My name is Terry Buchanan I am 40 years old and try
hard to take care of myself. Lord knows I went for years not caring
either way. At one time I weighted 297 pounds and smoked 2 packs of
Winstons a day. Now I weight 195 and haven’t smoked in over four years.
I am 6’ 4” tall and have a bad leg but I don’t let it bother me too bad.
I have a lift to make up the inch difference and I can job and play basketball
pretty well. I am doing everything I know to do to live long enough
to do these 48 to 60 years the judge gave me. This is my first time
in prison and to say its an experience is an understatement. I will
try to give you a basic run down of events that led me to end of here.
Before I start I want to add that I am far from perfect with over 20 years
of smoking marijuana and I used to think it was my job to drink all of the
Budweiser’s myself. With that said, here is my story.
I was working in Alabama when all of the events happened.
The last think I heard my wife Pamela say was “I love you” the next time
I saw her was the following Saturday in July of 1996. She was yelling
from the steps of her mothers doublewide while a deputy was telling me I
was under arrest. I haven’t spoken to her since, we have four children
together and I love them dearly. I hired a lawyer and was awarded visitation.
Three days before my visitation was due to begin my wife and sister-in-law
took my oldest daughter to the Dept. of Social Services claiming that I had
molested her. Shortly thereafter I was arrested for the charges and
made bond. Later those charges were dismissed. I was paying child
support but had no contact with any of my kids. I went on with my
life and lost a bunch of weight. I met Connie, my wife and we
lived about 50 miles from Pamela. In Feb of 1998 I was working in
GA Building kitchen cabinets when I got a phone call saying that the charges
had been brought back up once again. I went back to the county sheriffs
office and was arrested on 3 counts of 1st degree sexual assault. I
was in jail for 4 months until I got my bond lowered and my Aunt signed that
for me. I was assigned a lawyer through the courts “mistake” my thinking
was that if the state was going to wrongly accuse me then they should pay
the bill. I went to court in June of 1999 and the first Saturday of
the month I was found guilty on 2 of the 3 counts and sentenced as well.
I drove to court that day expecting to go home when it was over. I
The following are coincidences (?) that happened.
I was awarded visitation and 3 days before I was due to pick them up the
allegations started. My sister in law stated in Court that my oldest
daughter, then 5 years old had told her that I abused her in July. It
was the third week in August before she told anyone. Who could believe
that any person would wait almost a month before telling someone? A
video tape was made by D.S.S. and a deputy the social worker asked my daughter
if her daddy had hurt her. She replied negatively. The worker
said to turn off the cameras and immediately it was turned off. Some
10 minutes later by the time on the video when asked the same question she
said yea. The questions were extremely suggestive and leading.
The defense saw the tape 3 days before the trial began. This tape was
made in 1996 and only found in late May 1999. It wasn’t allowed as evidence
because of the age of it and the chain of custody according to the prosecutor
was in doubt. The video was found in the office of the State Bureau
Pamela had been married twice before and her second
husband had been charged with similar charges when they went to court for
custody of a son they had. I was dating her when this was going on
and we had taken the son to Development Evaluation Center in the county where
we lived “many times”. The son use phrases for sex acts that were
also used by my daughter when I was charged. She wasn’t living in the
same house with her brother because rather than let the son go to his fathers
for visitation Pam left the state. She wound up losing her son due
to that and only had visitation rights.
Pam had on several occasions accused her own mother
of abuse when she attended elementary school. Since she was a minor
no records were brought to court. Her mother had even signed for Pam
to get married at the age of 13 to get rid of her.
I was away from home each week and home only on the
weekends. I had an acre of gardening and mowing to do when I was home.
My wife didn’t work except for 4 months during the winter of 1994.
There were 10 people including myself living at my home Pams brother
his wife and 2 children. Pam and I had an argument the last weekend
I was home due to them being there and fighting in front of the kids.
I even had a phone call that weekend from Pams Aunt asking for me to get Pam
to keep our oldest daughter home on the weekends as Pam was bad to send her
to her grandmothers to stay. That was at least every other weekend.
My mom lived just across the road from us and kept the children some on the
weekends so Pam and I could go out and be alone.
I hope by now you are getting the idea. No work
records were brought to court and few witnesses for the defense. One
doctor testified that there was a thinning of my daughters vagina.
My mother and others told of a bicycle accident she had been in and hurt herself
pretty bad. The state wouldn’t allow her to be seen by any other doctor.
My daughter was taken to counseling and the worker testified that he was
preparing her for the trial. A D.S.S. worker made a book that was used
for evidence. When asked about that my daughter didn’t even remember
the worker at all. During my daughters testimony she looked at me many
times. When she was asked if her daddy was in the courtroom she said
“no”. She left the stand and went to Pam who grabbed her shoulder and
said something in her ear. My daughter started to cry and after a closed
discussion the judge allowed her to get back up to identify me. It
had to be rough because It was tearing me apart. I don’t like to even
think about how everything went. I do know that a large man would cripple
or terribly hurt a small child trying to have sex with them. By the
way one sleep in the room with her sisters.
I am in the process of filing a motion for appropriate
relief trying to get a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel.
I will keep trying and praying. That’s all I know to do.
I am not a writer as you can tell. I don’t
know how this will help anyone except to show you that justice isn’t just
blind but depends on who can afford the best show. The really sad part
is that I don’t hate my ex wife so much as feel sorry for her. She
just turned 36 and is past marriage five. She admitted in court
that she moved in with a 23 year old guy when she left me. D.S.S. was
going to take the children but she moved in with her grandma. 2 weeks
after Pam left I sat on my mothers porch and watch Pam and her boyfriend took
everything except the central air conditioner and appliances when I was allowed
to go home due to the restraining order I found 2 of my registered dogs starved
to death. I got a deputy to come and take pictures but for some reason
they were lost. I quit going home because of complaints Pam kept calling
in trying to get me put in jail. One time I was even seen outside her
trailer the same night I was in a motel 8 hours away in another state.
My boss laughed when he told me but I never saw the humor. I will think
of more later I am sure. This is something that I try hard not to
My family stuck behind me and we are close. I am
a grandpa by my oldest daughter by a previous marriage. Connie has been there
for me also. I thank God for His blessings.
© Copyright 2003 Terry L. Buchanan