Longform

Left For Dead

Page 6 of 9

That night Tracey dreamed she was driving her new white truck through a hilly underground "doom cave" filled with smoke and fire. She couldn't navigate the terrain; it was too rough. The dream switched as she jumped into a field of multicolored sleeping snakes. Kevin stood in the field talking to Tracey, trying to make her feel sorry for him; as he spoke, a boa constrictor closed around Tracey's neck.

In court Thursday morning, Kevin's attorney, Mac Arnold, constantly objected. He even made "anticipatory objections" when he thought a witness might say something that was hearsay. Judge Mike Anderson overruled almost everything. Kevin looked at the ceiling, shrugged his shoulders and sighed.

Arnold asked HPD's fingerprint expert to explain all 15 lines in the fingerprint identified as Kevin's. Tracey's father laid his head on the bench in front of him. Kevin stared at the ceiling, his hands clasped together so tightly the blood drained from his flesh; his fingernail beds turned dark red.

Sergeant L.B. Smith testified that on Tuesday, December 21, officers kicked in Kevin's front door and Smith arrested Kevin. On the way to the station Kevin said, "I don't know anything, I didn't do anything." After two hours and 21 minutes of interrogation, Kevin confessed to the shooting. His videotaped statement was played for the jury.

On the screen Kevin slumps in a chair, both of his legs spread and shaking. He wipes a sweaty palm on his left leg.

"It's all right," Smith tells him. "Take a deep breath and let it out."

Kevin says Robert engineered the whole thing. He describes following Tracey home and taking her to the field, then the bank, then back to the field. Kevin says he told Tracey he didn't want to hurt her, and claims he was as scared as she was. He says he gave his mask to Robert and that Robert was the one who walked into the field and shot her. "I didn't hear," Kevin says. "The car had good insulation."

When Robert handed him the gun, Kevin says, he fired into the ground. Smith interjects on the tape, reminding Kevin that a few minutes ago he had admitted to shooting Tracey. "Yeah," Kevin says. "I shot her." He prayed for God to forgive him as he fired a bullet into her back. "If you want God to forgive you," Smith says, "don't twist the truth."



Kevin says he shot her only once and then went to the car while Robert emptied the clip. Kevin says he wants to watch his three-month-old baby grow up; he lays his head on the table and sobs. That's where the tape stops.

Tracey's mother whispered under her breath, "He deserves to die." Tracey's stepmother wiped tears from her eyes. Kevin cracked his knuckles. "He has a human form," Tracey's dad said. "But he's not human."

Scheduled to testify, Tracey sat in the hallway fingering the worry stone Dani bought her. Her blood was racing so fast she felt like her veins were constricting. She prayed and prayed and prayed. Tracey worried that she would stumble during her testimony; if she messed up, Kevin could get off. "I wouldn't feel like I could go outside if he was loose," Tracey said. She'd move to Alaska. "I've got on my Jesus dress and my sandals; I'm ready to rock," she said. "Lord be with me."

At 4:25 p.m. Tracey took the stand; on the projector, Wisner laid a picture of Tracey in Paris five years ago, her head thrown back as she stood on the Champs-Elysées. Now Tracey looks down and shuffles when she walks to keep from falling; the confidence and joy have left her eyes.



A half hour into her testimony, just before Tracey reached the point where the boys shot her, the judge dismissed the jury for the evening.

Tracey sat in the witness room Friday morning trying to breathe deeply and reminding herself that she was the victim, not the one on trial. The D.A. said she forgot things said in the last trial. The other attorney had a copy of that testimony, and Tracey was afraid he was going to nail her. "I don't remember yesterday," Tracey said. "I'm not lying, I don't remember."

Her dad stuck his head in the door. "The circus is about to start," he said. "The animals are getting into position."

"Oh, good," Tracey said. "I need to pee."

She squeezed the bloodstone and closed her eyes. Dani, a licensed professional counselor, silently stroked Tracey's thigh. A few minutes later Wisner handed Tracey the pistol she had been shot with and told her they were going to role-play. "You be the gunman, I'll be you." Wisner put the picture of Tracey in Paris on the projector. Beside it he laid pictures of Tracey bloody and bandaged at Ben Taub.

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Wendy Grossman
Contact: Wendy Grossman