|The end of the dream
By: Ann Rule
America's #1 true crime writer, Ann Rule has brought her expertise to twelve fascinating bestsellers. Now Rule continues her blockbuster Crime Files series with a riveting case drawn from her true crime
dossier: the explosive story of four talented and charismatic young men -- best friends whose bond was shattered when one among them was consumed by lethal greed and twisted desire.
They lived charmed lives among the evergreens of Washington state:
Kevin, the artist; Steve, the sculptor; Scott, the nature lover and
unabashed ladies' man; and Mark, the musician and poet. With their
stunning good looks, whip-sharp minds, athletic bodies -- and no lack
of women who adored them -- none of them seemed slated for disaster.
But few knew the reality behind the leafy screen that surrounded Seven
Cedars, Scott's woodland dream home -- a tree house equipped with every
luxury. From this idyllic enclave, some of these trusted friends would
become the quarry for a vigilant Seattle police detective and an FBI
special agent who unmasked clues to disturbing secrets that spawned
murder, suicide, million-dollar bank robberies, drug-dealing, and
heartbreaking betrayal. When the end came in a violent stand-off, the
ringleader of the foursome -- the fugitive dubbed
"Hollywood" for his ingenious disguises and flawless getaways; the
persuasive talker who turned his friends into accomplices -- faced a
final chapter no one could have predicted. In a blast of automatic
gunfire, the highest and lowest motives of the human heart were, at
Including three bonus cases, The End of the Dream is another masterful
and compelling tour of the criminal mind from Ann Rule.
The names of some individuals in this book have been changed. Such names
are indicated by an asterisk (*) the first time each appears in the
An Original Publication of POCKET BOOKS = r POCKET BOOKS, a
division of Simon & Schuster Inc. _ 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New
York, NY 10020
Copyright (r) 1999 by Ann Rule All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any
form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of
the Americas, New York, NY 10020
ISBN, 0-7394-01 38-6
POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of
Simon & Schuster Inc.
Front cover illustration by Tom Hallman
Printed in the U. S. A.
For Luke "Ugo" Fiorante Teacher, Coach, Friend,
and Brother Sometimes the relatives we choose are as close as those we
are born with.
To my consciences and guides, Gerry
Brittingham Hay, my perennial first reader, Emily Heckman, my new
editor, blessed with both an admirable distaste for mixed metaphors and
a keen sense of pacing, Joan and Joe Foley, my trusted literary agents
for twenty eight years, Polo Pepe, the best art director in publishing,
Donna Anders, an outstanding suspense novelist, my dear friend, who
always lends me an invaluable second pair of eyes and ears at trials and
interviews, and my office manager/publicity man, Mike Rule. To those
still involved in erasing all signs of disaster by mud, Larry Ellington,
Kimbal Geocke, Martin Woodcock, Don White, Gene Lescher, Kathy and
Horace Parker, Dave Bailey, and all the others who have helped me
rebuild. While I was writing, they were digging, painting, planting, and
re-directing water into wonderful waterfalls. Who could ever have
believed it? And to my favorite people of all, my readers!
I appreciate you more than you will ever know, and I read every letter
and e-mail that you send and try to respond as quickly as possible. I
have a new web site, you can find it on the Internet at www.ann rules.com
and send me e-mail. For those who have not yet signed up for my sporadic
free newsletter (which has updates on what's happening with people from
my earlier books and news on what's coming next and where I will be
lecturing), please send your "snail mail" ( street or P. O. Box) address
to, Ann Rule, P. O. Box 98846, Seattle, WA 98198. This newsletter is
also available at my web site.
This book covers the seventies as well as expanding on
headlines in the nineties. I discovered that it was at the same time
tragic and funny, terrifying and romantic, as I heard of wasted talents,
crushed dreams, but also of the miracles that evolved and the love that
ignited among the ashes of disaster.
"The End of the Dream" will allow you into the lives of Steve, Scott,
Kevin, Mark, Mike, Shawn, Ellen, Sabrina, Marge, and dozens of other
people who could never have imagined how a long saga would end. In
addition, in this fifth volume you will find three more true cases from
my early days as a true crime writer.
These three are among the most memorable I have ever covered, "The
Peeping Tom, "
"The Girl Who Fell in Love with Her Killer, " and "The Least Likely
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a
ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of
moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding
Riding riding .. . "I'll come to the by moonlight, though hell should bar
the way. Alfred Noyes, "The Highwayman"
THE END OF THE DREAM
He knew every square inch of his property, all twenty acres. Every tree.
Especially every secret hiding place. This wild place was, in fact, very
close to civilization where houses crowded against each other and malls
sprouted mushroomlike from good dirt that should have been left alone.
