Editor’s note: Part of this article was cut off in some editions of Friday’s newspaper because of a production error. Here is the story in its entirety.
They thought of themselves as antidrug avengers. Prosecutors think they’re crooks.
A Spokane Superior Court jury this week is hearing the unusual tale of Brad M. Self and Sean E. Boyle, who located a Spokane call girl online through Craigslist, allegedly robbed her of cash and heroin on Aug. 5, 2007, and bound her with zip ties and duct tape before fleeing. Later, they posted an online alert warning others to avoid her because of the drugs they’d found in her refrigerator.
“Our illegal actions were outweighed by (her) illegal actions,” Boyle, who is cooperating with authorities, told jurors Thursday after being asked by Deputy Prosecutor Rachel Sterett how the pair justified what they did to the woman.
Boyle has pleaded guilty to burglary, assault, robbery and unlawful imprisonment charges in connection with the attack and faces sentencing next week. In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors will recommend a 10-year prison term.
A former U.S. Air Force military policeman who served eight months in Iraq, Boyle said Thursday that the plan to rob a prostitute was concocted in Self’s trailer in Pinehurst, Idaho. Boyle said he agreed to participate in the scheme “to get money for myself.”
It turned out to be just $100.
As part of their scheme, the duo bought a prepaid phone and called the Spokane woman, who used a pseudonym, “Maya.” The day before the incident, she had posted an entry on Craigslist of Spokane under “Erotic Services” that included her cell phone number, according to police. She told officers she often uses Craigslist to generate business.
Fifteen minutes after her posting, a man calling himself “Brian” called Maya on the prepaid phone. The caller was Self, Boyle said.
He said the men’s plan was to have Self enter the woman’s apartment and engage her in sex, and Boyle would enter about a half hour later armed with a Glock pistol. Self arrived around midnight. When Boyle entered the bedroom, Self was lying on the naked woman. Boyle said he brandished his weapon and ordered her not to move.
He said that the woman was “fearful and scared” during the incident, but that the men didn’t hurt her.
Self “asked her if there were any drugs in the house. She said, ‘There’s heroin in the fridge.’ He got it,” Boyle said. Self also told her “it was in her best interest to get out of that lifestyle,” Boyle added.
In the police affidavit prepared for the case, detectives said the woman told them her assailants said “they were doing this for her own good, that she needed to change her life and they were going to help rid the world of people like her.” They threatened to come back in a month if she didn’t change and the next time, “she would get hurt,” the affidavit says.
As the men allegedly carried out their plan, they referred to each other as “Mr. Black” and “Mr. White,” nicknames the prosecutor suggested were borrowed from the film “Reservoir Dogs,” a cult hit about a botched jewelry heist.
Self came up with the names, Boyle said. After the heist, they stopped at a gas station to split the money they’d found in her apartment and throw away the drugs. Boyle said he spent his $100 cut at an auto parts yard.
The next day, Self posted a message on Craigslist about the woman. “It was a general posting to stay away from (her) … she’s a drug user,” Boyle said.
Spokane major crimes detectives traced the phone through a number identified on the victim’s call records. It was purchased on Aug. 3, 2007, at a Wal-Mart in Smelterville. The store had videotaped a white male purchasing the phone and a pillow, and surveillance cameras outside the store tracked him walking to his car with the pillow.
The truck the man was driving was identified as belonging to the Suddenlink Corp., a cable company. Company officials said Self, 27, had worked for them but had terminated his employment Aug. 11, 2007.
The woman who was robbed and assaulted identified Self from a police photo lineup on Aug. 28, 2007.
His trial is expected to go to the jury Tuesday.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.