Friday, December 23, 2005

Let me get this straight...

The twists and turns surrounding the murder last weekend of Navy reservist, Paul Berkley, in a North Raleigh park are now bordering upon the absured. According to The News and Observer, the story is that Paul Berkley, 46, was home in Clayton, NC from Iraq following reserve duty with the Navy. He went out to eat Saturday night with his wife, Monique Berkely, 26, and then to a movie. Following the movie, Monique suggested a "romantic" evening walk on a cold and rainy night in Millbrook Exchange Park near the theatre where Monique's 18 year old lover and his friend allegedly shot Paul in the head and in an effort to make it look like a robbery gone bad, shot Monique in the shoulder as well. Sounds pretty simple, woman conspires with lover to kill husband, most likely for insurance money. However, which each passing day, the N&O prints more articles detailing the history of the relationship and circumstances leading up to Paul's murder which sounds more like a daily soap opera. Let's see if we can pull it all together shall we?

Five years ago, Monique, leaves Tampa, FL for California to meet up with her lesbian partner, who she met in a gays and lesbians chatroom on the Internet. There in California she gets involved in some political activism, but is most described by the lover as a "stay-at-home" type. While in California, Monique and her partner get "married" and go on to enjoy there life together. Enter Paul Berkley, literally, who saunters into the local Circle K one day and hits it off with Monique. It seems that Monique was there visiting the aforementioned partner and Paul was a regular. Paul was twice divorced but had custody of his two children from his first marriage. Paul decided he likes Monique so much he invites her and her partner over to hang out at his house and watch TV. The result of this very strange threesome is that Monique dumps her partner and decides to start playing for the home team again, if you know what I mean. Her partner, who six months later, had a full sex change operation performed, said that Monique's attraction had more to do with the wad of money in Paul's pocket and not any other kinds of wads one might find there, but I digress. Paul and Monique eventually get married, she becomes the cool step mom to Paul's teenage children and somehow they find their way to the blossoming bedroom community of Clayton, NC.

So let's review we have a man in his forties who meets a girl in her twenties at a Circle K of all places, convinces her to leave her lesbian lover, who then has a sex change operation. They get married, she becomes a stepmom to children old enough to be her siblings, and they move to a quaint town surronded by rural North Carolina. Oh but wait it gets better...

Five years into the marriage, Paul gets shipped of to Iraq on reserve duty. Monique looks up this as an opporunity to have some fun. She meets one of her 18 year old stepson's friends, and begins an affair with him. The new boyfriend promptly moves in with her, in plain sight of the whole neighborhood and she even begins paying his cell phone bill. Couple that with the fact that Paul's sixteen year old daughter dated an 18 year old friend of Monique's new love and what you have is a love triangle, or pentagon, or whatever you want to call. It is so confusing, the writers for One Life to Live will probably call seeking to buy the rights to the story. The story culminates when Paul returns from Iraq, the 18 year old lover moves back home with his mom a few days prior, and Paul smells something fishy and confides in the daughter, Becky, that a divorce may be in the offing. Becky being the loving and loyal daughter that she is, immediatly alerts Monique and her cassanova to the impending court approved cessation of the gravy train. Based on this tidbut Monique plots with her boyfriend and his buddy(the daughter's ex-boyfriend) to lure Paul to the park and shoot him. The plan also called for a little "Jeffrey MacDonald" twist of injuring Monique to give the appearance that it was a botched mugging. Something obviously went wrong and Monique took a bullet to the shoulder. The current state of the case is that Monique is apparently singing like a canary, obviously in an attempt to garner some kind of plea to avoid the needle or spending the rest of her natural life in prison. The other two men are essentially out of luck, though police still are not forthcoming with who actually pulled the trigger.

What does this whole mess leave us with. A few things:

1. Monique might possibly be the dumbest woman in the state of North Carolina for (1) Cheating on her husband who was off serving in a war zone (2) Doing so with absolutely no discretion whatsoever to the point neighbors thought she had seperated from her husband and had taken up with a new boyfriend and (3) Actually believing that she could conspire to kill him and get away with it even though she made no effort to conceal the aforementioned affair. She has an affair in broad daylight, and then does not think she will not be subsequently implicated in the murder of her husband? She obviously had about as much intelligence and maturity as the teenagers she was associating with on a regular basis.

2. While I loathe to criticize the victim in any case, I think Paul had a huge lapse of judgment here. Maybe it's just me and my wacky conservative/moral leanings but I am fairly certain that as a 41 year old man, marrying a 21 year old woman who you met at the Circle K while she was there visiting her lesbian partner might rate pretty high on the lists of unwise choices. In fact given his marriage track record, he should have been extra cautious about with whom he tied the knot particularly considering the blusing bride is a unemployed, lesbian, convenience store loiterer. Yes, Monique and her band of merry men should pay to the fullest extent of the law for what they did, and no, Paul is not to blame for his own murder, but a tick of better judgment might have proved crucial in saving his life. Imagine if he had just paid for the Pepsi and walked out that day, he might be still be around.

3. I live 3 miles from the park where this happened and Saturday night into Sunday morning was cold, wet and in no way, shape or form romantic in any sense of the word. I am not sure what kind romance blossoms on the cold, dank jogging trails off Spring Forest Rd in Raleigh, but you can be sure it must be the fatal kind.

I am not sure where this story will go from here or what else the reporters at the N&O will dredge up between now and the trial. The complexity and twisted nature of the whole affair reeks of the same canvas of events one finds every afternoon on ABC, minus some form of mind control(Monique brainwashed the lover?), split personalities(Monique's lesbian personality reasserted itself?), or the resurrection of the dead(Paul is alive and he has been recast!). The DA has yet to reveal whether they intend to seek the death penalty, and I am not sure this meets the criteria or not. I think putting all three of them away for the bulk of their natural existence is punishment aplenty. Now the Orange County woman who scalded the two-year old girl she was babysitting, then allowed her to die? They cannot shove the needle into that monster quick enough for my taste.

Click here for the full N&O coverage of the Berkley murder.

I posted your link to my xanga....I am trying to keep people updated...if you do not want your site posted please let me know....
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