Statement II: Moving the Time Line Forward
by Earl C. Bramblett, # 252091
June, 2000

A huge cover-up occurred in my trial. The prosecution, the police, and my defense team conspired to cover up an official program that had been planned and put into action by Roanoke City authorities before the Hodges family murders and that was still active even as the murders were committed. This program, consisting of three coordinated efforts to nail me on sexual assault (or similar) charges, had been directed by the Roanoke City prosecutor's office since  approximately 1992. Two of the program's three prongs were in fact aided and abetted by the Hodges family.

Why the cover-up? One of the three prongs was so shameful that even the unscrupulous figures involved knew it must be concealed from the public. Incredibly, the man at the heart of Roanoke City's program to nail me was the City Prosecutor, Mac Doubles. Yes, the same Mac Doubles who would be appointed by the court to defend me against the capital murder charges steaming  from the Hodges murders.

The program's first two prongs may have seemed routine enough: a plan using Blaine Hodges to put me into certain "chance" situations in order to test my reactions; and a series of interviews conducted by Detective Ruiz of Roanoke City, designed to elicit information relevant to police suspicions from my ex-wife, former employees, and old friends. The third prong, however, was anything but routine. Designed to draw me into a sexual battery (or similar) charge, this part of the plan centered around the use of ten-year-old Winter Hodges as sexual bait.

In order to document the perversion of this entrapment plan, I had begun keeping a tape diary, in which I both described Winter's provocative behavior and expressed my suspicions regarding the motives and methods of the would-be provocateurs. The diary was to be my proof - and my protection. Yet my defense team never once raised an objection as the prosecution turned those tapes against me at trial, using selected passages (my descriptions of Winter's behavior) to suggest that I harbored indecent and perverted desires, deleting all passages that suggested my true motivation, to document the indecent and perverted methods of the Roanoke City authorities.

Outrageously, my defense team colluded with the prosecution by injecting into my trial the suggestion that indeed my very belief that this unscrupulous entrapment plan had been initiated by Roanoke City authorities was ipso facto evidence of my delusional state. There you had it: Earl Bramblett, according to his own defense, was a delusional pedophile. Translation: guilty, but nuts.

Knowing they had to quash all evidence of the overall program in order to ensure the entrapment would remain forever concealed, Mac Doubles'and my investigator David Williams also covered up the two other prongs as well. They simply refused to investigate Blaine Hodges' role in setting me up in those "chance" situations, though it would have been easy enough to do so. They never asked for Detective Ruiz's interview notes under discovery, despite my having learned from one of the interviewed persons that all were favorable to me. And they covered up the pre-crime interviews by not interviewing any of the penalty phase witnesses who were in all probability interviewed by Ruiz before the murders, and by not making any attempt before the trial to interview any of the approximately forty names I had provided them as likely candidates for the Ruiz interviews.

In case you're wondering, Detective Ruiz from Roanoke City was interviewing her way through that long list of Earl Bramblett's friends and associates at the same time Mac Doubles was serving as Roanoke City Prosecutor from 1989 to 1994.

My intent in this statement is not to detail all the acts of collusion that sent me here to Death Row. That is a subject I intend to cover with my next "how they did it to me" statement. Rather my limited goal now is to discuss a single central falsehood that became the foundation for the frame-up that followed, what I referred to earlier as the "moving the time line forward" fabrication, the lies about the timing of events on Monday, August 29, 1994, immediately following the crimes. I focus on this now because I believe there is proof, perhaps not in the court records (Mac Doubles made sure of that) but in the public records, that the program that targeted me before the crimes was in fact real.

The proof is in the "big picture" letter I wrote to the Roanoke Times just a few weeks after the murders. To establish the sequence of events, I note here that I wrote that letter on October 12, 1994, but it wasn't published until August, 1995. A copy of the letter as published is enclosed.

It has taken me the better part of two years to make sense of the multiple falsehoods that constituted the prosecution's case against me, including the many perjuries suborned from numerous witnesses and experts (I was not framed just a little bit; virtually everyone who testified was somehow influenced to recite the prosecution's script of lies). I didn't begin to understand until I started putting myself inside the heads of people like Barry Keesee of the Virginia State Police, or of the prosecutor Burkhart, or of my defense attorney Mac Doubles, or of the Vinton Police - in other words, began thinking like a criminal. [Since my conviction both Chief Foutz and Detective Brown of the Vinton Police have been forced to resign for criminal activity within the Vinton Police Department.]

What I came to realize is that it was Barry Keesee who authored that script of lies.

Dr. Graham has done a little research into the dubious methods by which Keesee has built his career. It seems it is always only Keesee who hears what Keesee hears, those amazing, incriminating statements upon which Keesee's cases turn, that spring so reliably from the lips of Keesee's chosen suspects, just at the moment, of course, when Keesee has found himself alone with them. In my case Keesee didn't deviate from his proven methods.

Keesee writes the script and makes himself the star. In my trial Keesee testified that while I was alone with him at the Vinton Police Department on that 29 August 1994 day, I said: "Blaine had a beautiful family; he done killed them, then himself." That statement, if it had been made, would have reflected knowledge of the crime scene that only the killer would be likely to possess. But that statement was not made. Let me attempt to trace the origins of what I call Keesee's "new" lie. [I call it the "new" lie because Keesee didn't think of it until after the fact. It did not appear on the search warrant that was exercised on September 1, 1994, two days after the alleged statement was made. It didn't appear on the warrant because Keesee hadn't thought of it yet.]

