Andrew Knapp – The Post & Courier
Charleston police knew one way to solve the case of who killed 17-year-old Marley Lion was to find the murder weapon.
So they bought it off the streets.
The undercover operation served as the catalyst for what city officials now consider a crowning achievement for Charleston’s police force.
Days after the sting two weeks ago, which had suffered several failed attempts, investigators matched the pistol to the five 9 mm bullets that killed Lion in mid-June.
It was an investigation that consumed hundreds of hours of manpower through police surveillance and surreptitious deals with some of West Ashley’s felons. Most units of the Charleston Police Department were involved. They fielded about 30 anonymous tips from the Crime Stoppers hot line.
Those efforts culminated this week with around-the-clock surveillance of three main suspects in Lion’s death and raids on White Oak Drive in the Ardmore neighborhood that included 80 police officers and federal agents.
The voice of Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen quavered Tuesday, which would have been Lion’s 18th birthday, as he announced that the homicide had been solved. Four people were under arrest, including the man authorities said shot Lion and sold his 9 mm Sig Sauer to the police a month later.
“Everyone involved in this case displayed a sense of urgency and an all-in mentality from the beginning,” Mullen said. “When a young person is brutally murdered, it touches a nerve in all of us.”
City officials, prosecutors and court documents portrayed the events that led to the arrests of 30-year-old Ryan Deleston, of Cashew Street in Ardmore, the suspected shooter, as well as Bryan Rivers, 27, and Julius Brown, 32, both of White Oak Drive, all of whom face murder and attempted armed robbery charges.
George Brown, 27, whose address wasn’t immediately known, faces a charge of accessory after the fact. Police released no details about his involvement.
Before the shooting June 16, Deleston said he passed the would-be murder weapon back and forth with Rivers as they prepared to rob Lion, according to arrest affidavits. The recent Academic Magnet High graduate was sleeping in his car parked at 1662 Savannah Highway, apparently too intoxicated to drive home after a house party in West Ashley.
Affidavits say a man “matching the physical likeness” of Julius Brown was seen in a surveillance video walking near Lion’s sport utility vehicle.
The video later shows another man prying at the SUV’s rear side window. When the car alarm sounds, the man briefly retreats but returns and shoots repeatedly through the window.
In the hour before he died, Lion told officers, “They tried to rob me,” according to affidavits.
Officers, who were canvassing the Ardmore community after the incident, spotted Deleston two blocks from the scene, in the parking lot of Famous Joe’s Bar and Grill.
Julius Brown later told detectives that they were in the community when they heard the gunshots. But Brown’s story, which provided Deleston an alibi, was a lie, according to affidavits.
After viewing the video, which the Secret Service helped to clear up, a witness identified Deleston as the shooter because of the unique way Lion’s killer held the pistol. It matched how Deleston typically carried out robberies, the witness told detectives.
About a week later, police said they gathered on-street intelligence that Deleston was looking to sell a pistol and that he had mentioned to community members six times that he had a 9 mm handgun.
Mullen said undercover officers and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were able to purchase the gun on July 15. Days later, ballistic testing determined that it was the murder weapon.
Mullen said tips helped investigators develop the suspects. Officials wouldn’t discuss the sources of information that led to Deleston, but public tips were crucial, he said.
A $13,000 reward in the case has not been paid, according to Cpl. Fred Bowie, who coordinates the local Crime Stoppers hot line. But he added that the case had “unraveled quickly” on Monday.
Periodically throughout July, police watched the three and subjected them to undercover stings. On July 17, Rivers sold 0.28 grams of imitation cocaine to a undercover police officer, according to affidavits.
All three were placed under constant surveillance starting Sunday afternoon.
Deleston was arrested Monday morning as he stepped off a bus on Market Street in downtown Charleston. The other three were taken into custody later in the day, when police officers and U.S. marshals raided the three houses in Ardmore.
Mayor Joe Riley said the investigation rivaled some of the greatest successes of storied agencies worldwide, including the CIA, Secret Service and Interpol, and that “there is not a finer” police department.
Riley has been outspoken about violence in the city since three people, including Lion, were slain in June. After the deadly month, he announced “Stand Up Charleston,” an effort urging residents to help the authorities prevent and solve crimes.
