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Trial and Tribulations, Part Two

This is the conclusion of Joanne Cordova's story. For part one, see www. westword.com.

Officer Bresnahan ordered Riggan to place his hands on top of his head while she checked him for weapons. He was cooperative. He didn't have any identification on him, but he said his name was "Donald Benjamin Douglas" and that he'd come from California two months earlier because he liked to rock-climb. Now he was on his way to meet his gay lover at a restaurant.

At that morning's briefing on the case, there had been mention of two tattoos. Bresnahan asked Douglas if he had any. He said he had one on his leg and showed her the "7." But only when she pressed further did he pull down the collar of his shirt to reveal the "Sandy" and a rose on his shoulder.

Riggan was arrested and placed in Bresnahan's cruiser. On the way to Boulder County Jail, he denied that he was Robert Riggan or that he'd been driving the van. "I didn't do it," he told Bresnahan. "It was her pimp. I know I'm in trouble, but I didn't hit her...I didn't push her from the van."

At the jail, Riggan finally admitted who he was and waived his right to remain silent and allowed Bresnahan to record her interview with him. Only now it wasn't a pimp who pushed the young woman he referred to as Buffy. "She jumped," Riggan said.

He'd met Buffy through another prostitute. "Jo...Joanne...maybe it's Cordova. Maybe it's Jo Jo Cordova...She had me hold on to her stuff, 'cause she didn't have a place to put it...She's an older woman, really nice. Her ID's in the van somewhere."

He liked Buffy, he said, and took her shopping and bought her crack. "She had nothing...She told me, 'Look, you've got to give me some underwear'...We were together all day. I mean, she told me that I was the nicest guy that she'd ever met. I mean, um, she was a prostitute, and all she wanted was 25 bucks...I spent $64 just on her tennies."

"That's pretty generous," Bresnahan replied.
"Well, no," Riggan demurred. "I liked her, and I liked Joanne, Jo Jo. I bought Jo Jo clothes, too. She stayed with me in the van for quite a while. Four or five days...But she wanted out."

The other girl had enjoyed her time with him, he said.
"And her name was Buffy?" Bresnahan asked.
"Buffy Davis," he responded. "She told them... she was my wife."

He and "Buffy" had checked into a Colfax Avenue motel the day before the "accident," he said. "I paid for the room...I checked in under Donna and Robert Davis."

After that, they'd gone to the house where Shane Delray lived, and Riggan had parked the car at a car wash while Buffy went inside. "These girls were fucking crackheads," Riggan told Bresnahan. "Prostitutes. The guys that took them there, the pimp didn't want them knowing where he lived...where they were getting crack.

"I called him pimp, she called him her boyfriend," he added.
As he sat in the van, Riggan said he could hear an argument. Apparently, Buffy wasn't bringing home enough money. "He called her a bitch and told her she'd better be fucking taking care of business, and, um...called her a crackhead."

When she returned to the van, Buffy was bleeding "a little bit" in her crotch area. "She said, 'That son of a bitch just kicked me.'" She got in the back of the van and wiped herself off with a towel. They drove back to the motel. But later, Riggan said, Buffy wanted to go out.

"She wanted to go to the mountains?" Bresnahan asked.
"Yeah," Riggan agreed. "She said that she just wanted to go sit out in the mountains. She was talkin' really crazy, you know, I mean weird. Weird. Weird." He complained that his only friends were "weird people...prostitutes and bums and winos. I've been alone for a long time."

Over the next hour, Riggan offered several variations on the story that "Buffy," who was wearing shorts, her new shoes, socks and a T-shirt, had jumped out of the van on 119 before they reached the turnoff to the cabin. In one version, she opened the passenger door of the van and stood on the running board for "several minutes" holding her crack pipe in her left hand, threatening to jump before she finally did so.

In another version, she got high in the back of the van and was talking about suicide. When she returned to the front seat, she was "real quiet for a little while...and all of a sudden, she just opened the front door and got on the outside of the van. And she said, 'I'm going to kill myself.' And I said, 'No, no, no.' And you know, I looked down then, I was doing 45. I looked back up and she was gone."

A few minutes later the story changed again. "I did nothing. This girl got on my door, and I begged her not to fucking jump. I told her, 'Look, don't jump. Don't jump.' And I'm slowing down all the time, trying to get her back in the van...and she went."

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