Before the Stroke


Act I: The Plot


Act II:  

The "X" Secured


Act III:

  The Kidnapping


Act IV, Sc.1:

      The Isolation


Act IV, Sc.2:

   The Plundering


Act V, Sc.1:

      The Dumping


Act V, Sc.2:

          The Rescue



    The Indictments


Appendix I:

  The Perpetrators


Appendix II:

    The Friendship



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Act I: The Plot

                  So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

                                        (Macbeth, I,iii,38)


      On March 30, 1985, in her home, a devastating stroke left Amelia partly paralyzed, a lucid mind, but unable to communicate: an expressive aphasic.   Placed in the Carson Convalescent Center, Carson City, Nevada, her loyal friend Dorothy Dutton assumed Power of Attorney over her affairs.  The Power of Attorney was prepared by Amelia's attorney, David Small.


     Six weeks prior to Amelia's stroke, The Villains Charles and Carole Dutton entered the scene.   Charles had quit his job in Bend, Oregon (see Appendix I for history of financial and employment irresponsibility), and, without funds, in bankruptcy and in debt, and homeless, they make it to Carson City and mother, Dorothy Dutton.  Their aunt, Fontella Kirk, had loaned them $900.00 to make the move.  It was February 25, 1985, when they arrived in Carson City in their '76 Ford and a rented U-Haul van; their teenage daughter Pamela Gayle, was flown down the week before.


     Charles & Carole received the telephone call from Ami's neighbor, Helene Elder, who found Amelia on the floor of her study-library.    When Dorothy and her sister Fontella returned home and received the message, they rushed to Amelia's house.  Charles and Carole, and the ambulance, were already there; Carole was "managing" the situation.  Someone had propped open the front screen door with a book from Amelia’s library.


Soon after Charles & Carole (and their daughter, Pam) had moved  in with his mother Dorothy Dutton, and his aunt Fontella Kirk,  silent, unspoken friction slowly developed over their "inconsiderate and lazy living habits."  Carole was a chain smoker, and she would sleep in on the couch until the late morning.

Two weeks later, leaving their daughter, Pam, with Dorothy &   Fontella, they moved in with Carole's sister near Sacramento, California.   After a week (with Charles having secured only 24 hours of employment), they are asked to leave. 

Once again, they returned to Carson City and mother.  They arrived late at night, let themselves in, and slept on the couch.  The next morning when they are greeted by the sisters, Carole breaks into tears, crying, "I don't have a home anymore!" 

While in California, Carole wrote her daughter back in Carson City:  "We both can't hardly wait until we can get settled again and get you back home."   "Home," at this point, was just a hopeful dream.  In three weeks Amelia would have her  stroke.

Although Charles soon went to work in Reno as an electrician  (and showed a $23,000.00 income for 1985, and paid neither rent nor utilities for 10 months of the year), they contributed no money nor household chores while living with the sisters:  Dorothy and Fontella carried the three of them.


     With Amelia in the nursing home, the sisters make daily trips to Amelia's empty house to do chores and care for her two Dachshunds, Shanda and Scoshi.  Prompted by Charles & Carole's suggestion, and with the kind permission of Amelia, they moved into her house.

     On May 2, Dorothy Dutton prepares, on behalf of Amelia, a typed agreement for Charles and Carole: in exchange for chores and maintenance they can live there rent free, but they are to pay their own utilities.    But once moved in, they refused to honor the agreement, sending their utility bills to Dorothy to be paid from Amelia's funds, pleading poverty.  To protect Amelia's credit, Dorothy pays the bills with Amelia's funds, totaling $896.47 over the next four months.

     Soon after moving into Ami's house, both Dorothy and Amelia's neighbor, Helene, report seeing Carole wearing Ami's clothes and jewelry.  When Dorothy noticed Carole's new blouse, she proudly tells Dorothy the clothes are Amelia's.