His land, and everything in it and on it, was as close to the perfect
home as he had ever imagined. Everything he wanted was here or could
easily be brought here, and he had the ultimate power to protect his
trees from the deadly chain saws of civilization. Eyes closed or stoned
or drunk, he could navigate every wooded path as if he had radar in his
brain, as if he were a bat sensing any obstacle in its flight.
Those who knew him and admired him believed he feared nothing. He had
spent his whole life demonstrating that he was not afraid, nothing human
could best him. But the thing in his path clearly was not human.
Its red eyes glowed like fiery coals when it reared up in front of him.
It was dark as pitch and so suffused with evil that it sucked the breath
from his lungs. He blinked, and it was still there. He blinked again and
it was gone. In Seattle, Washington, Thanksgiving is only rarely
celebrated under a brilliant blue sky and against a landscape rife with
autumn colors. More often than not, the holiday seems to draw memorably
violent storms to the Northwest. Many a turkey has been coaxed to
semidoneness on an outdoor barbeque because power lines are down.
Wednesday, November 27, 1996, was the day before Thanksgiving, the
weather was wildly rainy and stormy, with gusts of wind stripping the
trees of their last few leaves. Whatever smothered sun there had been
that day had long since set, the streets were coils of shiny black,
reflecting yellow streetlights and the red, green, and silver of
Christmas lights. Late customers hurried into the Lake City Branch of
Sea first Bank only eighteen minutes before closing. More than a dozen
people stood patiently in the long lines, most of them so intent on the
errands they still needed to run that they were unaware of what was
going on around them. The bank's automatic cameras kept clicking away as
they always did, silent, mindless and mechanical. One camera snapped
everyone coming in the door, another caught the bored or impatient faces
of people waiting in line for a teller, while another scanned the entire
bank. A fourth was aimed away from the tellers' cages toward a central
island where customers stood writing out deposit and withdrawal slips.
Each frame of the film noted the camera's number, the bank's ID number
and name, the date, and the time to the second. Camera 1-06 recorded the
time at 5,42,13
P. M. at the instant a figure appeared at the far right of the frame.
From a distance, he seemed only slightly bizarre, he wore both a hooded
rain jacket and a baseball cap. A casual observer saw a man past middle
age with gray hair, a full, drooping gray mustache, and a prominent
chin. His dark glasses seemed odd, considering that the sun had set more
than an hour before, and his wide, garish necktie was in dubious taste.
He wore cheap tennis shoes, the low black canvas type that predated
Nikes and Adidas.
A closer look revealed that the body beneath the bulky jacket was too
toned to belong to a man in his fifties, and he moved with an almost
pantherlike grace. He had to be either an athlete or a dancer. The
camera clicked off seconds and the man approached a line of people.
They looked at him with startled eyes and then averted their glances as
considerate people do when they realize they are looking at someone with
a handicap. Although the man's stride was confident, his face wasn't
normal. He appeared to have suffered serious facial burns, and he was
wearing either heavy makeup to cover scars or a rubbery mask to prevent
additional scarring. Here, in this neighborhood bank, no one expected
trouble. The robot lenses caught their expressions as the odd-looking
man cut between customers waiting in line. One man had an embarrassed
half-smile on his face, a woman's eyes shifted momentarily, and a girl
covered her mouth with her hand. What they were feeling was just a
tingle of alarm. Nothing overtly frightening had been said or done. It
was a little rude of the scarred man to slide between people in line,
but it wasn't as if he were crowding in. He moved through, toward the
back of the bank. They didn't see the gun. They didn't see the holster
strapped under his shoulder nor the knife or the extra gun strapped to
his ankle. They certainly didn't see the other strange-looking man. The
second man was quite tall, over six feet, and close to two hundred
pounds. He wore a khaki parka with a light brown hood.
His skin also had a masklike appearance, and he had a bushy mustache,
too. The teller closest to him saw that he wore beige gloves and lace-up
all weather boots. Eyewitnesses are far from reliable, particularly when
they are stunned and frightened eyewitnesses. Human perception is skewed
by so many things, and people recall height inaccurately more often than
not. A man who is frightening may be remembered as being much taller
than he really is. "Young" or "old" is relative to the age of the
These two strangers would be described as anywhere from "thirty" to
"over fifty." Only their eyes were visible beneath their masks and
theatrical makeup. The first man pushed past a bank customer, walked up
to a teller, and said, "Step back. Stay away from the counter.