He credited the people of Ardmore with coming forward in Lion’s death, but his most poignant message Tuesday was for criminals.
“Your crime might be in the darkest of night with seemingly no one around, but we will catch you, and you will go to jail,” Riley said. “There is no place to hide” in Charleston.
Mullen said it was “not a surprise” that those arrested have criminal records.
The three thought to have direct involvement with the shooting have several drug convictions, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Deleston has the least-violent arrest history of the three, with only misdemeanor simple assault and resisting arrest charges from 2004.
Rivers has convictions for assault with intent to kill in 2003 and strong-arm robbery in 2004.
Julius Brown, a registered sex offender, has convictions from the late 1990s for assaulting a police officer, criminal sexual conduct and unlawfully carrying a pistol. He has tattoos that say, “Thug,” “PCP” and “Thug life.”
After a bond hearing Tuesday, a woman who identified herself as Julius Brown’s mother said her son has a “beautiful wife” and five children, including a newborn. The woman railed against the Charleston police for raiding her Ardmore house and arresting her son.
“Find the right murderer,” she screamed in the parking lot as tears streamed down her cheeks. “They’re putting innocent people in jail for no reason.”
Liz and Robert Paige of Johns Island, Lion’s mother and stepfather, declined to comment about the arrests after the hearing.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson commended the police for not acting “like a bunch of cowboys” during the investigation and Monday’s operations. She said the result is a solid case that has coveted evidence — the surveillance video, which is increasingly expected by juries because of TV shows that romanticize crime-scene investigations, she said.
The key now, she added, will be to get tipsters and witnesses to stay the course. Too often the people who provide information leading to arrests decide not to cooperate with prosecutors, she said.
“Their testimony is going to be very important in the future,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be hard for them to come forward and testify in court.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
My post on June 19th was about the brutal murder of Marley Lion, a recent high school graduate who was shot to death by a would-be robber while he was in his car. I have been trying to reach out and get more news outlets to cover the story — the more press coverage, the more pressure and attention there is on this case — so I ask that you help out by writing to these news stations on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Also, a fund has been set up to help out Marley Lion’s parents. This money will help with the financial hardships that go along with having to pay for the unexpected funeral of a child. PLEASE visit this site and donate — even $5 — to help this family in their time of need.
As always, contact Crime Stoppers if you have ANY information regarding this case. People with information about the fatal shooting of Marley Lion should contact Crime Stoppers at 554-1111 or 1-800-222-TIPS, at http://www.5541111.com or by text message to CRIMES (274637). Mark the beginning of the text with “tip213.” Tipsters could earn a reward. Money is being raised to increase the reward. Donations can be made to “Marley Lion Reward Fund” at any CresCom Bank branch.
If anyone in the Charleston area has any information about this fatal shooting, contact Crime Stoppers at at 554-1111 or 1-800-222-TIPS.
You can also donate to the reward fund.
Donations can be made to “Marley Lion Reward Fund” at any CresCom Bank branch.
When Marley Lion looked into her eyes on graduation day, his principal could see that he was going places.
At Academic Magnet High School, the 17-year-old kicked the stereotype pinned to many three-sport athletes. He was 6-foot-4, but his perpetual smile made classmates think of him as a teddy bear, a gentle giant.
He led his classmates into pep rallies. His energy was contagious.
He loved reading. Ken Follett’s historical novel “The Pillars of the Earth” was his favorite. He could act out roles in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “Hamlet.”
He aimed to study Mandarin Chinese and international trade at Clemson University.
So on May 30, when Lion walked across the stage and grabbed his diploma, Principal Judith Peterson saw in his eyes that he had a lot going for him. That’s why what happened two weeks later is so deflating for loved ones.
“It just seems so senseless and wasteful,” Peterson said. “That’s what people are having the hardest time with.”
Lion’s shooting death, reportedly the result of random violence, also has outraged parents and classmates, who have called for increased diligence among community members in rooting out troublemakers.
With his last breaths, Lion explained to officers that he had parked at 1662 Savannah Highway in West Ashley because he was too drunk to drive to his Johns Island home early Saturday, according to reports from the Charleston Police Department.