     Within days of Amelia's stroke, her physician, Dr. Stoloff, had informed Dorothy & Fontella that he believed Amelia will not live long.  The sisters discussed the doctor's prognosis with Carole and Charles "many times."

     Amelia lived in a manufactured home with two bedrooms.  She had converted the second, smaller bedroom into a library-study-office.  After Charles, Carole and Pam moved into Amelia's home, they stored all of her books and much of her office equipment in the metal garden shed in back. 

     By mid-June, privately, Dorothy & Fontella expressed increasing concerns about Carole's intentions: "(Carole) is trying to con Amelia out of everything she has."    The sisters are also hearing from Amelia's neighbors: "All the neighbors tell us they suspect she is out to take Ami." 

 The next door neighbor Helene, reported that Charles often would stop to talk with her when they met outside their homes.     The front door of each house faced each other.  But one day during their "chat," Carole came out of Ami's house, yelling to Charles in her loud, firm voice, "Get in here!"   After that, Charles never did stop to talk to Helene.

     Carole was not only content to wear Amelia's clothes and jewelry; just as brazenly she openly tells the sisters of her long range intentions with Amelia:    

Fontella records in her diary, on June 23, 1985, that they visited Ami at the Center.  "Ami must have been trying to tell us (something) but couldn't.  She was very worried about her home."   

 They then "went over to Ami's (home) where Chas. & Carole live . . . .  . Carole told us she wants to care for Ami.  Then she said they want to sell Ami's (home) and buy a house with Ami's money.   Said Ami has no one at all."

     And the following month Dorothy records that Carole again announces her intentions:  During a visit to Amelia's house, on Charles'  birthday, July 17, 1985, Carole openly tells Dorothy & Fontella that they intend to "take care of Ami . . . (that) this is one way we can get a house."

(Carole's comment carried the prerequisite of obtaining the Power from Dorothy, at the predictable cost of destroying the family relationship.   Dorothy had made it clear she was not about to hand over the Power of Attorney.  During the next six weeks, before Amelia transferred her Power, this became an unspoken point of resentment between the two.)

       Upon leaving the house, incredibly, Dorothy asks her sister, "Did you hear what I heard?"   

      The sisters did not stay long.  Charles was preoccupied, talking alone with John Newcomb in the living room.  The sisters just did "not feel welcome," and, after a short while, left.  Dorothy wrote, "I had the feeling I wasn't wanted, this was the first time I had been given the cold shoulder by Charles."   (Dorothy notes this was not a formal birthday gathering.  It was her son's birthday and she and Fontella stopped by to acknowledge same with a card and a present in the form of a small check.)

        Carole wasted no time in putting her plans into motion.   Her confidence of success was absolute; her choice of verb tense in the future active:

      Ten days later, on July 27, Carole informs Amelia's doctor that she "will be taking care of (Amelia) at home."  Carole requested that "we (the doctor) come (to) evaluate (Amelia) again," and to give Carole "suggestions on how to help Amy. . . . . . .Carole was instructed in (home care)." 

It is to be noted that the doctor's report also records "Carole Dutton was shown these techniques which lead to independence . . . . . (and she) was told to call our out-patient dept. if she runs into any problems."   

      (Events will soon show that Carole had no intentions of giving Amelia "independence," much less seeking assistance.  Carole terminated Amelia's therapy after only two one-hour sessions (“Can’t afford it,” and “It wasn’t working.”). 

       Carole's resolve embodied her with the strength of predestination and the omnipotent conviction that she has the unquestionable right, i.e.:

        For over a month, under advice of Amelia's attorney, David Small,  Dorothy had Ami's VW Dasher up for sale.  Two days after Charles' birthday, July 19, Amelia's car sold.  Charles and Carole had persisted on driving Amelia's car against Dorothy's instructions:  insurance coverage was the issue. The very next day after the car  sold, Carole visits Dorothy & Fontella and "demands" that  she use Amelia's money to buy Ami a new car so that they would have a (second) car to drive.  Charles & Carole own a 1976 Ford Torino. 