Here is a description of the crime scene as it was discovered at about 5:00 AM on the morning of August 29, 1994:

The two little girls were in their upstairs bedroom, in bed and both shot twice with very visible wounds;

Blaine was in the adjacent bedroom, in bed with a head wound and a barrel-less pistol nearby;

 

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Theresa Hodges was smoldering on a burnt-up couch downstairs, later said to have been strangled;

Accelerant had been splashed throughout the house, a chemical burn was on Winter's leg, and the stairs were slippery with accelerant;

But the fire had smoldered out downstairs due to lack of oxygen. [This fact was concealed in my trial. as well as the fact that gunshots had been heard around 3:00 AM that morning. Prosecutors, police, and my defense attorneys participated in the concealment. But the evidence is in my file: the crime-scene photos and a fireman's videotape.]

Thus to the layman (or member of the jury) the crime scene arguably presented the picture of a murder-suicide, or of an attempt to make it appear as such. Hence Keesee's "new" lie at trial, the allegation that I had made a statement revealing knowledge of the crime scene. To make sure the jury got the point, the prosecution actually exaggerated the extent to which they and the police had believed the crime to have been a murder-suicide, claiming, indeed, not to have learned otherwise until late on the afternoon of August 29.

But those weren't laymen investigating  that crime scene; they were seasoned detectives. So how long could it have taken them to ask the obvious questions: who would shoot his little girls in their upstairs bed, strangle his wife on the downstairs couch, splash accelerant on Teresa and throughout the house, set Teresa afire and start three separate fires (court testimony), run back upstairs, jump into bed, then shoot himself in the head with a barrel-less gun'?

It couldn't have taken long to recognize the absurdity of the murder-suicide hypothesis. They probably knew by 8:00 AM that they were dealing with four murders.

And there's this other odd fact: Blaine Hodges had wounds that appear in autopsy photographs to be stab wounds. This inconvenient fact was covered up during the trial by the usual suspects: prosecution, police, and my defense attorneys. Why? The stabbing makes it even more unlikely those seasoned detectives could have believed they were dealing with a murder-suicide past 8:00 AM. In fact, my state habeas petition raised the issue as part of its contention that no pathology work had been done on Blaine. In the state's rebuttal, they stated that the wounds were merely splits in the skin caused by decomposition. That may sound reasonable, but only because they also claimed at trial that Blaine had died as much as 36 hours earlier than the others. This claim too was dubious. In court testimony the first fireman on the scene repeatedly described Blaine's head wound as still "bleeding."

Evidence in my file makes it clear that the police themselves thought Blaine had been stabbed. At the tail end of a tape recording made on August 31, 1994, my habeas attorneys discovered a fragment of a police conversation about Blaine's stabbing. So it matters not what the state is saying now on this issue; at the time they believed they had a stabbing. Again, the police must have known they had four murders early on.

Because the stabbing couldn't be reconciled with the murder-suicide hypothesis, because it would lessen the impact of Keesee's "new" lie on the jury, it had to be concealed.

The prosecutors were determined to maintain the plausibility of the claim that they believed the murder-suicide hypothesis until late Monday afternoon. In fact, Keesee testified that they had believed it right up until Dr. Oxley's autopsies began at 5:00 PM, when they learned that Blaine had died before everyone else,

thus precluding murder-suicide as a reasonable hypothesis. Not until that moment, Keesee (and Burkhart) testified, did they know they were dealing with four murders.

When I heard that testimony I knew it was false. In fact, I had been told by Officer Vaught during my forenoon visit to the Vinton Police Department that Blaine and Teresa had been "killed" and Winter and Anah had "died in the fire." Then I had been grilled as a suspect in a serious crime. The prosecution's claim that they thought it was a murder-suicide until after 5:00 PM that day was a pretense, a falsehood designed to strengthen their case against me. [I have an even stronger basis for my conclusions, which I will expand on in my next statement.]

To repeat. They knew they had four murders by 8:00 AM, yet in trial they pretended they thought it a murder-suicide until after 5:00 PM that day. Why did they move the time line forward?

First, Keesee wrote the script and he made himself the star. His lie about my alleged murder-suicide statement at the Vinton Police Department needed a believable murder-suicide scenario at the crime scene to give the lie effect with the jury. Yet I felt there must be more to it than that. And there was.

Finally, after more than two years trying to puzzle it out, I put myself inside their heads. Soon the realization came to me. The moving forward of the time line served both an offensive and a defensive purpose. The offensive purpose was, as I have already said, to begin constructing the frame-up they would use to hang me. They would build it and swing me from it. But I now clearly saw the defensive purpose as well, which was to cover up and conceal that shameful pre-crime program by which they had hoped to nail me by using, among other unsavory methods, Winter Hodges as sexual bait. Implicit in that concealment was the denial that they knew there had been four murders very early Monday morning and that they had instantly identified me as their primary  suspect. For an admission of those facts would have raised questions they wanted at all costs to avoid.

The offensive and defensive purposes in fact became inseparable as far as they were concerned, rather than independent ends: frame Bramblett and cover up the pre-crime program (which, after all, had not worked). The one supported the other.

