Monthly Archives: April 2011

5 Question Friday With Betrayal, Murder, and Greed’s Pam Phree

A while back I read a book called Betrayal, Murder, and Greed by Pam Phree and Mike Beakley. It’s a non-fiction account of the bail bond and bounty hunter business and it all takes place in and around Tacoma. Since then I’ve had the chance to meet with the authors personally and I was happy when Pam agreed to be part of 5 Question Friday this week.

1. What is Betrayal, Murder and Greed?

Betrayal, Murder and Greed—those three words—sums up what our book is all about. There is a lot of filth, dirt and corruption in the world, in every industry including the Bail Bond Business. My co-author and Bounty Hunter, Mike Beakley and I, the Bail Agent, opened our personal case files to reveal our most interesting and dangerous cases. Since the book literally details true stories of Betrayal, Murder and Greed, that seemed an appropriate title.

 2. What are its ties to Tacoma?

Both Mike and I were born and raised in Tacoma. Mike was a Tacoma Police Officer for sixteen years—on the SWAT team and working undercover narcotics before the shootout that ended his police career. Afterward, he met me and became a Bounty Hunter. For over twenty years, Mike and I have worked in Tacoma for various Bail Bond Companies. Many of the stories in the book happened in and around Tacoma. Our hometown is liberally featured throughout the book.

3. Do you think crime is different in the Pacific Northwest and if so, how?

Sadly, crime is everywhere in every town, in every city. I wish I could say we’re safer living in the Pacific Northwest but that wouldn’t necessarily be true. Every city has its own set of challenges. I’d venture to say we’re no safer—but certainly not more dangerous—than any other city in the US. Fortunately, we have dedicated, hard-working police officers like Paul Pastor and prosecutors such as Mark Lindquist who are making a real dent in cleaning up the crime in our area.

4. What’s coming up in the next book?

Betrayal, Murder and Greed: The True Story of a Bounty Hunter and a Bail Bond Agent, our first book, introduces Mike and myself. Our personal story of how we got into the Bail Bond Industry is told as well as illuminating some of the cases we’ve worked on throughout the years.

Book 2, tentatively titled, “Shocking True Stories by a Bounty Hunter and a Bail Bond Agent”, tells the stories of our clients; those I’ve bailed and those Mike have had to chase after they jumped bail. The reader is introduced to characters from all walks of life, hears their own personal stories of Betrayal, Murder and Greed and over the course of twenty years, sees where life ultimately takes them. Some live, some die. Since these are true stories, the endings aren’t predictable. Readers will be surprised to learn who survives and who doesn’t.

5. What’s been the best experience since releasing the book?

Mike and I have been privileged to appear on television, film a book trailer and meet a lot of interesting radio personalities that otherwise we wouldn’t have met. But hands down, the best experience we’ve had since releasing the book is meeting other writers/authors in our area. There are a lot of interesting, creative, talented people in the writing business—such as yourself, Jack, that when we get together and talk ‘shop’, is exhilarating. That’s one of the reasons Mike and I jump at the chance to meet other writers at every opportunity. It helps get our own creative juices’ flowing with ideas for subsequent books.

Once again, I want to thank Pam for stepping in at the last minute to do this. I’ve been incredibly sick during the last week (thus the lack of updates) and I only got the questions to her this morning so I really appreciate her help.

Mike and Pam are selling and signing their book at the Tacoma Mall this Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 11am – 4pm outside Macy’s. If you’re in the area, you should drop by and say hello. 

For more information on their book, go to betrayalmurderandgreed.com

– Jack Cameron

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5 Question Friday With Wingman Brewers’ Ken Thoburn

Every Friday I’m going to do a quick five question interview with someone in Tacoma so that they can tell their Tacoma Story. For the first installment, I have co-owner of Wingman Brewers Inc., Ken Thoburn. Wingman Brewing is a new microbrewery located in downtown Tacoma on Fawcett Ave. Given my love of Tacoma and my love of beer, I’m happy to share his Tacoma Story.

1. How did Wingman Brewers get started?

While in college Derrick Moyer (one of our owners) and I started homebrewing.  We quickly became obsessed with making beer and with perfecting our recipes.  During that time one of our other friends (Jason Sabol also an owner) started brewing with us as well.  Our beer became very popular amongst our friends and we kept finding our kegs empty the same day we tapped them.  We love making beer and sharing it with people.  That prompted us to bring on Daniel Heath and start moving our hobby toward becoming a business.  We incorporated in Jan. 2010 and after many months of searching for a building, going through city, state and federal licensing and finally testing our new equipment we’re finally close to sharing our beer with Tacoma.

2. Why Tacoma?

All four of us would be exceedingly happy to have lived and worked in Tacoma primarily from the cradle to the grave.  We love this city.  Between the four of us we’ve gone to many of Tacoma’s public and private schools including PLU, UPS, and UWT for college.  We met each other as kids in the youth group at First Presbyterian Church Tacoma down on 20 Tacoma Ave.  Tacoma has so much to offer and not only as a beer market.  Part of each of our keg sales goes to benefit a Tacoma charity.  This is our community as residents and business owners we want to see Tacoma thrive and continue to be the great place we grew up in.

