a drunk and was always beating her, and
that she found it almost impossible to get
away from him. She had been with him
four years; she was only 19, and their
daughter was not yet 2.
By 2:00 a.m. or so, they were seated
on Carol’s living room couch. Carol felt
sorry for Kim, so young and beautiful—
still a child really. When Carol’s husband
arrived home with the car, Carol offered
to take Kim to get her child but Kim said
no, just take me home. Carol did, but
when she dropped Kim off, she noticed
Kim had no purse. “Do you have a key?”
“The light is on in the back, so David
is home. He’ll let me in.” Kim walked to
the trailer door. The time was about 2: 23
John Bell, a Salt River Project
employee in irrigation engineering, had also seen David and Kim
arguing in front of the chapel where David had a hold of her in
the biceps, as Bell referred to it. He knew Kim but had never met
David. Still, after Kim ran off, David asked him for a ride to the
Hideaway Bar, a tavern directly in front of Roberts Mobile Homes
where Kim and David lived. Bell agreed, and David hopped in the
back of the truck. It was about 1: 30 a.m. Later, David did not
recall getting in the truck or going to the bar.
Roberts Mobile Home Park, on Eighth Street, just south of
the I- 10 interchange into Avondale, featured Scotts General Store
directly in front, specializing in liquor sales. From the freeway, past
McDonalds and Waffle House, was a shopping center with the
Walgreens where Kim worked, easily within walking distance.
South of the Park was a Salvation Army store and American
Legion Hall, perennial small-town America.
To reach space number 16 where Kim, David and Ashley lived,
the road turned right upon entering the park and the numbers followed in perfect progression on the right-hand side from 4 to 21
to a reddish stone fence surrounding the park. In the middle
of the 73 units was a swimming pool with signs warning not to
dive. The Donaldson trailer was unremarkable from all the other
14556-foot trailers, with a cement carport on the west side and a
cement porch on the east. The trailers sat close together, perhaps
six feet separating the pale cement of one home from the identical cement of the next. Some homes boasted elaborate landscaping and overly decorated porches, but the Donaldson space displayed bare landscaping with plain rocks and a small tree by the
No one knows for sure what happened after Kim walked up
that front entry. No one will ever know. John and Misty Miles
lived two doors from the Donaldson trailer. They were up late
playing cards with two friends. Misty testified in court that, “We
heard a noise, pounding noise, like a
stereo that was loud or something to
that effect. … Just like the bass, loud
bass booming noise. … More like a
Jerry, a friend of David’s, said in
court that at about 2: 30 a.m., “We
heard – we heard some noise. It sound-
ed like the bass of a stereo or just like
some thumping noise.” Earlier, he had
told police that the noise was loud
banging and pounding.
After hearing the noise, Jerry and a
friend tried to trace the direction of the
sound. Noise travels far in the desert
night and is easily heard in a trailer
park. They walked from Jerry’s space
The four card players discussed calling the police but didn’t.
As Miles said, “Yes, because we didn’t know what was going
on.” The distance from the Donaldson walkway to the Miles
home was 25 steps. Yet Kim could not cry out. Behind closed
doors, not disturbing the neighbors, she was beaten almost to
Miles also testified at trial, “I seen a car pull up in front of
Dave’s trailer and then it took off. I hear a car door shut and the
car took off.”
Question: All right. Did you see a person get out of the car?
Answer: No, I couldn’t tell.
This testimony directly contradicts the police report.
Detective John Tauscher, a police officer since 1975 when he
started in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, was in charge of the investigation
for the Avondale police. Tauscher was a big man, 43-years-old
with dark salt and pepper hair and John Lennon steel-rim glasses. He wrote in his report that Miles saw Kimberly get out of the
car and walk to the door of the trailer. Miles denied making the
statement. But inexplicably, the prosecution did not impeach
him on that issue. Nor was he asked to repeat a critical portion
of the police report. Detective Tauscher wrote that Miles said he
was afraid to testify, because he knew David to be a mean and
vicious man, and he was afraid of him. No mention of this crucial evidence was made by Miles, the prosecutor or the police.
The private detective hired by the defense even said that Miles
did not want to get involved. He was as “evasive as all hell,” a little guy who was awful nervous about something.
David too changed his story. Because the police failed to tape-record his original statement, he was not successfully impeached.
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No one knows for
Kim walked up
that front entry.
No one will