This time I found a lot more familiar faces in the detention center. One in particular, Mark “Angel” Foust, I was a little surprised to see out in the open here in the juvenile equivalent of “General Population.” I had met Angel my first time here. He was roughly a year older than me but already had close to a full beard and looked and carried himself like someone years and years older than his 15. I had met his father at a commune I lived at in Tucson, where he caused something of a stir owing to his carrying two pistols, one auto and one revolver,
“In case the auto jams”
tucked behind his belt. I had seen Angel a few times on the street, in black leather biker jacket, Levis and white t-shirt, like someone caught between decades and identities, but we really didn’t run in the same circles.
His name had been making the rounds as the shooter in the death of the president of Phoenix’ biggest motorcycle gang. I kept my mouth shut when I heard the rumors, especially after making the mistake, one time and one time only, of saying
“No, no way man. I know that dude.”
One of my friends all but put his hand over my mouth as he pulled me away and said
“No, no you do not know that dude! You’re gonna run your mouth and get your punk ass shot. There is a bounty on that guy.”
He was right. There was a lot of drama going on at the time. The guy that got shot, and his club, were a constant presence in the circles I ran in. I saw them occasionally, but didn’t know any of them personally. But the people that I knew, and got drugs from, very definitely knew them personally. Who did what for whom and how all of these things were interconnected was well above my pay grade, but I was dead certain about the pecking order. I did not want to get on the wrong side of this.
I had a hard time believing Angel would do something this stupid. I had no problem believing that he killed someone. The first time we were locked up together he told me that he shot and killed a guy in self-defense. People in jail talk a lot of shit. Some of it is just that, fanciful storytelling. Some of it is more tactical in nature, to build a reputation as a defense. I met a fair amount of killers, and I met a few murderers. The guys who had actually killed someone rarely bragged about it. They had a matter-of-fact way of describing what happened
“He pulled his. I pulled mine and we started shooting. He died.”
Angel had that attitude about the first guy, but when I asked him about the biker, he did a 180 in tone.
“I didn’t mean to do it, man. I was tripping my brains out, riding with a friend. Two guys on motorcycles ride up alongside us and he looks at them and starts freaking out and says
“Those guys are fucking ******** (another motorcycle club)!”
He hands me a sawed off (shotgun) and starts yelling
“Shoot them! Shoot those motherfuckers before they shoot us!”
“I didn’t want to do it man. I swear! But he’s yelling at me and I’m so high I can’t even tell who the fuck these guys are, so I point the sawed off out the window, look away and pull the trigger. I didn’t even know whether I hit anyone until I heard the bikes crash. I didn’t find out who they were until the next day.”
I’m dying inside for this guy. My problems are trivial compared to what he’s facing. We both know he fucked with the wrong people. We both know, whether he meant to do it or not, how this is probably going to end. He has no illusions either.
“The charge was plea bargained down to manslaughter, so they waived the death penalty. They are not going to remand me to adult court. The problem is, if the judge sentences me to anywhere in the Southwest, where the club has chapters, I’m a dead man. I told the judge that if he could not send me somewhere out of their reach, he may as well send me to the chair!”
We spent another week or so at detention together, before he finally rolled out. He had been uncharacteristically shaken while he waited to find out where he was going to be sentenced to. It was painful to watch. It was worse when I saw him staring at his papers.
“Where’d you get?”
“Fucking Tracy (California). I’m dead.”
We were cut off by the guard yelling
“Foust! Roll up!”
I didn’t get a chance to say another word to him as the guards took him away. The look on his face made him as close to a dead man walking as I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe that he was being sent to a place that anyone in law enforcement and corrections knew was a death sentence. California had more bikers both in that club and in their better-known affiliate than anywhere else in the country. It was the exact wrong place to send him.
He had his day in court. He proved lack of intent. He plead guilty. He beat the death penalty…in court, but not in the real battle with the correctional system. He went through all that and survived, only to receive a clerical death sentence from someone who either had their own agenda or was too far removed and disconnected to understand the real life effects of their choices.
A little over a month later I got word that he had been stabbed to death in Tracy.