It was not known where he had been drinking.
Lion stopped his sport utility vehicle outside Famous Joe’s Bar and Grill, which is in a strip mall not visible from the road.
Around 4 a.m., he was trying to sleep in the SUV when two men walked up and activated his car alarm. At some point, a man started shooting at him.
His rugged body was struck by five bullets, he said in the hour before he died, and he was left bleeding next to his 2000 Nissan Pathfinder. The men ran away.
Police released a vague description of his assailants: They were black, and one was wearing blue jeans. Little is known about their identities, but detectives Monday were reviewing surveillance footage that captured the shooting.
“There is video,” police spokesman Charles Francis said. “I don’t know the details, what business it was taken from specifically, but there is video of the shooting.”
Parents spoke openly Monday, decrying what they called a needless attack on an innocent teen. They are raising money to augment a Crime Stoppers reward of $1,000 for information leading to the killers’ arrests.
They mentioned other crimes in the area, including drug activity and several robberies of people and businesses.
In late February, for example, two men were arrested outside Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a few hundred yards from Saturday’s shooting scene, after one of them pulled a pistol during a disagreement over crack cocaine.
“Marley made one mistake: He picked the wrong place to fall asleep. That’s it,” said Gina Jamison, whose son was a friend of Lion’s. “And he got shot down like a dog for it. It was uncalled for, and now we need to do something about it.”
Parents and teachers said Lion was well-behaved.
As a 17-year-old, he had one run-in with the law, just weeks before his death.
Before midnight June 4, a deputy spotted his Nissan parked at the Riverland Terrace boat landing on James Island.
The deputy said the smell of marijuana was coming from the vehicle, beside which Lion and two teen friends were standing. Lion handed over a jar containing nearly an ounce of pot, a pipe, two lighters, a metal grinder and rolling paper, a report states.
Lion was issued a summons on a misdemeanor charge, but he wasn’t arrested.
Reached by telephone Monday, Lion’s mother, Liz Paige, declined to comment, citing how that incident was reported by other media outlets.
“He was just a 17-year-old boy,” his principal said. “There was never anything malicious. It was always positive with him.”
A handful of students and most of his basketball teammates showed up at the North Charleston high school Monday, where they met with a grief counselor.
Though he had graduated, Lion’s death leaves a hole here.
“It’s just sadness. That’s what people are expressing,” Peterson said. “But the senselessness of it has raised the desire to make a difference, to make West Ashley a safer place for all children.”
At half-staff, a flag whipped in a light breeze outside the school. Sunshine beat down on parents and teachers, who hugged and cried together on the front lawn.
Mary Katherine Lankford, who taught Lion in an Advanced Placement English class, said the teenager was unique.
As encouragement, he often would yell “Doom!” when a classmate scored high marks on a report card. And he sometimes roused students in the hallways by strumming on his guitar between classes.
For Lankford, the memories brought tears.
“He would wear these goofy shorts and long socks. He liked to be silly,” Lankford said as she sobbed. “Now I’m just worried about the underclassmen who looked up to him.”
I, for one, think that this reporter is very unprofessional in bringing up a past marajuana charge that has nothing to do with Lion’s death, but I’m not going to focus on that. The priority here is to find out who killed this promising young man. I encourage everyone to spread the word about this case because someone knows something about the man who killed Marley Lion.
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Supreme Court is taking up arguments in a custody case involving a Charleston couple, an Oklahoma father and a federal law meant to protect Native American children.
Because it’s an adoption case, Tuesday’s arguments are closed.
The case pits the couple who nurtured a 2-year-old girl named Veronica against the child’s biological father, a Cherokee Nation member who took her to Oklahoma late last year after winning custody.
The case also concerns the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The 1978 law was passed because many Indian children were being removed from their homes by public and private agencies.
The act gives the child’s tribe and family the right to a say in decisions affecting the child.
Learn more about this case here.
This is a local story from my hometown in Charleston, but now it has finally made the national news. This is a truly heartbreaking story about two families, one adoptive and one biological, and one little girl who was torn from one to live with the other instead.
This poor girl seems like she’s being used as a pawn by Dusten Brown, the biological father, and the lawyers who support him. They are using the Indian Child Welfare Act to remove Veronica from a loving home, though this act was not intended to be used for situations such as this.
