I FIND PAUL POLLARD

The day, I received Pollard’s phone number in Alexandria, Virginia, I called him but when he found out who I was he immediately hung up on me. I kept calling back until he finally answered. (During Pollard’s 1989 deposition he said he called Maine State Police Det. Shuman before he would answer my call. Pollard said, “I had called to tell him that Mrs. Cochran had been calling me.” )
     Nearly six long years (February 18, 1981–December 1986) after Mike’s murder, I was finally able to speak with the only person who was with my son the night he was murdered—the man who was seen fleeing the murder scene with a .357 pistol on him.
     I said, “The only thing, I want to ask you is—tell me what happened in that cabin.”
     “I was asleep when everything happened.”
     “Well, listen—the gas was poured all around the inside of the camp. How could it be poured all around the inside and you be asleep?”
     “I was in the back room.”
     “But the firemen said the gas was poured in the back too.”
     Pollard said something that I was unable to make out because his words seemed to fade out. (There were times when Pollard wouldn’t answer and times when he was saying something that I couldn’t understand, but I could tell the difference. I believe that somehow Shuman was involved in our conversation and when I later learned that Pollard had called Shuman before he spoke with me, it reinforced my belief. Something was done to muffle some of Pollard’s answers because there were too many parts of our recorded conversation that I was not able to make out.)
     Knowing that Pollard was only 5′ 3ʺ tall, I asked him how he got in the back door that had a 6′ drop off with no stairs and he said, “I crawled up it.”
     I asked him why he didn’t want to speak with me and he said, “I was scared they were going to kill me too, so, I got to hell out of there.”
     That was not an answer as to why he didn’t want to talk to me but I asked, “Who are they?” and he said “I don’t know who they were.”
     “When Lionel picked you up that morning, what time did he pick you up?”
     Pollard said he “couldn’t get a hold of him for a long time,” and that it was “late.”
     “You called your father and told your father a cabin burned and a man died in it and you were scared. He said come home and we will take care of it. You came home to talk with your lawyer about it and instead Det. Shuman met you there.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “Has Det. Shuman done the same thing to you that he did to Sharon Sargent? Has he led you, made you say things you didn’t want to?”
     When he didn’t answer I said, “Has he harassed you and made you say things you didn’t want to [say]?”
     Pollard said, “No,” and then said, “How did you get my number?”
     “I got it, Paul. ...you know the reason that I got your number, I am working on this case. I am a mother. That was my son and I am not going to stop until I find out what happened to my son. Someday I am going to find out what happened to him. There’s a cover up. They are covering something up.”
     Again his response was inaudible. I then said, “And I think you know what it is.” 
     (Answer inaudible)
     “They pushed on you pretty hard to make you testify against your brother. He [Det. Shuman] said he went to Massachusetts to talk to you about a murder. The woman [Worchester, Massachusetts police officer Mary Jane Cavanaugh] who witnessed the statement said he did not come down there to talk to you about a murder. He came down there and pushed you pretty hard to make you talk about those robberies. You didn’t do that of your own to clear your conscience did ya?”
     “Why are you doing this?”
     “I just got done telling you, because I had a son that died that I cared about. You care enough you don’t quit.”
     “I only met him the day before.”
     “That’s right. You met him the day before. Lionel is saying you killed my son.”
     “I didn’t kill anyone.”
     “Well, if you didn’t, Paul, why don’t you come forward and tell what happened. What are they covering up?”
     (Answer inaudible) “I think you know quite a bit, I think you do. Would you be willing to come—”
     Pollard cut me off and said, “I’ve done my part.”
     “Who made you do that part?”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “Was Micheal shot? He was, wasn’t he?”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “Did Lionel shoot him? He says you did.”
     Pollard laughs.
     “I have to go. I should go to bed.”
     “Why should you go to bed, it’s in the middle of the day.”
     “It makes me tired.”
     “Why does it make you tired, Paul? ... All I am asking you is tell me, please tell me, what happened to Micheal.”
     “I’ve told you everything I know.”
     “You don’t care that he died?”
     ”Yes, I do care but there is nothing I can do.”
     “A man died. He’s dead.”
     Pollard screamed, “NOTHING I CAN DO TO BRING HIM BACK!”
     “He lay six days under a pile of rubble—why didn’t you tell somebody?”
     “Are you drunk or something?”
     “No way. You know he lay six days under a pile of rubble, don’t you?”
     “No, I don’t—”
     “Yes, you do. You said Lionel and Percy went back down there and kicked around in it to see if they could find his body.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “You didn’t say that in your statement?”