From day one of my defense team's representation I told them that the police had made an "instant decision" that I was the murderer and had "immediately" begun their frame-up. For a long time they resisted this conclusion, but finally about a month before the trial Mac Doubles conceded that the police had decided "within ten seconds" that I was the guilty party. The question is, "within ten seconds" of what? The answer, obviously, is "within ten seconds" of realizing they had four murders. So what time did they realize it?

According to their court testimony, the time was after 5:00 PM, a time I know to be false. But that wasn't the only part of the time line they moved forward, for there were other events during the day that played a role in my frame-up and in the cover-up of the pre-crime program. I had called the Vinton Police Department that morning around 10:00 AM or earlier. They (Keesee and the other police, including  the Vinton dispatcher) testified I had called after 3:00 PM. I had arrived at the Vinton Police Department at 11:30 AM or earlier. They, Keesee and the others, testified I didn't arrive until after 5:00 PM.

There were obvious specific reasons for the time line manipulation that contributed to the frame-up. One had to do with the testimony of a fellow name Milton, who was Blaine's neighbor, old friend, and drug buddy. Milton testified that he had seen me drive by the Hodges house around 8:30 AM, and then again thus precluding murder-suicide as a reasonable hypothesis. Not until that moment, Keesee (and Burkhart) testified, did they know they were dealing with four murders.

When I heard that testimony I knew it was false. In fact, I had been told by Officer Vaught during my forenoon visit to the Vinton Police Department that Blaine and Teresa had been "killed" and Winter and Anah had "died in the fire." Then I had been grilled as a suspect in a serious crime. The prosecution's claim that they thought it was a murder-suicide until after 5:00 PM that day was a pretense, a falsehood designed to strengthen their case against me. [I have an even stronger basis for my conclusions, which I will expand on in my next statement.]

To repeat. They knew they had four murders by 8:00 AM, yet in trial they pretended they thought it a murder-suicide until after 5:00 PM that day. Why did they move the time line forward?

First, Keesee wrote the script and he made himself the star. His lie about my alleged murder-suicide statement at the Vinton Police Department needed a believable murder-suicide scenario at the crime scene to give the lie effect with the jury. Yet I felt there must be more to it than that. And there was.

Finally, after more than two years trying to puzzle it out, I put myself inside their heads. Soon the realization came to me. The moving forward of the time line served both an offensive and a defensive purpose. The offensive purpose was, as I have already said, to begin constructing the frame-up they would use to hang me. They would build it and swing me from it. But I now clearly saw the defensive purpose as well, which was to cover up and conceal that shameful pre-crime program by which they had hoped to nail me by using, among other unsavory methods, Winter Hodges as sexual bait. Implicit in that concealment was the denial that they knew there had been four murders very early Monday morning and that they had instantly identified me as their primary  suspect. For an admission of those facts would have raised questions they wanted at all costs to avoid.

The offensive and defensive purposes in fact became inseparable as far as they were concerned, rather than independent ends: frame Bramblett and cover up the pre-crime program (which, after all, had not worked). The one supported the other.

From day one of my defense team's representation I told them that the police had made an "instant decision" that I was the murderer and had "immediately" begun their frame-up. For a long time they resisted this conclusion, but finally about a month before the trial Mac Doubles conceded that the police had decided "within ten seconds" that I was the guilty party. The question is, "within ten seconds" of what? The answer, obviously, is "within ten seconds" of realizing they had four murders. So what time did they realize it?

According to their court testimony, the time was after 5:00 PM, a time I know to be false. But that wasn't the only part of the time line they moved forward, for there were other events during the day that played a role in my frame-up and in the cover-up of the pre-crime program. I had called the Vinton Police Department that morning around 10:00 AM or earlier. They (Keesee and the other police, including  the Vinton dispatcher) testified I had called after 3:00 PM. I had arrived at the Vinton Police Department at 11:30 AM or earlier. They, Keesee and the others, testified I didn't arrive until after 5:00 PM.

There were obvious specific reasons for the time line manipulation that contributed to the frame-up. One had to do with the testimony of a fellow name Milton, who was Blaine's neighbor, old friend, and drug buddy. Milton testified that he had seen me drive by the Hodges house around 8:30 AM, and then again

around 4:00 PM without stopping - a powerful implication against me.

The following facts area slight digression. but they do have relevance to this last point.

About eight months before my trial, an inmate whom I will call R.R. told me he had accompanied Milton one evening to the Hodges house to purchase pot. Blaine, according to R.R., had taken a walk up his back hill and come back with a pound of the stuff. R.R. also told me he had witnessed Blaine selling four pounds of pot to a man named Politerry under the big clock in downtown Vinton one night.

I immediately gave this information, as well as directions for finding Politerry, to my investigator David Williams. Despite news reports that described tracking dogs leading the police up that back hill after the crimes, Williams made no effort to talk to RR (who was still in jail with me), or to locate Politerry, or that back neighbor. Mac Doubles, who was fully aware of the Milton-Blaine drug connection, did not cross-examine Milton on this issue when he was committing his perjuries.

Another fellow inmate, whom I will call I.U., told me at about the same time (eight months before my trial) that the fellow living up the back hill was Blaine's drug dealer. I.U. was in jail for cocaine distribution.

