Deadly Charades: Double Lives, Extortion and the Suicide of a Respected Professor

A respected A&M prof with secrets to hide commits suicide and implicates his alleged blackmailer in a case where no one was really who he or she seemed to be.

One of the electricians started CPR; the other called for an ambulance. Heart attack, they figured. Aune was still alive when the ambulance shuttled him to the hospital, a block and a half away. He died approximately 40 minutes later.

At about 11:30 a.m., two detectives knocked on Miriam's door. When they told her, she nearly fell. It was like how she'd felt when she first laid eyes on her husband.

"I fainted at the beginning and the end, you know?" she says.

Before jumping to his death, A&M professor Jim Aune warned his alleged blackmailer that he would be prosecuted.
Courtesy of Miriam Aune
Before jumping to his death, A&M professor Jim Aune warned his alleged blackmailer that he would be prosecuted.
Miriam Aune says she told her husband that he was being scammed, but he didn't believe her.
Miriam Aune says she told her husband that he was being scammed, but he didn't believe her.

Later, after detectives told her that her husband's final moments were captured by a security camera, Miriam couldn't help visualizing the whole thing.

She knew he had to take the elevator to the roof. He smoked three packs of Camels a day.

"That boy could not walk six flights of stairs," she says.

Then she sees him up top.

"I can see him pacing around," she says.

Police found cigarette butts on the roof, near the spot from which he leaped, and Miriam can see him smoking that last one.

"I can even see him, like, getting up on the ledge. I can't take that last step with him...It is not possible for my mind to go where his mind must have been. To actually take that step, rather than do what he always did, which was call me, and I would go get him. And I would fix it."

craig.malisow@houstonpress.com

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26 comments
alchemicalflower
alchemicalflower

I couldn't keep myself from commenting on this article because I am the tranny that Jim had an affair with. He actually told me about this blackmailing business shortly before he killed himself. Jim visited me in austin around 2007 but I had been chatting with him for ages. I believe I first met him in 2004 or so when I was about 22 years old. it took him forever to tell me he had two autistic kids and claimed that Miriam was his ex wife and had multiple personality disorder. 

Jim thought he had lost his sex drive forever after he got the prostate cancer operation, so around that time he decided he was done with me. I'm convinced there was no one with whom Jim was fully honest, and while this blackmail shenenigan was the straw that broke the camel's back, there were many more underlying issues. Jim was extremely depressed, avoidant and a liar to the core. To say he was not a happy man is a tremendous understatement. Its like he didn't want to believe he was the victim of a scam so that he could do what he had probably contemplated many times before.

I found out he committed suicide about an hour ago, and I still don't even know how I feel about it. my first reaction was not grief but rather an inexplicable sense of dissociation from reality.

I have several conversations with Jim archived in my email. I feel compelled to read every email exchange I ever had with him and to think about it in this new light that his suicide has shone. 

rachael.kilgore
rachael.kilgore

Being transgendered myself, I read the article with a certain sadness.  TG or not, there is no excuse for Duplaisir's actions.  It is really sad that most news about TGs is negative.  Please understand that wearing women's clothing doesn't make a man anymore of a criminal than it does a woman, well not anymore since the laws have changed.

warrenmart
warrenmart

Doesn't seem like there are any innocent victims in this--would-be pedophiles I can find no sympathy for,  if anything "blackmailera' is doing a good service bringing these freaks out in the open.

Meredith Rogers
Meredith Rogers

I had Aune as a professor and it pains me to see this story progress.

Angie
Angie

If Duplaisir was living with "lisa's" relatives, how did she come to "live with him off and on?" 

I guess there was one last text you didn't want, or Miriam didn't want to disclose? That wasn't very clear.

Do you realize you mention at the beginning that he died at the hospital later that day, and at the end of the article, you say he died 40 minutes later?

These were things I didn't quite understand.  I hope Miriam recovers from this painful experience...

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

He should have killed the blackmailer, not himself.

Frankly I couldn't read beyond the first page. I love Ayn Rand heroes, not homosexual zeroes.

addaddiesfacebook
addaddiesfacebook

Again the Houston Press just loves to Kill Trees with these long overdrawn articles about subjects that really don't mean a whole lot to the average busy Houstonian.

Ok I grabbed a typical article from the Atlantic  - 1200 words

 Your "Charades" article ran 4600 word, which is  to the length of a maxed scientific research paper.

Melanie Pena
Melanie Pena

Wow. Unbelievable. Well written through all the twists.

Danielle Stillman-Diederich
Danielle Stillman-Diederich

This article was really confusing because the term you need to use is "transgender woman" for MTF trans people. If the professor was looking for transgender men he would be talking to FTM trans people (women making a transition to male). This is in sore need of a correction.

Richard Tew
Richard Tew

Both of these guys are sick and deserve everything they get both here and the hereafter.

Bren Ke
Bren Ke

Oh my goodness! You went and committed Journalism again! :)

Basawat
Basawat

@warrenmart Or rather, people who are willing to go with people under the age of consent - Although a man who is attracted to adult women but chooses to go under the age of consent deliberately to get "inexperienced" and "pliant" teenage girls is quite despicable.


If such a man truly loved a girl that young they would wait until she turned 17 (state age of consent)


However, why would a supposed teenage girl hang out on gay.com (so maybe the professor was expecting somebody else other than who the person said she was?)? There may be more to this story?

Basawat
Basawat

@red.marcy.rand He may have been unable to access the blackmailer, and/or felt that killing the blackmailer would make him a victim

Basawat
Basawat

@Richard Tew The prof should have gotten treatment. He definitely had issues, but the blackmailer's decision to blackmail makes him way worse

 
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