      Dorothy refused. 

     The sisters attempt to voice their displeasure to Charles and Carole over what they are observing and hearing from Amelia's neighbors, but open communication is strained.   The emerging, conflicting moral philosophy deepens the already widening chasm in the family. 

      By this time, Carole has been showing up at the Carson Convalescent Center every day, soon twice a day, to visit with Amelia.

      Between August 6 and 11, Charles & Carole, assisted by their son Mike, removed all of their furniture (piano, organ, etc.) which they had stored inside of Dorothy & Fontella's home.   What remained left in the garage was some furniture and packed boxes (including the expensive fixtures salvaged from the foreclosure of their Gladtone, Or. house).  No explanation was offered for removing the furniture inside the house at this particular time; the existing unspoken tension kept the conversation at a polite distance.   Soon, subsequent events will suggest this was but another, planned way-station on their itinerary to secure the Power of Amelia's "X."  

 [In a few days the Duttons left for Oregon (August 14) to attend Mike's wedding, leaving Amelia's home unattended.    They returned sometime after the 23rd.  Driving through California, Carole buys a blank Power of Attorney form.]

On August 31, 1985, Amelia had signed her “X.”

      On Sept. 6, after the Labor Day weekend, Charles and Mike arrive at Dorothy and Fontella's house to pick up the remaining furniture stored in the garage.

      Carole's "presence" permeated the atmosphere by her overbearing, uncustomary absence.    (The sister's friend, Kay Ridout, was present, and witnessed) a violent argument that soon erupts during which "Charles raises his fist as if to strike us (his mother & aunt)."   Charles and Mike leave, slamming the laundry room door. Dorothy & Fontella make immediate plans to drive to Canada for a week so as not to be present when Charles returns to pick up the remaining furniture from the garage.]

     (It is speculated that Charles, possibly unconsciously and with guilt, prompted the argument and resulting threat to clothe himself  in the protective justification of secretly securing the Power of Amelia's "X" from possession of his mother.   Surely, it served to give reason to fully complete the isolation of Amelia and themselves from Dorothy and Fontella.   This same behavior is to be repeated in kind, two years later, when Carole "found" reasons to “justify" abandoning Amelia in a foster care home.) 

      On August 25, while the Duttons were in Oregon for a week, leaving Ami's house unattended, the neighbor Helene reported, and Fontella writes on her  calendar,  Ami's house had "dog pee and shit everywhere.  A regular hog pen.  Place a disaster."   Fontella adds a note to herself, "Need a plan to stop her."  

     Armed with the privilege of two decades of trust, extended through Dorothy & Fontella's close relationship with Amelia, and with predators' instincts, their attention is focused on a helpless, but trusting victim.   The predators’ focused posturing alerts all but the prey; a week later, on August 31, 1985, Amelia places her "X” on a California, Power of Attorney store-bought form presented by Carole.


     In spite of the continued generosity extended toward this self proclaimed "destitute" family, Dorothy and Fontella report that during this period they were treated with accelerating emotional abuse and contempt by both Charles and Carole.  

    [Seigneur Michel de Montaigne (Essays, 1586) aptly observed,

    "The man whose thoughts are on taking no longer remembers 

    what he has taken.   Nothing goes so naturally with greed

    as ingratitude.  (For they) think they are securing them-

    selves in the possession of their ill-gotten gains by showing

    contempt and hatred for (those) from whom (the gifts) came."]


      Following their son, Mike's wedding, Charles & Carole remain in Oregon no less than 5 days, possibly a week, before returning to Carson City.

 It is speculated that while in Oregon they networked the employment situation, possibly stopping in Bend to visit their close friends, the Newcombs, and to see his former employer, to mend fences.  (Before moving to Nevada to live with his mother and aunt, Charles was employed by Deschutes County as an Electrical Inspector, but he quit after three months because of not being paid enough.  See Appendix I.)



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