Handwritten corrections and notes are in red. Portions that were highlighted with a yellow highlight marker are underlined.
MEMO TO FILE
DATE: OCTOBER 2, 1997
STRATEGY TO DEAL WITH
Mitch and Ronnie were
both in the chaplain's office which consisted of about eleven branch
offices around the base. Mitch was in
Mitch left the Marine
Corps in approximately July of 1996. Before he left he told
Ronnie he was going to try to enroll in Liberty University to become
a pastor. Presumably Mitch knew Ronnie's dad went to Liberty U. and
that Ronnie had met Dr. Falwell.
It is unlikely that Mitch had formed any idea that Ronnie killed Trish or he would have either notified his commanding officer right before he left the service or the civil authorities right afterward.
If Mitch feared Ronnie at the time he left the Marine Corps, he could have kept Ronnie from having any idea he relocated.
When Ronnie called
Mitch in January of 1997, Mitch welcomed him and told him he did not
have to spend money on a motel room while he was in Lynchburg.
Ronnie and Kim's trip to Lynchburg was in connection with Ronnie going to Portsmouth, Virginia, to have his sleep disorder evaluated. The Marine Corps required Ronnie to make the trip and agreed to pay Kim's expenses so that Ronnie would not have to drive the whole way. Ronnie had to be back on duty Sunday so it
was impossible for him
and Kim to attend Sunday services at Thomas Road Baptist, even
though they would have liked to hear Dr. Falwell preach.
Kim had a credit card
and she and Ronnie could have easily rented a motel room if Mitch
could not put them up.
Ronnie and Kim arrived
in Lynchburg at close to 10:00 p.m.
and called Mitch from a pay phone on the Liberty campus.
Mitch drove his car and led them back to his house. Neither Kim nor
They went to bed
shortly after getting there. Ronnie took a shower because he had
to wash off the glue from the electrodes in the sleep test.
The next day Ronnie
and Kim went to classes in the morning with Mitch. Kim and Ronnie
had lunch by themselves. In the afternoon they went to meet Dr.
Falwell. They got back to Mitch's house at 5:00 or 5:30. Kim
invited the Whiddens and their two children out to dinner to repay
them for letting them
They put Kim's and
Ronnie's in their car and Ronnie and Mitch assembled the Whidden's
chair. After that it was close to 10:00 p.m. Ronnie and Mitch went
upstairs for devotionals. They were upstairs approximately 15
minutes. Ronnie told Mitch that the investigation of Trish's
death was hard on him because his friends in the Marine Corps
thought he was involved. Ronnie told Mitch that he had
Mitch said they should
pray for inspiration and guidance. Mitch said God never gives us an
ordeal we can't endure.
Ronnie's eyes may have filled with tears of frustration but he was not crying.
When Ronnie and Mitch
came back downstairs Kim did not think that Ronnie had been crying.
Kim noticed nothing unusual. Mitch's wife was never alone with
Ronnie and Ronnie never
A couple of weeks
later Ronnie got a call from Mitch at the chaplain's office
(451-5646) at 11:00 a.m. or shortly thereafter. Mitch said he was in
the area and wanted to see Ronnie. This surprised Ronnie because
(Donna) got on the phone. She said she was sorry she had "passed
out" on them. She said it was good having them up to Virginia.
One hour Mitch showed up alone. Ronnie was vacuuming the chapel. Ronnie asked Mitch to wait a few minutes for him to
finish and they could
go get some lunch.
Mitch said he had
talked to an attorney about the things Ronnie had told him. Ronnie
said he didn't know why Mitch would have to talk to an attorney
about a private conversation. Mitch asked Ronnie why he did not just
ask Ted for the money. Wouldn't that clear up whether it had all
been a dream. Ronnie told Mitch he did not know what he was talking
Panosh flatly denied that Whidden had been in on any attempt to tape record this conversation. It would appear that this meeting was set up by Church and Pendergrass to get a confession out of Ronnie. The whole scheme fell flat.
Published August 15, 2006. Report broken links or other problems.
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