The case of Carl Edson and the rain.
Carl's Rain Theory
The police chief told me that Carl Edson wanted me to represent him. He asked me to come to see him to discuss an idea he had for the plea in his murder trial. I was intrigued.
I had no clue what he had in mind, especially since three witnesses saw him upend his neighbor, Joan Greene into her own rain barrel and hold her there until she drowned. Curious, I had the chief set it up.
To look at Carl Edson, you’d think he was the most mildly inoffensive man in Spain, Ontario. The community is pretty small, but I chose to live there rather than in the county seat. All criminals, serious or otherwise, end up at the county jail for processing and incarceration since Spain hasn’t had a crime in over fifty years, so has no jail or police force.
Until Joan and Carl’s feud. From the time they bought houses beside each other on the same street, they’d been fighting like cats and dogs over everything. Mostly differing lifestyles.
Joan Greene was an eco-warrior who wanted to save the planet, starting with her little corner of it. She did that by using natural fertilizers on her property and recycling useful discarded items. She harangued Carl about the fact that the only thing he recycled were beer and liquor bottles!
Whenever she got on his back, he quickly pointed to the rusty gold in his yard that he was saving in case he needed any of it. Joan, for her part, called The Junk Spaniard on a regular basis to try and get him to pick up the decaying cars and parts in Carl’s yard. She was always told the request for junk pickup had to come from the owner of said junk.
The other folks in Spain, myself included, when I’m home, declared regularly that they could hear them arguing from one end of town to the other. You knew they were done with the current round, when each of them slammed their door and stomped into their houses.
It was Joan’s neighbor on the other side, Sylvia Gordon and two of her friends that saw Carl holding Joan under as she struggled to get out of the rain barrel. Sylvia called the cops and an ambulance. As they arrested Carl, the ladies jumped in Sylvia’s car and followed the ambulance to the hospital. Joan died on the way.
When they interviewed Carl at the station, he made no bones about the fact that he’d done the deed and swore he would do it again if he had the chance. He was being held over for trial without bail.
The Chief called me two days later to say Carl wanted me to come the next day. Not being certain what to expect from this idea Carl claimed to have, I was determined to keep an open mind. When I got there, Carl was waiting for me in the visitors’ area.
I sat down. Carl decided to start with some back history. Apparently, he had always hated rain, even from a very young age.
The slightest shower irritated him. As for thunderstorms, he became enraged and acted violently. But what got to him the worst, he said, was hard rain that fell for weeks nonstop.
He asked me if I recalled how long it had been raining before he killed Joan. That was easy. It had been raining continuously for ten weeks.
The ground was a quagmire and everyone was grumpy. It was still raining the day of the crime. That’s when Carl hit me with his idea.
He explained that he wanted to plead temporary insanity because of it. I called an old friend, who was a practicing psychiatrist, and he agreed to come and see Carl. By the end of the week, he had tested and done hypnotherapy on him.
His diagnosis was that Carl’s turning to homicide was definitely triggered by his dysfunctional childhood as it related to rain. I got Carl remanded to the hospital for the criminally insane at Penetanguishine for life. I could write a book about that case alone and maybe I will, when I retire!