So Williams had about eight months to investigate these obviously relevant circumstances. He refused to do so. [A couple of weeks ago my habeas attorneys sent me affidavits from two inmates, who are otherwise unknown to me. Both are making allegations that implicate Blaine's drug associations in the Hodges murders.]

Milton, Williams, Doubles. All followed the script. End of digression.

It isn't difficult to account for my whereabouts at 8:30 that morning, when Milton claimed I was driving past the Hodges house. From about 7:30 to 9:30 1 was in the Blue Ridge and Rainbow Forest area, some thirty minutes away from the Hodges house, and I have four witnesses who could have and still can verify that fact. Williams had a year and a half to make that thirty minute trip to talk to those witnesses. He refused to do so. My defense attorneys, who were thoroughly familiar with my times and whereabouts that morning, refused to cross-examine one of the witnesses on this point when he was on the stand.

The fact is, I did drive past the Hodges house sometime between 10:00 and 10:30 AM. I had just concluded two alarming telephone conversations at my place of work: one with the Vinton police, who had practically ordered me to appear for an immediate interview, the other with an old friend, who had delivered the shocking news that the Hodges house had "burned down." Coupled with what Teresa and Winter had disclosed to me just the day before - that someone was in Virginia to get Blaine - those two telephone conversations had given rise to a terrible foreboding. It was with mounting fear that I went rushing off in my truck to see for myself what had befallen the family I loved.

Fear turned momentarily to bewilderment when I viewed the house from across the road divider. Contrary to what my friend had just told me, the house appeared untouched by fire. But something bad had happened there, that was for sure. It was a forbidding sight. Yellow crime scene tape was everywhere. The house and yard were crawling with police. I remember one cop in particular. He was kneeling in the doorway, apparently examining the sill. For some reason the sight of that cop kneeling there triggered in me the nameless kind of dread you feel in a nightmare. Suddenly all the bizarre events that had taken

place in that house over the past two years - culminating  with Teresa and Winter's disclosure just that weekend - hit me like a ton of bricks.

Is it necessary to justify my trip to the Hodges house that morning? Admittedly, it was out of my way if what I wanted to do was get to Vinton police headquarters as fast as possible. What can I say, except that at the time, in spite of being scared to death of what I might find, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Loving that family as I did, I literally had no choice. Years of self-examination have convinced me of that.

And I am convinced of this: a guilty man would have imagined plenty "else." Indeed, a guilty man would have considered carefully how it would look if he went cruising past the scene of the crime barely five hours after he'd committed it, particularly if he'd just received a call from the police intimating that he may have been under suspicion. A guilty man - alert to danger - would have chosen one of two routes: either avoid the crime scene altogether, or - if he was a bold killer - go there and stop to ask what has happened, bear up bravely when they tell him. offer his help and cooperation. In short, a guilty man would have been far more careful - far more clever - than I was.

Nevertheless, the question remains. Having driven to the house, why didn't I stop?

If I had driven past without stopping  at 8:30 AM, as Milton falsely alleged, there might have been reason to regard my action as suspicious. But by 10:00 AM I had what seemed to me all the reason in the world not to stop. Afraid and confused, my head whirling with dreadful questions, I knew that answers were to be found at the Vinton Police Department. And, I admit, there was a cowardly part of me that didn't want those questions answered immediately, that sought to delay knowing what I feared most, that didn't dare stop in front of that now forbidding house. To add a kind of ridiculous sense of urgency, I had my son's dog with me, and I was going to have to take him home before I went anywhere. Then there was that damned road divider. You had to go a good distance up the road before you could turn around and get back to the house. Normally this was what I did, and now reflexes carried me past. Once past, turning back seemed utterly impossible.

All of the elements I have named - the forboding, the confusion, the cowardice, the police interview, the dog, the divider - the terrible and the trivial - combined to send me rushing past the house like a man pursued by the hounds of hell. And underneath it all lay the bizarre events of that weekend and the past two years, that ton of bricks, that had truly knocked me off my moorings. Under the circumstances, who can be sure he would have acted otherwise? No, my actions were more indicative of a naive innocence than of guilt.

[I will say more about my telephone conversations with the Vinton Police and with my friend later. Those conversations were to become important elements in the manipulation of the time line.]

It is also within the realm of possibility that I drove past the Hodges house around 4:00 that afternoon. I left the Vinton Police Department, where I had learned of the murders, at 1:30 PM or earlier. I was in shock as I left and can recall little of that afternoon. I can say, however, that if I had driven past at 4:00 PM, I certainly wouldn't have stopped, not after learning what I had just learned. The jury, unfortunately, wasn't told that I had already been informed about the murders well before 4:00 - before noon, in fact - and thus saw that 4:00 PM drive-by in the same sinister light as they saw the fictitious 8:30 AM drive-by. As I have stated, the jury was told I didn't arrive at the Vinton Police Department until after 5:00 that afternoon. Moving the time line forward thus increased the effectiveness of Milton's perjury.

[There is more to this drive-by issue than I will cover in this statement.]

