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Teen Anger

After young Joe Gallegos was let back into society, all hell broke loose.

Gallegos didn't. "He would leave like 4,000 messages on my machine," Hocker says. And the Bryants were shocked when their phone bill included hundreds of dollars' worth of calls to Greeley. But that was another clue that would come too late.

In addition to the article about a hostage situation, Gallegos kept photocopies of two articles from the Denver Post about domestic violence. Found with the articles was a handwritten list titled "Why Women Stay." The list, in Gallegos's handwriting, appears to enumerate reasons that women stay in abusive relationships, including "thinks it was 'natural' OK to hit someone you love to 'correct' them." Reason No. 4 on Gallegos's list: "Fear--threats--if she reports it to the police, he takes revenge--she'll deny abuse when questioned--give excuses--scared man might lose job."

Reason No. 5 was similar to what Hocker said about her abuse: "Don't see themselves as bothered--they don't think 'outsiders' should interfere."

The Bryants say they knew about the breakup, but from what Gallegos told them, they thought he was okay. Early on, he told the Bryants that he wanted to stay with her because she needed him to help her stay clean and remain a Christian. Later, though, he told them he was done with her. Kris Bryant remembers what he said: "It's going to drag me down, too. I'm just going to cut it off." In reality, though, his obsession just grew, and he made another trip to Greeley when he had a pass only to see his family in Cortez.

He drove to Greeley but returned to Cortez Saturday night, which is when the Bryants believe he started using drugs again. "We know he had a brain allergy to drugs, and they just really affected him," Kris Bryant says.

Still, he made it to Bayfield Elementary School in time for the 10:30 a.m. services the next day. Jeb Bryant noticed that he was pacing back and forth and seemed "quiet, despondent and wound up." Bryant says he thought it was money trouble and told him he would give him some money at Bible study Monday night. Bryant says he found out only later that Gallegos had tried to sell his gun for $100 to other members of the youth group. In a statement to police, Bryant said a youth-group member told him that day that Gallegos was "stalking" Heidi, but like Heidi, he didn't call police or probation officers.

One of those in the youth group was Dublin Wilmer, a seventeen-year-old boy from Bayfield who was sentenced by juvenile authorities to live in the Bryants' home following his involvement in a fight. Wilmer also started attending the church, and he says it was made clear to him that if he could just be as good as Gallegos, he would start getting some of the privileges that Gallegos enjoyed.

After the services that Sunday morning, Wilmer says, he and Gallegos started driving around Ignacio and Durango. "He said he was upset about his girlfriend cheating on him, so we went cruising for babes, basically," Wilmer says, adding that Gallegos told him, "It's the first time I ever fall in love, and now this."

Wilmer says that after he and Gallegos returned to the Turville house, Gallegos went into his room and emerged with the Ruger. Wilmer asked him if he was worried about violating parole. "He said, 'Nobody's going to find out, are they?' and I said, 'Nobody's going to find out from me,'" recalls Wilmer.

The next day, September 23, a Monday, Gallegos didn't show up for his construction job, another parole violation--but officials say they received no notification from Turville or anyone else.

That night Gallegos called Hocker. She says it was like other talks they had had: He pleaded for a reconciliation, and she told him to move on with his life. "I told him I kissed another boy," she recalls, "and he just totally freaked out."

Just after midnight, Joe Gallegos was smoldering. Instead of picking one of the Christian-music tapes or some of the rap music he had hidden in his bedroom, he put on a tape soundtrack to The Crying Game and started playing the title cut, a song by Boy George about relationships gone bad.

Investigators in La Plata County never were able to piece together the exact order of what happened next, but the best guess from the coroner and others who visited the scene is that Gallegos first went to the kitchen, where he unhooked the telephone receiver and hid it in a drawer.

He then grabbed a knife and the Ruger and went into the bedroom where Turville was asleep and Lara was working at a computer. A blanket was pulled over Turville's head, perhaps to keep out the noise and light of Lara's work. Gallegos walked between the computer and the bed, put a gun up against Turville's right cheek and pulled the trigger. The bullet exited the left side of his neck. Gallegos then pressed the gun against Turville's forehead and fired again. That bullet lodged against the back of his skull.

Authorities theorize that Lara saw what happened, turned to get away, was shot on the left side of his head and fell to his knees. The bullet exited on the right side, without having penetrated the skull. Another shot, the one that killed him, entered his forehead and ended up in his chest. Officials aren't sure which bullet came first. Lara could have fallen to his knees out of fear and may have been shot in the forehead before being shot in the left side of the head while already slumped to the floor.

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