As the biological mother states in a Post & Courier article, Brown stated that he didn’t want the child, he wasn’t present at the birth of his daughter, and he didn’t attempt to contact Christy (the biological mother) until deciding to file a lawsuit four months after Veronica was born. He knows Veronica is in a loving home with a mother and father she has known for her whole life… yet he seems more interested in winning the lawsuit than deciding what is best for his daughter.The first time he met Veronica was the day he took her away from her adoptive parents.He did not stay for a couple days to get to know her or the couple that has cared for her; he just took her away from everything she was familiar with no hesitation. Now it’s up to the South Carolina Supreme Court to right this wrong…
I will try to keep updating the blog with any new information or developments… being featured on CNN is big, so hopefully this story will take a turn for the best in the near future!
The Post and Courier just posted an article about Jon Huntsman in Daniel Island, SC — he was right down the street from the parents’ house giving a speech. I wish I could have been there!
By Andrew Knapp
DANIEL ISLAND — Switching from a “New Hampshire accent to a Southern accent,” Republican Jon Huntsman told 100 breakfast diners Thursday morning that he would draw on his experience overseas to create manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
The former Utah governor and an ambassador to Singapore for George H.W. Bush and to China for Barack Obama said the nation is on the “cusp of a manufacturing renaissance” and that he’s the only candidate with the international knowledge to take advantage of what he called a crack in China’s stranglehold on the industry. He said the business environment in Asia is deteriorating because of political mistrust, inflation and unemployment.
Bolstering the United States’ manufacturing role would shrink an economic deficit rather than passing it on to this grandchildren, he said.
“This deficit … is a cancer metastasizing in our country,” he told voters as they nibbled on French toast, grits and cheese omelets at Honeycomb Cafe. “We’ve got to radiate it. We’ve got to excise it. We’ve got to cut it out to preserve our next generation.”
In addition to the economic deficit, Huntsman said the nation suffers a deficit of a different kind, “a deficit of trust” of politicians and companies. He vowed a “Grateful Dead-like concert tour” to persuade people to get behind term limits for members of Congress and to stifle politicians’ ability to trade stocks based on inside knowledge of legislation that affects Wall Street.
He again leaned on his foreign policy experience in boosting trust overseas, as well as reducing U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, where he stressed intelligence-gathering over a large troop presence.
But Huntsman, clad in dark blue jeans, cowboy boots and a lapel featuring the U.S. and South Carolina flags, referred to himself as a “crass political salesman” to the diners and admitted that he just wanted their votes. His wife standing behind him, Huntsman spoke for about 30 minutes and answered a half-dozen questions from the crowd about topics like job creation, health care and Iran’s threat as a nuclear power.
“I’ve always been following him,” said one voter, 67-year-old Alana Knuff of Daniel Island. “He has the leadership qualities, the foreign experience. But I just came to see how personable he is.
“After seeing him personally, he’s got my vote.”
Others, such as 65-year-old Bill Estes, who splits his time between Iowa and Daniel Island, said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s “machine” would “leave Huntsman in the dust.” Estes said that he wanted to hear more specifics on policy, such as those pertaining to taxes and that Huntsman’s plan to remove troops from Afghanistan was soft.
“To be elected, you have to be walking on the edge, but he’s not,” Estes said. “He’s way in the safe zone. He’s not a risk-taker, and I’d like to see him take some risks.”
Shaking hands with the assembled crowd members, Huntsman said he was re-energized by his showing in the New Hampshire primary earlier this week.
“When you come from O and get to third place, that’s pretty good,” he told one man. “I’d say that’s a ticket out of New Hampshire.”
First it was Sandusky & Penn State.
Now there are two other university sex scandals going on at Syracuse & the Citadel.
First, at the prestigious Citadel military college in Charleston, SC, Louis “Skip” ReVille — a former coach,cadet, and camp counselor — was just arrested for child molestation. May I add that he was arrested in Mount Pleasant, SC (my hometown… probably the most exciting/worthwhile thing that police force has ever done…).