This is a robbery." Of course. Of course it was, why else would there be
two bizarre-looking men in the bank? The middle-aged male customer must
have looked terrified, because the bank robber leaned toward him and
said gently, "Don't panic. Stay calm. This is a robbery." At that point,
as if to emphasize his words, he pulled a black handgun about six inches
long from his parka. "I'm serious, " he said. "If you're nervous, please
step out of line and sit down." The customer and his wife walked
gingerly out into the central lobby area and sat down in the easy chairs
there. Now, they saw the second man and, when he moved, they caught a
glimpse of a gun beneath his jacket that looked like the one the first
bank robber held. Although he motioned people to get in line, he didn't
use the gun to threaten them.
The first man was efficiently herding everyone from the tellers' lines
out into the main part of the bank. He seemed to be in charge, he had an
energy field around him that was fraught with danger. The second,
taller, man was very polite, very calm. When he spoke, it was with a
southern-sounding drawl. He addressed women respectfully as "Ma'am." The
first man, the one in the wild tie, had physically pushed the teller
away from the counter. He appeared to be working against a clock.
Neither seemed worried that someone might walk in and interrupt the bank
robbery. The bank doors remained unlocked, and new customers actually
walked into the bank, unaware that anything was wrong. The tall bank
robber had obviously been given the job of controlling the customers and
staff. He I gestured courteously as he asked people to move into the
middle of the bank or into lines in front of the tellers' cubicles.
Every one complied. From the outside, it would look as if business was
being carried on as usual. The smaller man's voice boomed throughout the
quiet bank. "Who is the vault teller? " He seemed to know the inner
workings of a bank and the duties of the staff. The big money would
surely be in the vault. A bank employee stepped up and said, "I'm the
vault teller. I'll go with you." He led the way through the gate into
the tellers' area. It seemed a very long time before the two men emerged
from the vault. Some witnesses thought it was ten minutes, some thought
it was half that time. When they came out, the robber who was
choreographing the crime carried a shiny blue duffel bag with a rope
tied tight at the opening. He tossed it over the gate, and then placed
one hand on a low partition and leapt over it effortlessly. Again, his
physical agility was incongruous with his gray hair and mustache. Now,
those closest could see that he carried a handheld walkie-talkie radio.
He spoke into the radio, saying what sounded like, "Did you hear
anything? " or "Is she here? " And then they were gone. One customer
insisted on following the two bank robbers despite the pleadings of the
He ran out into the darkness beyond the streetlights. Inside, they
waited with dread, expecting to hear shots. But none came.
No one but the vault teller suspected that they had all just been part
of one of the biggest bank robberies in Northwest history. In less than
fifteen minutes, the robbers had managed to carry away more money than
most people make in a lifetime. This was not the first time that these
robbers had struck Northwest banks. Far from it. This was at least the
twentieth bank hit.
The shorter man had become the quarry and the focal point of ultimate
frustration for some of the most skilled investigators in the Seattle
Police Department and the Seattle FBI office. Just when predictable
patterns and a distinctive MO began to emerge, he would slip through the
invisible net that had been laid out for him. He and any accomplice he
brought with him were wraithlike, it was almost as if they ran from the
banks and vaporized. No one knew who they were or what they looked like
without their masks.
They had to live somewhere, there were probably people who loved them
and worried about them. Somewhere, probably within fifty miles of
Seattle, they quite likely lived outwardly normal lives.
For the moment, they were known only by the profile they had filled in
with their actions and their disguises. The investigators tracking them
knew more about who they weren't than who they were. Kevin, Steve, and
Scott. The Gordon* Meyers family were part of a new generation of young
marrieds who emerged after the Second World War.
The draft and good wages in defense plants tore extended families apart
and encouraged people to leave their hometowns and move halfway across
the country. Families who had gone generations without a divorce now
began to lose their cohesion. Gordon Meyers was a printer and a
lithographer, Joanna was a commercial artist. From the outside, their
marriage seemed happy enough. But Gordon became unpleasant when he
drank, and he was argumentative and punishing with his wife and
children. Only rarely did he praise their successes, while he was quick
to comment on their failures. Sometimes Joanna thought that, without
him, she and the children might enjoy a simpler and quieter life.
The Meyers marriage blew up completely in 1962, and they were divorced.
Joanna did the best she could raising their four children, always
looking for a better life. Sometimes they found it, more often, they
lived a hard scrabble existence. Their family solidarity made up for what
they didn't have in the way of financial stability. Dana, Steven, Kevin,
and Randy Meyers were Joanna's babies. She vowed to do whatever she
could to nurture them and allow them to be successful, creative, and
happy. Each of them was brilliantly gifted, and that wasn't just a
mother's prejudice. It was true. Dana was fifteen at the time of the
divorce, Steve thirteen, Kevin ten, and Randy eight.
