Grateful Dead

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Marty Soucie

Marty was a good friend of mine while I was stationed in Puerto Rico in the mid '90s. He was the proprietor of the Grateful Bed and Breakfast in Luquillo Puerto Rico. Sadly he died in a fire at his bed and breakfast in early 2001.
I first met Marty not long after Jerry died. At the time I was new to the Navy (only out of bootcamp for a few months), and with news of Jerry's passing, I kind of sunk into the proverbial funk. I have family down there, but they had no idea who Jerry Garcia was (my great aunt thought he was a Puerto Rican salsa musician:) ) My barracks-mate found a copy of "Skeleton's Key" at the Exchange and picked it up for me, hoping to cheer me up. One evening, while flipping through the book, I came across the name and address for Marty's bed and breakfast. Holy crap, I thought, that just 20 minutes from base! I called and talked for a while to Marty. I took a few days leave and headed down. It was the hight of summer (the off-season) so I was the only guest. It was nice to hang out with another deadhead after all the previous months of military yahoos. Finally, someone who really understood the gravity of Jerry's death (most of my fellow shipmates made snide jokes to me about Jerry's death).
It was a nice weekend. Because I was his only guest, we hung out, visiting his friends in the rain forest, hiking, and BSing. I also taped a ton of shows from his vast collection:)
Every few weeks we'd get together for dinner or just to hang out and listen to tunes, talk politics, the Dead, and drink rum and cokes. I can't tell you how nice it was to have a deadhead friend down there. It was a nice escape from the military.
Not long after, I was transfered to the fleet, and sent to the "four winds." We exchanged a few letters, but as these things often go, I lost touch. News of his passing saddened and angered me. I felt bad that I had lost touch. He was a great guy, attempting to create a little deadhead enclave in the middle of paradise. He is missed. Fare-thee-well Marty! Your friend, Mike.

Yo Soy Boricua!

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Brad from NJ

Brad was a good kid from NJ who got into it in the early nineties. He had a nice family and was a solid drummer! A solidly built guy who wore glasses, kinda thick lenses! He was a mellow cat, a lotta fun, too much sometimes! This especially worried me the last time I saw him at the Charlotte shows in '92. He was really messy! Doped out. I was worried he'd get popped as he seemed desperate to make some $ on the lot. I told him to cool it as it was crazy hot out there! He ended up getting put away sometime later. I think he did 2 years in a rehab style bootcamp in NY State. He was clean and started going to college after he got out. He had a nice girlfriend. I remember getting a piece of mail with his address and being really stoked. I opened it and there were photos of him. His mother and brother had written that he'd gone down to NYC to buy some "shirts" from a dude whose name rang a bell. They decided to party for old times sake. He overdosed! We have such blessings, why gamble everything for a buzz? We all need to ask ourselves this question at certain times I'm sure. Love and Light, J

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Joe O'Brien

A great bro' who spent the later few years of his life based up in Humboldt with his good brother Tom. They lived in a cool dome house! Joe was a fixture in the scene during the era my other friends (see above) and I were around. He was also a fine guitar player who I would have loved to have formed a band with. Sadly it was not to be! Another brother who passed due to a smack overdose. He'd been clean for awhile and relapsed. I would hope that all these losses set an example to our family to not waste our lives in this way. We should do something with our lives to spread the light we have found. I know we are more sensitive people than the rest, but we can't find true shelter in drug abuse. It's just an illusion. We need to look at the way the native Americans embrace sacrament use instead of abusing it. We're given an insight that we need to go out and spread not dull with addictive substances. We have shed too many tears! We need each other here-to support each other in our works. Let's keep on keeping on!

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Candy Hill from Philly

A really beautiful sister in so many ways! I heard she died from an overdose. She was into smack. You would never have known to look at her. I had a really freaky experience once. When I was at a Hare Krishna restaurant in New Zealand two girls came in with backpacks and were in line next to me. One with intense blue eyes. They had American accents so I said "hi"! We started to chat. The one said she was from Philly. I said I had a friend from there who died from an overdose. We locked eyes and both said her name at exactly the same time. Wow.........! I felt the presence of Candy standing in the space that was there where we three stood. Powerful! What are the chances of such a thing being coincidence? It wasn't a coincidence, of course. I think Candy was just trying to connect the energy and to send me a little message of love to give me strength at a trying time in my life when I really needed it and was going through some of the toughest times I've ever had! She was a good family sister and will always be missed. Gotta make it to the promised land...!

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CJ - Joe Emert

Another wonderful and sweet brother. He was usually to be found on Telegraph hanging out or in People's Park when it was still relatively hassle-free to do our thing there. He was a really fun cat! I don't know the exact details of his passing so I don't think I should write what I think I remember being told. His ex told me that his parents lived in El Cerrito at that time but I didn't find any listing in the phone directory for that area with that name last time I checked. Any more info on this would be wonderful! He was such a classic head! Shining on forever!!!