     Pollard screams again, “I DON’T HAVE STATEMENTS IN FRONT OF ME LIKE YOU SEEM TO!
     “You know what happened, Paul—you know what happened in the cabin.”
     “No.”
     “Yes, you do. There was no way you could go back in after it was set on fire.”
     (No answer)
     “Whoever set that—it was set from the outside. He could have been shot and dumped back in that cabin. There is no way that could have gone on without you knowing it.”
     (No answer)
     “Can’t you answer me?”
     (No answer)
     “I’ll tell you again like I told you—that was my son that died. I cared about him. I want to know who killed him.”
     (No answer)
     “You can’t answer me?”
     (No answer) “There is no way you could be there and not know what happened. Why did you run away from the trucks? Why didn’t you say there was a man in there with me?”
     “I didn’t know if he set the fire and left.”
     “But you didn’t know for sure. Why didn’t you go to the trucks and say there was a man in there with me, but I don’t know—”
     Pollard interrupted me by saying that Percy Sargent “had taken my car and left.”
     “Yes, and he was busted.”
     “I thought I was the only one there.”
     “You didn’t know Percy was busted.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “How did they go in there and pour gasoline and you didn’t hear them?”
     “Hard for me to answer. I don’t have answers.”
     “I don’t see where that is hard to answer inside that cabin was a small place. They came in and poured two five-gallon cans of gasoline. Why didn’t you hear that?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “Lionel said you were on coke. You killed him because of the drug bust.”
     “You saw me in court. Do I look like the type of person that kills people for no reason?”
     “I saw you in court. I’ve never seen you before. People dress up to go to court, make themselves look the best they can. I don’t know you. I’ve read all your statements. I’ve read Bob Smith’s statements where he said you carried a gun. You were indicted by the grand jury March of 1981 for reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon that doesn’t sound very good to me.”
     “Why don’t you talk to Det. Shuman?”
     “That’s like talking to a brick wall. I am trying for you to tell me who killed Micheal.”
     “You’re trying to trap me. ... Get me in trouble for something I didn’t do. I could have died. I don’t like—and I’ve told you everything I can.”
     “If you did kill Micheal, you wouldn’t tell me anyway, would you?”
     “If I did.”
     “Well, through the investigation and talking to Det. Shuman they tried to arrest— they did arrest and charge three men for murder. Those men aren’t guilty.”
     “I don’t know all the details. I was there and survived only because I woke up.”
     “I don’t understand [how] you know nothing, you didn’t do anything, why did you run away from the fire trucks and hide?”
     “Scared that someone was trying to kill me.”
     “Well, then why didn’t you run for help? The fire trucks would have been help.”
     “Before the fire trucks came the place had burned to the ground.”
     “And you were still there.”
     “I was gone.”
     “No, they saw you. You were still there. You were still in front of the cabin. They watched you run, wiping your hands, away from the cabin. You told the police that it was you that ran.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “You ran and the fireman saw you. He traced your tracks and he found your tracks with two boots on.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “Well, I will tell you this. Whoever killed my son—”
     “I don’t know. Sounds like somebody’s lying about what’s going on there—get you off the phone—starting to irritate me.”
     “You think Norman Herrin, Wilbur Ricker, and Mrs. John Clark, all those people, fire marshal, fire chief, all those people are lying? ... Okay, the only thing I am going to say to you before I go [is] whoever is guilty of my son’s murder, I am going to get them some day.”
     (Answer inaudible)
     “You could help me if you say you’re not guilty.”
     “I don’t know—afraid of being railroaded.”
     “No, you say you’re not guilty. How can I railroad you if you are not guilty?”
     “I don’t know him. I don’t know Mike Cochran. I don’t know anyone from Bangor. Every time I come in contact with people in Bangor I end up in jail.”
     “Well, you did some things that were pretty serious.”
     “I did?”
     “Um hum.”
     “Well, I didn’t kick somebody’s ribs in.”
     “No, that—”
     Pollard cut me off and said, “And tie somebody up and cut his ear off.”
     “No, that’s true and did he kill Micheal?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “If he did, why would he have done it? Why?”
     “I could never understand why he cut that guy’s ear off.”
     “No, but why would someone have poured gas and kill Micheal? Why would they do that to him? What did he do to deserve that?”
     “I can’t answer that. He seemed like a nice enough guy when I met him. Nobody told me—
     “Okay. It’s like I said, someday I am going to find out what happened.”
     “Okay.”