Kevin Meyers, the third child, second son, recalled his childhood with
more humor than pathos, "I thought dog biscuits were cookiesi'm not
kidding. They had all the nutrients you needed. And, we ate a lot of
mayonnaise sandwiches. Hey, if we didn't have bologna, mayonnaise was
good enough." Although Joanna's children had completely different
personalities, they had all inherited their parents' artistic talent.
She and Gordon might not have had traits that complemented each other in
a way that made for a sound marriage, but they had created remarkable
Dana, born in Kansas City in 1947, was beautiful, loving and graceful,
and a wonderful dancer, compared to other girls taking dance lessons,
she was a lily among toadstools. Steven, the oldest son, was born on
February 19, 1950. Even as a child, he had a somewhat brooding when and
often looked angry when he wasn't, but he was brilliant. Kevin, who came
along in 1953, was cheerfully hyperactive, a natural athlete, and as
sensitive as a puppy. Randy, born in 1955, was musically talented and
perhaps the most pragmatic of them all. He set his mind on a goal and
went for it. Kevin was a handful. He was born long before l children
were recognized as being hyperactive and before anyone knew that reading
difficulties were often caused by dyslexia.
He could draw or paint anything, but he needed a year to read a book.
He had to be outside, and he often drove Joanna Meyers to distraction.
"Sometimes, she'd put me in my room for some reason, and I would bounce
off the walls and yell, Lemme out! Lemme out! I just couldn't stand
being caged up." All the Meyers boys were imaginative and bursting with
high spirits. When they watched "Sea Hunt, " they hooked vacuum cleaner
hoses to their backs and "swam" across the living room rug.
They used the couch for a bronco when they watched television westerns.
Joanna just sighed and shooed them outside. Like his siblings, Kevin
Meyers was raised in Overland Park, an upscale suburb of Kansas City,
Kansas, before his parents divorced. But Kevin almost didn't live to
When he was three, he was hit by a car and barely survived. It was to be
only the first of many brushes Kevin would have with death. Perhaps
because of this, he was an unusually spiritual child. He recalled
"astrally projecting" his mind when he was well under twelve. He thought
everyone could do that. Joanna Meyers had been largely raised by a woman
named Martha Ebertwho was not a blood relation, but who was a loving,
dear person. As a toddler, Joanna couldn't say "Martha" so she called
her foster mother, "Mamoo." Mamoo had always welcomed Joanna's children
into her home, too. The little boys \ liked to watch television with
Mamoo. Munching popcorn, they sat on the floor at her feet and watched
the screen avidly. "Mamoo loved Dragnet' and Perry Mason, " Kevin
remembered. "We liked those shows and she'd let us sit there and watch
with her. She loved Lawrence Welk too but we could never understand why.
Every time the bad guy got caught on Perry Mason' or Dragnet, Mamoo used
to tell us very seriously, Remember this, boys, Crime doesn't pay. We
believed her, too.
" After their parents' divorce, the Meyers' kids were rudely uprooted
from the life they had known in Overland Park. Dana, who seemed years
older than she really was, moved into her own apartment in Kansas City.
She taught dance while she made plans to go to New York City. Kevin and
Randy went to live with their maternal grandmother. She was married to
her second husband, a traveling contractor, whose jobs took him all over
Kansas. "We lived in this little trailer, " Kevin remembered, "And we'd
go where the work was. I don't think we went to any school more than six
weeks at a time that year." Perhaps the hardest hit by his parents'
split, thirteen-year-old Steven stayed with his mother.
He didn't like the man Joanna was dating, even though John Harmon* was
quite willing to accept all of Joanna's children. A little over a year
later, Joanna and John Harmon were married and they moved to Irving,
Texas. Her three boys went with them. Steve hated Texas, and he soon ran
away. He was eventually picked up by the police and taken to a juvenile
facility. He refused to return to his mother so Gordon Meyers agreed to
let Steve live with him in Kansas City. Kevin and Randy Meyers were not
as overtly rebellious, they simply neglected to go to school most of the
time. "We found a treehouse close to the place where we were living, "
Kevin recalled. "Randy and I spent our time that year fixing it up, and
we hardly ever went to school. I flunked seventh grade." Knowing that he
would have to repeat his first year of junior high in the fall, Kevin
worried about his father's reaction.
Although Gordon Meyers had accepted his oldest son into his home, he had
done so reluctantly. He had never supported any of his children
emotionally, it was as if he had blinders on when it came to knowing
what his children needed. At least Steve was his first son, Gordon
looked less favorably upon Kevin and Randy especially when he heard that
they had goofed away a whole school year playing hookey. "My Mom sent
Randy and me to Kansas City that summer to stay with my dad, " Kevin
said. "I guess maybe she thought he'd shape us up. We traveled up there
with only our laundry bags and our guitars." Gordon Meyers met his
younger sons all risht, but he didn't take them home. He was disgusted