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Junkie Jim from PA

Jim was a kid who was one of the Haight St crew from the late eighties - early nineties scene. Also a regular tour cat! One of the who's who faces in the crowd. A really sweet guy! Yup, another with a drug habit unfortunately! From what I heard he got thrown into jail in SF and either hung himself or was hung by the guards or inmates. Some smack dealer apparently wanted him offed but I don't know the truth about that. It was all very shady and it would be nice to know if anyone has anymore info on this. Peace!

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George from Telegraph Ave - late eighties early nineties!

My good bro' from hanging out on Telegraph Ave from 87-92. He had a bit of a drug problem as certain loved ones did but he was a peaceful wonderful soul! I think it was 1991 when he passed on. There was an incident with a van of family coming down a mountain outside of Santa Cruz. The brakes failed. George had to help the petite and very pregnant girl, Carrie, who was trying to keep the vehicle on the road. He leaned across and guided the vehicle around the curves but it eventually rolled. He saved them from going off the side of the road! He also shielded Carrie from harm but got crushed under the van after going through the window in the process. I still have one of his tye-dyes the others gave me after the accident. I think about him often. He'll always be with us.

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Man pleads no contest in

Man pleads no contest in 2000 rest-stop slaying
By Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press

Kristin Ann Laurite, 25, of Scotch Plains, N.J., found dead at the Morrilton rest stop in 2000. The Montanta prisoner accused of killing her pleaded no contest Tuesday in her death.

2007-06-12 16:02:00

LITTLE ROCK — A Montana prisoner pleaded no contest Tuesday to killing a New Jersey woman nearly seven years ago as she was stopped at an Interstate 40 rest stop in central Arkansas on a cross-country trip.

Ronald James Ward, who is serving life in prison for another killing, was linked to the slaying of 25-year-old Kristin Laurite through DNA five years after the woman was stabbed repeatedly, sexually assaulted and left to die at the rest stop near Morrilton.

Ward, 40, was arrested last year while in prison and returned to Arkansas over the weekend for his Conway County court appearance Tuesday.

He initially told the court he would plead guilty. But after talking to a public defender, Ward changed his plea. He acknowledged he was responsible for Laurite’s death, although he claimed he couldn’t remember it because he had been high on “******, moonshine and *******,” Prosecutor Tom Tatum said.

AP/Montana Department of Corrections

Ronald James Ward pleaded no contest to the 2000 rest-stop slaying of a New Jersey woman.
Tatum described Ward as a drifter who moved between West Virginia and Montana. Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Thursday. The prosecutor said Ward had agreed to a life sentence.

Laurite’s mother Lynn DiBenedetto expressed love for her daughter, and relief.

“Finally, justice will be served for the brutal murder of my daughter,” DiBenedetto said in an e-mail to reporters. “Although the pain never goes away, I will finally get some peace of mind knowing that this alleged predator will never again be a part of society.”

Laurite left her New Jersey home on a trip to Eureka, Calif., planning to take a job at a day-care center along California’s north coast. By Aug. 25, 2000, she made it to Arkansas, stopping her yellow 1972 Volkswagen van at the Morrilton rest stop to splash water on her face and let her dogs play at a nearby pond.

The next day, truckers noticed one of Laurite’s dogs running loose. The trucker called the number on the dog’s tag, finding Laurite’s mother. Laurite’s dogs led officers to her body, dragged down toward the pond.

The rest stop, where another murder occurred three years earlier, was closed by the state, and Laurite’s family put up a billboard along the well-traveled highway with a picture of the slain young woman. The image remained up for years, with the plea: “Do you know who murdered me?”

Tatum said he was “surprised” by the no contest plea.

“I figured we would be in for a long trial because the investigation took place over so many years,” Tatum said. “I think it helped the family quite a bit and it certainly helped the state, too.”

Morrilton lawyer John Irwin said Ward didn’t understand the judge’s explanation about the consequences of representing himself so the judge appointed Irwin to represent the Montana convict.

“His education level is about fourth grade. He is not dumb. He is unlearned,” Irwin said. “The easiest thing to do would be to have a lawyer.”

Citing lawyer-client confidentiality, Irwin declined to talk about other aspects of the case. _______________
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Mikel

He was a freind of mine. Many of you will remember Mikel for his stickers, set list hand-outs and newsletters, and some of you will remember Mikel as one of the most kind and gentle souls you ever met. I didn't know him well, but Mikel was the kind of person who was sincerely kind and somehow made you feel special to him the instant that you met him. Mikel became the first person I would look for at a show, and I know I'm sepaking for many of you, because I stood in his own little "hug lines" many times. I will never forget Mikel. He taught me to try to pour as much kindness and compassion as you humanly can on others. He was a friend of mine.

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