A Christmas Miracle for White Trash Jesus?
‘Tis the season . . . for White Trash Jesus to pull a Christmas miracle? For the man who’s already carried out such miracles as (allegedly) turning Holy Jim Canyon right into a smouldering ash heap, in addition to (definitely) turning his hair right into a mullet, this miracle can be Forrest Gordon Clark’s crowning achievement. Actually, if what his Public Defender Nicole Parness stated is true, Clark might forgo his crucifixion and skip straight to resurrection earlier than Easter Sunday!
In case you haven’t heard, Parness delivered a plot twist to finish all plot twists yesterday in courtroom when she entered a not responsible plea for Clark, then revealed that an OC Hearth Authority investigation has named Holy Jim Volunteer Hearth Chief Mike Milligan as a “viable suspect.” Moreover, Parness requested that Clark’s bail be reset and he be launched from custody, stating, “The [district attorney’s office] should have reasonable doubt about the other suspect, and because there’s another suspect, they should be investigating before arresting.”
Deputy District Lawyer Jake Jondle retorted that Parness’ claims have been based mostly on hypothesis and with out credible proof, in addition to that Clark’s conduct and different credible proof justify his arrest.
Decide Nancy E. Zeltzer dominated in favor of the DA’s workplace, holding Clark behind bars together with his bail at $1 million and setting his pretrial listening to for Dec. 20.
To find out what all this implies, we have to look at this saga from starting to finish.
Mike Milligan and Different Attainable Tales
The straightforward, media-friendly story you’ve in all probability heard concerning the Holy Hearth seems like this: Clark was a violent, insane man who habitually threatened his neighbors in Holy Jim Canyon. However just lately, Clark had turn into paranoid and was accusing neighbor Frank Romero of cooking meth in his cabin 15 on Trabuco Creek Street. Clark alerted authorities to his suspicions, however when his cries weren’t heard, he despatched Milligan an e mail stating, “This place will burn!” Days later, Clark set hearth to the surface of Romero’s cabin, and in doing so, kicked off the 23,000-acre brush hearth.
As with all static story, this model of occasions lacks nuance and misses key proof. Reporters accountable for pushing this line, myself included, did a disservice to the story, our sources and Clark by dictating Clark’s guilt in a courtroom of public opinion. He appeared clearly responsible. Individually, I apologize.
“It’s Michael Milligan, the volunteer fire chief,” Parness informed reporters after Clark’s Dec. 12 listening to. “He has been listed as a viable suspect, and it has been said that he had the motive and the opportunity. There’s a lot more coming out that I’m still looking into, and I want the truth. Not only is he a viable suspect, but [also], in my mind, he’s actually more likely to have been the one to do this.”
After digging into Milligan’s background, the Weekly discovered the volunteer hearth chief is probably not the Andy Griffith-esque small-town public servant he claims to be.
Amongst paperwork filed within the matter of Milligan’s divorce was a restraining order filed by his ex-wife, Kathleen Milligan Cannan, on Aug. 19, 1993. In it, she states, “On [July 11, 1993], my husband and I got into a heavy argument. He was yelling and screaming so much that my 14-year-old was very much afraid of him. He became so angry that he raised his fist and hit me in the face across the left side. Stunned, I took my foot and tried to push him away with it. He screamed, ‘In the last two days, you f***ed me over’ in front of the children.” Cannan then referred to as the police, however the officer who arrived was a pal of Milligan’s.
In line with Cannan, a subsequent police report was filed by an Officer Turner, however it disappeared.
Within the wake of the disturbance, Milligan returned residence. “My husband still convinces himself that this event never happened,” Cannan says in courtroom paperwork. “He completely has no regret relating to this incident.
“All throughout our marriage, he was quick to lose his temper and would yell and scream at anyone in sight,” she continues. “My husband continuously makes death threats to me and contends that ‘I will always be watching over [your] shoulder’ and says that ‘This is not a promise; this is a threat.’”
Milligan agreed to a restraining order, however said in courtroom paperwork, “The restraining orders are appropriate due to the volatile nature of [Kathleen], as she has accused me of various different things which have no basis in law or fact.”
Main as much as the divorce, courtroom paperwork paint Milligan as a Realtor whose slipping monetary state of affairs led him to grow to be more and more erratic and to lash out at individuals near him. Whether or not this might lead him to commit an arson is unclear, however it does colour the alternate Holy Hearth story witnesses have informed the Weekly.
