A BEATEN MAN

HE GETS WHIPPED (WHICH HE WANTED) AND ROBBED (WHICH HE DIDN'T). THEN HE GETS CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER.

You're an average guy, which is to say, occasionally you like to be tied up and whipped. But you have questions. For example: "How do Colorado's self-defense laws apply to me if things get out of hand?" Fortunately, there is precedent.

Unfortunately, it's not very encouraging. Say that you were to find yourself in an unfortunate prostitutional situation: She sees you tied up spread-eagled on your bed and recognizes a robbery opportunity. An hour later she drives away--in your truck--with most of your valuables. And the next thing you know, you're charged with attempted murder.

On June 18, 1994, at about 1:30 p.m., Lakin Wailes, 57, picked up a woman named Janette Doss--with a purpose. According to a police report of the incident, "he asked her to go with him and `do some bondage' because he liked being tied up and whipped."

They returned to Wailes's Commerce City home where, Wailes later recalled, "she tied me down to the bed. Then she started whipping me very hard." (A police officer confirmed this. "Lakin said Janette started to whip him with his consent and then showed me his whip marks on his rear end," he wrote.)

Sometime during the whipping session, however, the mood changed from one of consensual pleasure to one of larceny. Wailes recognized this when Doss began asking him where he kept his wallet. After determining that the blows were getting harder and that she apparently was prepared to beat the information out of him, Wailes relented. Doss exited the room, leaving Wailes securely spread-eagled on the bed.

Doss didn't go far, though. Using Wailes's telephone, she called a friend attending a party. A witness at the party recalls the man, Bruce Jackson, receiving the call. Jackson denies any involvement; but according to police, he arrived at Wailes's house by taxi a half-hour later.

Jackson and Doss stayed inside Wailes's house for just over an hour--long enough to stuff Wailes's 1990 Ford Ranger pickup truck with many of his belongings, including, according to a detective's report, "Realistic 10 Channel scanner, valued at $50; pull-out stereo, valued at $200; Realistic CD player, valued at $110; Canon 35mm camera with telephoto, zoom-lens, wide-angle and flash, valued at $150; 100 U.S. 29-cent stamps; and two (2) packages of ham, valued at $10."

Jackson and Doss couldn't fit all of Wailes's goods into his truck, so they stacked the VCR and portable stereo on the porch. In what turned out to be a crucial oversight, their search for pawnable items failed to uncover Wailes's .32 Special Winchester rifle.

According to police reports, the two drove to a fence, to whom Jackson allegedly sold the items. They then went back to the party where, Doss told police, Jackson said he wanted to return to Wailes's to pick up the VCR and stereo. Doss balked; she was afraid Wailes might have untied himself. Jackson won the argument, though, and at about 11:52 p.m. they pulled back into Wailes's driveway.

Meanwhile, Wailes had indeed worked himself loose from the bed. Noticing that many of his electronic goods and his truck were missing, he called 911 and reported the incident shortly after 6 p.m. The dispatcher told him that a police officer was on the way. About 45 minutes later Wailes called again to complain that nobody had arrived to take his report yet. The dispatcher told him to be patient.

Wailes told police that he had seen the VCR and stereo on his porch and deduced that Doss and her friend might be back. So he wrapped himself in his sleeping bag, grabbed his rifle and waited in the backyard.

According to neighbors, when Jackson and Doss arrived at Wailes's house, Jackson got out of the truck and walked casually toward the door. His progress was interrupted, however, when Wailes walked out from behind the house and began firing his rifle from the waist, cowboy-style.

Jackson ran back to the truck, jumped in and peeled out of the driveway. But not before Wailes was able to squeeze off four or five rounds. One shot was way off the mark: It penetrated a neighbor's plate-glass window and wound up in a bedroom wall.

Two others, however, were right on target. One pierced the passenger-side door and smashed into Doss's lower leg. Another bullet entered her thigh and left through her hip. Despite Doss's injuries, however, the couple did not seek immediate medical help. "Janette told [Jackson] she needed to go to the hospital," a police report reads. "He told Janette he would drop her off, but before that he needed to stop by a friend's house and sell the car stereo and the CB, which he did."

Meanwhile, Wailes returned to his house and dialed 911 a third time. The dispatcher, who'd just received a report of shots at Wailes's address, tried to pin down the source. Wailes was candid.

Dispatcher: "Did they shoot at your house?"
Wailes: "No, I shot at them. Are you gonna arrest me?"
Dispatcher: "I have no idea. I doubt it, but that's up to the officers."
Wailes: "Goddamn, I gotta protect what I got."

Unfortunately for him, the Adams County district attorney, Bob Grant, didn't entirely agree. He charged Wailes with attempted first-degree murder for shooting at Jackson and Doss and first-degree assault for the shot that went through the neighbor's window.

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