ReVille hopped around to different places in the Charleston area, preying on young boys while working as a teacher, volunteering as a sports coach, running Bible studies, and even acting as a foster parent. Here is a glimpse of the massive scandal that has erupted:
And today the media is reporting that an assistant coach at Syracuse is now being investigated for molesting ball boys. The details, from NBC Sports, can be found below.
Longtime Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine is the subject of a police investigation into allegations that he molested a team ball boy for more than a dozen years, starting in the mid-1980s, according to an ESPN report.
The alleged victim, Bobby Davis, told ESPN that Fine began molesting him in 1983 just before Davis entered seventh grade. According to the report, Davis says the abuse happened at Fine’s home, at Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips, including the 1987 Final Four. Davis spent six years at Syracuse’s ball boy. There are graphic details about Davis’ allegations in the ESPN story and can be found here and here.
Fine is in his 35th season as a Syracuse assistant to Jim Boeheim. He has been placed on administrative leave.
Davis, now 39, says the abuse continued until he was 27 and reported the abuse to Syracuse police in 2003, but detectives told him the statute of limitations had expired and they would not investigate. ESPN investigated the story in 2003, but decided not to run the story because Davis was the only person willing to talk. The Syracuse Post-Standard also investigated the allegations in 2003.
The news is emerging now because another alleged victim says he was sexually abused by Fine and is coming forward now because of news coverage of the Jerry Sandusky sexual-abuse scandal at Penn State, according to ESPN’s story.
Kevin Quinn, Syracuse’s senior vice president for public affairs, issued a statement Thursday night on behalf of the school:
“In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men’s basketball coach. The alleged activity took place in the 1980′s and 1990′s. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired.
“On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach. The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations.
“Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately. We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every member of our campus community.”
Police are now reopening the investigation.
What is going on at our universities?? Better yet, what is going on in our culture??
Why is this all coming to light now? Why hasn’t anyone spoken up until now? Why didn’t witnesses come forward when they first realized something was wrong? Why were sexual abuse reports hidden and ignored by school officials? I just have so many questions and am at a complete loss for words…
Soooo I happened to come across a search term that led some web-surfer to my blog…
Apparently you can come across my blog by searching “south carolina stupid state” … eek. I mean, I am a bit sarcastic about a lot of things… one of them being some aspects of South Carolina, including the political figures and people (and newspaper… and choice of car & car ornament…), but I can pretty much do that anywhere in the United States. I just happen to come across much more South Carolina news/dirt since I am from the state. I also tend to rail on Georgia, but I still love living in it.
So, for those that think South Carolina is a “stupid state,” my response is: Well, yes, perhaps it is stupid. Just kidding… ish. But we’ll work on it. And I’m pretty sure that Charleston, SC just won this:
Top City in the US? I’ll take it.
But I just wanted to confrim that yes, I do have state pride and I am one of those people that owns stuff with palmetto moons all over it. I will have to work on sarcastically dumping on all the other states I guess…
I’m gulping down cup after cup of coffee to try to get my brain functioning at work this morning, and then I come across this “top story” on the Post & Courier website. I thought my brain was begininng to warm up, but after working so hard to figure out what the hell this story is about I’m pretty sure it has now shut down for the day. I want to give a big thank you to the author, who completely scrambled my brain and successfully confused the living hell out of me with his terrible writing skills. I mean, seriously. Read it. There is so much wrong with this article. Where to start… hmm…
- This is the stupidest cover story I have ever seen. This is your top news for Charleston, South Carolina? An idiot gives up her dog and then wants him back for free? Holy cow. South Carolina, come on.
- This moron that the author is writing about? A UGA grad. Way to go. You just humiliated me and the rest of the alumni for being in this story.
- Who in the hell is the author and how did he manage to make this story 100 times more confusing than it really is? Did the Post & Courier hire a drunk fifth grader to do their reporting?