The smoke from the Holy hearth appeared extra just like the rising plume from a nuclear blast on Aug. eight and 9, 2018. Photograph by Liam Blume
The Alternate Story
Clark did consider Frank Romero was cooking meth at his cabin, and even claimed to have a lawsuit towards Romero. He loathed Romero, and accused his neighbor of stealing a “legal case” containing the Clark v. Romero paperwork. In a Fb publish from July 18, three weeks earlier than the hearth, Clark wrote:
“Someone stole a Legal Case from my cabin, FRANK ROMERO VS. FORREST CLARK. Highly unlikely that anyone would steal it, unless you r involved w/ [this] drug dealer. Frank hangs out [with] gang members on weekends, stays up all night, runs his 2 stroke water pump all day & night. Doug’s teeth are all rotted out from Frank’s Speed. There are (7) eye witnesses that are eager to testify. (2) people from Holy Jim went to the E.R. after snorting Frank’s METH. I have smelled Eather & other chemicals while they r COOKING, than FR sells SPEED/METH/CRANK . . . In HOLY Jim Canyon. Gang bangers come buy Frank’s on weekends or when F is @ cabin. Frank, please, u or your minions return my FILE, my KEYs & whatever else u or ur cronies took.”
The lads’s bitter rivalry was allegedly turning into violent, and Milligan was uninterested in arbitrating. “I know there’s a lot of tension between [Milligan], [Romero] and [Clark],” a Holy Jim neighbor informed the Weekly. “I just know that they have a Hatfield-and-McCoy thing going on. It’s easier for [Romero] to push [Clark]’s buttons. For years, [Romero] had been telling us, ‘That guy’s crazy.’”
Clark’s beef with Romero was apparently intensifying. Extra essential, he had reportedly gotten in quite a few, near-physical arguments with Milligan within the weeks main as much as the hearth. Milligan, who has been described to the Weekly as equal elements gregarious neighbor and power-hungry native chief, allegedly needed Clark out of the canyon, pronto.
In line with neighbors, Milligan might have set hearth to Romero’s home and blamed the neighborhood loonie. To seal the deal, Milligan would use Clark’s quite a few threats as proof. In any case, who’s going to consider the neighborhood head-case who thinks the Nabisco image on the cracker field is a zeppelin with a transmitter?
Following Clark’s arrest, Milligan informed information crews that Clark stated, “This place is gonna burn.” However that assertion, taken from Clark’s aforementioned e-mail and allegedly addressed to Romero and different Holy Jim residents, truly stated, “This place is gonna burn like you wanted it to.” Taken in complete, Clark was implying that Milligan was brushing Romero’s alleged meth lab apart and, in doing so, inviting a fireplace into the canyon. By leaving this caveat out, Milligan was capable of implicate Clark and hand the DA a clear case of a loopy man setting setting the canyon on hearth.
Based on each neighbors and rumors concerning the OC Hearth Authority arson investigation, the hearth began inside Romero’s cabin 15. This contradicts the narrative that a spiteful Clark set hearth to Romero’s home from the surface. It additionally implies that whoever set hearth to the construction both had entry to Romero’s residence (proof of attainable collaboration within the “Frame Clark” scheme) or that Romero’s house was damaged into. The Weekly will proceed to comply with the investigation.
Witness statements relating to Milligan range as extensively as these about Clark. A neighbor who believes Clark set the hearth stated, “If they let him out into society, somebody’s gonna die. He’s a selfish, evil person, and he’s gonna act extra-crazy to get away with it. If he doesn’t want to go to jail, he’ll fake being crazy. If they put him in a mental ward, I hope they put him in a maximum security one because he’ll find a way out. He’s crazy, but not as crazy as he’s acting.”
One other neighbor, who was on the fence about Clark’s guilt, agreed that he had a brief fuse, however added, “He was very kind when he was kind.”
Was Clark an Election Season Patsy?
It’s totally attainable that Clark was a pawn within the race for the district lawyer title between Todd Spitzer and Tony Rackauckas. To win, Spitzer and Rackauckas every wanted to outdo the opposite because the Hardest Crime Fighter in OC. Every additionally made a robust present of disdain for Clark. Spitzer referred to as Clark “a monster” and accused him of “literally [destroying] our forest” in his bombastic Holy Hell Hearth speech. Rackauckas’ workplace, in the meantime, was extra subdued in its condemnation of Clark. Nevertheless, it’s been speculated that dashing Clark to trial earlier than the arson investigation was accomplished is proof that it needed him discovered responsible.
When requested whether or not Clark was getting used as a pawn, Parness stated, “Possibly”; she later referred to as the trial “a political case.”
These theories, although, are nonetheless solely speculative.
However the media could be the guiltiest celebration. We’ve condemned Clark as a result of he’s every thing a stereotypical arsonist ought to be: He’s described as “crazy” and “prone to violence,” and he has a candy mullet. Clark was an outsider in an outsider group. And to make his guilt extra apparent, all we needed to do was let Clark speak.
Earlier than we proceed to the general public hanging of White Trash Jesus, we ought to offer him a good shake and listen to the arson investigation. The principle about Milligan setting the hearth could also be legitimate. Then once more, it might even be a wild goose chase. The one certainty is that issues are going to get weirder because the trial proceeds.
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Learn all our studies on the Holy Hearth:
One Household’s Escape From the Holy Hearth
White Trash Jesus Faces Crucifixion
Clark Refuses to Present Up in Courtroom
Clark’s First Courtroom Look
What the Lamestream Media Doesn’t Need You to Know
Liar Liar within the Holy Hearth
Bemis’ Alleged Historical past of Fraud