[Hpn] Denver, CO - Street slayings of homeless too easy to forget - Denver Post - September 22, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Mon, 23 Sep 2002 00:29:34 -0500


Street slayings of homeless too easy to forget

Denver police Lt. Jon Priest insists the case of a transient is
investigated with the same dogged determination as that of a
murdered millionaire.
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By Diane Carman - Denver Post - September 22, 2002 

Most of the lines on the police report filed Tuesday were blank.

The essential information was there, though:

Homicide. White male. Throat cut. Sharp instrument. 

Identity: unknown.

Suspects: none.

>From the look of things, it was another apparently random murder
of a homeless man.

Anybody care?

Denver police Lt. Jon Priest insists the case of a transient is
investigated with the same dogged determination as that of a
murdered millionaire.

Yeah, right.

"I would hope that's the case," said David Redden. But he doesn't
believe it either. His older brother Harry James Redden Jr. was
killed Nov. 17, 1999. 

His decapitated body was found behind Union Station, one of several
victims during a rash of slayings of homeless men that year.

Some teenage suspects were arrested in a similar killing, but no
arrests have been made in the Redden case.

Redden clears his throat, swallowing emotion, as he talks about
the grisly crime. "I am beginning to have doubts about the Denver
police," he said.

The police have not contacted the family in Pennsylvania since
the day they called to report Harry's death. 

The Reddens say they keep hoping to hear of progress in the
investigation. They say they can only assume there's been none.

Priest said the police care about solving a homeless man's
slaying more than we might think. 

Often they are familiar with the guys they have roused from
a sound sleep on a park bench or hauled off to a homeless 
shelter on a night when the weather turned bitter.

"We know that sometimes we're the only ones around looking out
for these victims," Priest said.

But when the public interest in a down-and-out victim wanes, the
urgency of an investigation surely must be lost.

Attention is drawn to crimes against other more lovable victims,
while the murder of a guy who lived on an exhaust grate is easy
to dismiss.

Redden admits there's an awkward combination of grief and guilt
that plagues the family of a homeless murder victim. They feel
like they abandoned him, even when actually he abandoned them.

Harry left Pennsylvania in the early '90s, and they didn't see him
for nearly a decade. He had rejected their offers of help for years.

Then, four days before Christmas 1999, Harry's brothers, his
daughter, his ex-wife and others gathered to bury his broken body
and wonder what more could they have done.

They reminded each other that they always knew he was troubled;
they just didn't know how to intervene.

"He never hurt anyone but himself," Redden said.

Harry wasn't just a homeless guy, his brother said. He was a
poet, an artist, a musician, an Army veteran, a mechanic.

The night he got the call about Harry's death, Redden said, "It felt
like someone reached inside my chest and pulled out my heart."

Now there's another victim. 

For Redden it's another chance to remind Coloradans that there
are killers in our midst whose crimes have gone unpunished.

Priest said the police really are still working on the Redden case. 

"We don't care that he was homeless. We don't get that many
'Columbo'-type cases where the victims are rich. It doesn't work
that way," he said.

"We'll keep searching."

----------------------------
Diane Carman's commentaries appear in the Denver Post on 
Thursday and Sunday.  E-mail: dcarman@denverpost.com.
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source page:  http://makeashorterlink.com/?E20C120E1

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