana waiter) Johnny Hooks. "He was a constant presence. He was always hovering in the background."
Ilhan broke into Marc's car (his grandmother's 1987 off-white Oldsmobile) three times. Once he smashed the back window and stole Marc's new brown leather jacket. In the pocket was Marc's psoriasis medicine, and Ilhan wouldn't give it back. Another time Ilhan stole Marc's books so he couldn't go to school. The last time, Ilhan took Marc's Compaq computer out of the back of the car. Marc's parents told him to go get that computer -- they had paid for it. Marc did. Ilhan called the police and reported the burglary. According to a late-November police report, Ilhan told the officer that he and Marc had been lovers until he threw Marc out. Ilhan admitted that Marc hadn't taken anything that didn't belong to him, but Marc had broken the new lock Ilhan had installed. The officers encouraged Ilhan three times to file charges.