Most of the questions I get emailed to me are about Brenda Andrew from Oklahoma, a woman who I do not communicate with. She routinely refuses any services I offer her without a word. As of late, however, Ms. Andrew has been surpassed by the repentant murder accomplice, Eileen Huber. Eileen of the California Mall Murders in the late '80's.
I've sent out many copies of her memoirs and I'm really excited to tell her about it. I think she will be very pleased. I received one email that was especially interesting in that it was from a woman who lived in Eileen's neighborhood during the time before the crimes. She prefers not to share her name but shares her experiences with Eileen and John below:
Newspaper accounts, and the show Wicked Attraction, describe Eileen's childhood as "normal." As someone who knew her in high school, I can tell you that this is not the truth. I spent many days at her house where her brother, a drug dealer, would give me and my friends drugs and alcohol while we were cutting classes.
Most of the time, Eileen wasn't there, but I did see her at her home occasionally. I witnessed a different Eileen than the media portrays. She was lonely and neglected and abused by her family, which did not include her mother in the home. She was fragile, but always pretended to be okay. She was the kind of girl who would have done anything for love and attention. I was saddened, but not surprised, when I learned that she had been arrested for the crimes.
I did know John Lewis very well. We went to high school together (late 1980's) and lived in the same apartment complex. I recently read that Baldwin Park, where we lived, was declared a "disaster area" around 1985. I believe it.
John and I lived in the worst neighborhood there. Drive-by shootings, drugs, and prostitution were norms in the apartment complex. John Lewis was a perfect product of this environment and he had a tragic upbringing. He lived a few doors down from me. I saw him then as a dangerous person. He was in a gang, and my sister dated him briefly.
My sister told me that she had been held against her will and even raped by him. He shot her in the leg with a BB gun, but when the police arrived, she lied so that he wouldn't be arrested. She was afraid of what he would do to her. I tried to avoid him as much as possible. Whenever he looked at me, he had a menacing look about him. He also harassed my father, who was dying of cancer at the time. John was a predator and a manipulator, I knew that.
I left Baldwin Park in 1988 or 89, so I hadn't heard about Eileen and John becoming a couple. I was living with friends in Bakersfield, California when I saw the arraignment on the news. Mutual friends, who had seen her during the time of the killing, told me that they were engaged and that Eileen had showed them her engagement ring. The ring that later turned out to be a victim's.
That friend and I discussed Eileen and both felt that we were not close friends with her. We knew her to be a vulnerable and lonely girl. Neither of us thought that she would have committed these crimes without the influence of John Lewis. We wondered what might have been if we had been better friends to her. We did know her brother, Robert, better as he was closer in age to us.