Bad Company

They had guns. They were after drugs and cash. What they got was trouble.

After Hoffman fired his shotgun at their feet, Baxendale says, and then trained the gun on the old woman in the apartment, "I was thinking about shooting him. I thought that might be my best alternative. I knew he didn't have any self-control."

But if Baxendale was upset with his partner for shooting him, it didn't stop him from going out with him again the following night. With Sandy along for the ride, they stopped at a bar on East Colfax, where Hoffman had several drinks and insisted it was time for another job. Baxendale said it would be easier just to score some dope.

They picked up a young black man on the street and gave him $20 for some crack. He took them to a motel and told them to wait in the car while he made the purchase. When he didn't come back for several minutes, Hoffman and Baxendale burst into the motel room with guns drawn.

"We want our money," Hoffman snarled.
They made their buyer and the seller lie on the floor while they searched their pockets. A woman who was in the room fled and called 911. The police arrived before Baxendale and Hoffman could make it back to Sandy's car with their take, which consisted of the $20 they'd given the buyer, a small plastic bag of rocks, and an extra $2 for their trouble. Although Sandy had stayed in the car and may not have known what the plan was, she was arrested, too. (She wound up pleading to a reduced charge as an accessory and receiving probation.)

When the police searched Hoffman, they found he had more than $2,000 on him--money he'd kept secret from Baxendale, just as he'd lied about so many aspects of his life. Yet here he was, ripping off crackheads for a few measly bucks. A detective asked him why he carried so much cash.

"It makes me feel good," Hoffman said.

From the moment he was arrested, Scott Baxendale proved to be a cooperative suspect. He told the police where to find all the guns and ammo and gave them a detailed statement about the robberies. But his explanation of his own motives would have astonished anyone who knew him.

"My life for the past six years had been wrecked by drug dealers and users," he explained in a written statement. "I felt a strong hatred toward drug dealers and decided to do something about it...All I want to do is help in any way possible to put drug dealers out of business...I feel that with my past I could help bust crack dealers."

"I told the cops mostly the truth," he says now, "but I tried to slant it to make me look like I was some sort of vigilante. I was deluding myself into thinking that I was doing this to get the crack off the street. It was bullshit. I was a crackhead. Why would I want the crack off the street? At the same time, I'd been struggling for the last year and a half to get clean. I knew that shit was evil and that my life was shitty because of it."

In his statement, Baxendale boasted that he'd "destroyed" the crack he seized. He didn't mention that he'd destroyed it by smoking it. Still, the vigilante pose impressed no one. He was looking at dozens of charges, a long prison stretch. (Federal authorities were even looking into charging him with impersonating a DEA agent, but when the feds got a look at the toy badge, they just shook their heads and laughed.) After the coke fumes cleared from his brain, it dawned on Baxendale that his only hope was to come clean.

His lawyers worked out the best deal they could with prosecutors in Denver and Arapahoe County: a plea of guilty to one count of aggravated robbery in each case, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. It would be up to the judge whether the time would be served in prison or community corrections. Baxendale took it, hoping for a shot at the rigorous Peer 1 drug rehab program.

As news of the proposed deal reached the other defendants, Baxendale began to receive threatening letters from Hoffman: "All I can say is Scott Scott Scott, the bond between us was I thought tighter than super glue? Well you live and will never make it in prison with your jacket and statements following you!! blackmailing vampire, you tyrant, you big bloodsucking leech. You have been uncovered!!!"

"You know, I trusted you--but you were never honest with me," Baxendale wrote back. "When we got arrested here I watched the police count out $2152.00 in cash...Now who betrayed who--I was ready to stick it out to the end with you but you betrayed me, not the other way around...All this time I thought we were some kind of 'business partners' when the whole time, I realize now, that I was just someone you could give the 'business' to...

"Listen, David, Dean, Brent, Ken, Doug, Robert, Hilton, Yanko, Davis, Roundy, Hoffman, Fuckhead--did you ever think about starting a baseball team? You could be every position."

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