3. What sorts of beers are you planning on releasing?

We’re releasing three beers.  They are all a bit of a cross between English and northwest styles.  We pack the citrusy hop forward flavors into our beers that everyone in the northwest is familiar with but we also include strong malt and yeast characteristics into our beer that are more commonly found in English style ales.  Our current line up includes P-51 Porter which is a robust dark ale with hints of coffee, chocolate and tobacco.  We also have Ace IPA that has great fruity flavors to balance against its hoppy bitterness.  The last beer in our line up is Pin-up Pale Ale which is again a mix of malty fruit and citrus with just a hint of bitter.

4. Where and when can we expect to see Wingman Beers on tap?

The where is primarily Tacoma and a few surrounding areas from time to time.  The when is soon and very soon.

5. What’s your favorite non-Wingman beer and why?

Asking a beer maker what his favorite beer is, is a bit like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite.  It all depends on the mood I’m in and what my last experience with a particular beer was like.  Beer is more than a tasty beverage it’s social, and drinking a great beer alone is not the same as drinking a good beer with in the company of friends.  For that reason I’d have to say my favorite beer is the beer I enjoy with some dogs and my buddies at The Red Hot, or maybe my favorite beer is the one I’m trying not to spill on myself while playing big buck hunter at The Parkway, or maybe it’s the one I’m having while catching up with a friend at Magoos after a long day.  Whether it’s Ale, Lager, American, Belgian, Sour, Bitter, Light or Dark my favorite beer changes with the moment I’m drinking it in.  Sometimes I want shell out $20ish for a Cascade Kriek and sometimes I just want a PBR.

I’d like to thank Ken for being a part of 5 Question Friday. I’m looking forward to having a Wingman Beer in the near future. Given my taste in beers, I’m betting the Ace IPA is going to be a new favorite.

For more information on Wingman Brewers, got to http://wingmanbrewers.com

–          Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2011 – Jamarr Johnson

Ten blocks down South 38th Street from where Marvin Plunkett was shot and killed, Tacoma had its fifth homicide of 2011. It was the early afternoon of April 5th. Three men rang the doorbell of a house near the corner of East J Street and South 38th Street. One of those men was 19-year-old Jamarr Johnson. When no one answered, they walked around to the sliding glass door and shattered it. The three men entered the house.  Jamarr Johnson went upstairs possibly with the others. A door to the bedroom was shut. Johnson tried the door. It was locked. The deafening sound of gunfire erupted from inside the bedroom. Moments later, Jamarr was dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

The other two men left quickly, one of them going out an upstairs window. Police arrived on the scene and quickly tracked down one of the two remaining intruders. A third man remained at large. The police talked to the homeowner. He told them that he heard the doorbell but did not answer and when they tried to get in through the sliding glass door, he locked himself in the bedroom. When he saw that they were trying to come into the bedroom, he fired his weapon.

At the time of this writing there are still a lot of things that are unknown or at least not released to the public. We do not know the names or ages of the other individuals involved. We don’t know if they knew each other. What is known is that a homeowner had reason to fear for his life and used a firearm to protect himself and his home.

It’s unfortunate that someone lost his life, but it’s fairly clear that he put himself into a situation where he could be killed. The East Side of Tacoma has been among the worst areas of the city for years and the odds of your average East Side homeowner having a gun are pretty good. There are those who might say the intruder got what he deserved. Personally I wouldn’t go that far, but of all the possible outcomes, this one is better than others. In other words, I feel better writing about the death of the intruder than the death of the homeowner.

-Jack Cameron

A Life Well Lived: The Jennifer Paulson Story

Jennifer PaulsonOn the morning of February 26, 2010, Jennifer Paulson encountered a man in the parking lot of Birney Elementary School on South 76th Street in Tacoma. She had met the man years earlier in the cafeteria at Pacific University. Since then, the man’s interest in her had become so unhealthy that she’d gotten a restraining order against him. He’d even been previously arrested for violating the restraining order when she found he was following her. The danger this man posed became all too real that morning when the man shot and killed her. He left in a ten sedan and was confronted by police officers  hours later where he died after a brief exchange of gunfire. His death was ruled a suicide.

By all accounts, Jennifer Paulson’s death was a tragedy. In her thirty years of life, Jennifer Paulson had touched hundreds of lives. She was a special education teacher at Birney Elementary and it is not an overstatement to say that she was beloved.  She will not soon be forgotten. And now, writer Eric Lundberg is giving those of us who never met Jennifer Paulson a chance to get to know her.

A Life Well Lived: The Jennifer Paulson Story isn’t about Jennifer’s death, but the life she lived and the people whose lives she changed. It is a Tacoma Story.

All proceeds from the sale of the book go to causes Jennifer’s family feel Jennifer would have supported such as scholarships and educational support for children.

For more information and to purchase the book, go to http://jenniferannpaulson.com

–       Jack Cameron