In a little while, the district attorney of Laramie County would argue that patricide is "one of the most horrible things a person can do," but right now, Richard was making it sound quite logical, claiming that he'd been dreaming about the deed ever since he was a little kid.... They say awful things about their parents, but nobody really believes them, particularly when they're white, middle-class teenagers – young adults – blessed with a nice home and all the material advantages of life.All those years when Richard was thinking about killing Dad or himself, he never did anything about it. On the night in question – November 16th, 1982, the twentieth anniversary of Mom and Dad's first date – Richard was afraid he'd still chicken out.
Dad had won a plum assignment in the Phoenix office, where he would distinguish himself as a hard-working, no-nonsense special agent for over seven years. They dove for cover and said they surrendered – wasn't that hysterical? "It seemed like he wanted me to fight back, because I remember times when he'd push me up against the wall and put his chin out and say, ' Go ahead...
On weekends, Dad took Richard on hikes in the desert, teaching him how to shoot some of the thirty-odd guns in his collection and sharing with him his wit and philosophy. Like Dad always said: people are assholes; don't try to tell them your problems, they're all out to get you. Dad told Richard a parable about how his uncle had pushed him around until he got bigger and punched his uncle out. you get a free shot.' And he'd get mad at me and beat me up because I didn't defend myself." magazine, Maria Jahnke has not been available for interviews (on the advice of her attorney, Deborah, too, is incommunicado), but she tried to explain herself when she appeared as a defense witness at Richard's trial."I was trying to be the best mother and the best wife I could possibly be," Maria said.
The program included large doses of discipline and profanity, administered in the semi-privacy of army barracks and cramped apartments.
If Deborah and Richie didn't behave like good little soldiers, they'd get a swift slap on the face or the back of the head, and maybe a little belt whipping, too.
In fact, talking about Dad seems to calm him down."I've spent a lot of time trying to understand the way my father was," he says. Army boy from Illinois; she was a twenty-year-old native of the island.
"I believe that he just didn't know any other way. I guess he believed that was the right and only way to raise a child."Richard isn't sure when Dad started hitting him; all he remembers about it is "being very small." Mom – Maria Gonzales Jahnke – testified it began when Richie was two years old. After an eighteen-month courtship, they made the customary promises to love and to cherish and set about having a family – a boy for you, a girl for me....At the very least, they could expect verbal assaults worthy of a drill sergeant: "ugly bastard," "stupid bitch," "fucking crybaby," "asshole." Dad was tough, and his kids were going to tough it out, too.As the kids grew older, the program for better children expanded to include matters of hygiene and diet.After his discharge in 1971, he took the family to the Chicago area, then to Washington D.C., where he received his training as an IRS agent, and finally, to a new house with a swimming pool in Scottsdale, Arizona.ast November wasn't the first time Richard John Jahnke wanted to kill his father. Violence was a family affair in the Jahnke household, and homicide – well, that was an option, just like suicide.