Basic summary: Wife buys dog. Husband goes overseas. Dog has puppies with a stray. Wife can’t take responsibility for their dog, so she calls Animal Control. Animal Control actually does their job, takes the dogs, and cares for them. Wife feels guilty when husband finds out she gave away the dog. Wife goes to the pound to get dog back. Wife doesn’t want to pay $150 to get dog back. Why would she pay? I mean, it’s completely normal for a nonprofit to care for a pet of yours, invest money in it, and then just give it back to you for free when you feel like taking it back. When I want a break from my dog, I just call up Animal Control and have them take her for a little while. It’s like a mini vacation for my little pup. I don’t have to worry about anything for weeks, and when I feel like being a repsonsible pet owner again, I go pick her up. But her little doggie motel stay shouldn’t have to cost me anything. I mean, you don’t pay babysitters or anything, right? It’s common knowledge that Animal Control acts as a free kennel service. Duh.
Want the actual confusing-as-hell version? Enjoy:
This dog’s tale comes with a happy ending
By Bo Peterson
GOOSE CREEK — The dog is obviously Dempsey. She comes right up to Anna Tarter, tail wagging a mile a minute, licks her, rubs up against her, nestles in with her and her baby daughter.
Then the mixed breed dog goes back to its cage from the “guest room” at the Doc Williams SPCA Adoption Center, where the staff insists the dog she just saw was not Dempsey. They say Dempsey was adopted last weekend. Tarter knows they’re wrong.
“That’s Dempsey. You could tell she knows who we are,” Tarter said Tuesday. “They’ve given me the runaround.”
For Tarter, this is just one more maddening moment in what she says has been a monthlong struggle to get her husband’s dog returned.
Her husband, Anthony Davis, can’t help. The senior airman is in Qatar with the Air Force.
This was a tale begging to have a happy ending.
In August, Tarter called Berkeley County Animal Control to take stray
dogs from her rural Berkeley County home. The dogs included three pups bred by Dempsey and fathered by a stray, as well as a stray female. She had tried unsuccessfully to get the pups adopted on Craigslist. She admits she had been feeding the strays.
“It’s my passion to have animals,” said Tarter, who studied wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. But with five other dogs of her own, and 3-month-old Dadence on her arm, the new dogs were too much.
The animal control officers showed up, sorted through the animals and handed Tarter the papers. She signed over Dempsey too, because the pups had not completely weaned, she said.
“Honestly it was kind of overwhelming,” Tarter said. “Maybe it was me not thinking straight, having hopes I could get her back.”
No such luck.
“We would never take an animal just to return it later. We wouldn’t take a nursing female to return it,” said John Nutter, Berkeley County chief animal control officer. “From what I understand, she turned them in knowing they most likely would be adopted.”
Because the dogs had shots and were neutered, animal control turned them and the pups over to the county SPCA to be adopted from the Doc Williams center. Tarter spoke to her husband in Qatar and realized she had made a mistake.
“That’s his dog. When I told him, he was beside himself,” she said. She called animal control, then called the Doc Williams shelter. She was told $115 was the adoption fee.
She couldn’t believe it; she already had paid to neuter and vaccinate Dempsey, and is on a food program to help feed her dogs. She called again and got the same answer, she said.
“She signed surrender papers, and the reason she stated was because they needed a better home,” said Marcia Atkinson, Doc Williams SPCA executive director. “We’re a nonprofit. We have been caring for all of these dogs. There is a responsibility behind her ownership. She made this decision.”
Charleston is a military town, Atkinson said. The SPCA faces this sort of thing all the time and tries to work with families. “Husband deployed” raises an alert flag for shelter workers, she said.
But Tarter had animal control pick up the dogs rather than bring them in. On top of everything else, paperwork bumbles had apparently misidentified Dempsey as the other adult dog by the time they were in the shelter, Atkinson said on Tuesday.
Atkinson has a son in Iraq. “That alone broke my heart,” she said. “It’s a cautionary tale. It sounds like she didn’t get to us soon enough, and I wish she had. We would have counseled her. We would have worked with her and tried to work it out.”
On Tuesday, Atkinson called Tarter to work it out.
“Apparently there’s been tons of miscommunication,” Tarter said.
By the end of the day, Atkinson and Tarter had an agreement, and some adoption costs were offset by tapping “a very small bucket” of military assistance funds donated to the shelter, Atkinson said. Tarter “was lucky. We have a happy ending because the animal is still here.”
The thrill in Anna Tarter’s voice told that she couldn’t quite believe it. “We can go get Dempsey tomorrow,” she said.