Another obvious reason for the time line lies had to do with the authorities' lie - repeated numerous times both on the search warrant exercised on September 1, 1994, and in trial - that I made statements at the Vinton Police Department and elsewhere during the days immediately following the crimes, that were evidence of knowledge of the crimes only the guilty could possess. The search warrant, for example, states that I blurted out: "go ahead and arrest me for murder" four different times. Later the jury saw that warrant, and the same lies must have been repeated 15 times in testimony before the jury. There were other lies about those first hours after the crimes, about things I supposedly said, all designed to make me look guilty for knowing about the murders. Remember that the prosecution and the police had stubbornly maintained that even they didn't know they had four murders on their hands until after 5:00 PM that day. The jury certainly  didn't know that I had been informed about the murders before noon. [Though for the record and as God is my witness, I never said, "go ahead and arrest me for murder. "] Nor did the jury know that I had been grilled as a murder suspect in that forenoon visit. To give their lies effect, the authorities saw they must conceal from the jury Officer Vaught's admission that Blaine and Teresa had been "killed." Though from a strictly logical standpoint it was not necessary to lie about when I telephoned and visited Vinton police headquarters in order to sustain that particular fiction, the authorities nevertheless saw fit to do so.

Undoubtedly they were reasoning that Milton's perjury regarding the 4:00 PM drive-by would be reinforced if they could establish that I hadn't arrived at the department until after that alleged drive-by and therefore had not known yet about the murders. It would, in other words, paint the drive-by in sinister colors: wouldn't an innocent man, upon finding the house of old friends decked out in yellow crime scene tape and swarming with cops, stop to discover what had happened? Only a guilty man, the jury would reason confidently, would - when greeted by that terrible sight - just keep going. But the reasoning would be faulty, because it would be based on a lie that denied the true circumstances of that drive-by - all the many elements that went into my decision (if you can call it a decision) not to stop. As I have argued, when those circumstances are taken into consideration, my actions can be seen as indicating innocence, not guilt.

[At this point  let me explain why, though I have conceded the possibility of my driving by at 4:00 PM, I still refer to Milton's allegation as "perjury." And why, though I did in fact drive past the house around 10:00 AM, I reject any notion that Milton was simply mistaken about the time of the alleged 8:30 AM drive-by.

First, Milton was a good drug buddy to Blaine and his brother Timmy, who, together with brother Randy, was in cahoots with the police to abet my frame-up, with Randy committing perjury after perjury at trial. Milton and the Hodges brothers, in short, constituted an altogether expert pack of liars whose talents the police and prosecution used to the utmost. It follows that the 8:30 AM time testified to by Milton should be seen as just too good of a fit with what would become the official version of the time line: it allowed the prosecution to paint me in the worst possible color while my own defense team sat on potential testimony that would have put the lie to it. So Milton was not mistaken - he was lying with his normal gusto.

Second, although much of that afternoon is lost to me, I believe I would remember driving past the vivid scene of that tape-bedecked house, even if, at the time of the alleged 4:00 PM drive-by, I was in a confused state. I don't. There are still other reasons for my belief that Milton's testimony was false, but I will wait fora retrial to explain them. Suffice it to say here that it's not a question of whether or not Milton lied, but rather a question of what caused the police to put him up to it. Again and again during trial I was surprised to hear things I had told my defense team before trial come out in prosecution arguments. My drive-by at 10:00 AM was one of them (they only had to "adjust" the time). But again, I will defer a full baring  of the truth on this issue until a retrial.]

So the authorities moved the time line forward. I was at the Vinton Police Department by 11:30 AM or earlier. They testified that I arrived there after 5:00 PM. They knew they had four murders by 8:00 AM. They testified that they believed it was a murder-suicide until after 5:00 that day. Simply put, they lied about when they knew they had four murders, and they lied about when I learned about those murders.

But there was another lie about that day's time line that should not be forgotten. I telephoned the Vinton Police by 10:00 00 AM or earlier. The Vinton Police dispatcher put her hand on a bible and swore I called between 3:00 and 3:07 PM. Nor was she the only one to lie about when I called. In fact so many lies were told about the time of my calling that I found myself suspicious about the significance  of it all. I had been assuming that they lied about the time of the call simply to reinforce the lie about the time of my arrival at the police department. But, as I say, my suspicions were raised by the sheer volume of lies. Finally I had a revelation.

I walked into Brewco Sign Company for the second time that morning at around 10:00 AM or earlier. My son's dog was with me, a relevant fact. Almost immediately, the secretary Juanita handed me two messages: call the Vinton Police; and call Arlie Garrabrandt, who was a twenty-year friend. I called the police immediately, telling them I would be right down after I dropped off my son's dog. As soon as I hung up Juanita told me Arlie was on the other line. I took the call.

Arlie immediately told me that Blame's house had "burned down." Arlie made some other comments too, but I cut him off, saying I was on my way to see the police.

The following false testimony was given regarding the facts acts I have just described.

Juanita testified I arrived at Brewco that day with my son's dog after 3:00 PM. Juanita lied under oath to support the fabricated version of the time line, according to which I called the police shortly after 3:00. Here's where the dog comes in. He was with me when Juanita handed me the two messages. The time: 10:00 AM or earlier. The dog provides the connection that makes me certain of that. [There is a witness to my dropping the dog off in Rainbow Forest before noon. For reasons I will not go into here, I chose not to make this witness known to my defense attorneys.] Juanita must have seen me call the police, and she definitely knew that Arlie had called me back. She had given me the message and saw me pick up the phone to talk to Arlie. [Juanita could clarify the time issue, but she hasn't responded to my several letters, and she recently refused to talk to one of my habeas attorneys. Juanita wasn't the only Brewco employee to lie in my frame-up. I will expand on that in my next statement.]

