Eddie's Story-Part 1
An alert to readers: This is a story about Eduardo Guerrero, a prisoner serving life in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Eddie came into the prison system a far different person than he is today. It would be a disservice to yourself and Eddie if you just read the first eight of his blogs, for beginning with the ninth blog you will see a startling human transformation. Most of us are familiar with how people develop as they move from adolescence to adulthood, and from being young to being old; but few of us have witnessed human development within the context of imprisonment... this is your chance to do so. I urge you to read all of Eddie's blogs to better understand human nature in general, and Eddie's life in particular.
My name is Eduardo M. Guerrero and I am serving a parolable life sentence for rape. I have been imprisoned 45 years and am 61 years-old. Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, I’m the middle child of five: I have two older sisters, a younger brother, and younger sister. I was not deprived of the love from my father or mother; my parents were there for me, and both showed extraordinary love for me throughout my life. My family was not poor. True, we didn’t have everything we wanted, though we clearly had everything we needed.As the first born son to my parents, my father, an old traditional Mexican, made every attempt to see that I had the best he could offer. He treated me liked a little king and instructed my mother to do the same. Dad worked for General Motors as an electrician, and often worked extra hours just to make sure I had what I needed and wanted.
When I was six, Dad decided that in order for us to spend more time together, he would teach me golf, one of his favorite activities: he had special golf shoes made for me, he bought me a golf bag and modified clubs, and we went to nearby driving ranges for hours of practice any time he was off work. Under Dad’s tutoring, and with weekly practice and many trips to the local golf courses, by age 12 I became a very good golfer. Often my dad scheduled play with a couple of his friends from work and they would bet on the game. He would bring me along and I would play as his partner. We won often against Dad’s friends who bet their money against the “kid”. The downside was that our little rouse didn’t last long, with Dad’s friends losing regularly and eventually refusing to bet against me.
Dad insisted on “being there for me” all the time: so much so that I actually began to resent the attention I received from him. I tried to hang out with the neighborhood boys, who often wanted to play baseball, not my best sport. On one occasion, while playing with my buddies in a vacant lot near my home, my Dad drove by going to work and saw us playing. The field was pitted with holes and choked with weeds, sticks, and broken glass. A few days later, my dad stopped by during a game and began coaching us. That’s when I found out Dad had coached an all Mexican adult baseball team in the 1950’s, and he had a reputation as a good player.
To the surprise of my friends and me, we arrived one day from school to find that the vacant lot had been cut like a regular lawn, holes were filled, lines were drawn, and there were real commercial bases. Dad had undertaken this task on his own and completed it all one morning before he went to work. I can only imagine the hard work that went into that field, though at the time I had no appreciation for the love that Dad was expressing. All my buddies wanted my Dad to coach and encourage them…everyone except me. I actually resented him being around so much, which my friends couldn’t understand. The majority of them had fathers, though none were involved in their lives. My dad found the neighborhood team a sponsor, and he coached us and entered our team into the city Little League. We did very well our first year, finishing as one of the final teams in the play-offs. Though we lost the “final”, it was a great accomplishment for us.
Despite the fact I wasn’t the best player; my Dad started me at second base and put me at the top of the batting order. Dad expected a lot of me and thought I had potential. My skills did develop, so I suppose he was right. I, on the other hand, didn’t want any part of this, I was thirteen. That was about the time I decided that if my dad wanted it for me, I wasn’t going to do it. He wanted me to get good grades in school, I refused to even try. He wanted me to take certain classes to prepare for college and I refused. He wanted me to stay out of the trouble I was drawn to. I even stopped playing golf, which broke his heart since I was really good. He envisioned me eventually playing pro golf one day. Yet, despite it being a sport I actually enjoyed and was good at, simply because he wanted me to play, I refused. So, I don’t have the excuses that many young teens claim to have today—that they didn’t have a father figure to look up to for love and guidance.
At age sixteen I battled with Dad daily yet he refused to quit on me. No matter what I did to hurt him, embarrass him, or defy him, he always stood by me. I was lost. I ran away from home numerous times for no reason other than I didn’t want to hear him talk about how I was wasting my potential. Finally, the authorities became involved and I was even put in a juvenile center as a runaway. The authorities had convinced my dad that after a month in a juvenile home setting, I would be more willing to stay home. That failed miserably. I became more rebellious. In addition, I met some very interesting young career criminals in the juvenile center. I remember one boy specifically that I was amazed with. He was 11-12 years old and already a repeat offender in the juvenile system, who had been arrested for selling stolen hand guns. Once released, we got together and became friends. At this point in my life I simply refused to obey anyone in authority. Once I received my driver’s license, it was taken away from me almost immediately for ignoring speed limits. I dropped out of high school and wandered. My father blamed himself, thinking he had failed me as a father: that somehow he could have done more to encourage, and show me the way. He then made the decision to move the family out of the city of Saginaw, and purchased five acres of land in a rural area near Montrose, Michigan. My father built a home there. Dad made the move thinking he could get me away from a negative environment, and what he now believed were my criminal friends, hoping to get me started in a new and positive direction with new friends. I found a temporary job long enough to buy a junker car. I bought a 61’ Buick Skylark for $75. I had no title, plates, or insurance, but I drove it every day back to Saginaw so I could meet up with my old friends.
