Could this be happening? A man's nightmare made real.
PART II: Louis Gonzalez III stood accused of unspeakable acts: kidnapping, torture, sexual assault. If convicted, he faced life behind bars
. 'He kept thinking that there had been a mistake, that he'd be out in no time. That the system, set into motion by some misunderstanding or act of malice, would soon correct itself.' 'A quote from a police officer: "In 19 years of police work, this has to go down as one of the most brutal attacks I have ever seen."'
'A month passed in his single-bunk cell, and then another, and he had nothing but time to reckon all he'd lost. His freedom. His son. His job. His reputation. He had to wonder how much he could endure.
The other inmates in the solitary wing of the Ventura County Jail didn't talk about their cases, because anyone might be a snitch, but his charges were well-known on the cellblock. More than once, they warned him about what awaited if he were convicted and sent to state prison. With a sex crime on his jacket, he knew, he would be a target forever.
"Like you're waiting for death," he said. "Dying would probably be better."'
'Sometimes Gonzalez wonders how much worse things might have gone.
What if he had grabbed breakfast in Las Vegas before boarding his flight? He wouldn't have needed that bagel in Simi Valley, so he wouldn't have gone to the bank for cash, and wouldn't have been caught on security cameras.
His alibi evaporates and he's in prison for life.
At the end of the day his mind automatically replays his movements, hour by hour, because it was his ability to do that that saved him. After his release he developed the habit of meticulously documenting his whereabouts, eliminating time gaps that might leave him vulnerable.
If he's in an airport or a 7-Eleven, he makes sure the surveillance cameras get a good look at his face. Anytime he can swipe his credit card and sign his name, even to buy a pack of gum, he does it. He fills his wallet with receipts and the world with a conspicuous trail.
He feels most vulnerable when he is asleep, when, for six or eight hours a night, no cameras are watching, no witnesses are marking his presence, and no one but Louis Gonzalez III can say with certainty where he is.'