Arlie, my friend of twenty years, testified that I called him back at about 2:30 PM, and that we did not discuss the fire before then. That was a lie. I Will provide some speculation about his perjuries in my next statement.

So the prosecutor Burkhart, Officer Vaught, State Police Office Keesee, the Vinton Police dispatcher, Juanita of Brewco, and my old friend Arlie all lied to conceal that I had called the Vinton Police Department no later than 10:00 AM. Arlie's first letter to me since I arrived at Sussex maintained the falsehood that I had called him back at 2:30 PM.

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[As for Juanita and Arlie, once you commit perjury, how do you back up? Neither has backed up yet.]

The effort put forth to conceal the fact that I had called no later than 10:00 AM was truly remarkable. Such effort must have had significant cause. In an attempt to reason my way to that cause, I did the following analysis.

First, I broke the manipulation of the time line down into its elements:

(1)     The authorities' pretense that they believed in the murder-suicide hypothesis until after 5:00 PM on August 29, 1994;

(2)     The false assertion that I arrived at the Vinton Police Department no earlier than 5:00 PM;

(3)     The false assertion that I called the Vinton Police Department that day no earlier than 3:00 PM.

Next, I attempted to discover the relationship between these elements and the related falsehoods used to frame me:

(1)     Keesee's "new" lie, according to which I said while in the Vinton Police Department that day that "Blaine had a beautiful family; he done killed them, then himself." Manipulation of the time line doesn't seem essential for the effect of this lie. They could have said I made that statement at 9:00 AM and still painted me guilty. The murder-suicide pretense only marginally benefited Keesee's "new" lie. They could have achieved the same benefit by lying about what they told me while I was there in the morning.

(2)     Milton's 4:00 PM drive-by perjury and the "go ahead and arrest me for murder" lies were made more effective by the concealment of when I arrived at the department and, most importantly, what I learned there. But they could have simply lied about what took place when I was there for the same effect. Keesee certainly had no trouble putting words in my mouth. The murder-suicide pretense was of little benefit in this aspect of my frame-up as well. Again, all the effort (and criminal risk) they took moving the time line doesn't seem justified in relation to these framing lies.

(3)     The effort expended to conceal what time I called the police that day doesn't seem related to any framing lie. Keesee, Burkhart, Vaught, the Vinton Police dispatcher, and two civilians, including a friend of twenty years, all committed perjury in regard to that telephone call. Why?

Though my analysis didn't lead to an answer, I knew the authorities had to have had a good reason to suborn the numerous perjuries and assume the risks required to move the time line. It was at this point that I put myself inside their heads. I had begun working on my "how they did it" statement, reviewing the transcripts, the days immediately following the crimes, and the letter I had written to the Roanoke Times. Suddenly the answer was staring me in my face.

In the Times letter, written only six weeks after the crimes, I had recounted the exact circumstances of my August 29, 1994, Monday morning visit to the Vinton Police Department, quoting conversations verbatim as is my habit. Almost accidentally I had captured the fact that I had been treated as the authorities' "instant suspect," and even had been subjected to a well-thought out test to gauge my reactions. [Not that they had any doubts that I was the murderer, or at least that I was the one they were going to pin the murders on; what they wanted out of the test was to determine justhow hard it was going to be to nail me.]

But at some point during the investigation that led up to my arrest and trial, they must have realized that they had a problem. Because if they let it be known that as soon as they'd recognized they had four murders on their hands (not later than 8:00 AM) I had become their instant suspect, a very dangerous question would have gone begging: why Earl C. Bramblett? How were they going to explain their instant suspicion of me without also having to explain that shameful entrapment scheme, in which ten-year-old Winter Hodges was cast as sexual bait, that had been embraced (if not conceived) by the Roanoke City prosecutor's office (when Mac Doubles was prosecutor) and that eventually grew to include police from Roanoke City, Vinton, and the Commonwealth of Virginia?

In my "why" statement (Statement I, I document the program and its three prongs. The significant point is that the Roanoke City, Vinton, and Commonwealth authorities had pursued me for the major or part of two

I

decades; they had become frustrated in their failure to turn up anything to pin on me (because there was nothing); finally in their frustration they had developed a deep-seated prejudice and animosity against me, to the point that they were willing to do anything to nail me, even to frame me for multiple murders, even to allow the real killer to go free.

Maybe I'm not being fair. Maybe some of them actually believed I was guilty. But even those were willing to deprive me of my right to a fair trial.

So they manipulated the time line to conceal the nasty truth: that I had been their one and only suspect from the first instant they recognized that the entire Hodges family had been murdered; that the basis for their instant conclusions had to do with the long, shameful history of suspicion, harassment, and never-ending frustration; that, finally, they had allowed a ten-year-old girl to be bizarrely and wantonly misused in their scheme to get me. They weren't about to allow any whiff of this kind of rottenness to be made public. Their solution, to give them their due, possessed the genius of simplicity. They would simply pretend not to have known there had been four murders until after 5:00 that afternoon. That would give them plenty of time to turn me up in their "routine investigation" of the Hodges' deaths. No "instant suspect" here. Just good old-fashioned police work, checking out all the possibilities, even before the plausible murder-suicide hypothesis had been ruled out. In fact they stated repeatedly in trial that my name had just "popped up" in the normal course of the investigation. So successful were they in propagating this "good police work" fiction, that eventually their investigation was to become the subject of an admiring "New Detectives" segment on the Discovery Channel.