I didn’t enjoy getting high. I didn’t like the smell of marijuana smoke and I didn’t like the taste of beer or liquor. Yet to hang out with “the fellows” I found myself experimenting with “speed”. I had no idea what it was or how it was going to affect me. I merely knew that I didn’t have to smoke it or drink it. I started taking speed only a couple of weeks before my eventual arrest, and on my 17th birthday, I was given a box of hundreds of “hits” of blue micro dot acid to celebrate with my friends; I have never experimented with before, nor did I have a clue what it would do to me. My friends and I began taking them day after day: first one, then two, then 3 and 4 at a time, not even allowing our bodies to come down from the high. We were 16 and 17 year-old confused, sleep deprived Mexican teens, high on acid and looking to prove something, although we didn’t have a clue as to what we were trying to prove nor to whom.
The first night my friends and I took the drugs while cruising around in the driver’s dad’s vehicle. Suddenly the driver announced he had to drop us off somewhere since he had to return the car to his dad for work. Nobody wanted to be dropped off at our own homes, me because it was 17 miles out of town, the others simply because we were high, and didn’t want to encounter parents. The decision was made to be dropped off at another friend’s house where we were often allowed to spend time in his basement recreation room. After sharing some pills with our friend, and once he was high, he informed us we couldn’t stay late. I don’t recall whose idea it was, but the decision was made “let’s walk over to the Mall”, which only happened to be a few blocks from our friend’s home, and once inside the Mall the decision was made that we can’t just walk around all night. We need a ride and we attempted to call other friends our age, 15, 16 and 17, who couldn’t just take a family car when they felt like it. We decided to steal a car from the parking lot. Unfortunately, none of us knew how to hot wire a car, so we did what we thought was the next best thing: We started walking up and down the parking lot looking into cars, hoping to find keys still in the ignition. Also, you have to remember in 1971, vehicles had the ignition system set up where you could turn the car off but yet not lock the ignition. So we walked up and down the parking lot, three teens, high, paying no attention to what anyone else might think or say or see. We didn’t find a car with keys or an unlocked ignition and we started to tire; we knew that the pills would bring us up again, so we took more. After some confusion we decided to take the keys from someone and simply steal their car. Please note; at age seventeen I was 5’4” and weigh about 135-140; one of my other co-defendants, was even shorter, and lighter than me; and the other was tall but yet very skinny In other words, we weren’t going to be able to just take the average person’s keys. After watching many men come out of the Mall, knowing we would never be able to over-power them, despite there being three of us, we decided on trying to take a lady’s keys, but heck, even some of the women scared us. The youngest of our group said he had an idea and left for about ten minutes; when he returned from inside the Mall he had shoplifted an ice pick thinking a weapon might assist us. After an hour or so, we saw a young, short, and tiny built female. There is our ride! So as far as we were concerned we were about to drive off. Now to my knowledge no one had any intent to harm this lady, we just wanted her vehicle. That was the plan! We pushed her into the vehicle and my friend with the ice pick showed her the weapon and she agreed to just drive off the lot. Once we were off the lot, I remember telling her to get out, that all we want is the vehicle; I opened the door for her and told her to run. To my dismay she flatly refused. She went on about this vehicle was all she had and needed it for her band, and announced she wasn’t giving it to us, but would agree to drive us where we wanted to go. No one thought of throwing her out, and clearly despite the weapon no one was going to use it against her. We were puzzled and confused and trying to figure out what to do when she started asking questions, “You aren’t going to rob me are you?” No was our answer, and her response was “Good, I just cashed my check.” We looked at each other, “You aren’t going to rape me are you?” Again the answer was no but she was 20 years old and tiny and attractive… in short we robbed and raped her. We drove to another friend’s home, and two of my friends got out. I drove with her a few blocks further and then abandoned her in her vehicle and ran back to my friend’s home.
None of us could sleep: We went from numbness to excitement to a feeling of control and power, and the very next day, now under the pretext of stealing a car, we returned to the Mall. When one of my buddies came up to me and said, “We have a car!” I immediately went with him The car was parked right in front of the store entrance and I reached the vehicle thinking let’s move fast. Once inside the car I saw another friend in the back sit with a young lady in a head lock. My immediate reaction was to step away from the vehicle. But the friend who had come to get me said you have to drive, there is a police car in the next row making rounds, we have to go now. Overriding my instinct to run like hell, and not wanting my friend to be caught, I jumped in and drove. Clearly it was their intent to rape. I drove to a public park and walked away from the vehicle telling them do what you’re going to do. I stayed away for about a half hour but then decided to participate in the rape. I knew I was already as guilty as they: I drove, had I not drove this won’t be happening. But I didn’t stop. A few days later we raped again, and nine days after my 17th birthday, I sat in the Saginaw County jail charged with three counts of forcible rape of three adult White women.