Still, they had a problem that must have set them back a bit. After all, they were used to lying with impunity and without contradiction, having lied throughout my trial without objection or argument from my defense. The problem I'm talking about was the letter I had written to the Roanoke Times only six weeks after the crimes. That letter threatened their ingenious solution. It threatened to expose the fact that indeed I had been their instant suspect, thus lending credence to my allegations of their nefarious entrapment program, thus begging the question as to why I had been their instant  suspect, and thus exposing the fact that Mac Doubles, my main defense attorney, had been pre-selected for me, not to defend me, but to conceal the entrapment.

Before I discuss the Times letter in detail, let me emphasize that the pre-selection of Mac Doubles was inextricably bound up in the authorities' decision to move the time line forward. Though lacking the information I later acquired that would prove my suspicions, from the start of our association I instinctively knew that Mac Doubles did not have my interests at heart. I have consistently maintained this position since my trial, though many believe it is proof of delusion. In my first letter to the courts after I arrived on Death Row at Mecklenburg Correctional. I recounted my final meeting with my trial lawyers. It was in a small holding cell immediately after my death sentence was decided. I told Mac Doubles - to his face -"You refused to investigate the police program going on before the crimes because the defense of the police in this case took priority over the defense of me."

It wasn't until I had arrived at Sussex I, about a year later, that I learned that Mac Doubles had been the prosecutor for Roanoke City from 1989 to 1994, the period that encompassed the program. If I had possessed that information when I last spoke to Doubles, I would have told him, "The defense of the police and Mac Doubles took priority over the defense of me."

In at least half of my letters to the courts since  my conviction, I have stated that "my lawyers were pre-selected not to defend me but to keep quiet a dirty police program that had been going on before the crimes."

To repeat. Revealing that I had been their instant suspect early on that Monday morning would have required an explanation, and that explanation would soon have uncovered the pre-selection of Mac Doubles, not to defend me, but to conceal the entrapment. [As for the other two prongs of the program, Mac Doubles and David Williams succeeded in covering them up as well, as I have stated previously.]

Now to the Times letter (I have underlined the enclosed copy to indicate the following significant points).

(1)                   I clearly referred to the events of Monday as "Monday morning."

(2)                   I related that Arlie had called me and said that Blaine's house had "burned down.."

(3)                   1 wrote that Officer Vaught had told me that Blaine and Teresa had been "killed" and Winter and Anah had "died in the fire."

(4)                   I mentioned that Officer Keesee had asked me my whereabouts on Sunday.

(5)                   1 said that Keesee had driven me to the Hodges house where "we just sat."

Recall the crime scene I described previously. Accelerant had been splashed throughout the house, but the fire had smoldered out downstairs. Despite court testimony that the fire had been set in four places, the fire seemed to have been concentrated on Teresa on the couch and at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the bedrooms. The fire had not approached the upper floor.

Now consider each of significant points in the Times letter.

My reference to the events of Monday as occurring "Monday morning." I wrote the Times letter only six weeks after the crimes. How would I have known to lie about any of the issues, particularly the time line, as I didn't even hear the falsehoods until three years later in my trial?

(2)     Arlie's call to me at Brewco in which he stated that Blaine's house had "burned down." I described earlier the circumstances of that call, and the reasons I remember it so well. Again, why would I lie about Arlie's call, in particular about what time I received it? And

what reason would I have to lie about what Arlie said? Six weeks after the crimes, I had no idea that the authorities would manipulate the time line to make it appear that I knew too much too soon.

(3)                 Officer Vaught's statement informing me that Blaine and Teresa had been "killed" and Winter and Anah had "died in the fire." Vaught kept me waiting in the hall for about 15 minutes (giving him time to set up his tape recorder - a tape that will never be heard in my opinion). Immediately after calling me into his office, Vaught informed me about the Hodges' deaths. Then Keesee appeared as if by magic and sat down next to me. I was in shock. Coldly Keesee addressed me: "Go ahead and cry; get it out of your system; they're dead." Knocked somewhat back to reality by Keesee's cold words, I asked, "Where's Mike Fulcher?"

"He's in Bland Correctional," Keesee answered without hesitation. Keesee had made sure. Blaine, Keesee well knew, had double-crossed Fulcher. The betrayal had been paid for by the police. Keesee had been smart enough to check on Fulcher's whereabouts before initiating my frame-up. Not that he would have allowed anything to get in the way.

The point is that both Vaught's and Keesee's demeanor clearly indicated both officers were working under the assumption that four murders had taken place and that I was a suspect. Again, I wouldn't have known to lie about their demeanor six weeks later. Though I knew by then that the authorities had been out to nail me since their first recognition of the four murders, I still had no idea of the means (the manipulation of the time line) they would use to hammer their nails home.

(4)                 Keesee grilled me on my whereabouts that Sunday. It was an interrogation. Shaken as I was by Vaught's announcement, I couldn't focus. I wasn't even sure what day of the week it was. Suddenly Keesee lashed out at me: "Today is Monday; yesterday was Sunday!" Again, Keesee clearly acted with the intensity and frustration of a man confronted with a difficult and uncooperative suspect in a murder investigation.

(5)                 Then Keesee said abruptly: "Let's go to the Hodges house." We drove in silence and parked in front of the house. For a time "we just sat" there, Keesee saying nothing. [Though it took me some time, I now recognize what Keesee was up to. He was gauging my reaction to the fact that the house had = burned down.]

While we were sitting there in silence I was adding up what I knew. I had just been told that Blaine and Teresa had been killed; only the day before Teresa and Winter had let it be known that someone was in Virginia to get Blaine Hodges; and I had known for two years that Blaine had cut a deal with the police to avoid serious jail time. [The deal let Blaine off lightly in return for helping the police nail me.] Self-preservation kicked in. "This isn't jay-walking," I told Keesee. "If you're going to charge me with something, get me a lawyer."

Keesee responded, "Huh! Jay-walking." With that he drove me back to my truck in the Vinton Police parking lot, and I left.

Here's what I think was behind that sit-down at the Hodges house. Imagine the

Police at the crime scene. They'd been there since 6:00 AM. Some of them had played a part in the pre-crime program to nail me and knew about Blaine's involvement. They knew that the murderer had intended the house to burn down: accelerant had been splashed everywhere. [Mac Doubles told me it was a miracle that the house hadn't burned to the ground.]

The police who saw that crime scene, no doubt, turned their thoughts to the "instant suspect." Perhaps, they reasoned, since it was still very early, he didn't know yet that his plan had gone awry. Perhaps they could set up a little test for him. Get a friend to call him and tell that his plan had worked, that the house had "burned down." Get the instant suspect to go to the Vinton Police Department and reinforce that notion. Imply that the fire had destroyed the evidence of the bullet holes. Tell him that "Winter and Anna died in the fire." Then take him directly to the Hodges house and park in front. Watch his reaction when he sees the house still standing.

I knew by the time Keesee took me to sit in front of the Hodges house that I was a suspect in a serious crime. There is much I haven't gone into here. But the important thing is the Times letter. It seems to me the letter doesn't leave much room for interpretation. I was treated as an "instant suspect" that Monday morning. The only conceivable reason for them to reach such a conclusion in the absence of forensic evidence was the fact that Blaine Hodges had assisted them in carrying out their program against me, so they had what might have seemed to them a connection - and a "motive." That, and the prejudice and animosity against me, stemming from that program, which I have alluded to before. Final proof is found in the fact that Mac Doubles, my esteemed defense attorney, worked at the heart of the program for years. The role of Mac Doubles, it must be seen, establishes beyond all doubt the reality of the program and of the extraordinary lengths the police and prosecution went to cover it up.

[I don't want to leave the impression that the program was exclusively Roanoke City's. Detective Brown of the Vinton department told everyone he met in his pre-trial investigation in South Carolina that there had been an active program before the crimes involving Earl Bramblett and the Hodges family.]

Thus did they accomplish their goal, to cover up the fact that I was their instant suspect. But the Times letter was a threat to their success, and they understood it must be kept out of evidence at all costs. Mac Doubles was up to the challenge. He simply sat on that letter throughout the trial. It never was presented in evidence.

I have stated often in letters to my attorneys and in my various statements that Mac Doubles' withholding of the Times letter can be described by just one word: collusion. Since I wrote those words, the realization that the letter confirms - if not proves - the existence of the program (that's why I was their instant suspect) has become inescapable. So now I must add another word to the description: concealment. Mac Doubles colluded in the concealment of that despicable program.

There is further evidence. When I mailed the letter to the Times on October 12, 1994, I also mailed an exact photocopy to my sister, Bev Kaiser, in Massachusetts. Until a few months ago I had thought that Mac Doubles had retrieved that copy along with other letters I had written to my sister at a point in time just before my competency hearing. Not so, my sister recently informed me. Doubles asked for that copy early on, apparently as soon as I told him of its existence. Doubles understood full well the importance of that letter with all it implied, yet he sat on both the published copy and the photocopy throughout my trial. Or should I say, "so he sat."

 [I have been seeking that photocopy from my file for more than a year, because it is my suspicion that the Times altered some of my words when they published it (a year after I wrote and mailed it). The unaltered words would have provided yet more support for my contention that the police, the prosecution, and my defense attorneys moved the time line forward. Am I accusing the Times of colluding in my frame-up as well? Let me just say this. The Times consistently has covered my case with gross incompetence. If there's a police line to be uncritically accepted at face value, count on the Times to be there first. But even gross incompetence can't explain the content and timing of certain articles, such as the Mike Hudson article that appeared in the Times immediately before the judge put his final stamp on my death sentence. Hudson outdid the prosecution in distorting the meaning of my tapes, distortions that amounted to deliberate lies.]

It is unlikely that the Times letter is in the court records (Doubles made sure of that), but it surely exists somewhere in the public records, probably in a file somewhere at the Roanoke Times. Evidence sheets show it was entered into the evidence, but no one ever presented it in court (why would they?). The letter in its original wording confirms for all who would read it that what I've said is true.

It is true that Burkhart, Keesee, the Vinton police, the Vinton dispatcher, and two citizens all lied under oath to establish the fabricated time line upon which my frame-up was built and by which the shameful program involving the use of a little girl as sexual bait was concealed. It is true that a reading of the Times letter will instantly corroborate the reality of that same program And it is true that my defense attorneys colluded in my frame-up to convict me of crimes I did not commit.

 

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