“A lady in each port,” so goes the outdated sailor’s adage. For John Eric Armstrong, this saying held lethal connotations.
In 1996, I re-enlisted within the navy, this time for a tour with the U.S. Navy. I used to be assigned to the crew of the united statesS. Nimitz plane provider, based mostly on the time in Bremerton, Washington. From ’97 to 2000, I labored as an Info Techniques Technician aboard the Nimitz and circumnavigated the globe with (amongst many others) this man: John Eric Armstrong.
I knew Petty Officer Armstrong from the ship’s barber store the place he periodically took clippers to my head and, on a single event, a razor to my throat.
I didn’t know Armstrong personally, didn’t run in the identical social circles as he. We labored on reverse ends of an infinite conflict ship. Our exchanges within the barber chair have been transient and energetic. I favored Armstrong, significantly his penchant for making gentle of great topics – usually himself – which suited me simply fantastic. His shipmates referred to as him “Opie” (after the Andy Griffith Present character) for his purple hair, freckled complexion and nation demeanor.
I doubt Armstrong would bear in mind me, seeing as I used to be however certainly one of lots of of consumers, nor do I anticipate he’d recall the event I requested him to shave just a few stray hairs from my throat. Armstrong obliged, by chance nicking me above the collar. We joked a couple of hardship discharge as he wiped away the blood.
Within the Spring of ’98, Nimitz reached the port of Newport Information, Virginia, and Armstrong, finishing his enlistment, was honorably discharged. I by no means noticed him once more.
That is the way it goes with most navy relationships. One is thrown in with a motley assortment of characters from all corners of america. One lives with them, sweats with them, experiences adventures, typically fights with them, then every go their separate methods, usually by no means to be heard from once more (Fb has altered this dynamic considerably). Often, these figures resurface in your life, typically in peculiar methods.
Twelve months after the Nimitz reached Virginia, twenty-six-year-old Eric “Opie” Armstrong appeared within the nationwide headlines. The papers reported that he’d settled in Dearborn Heights, Michigan together with his spouse and daughter. The Detroit police have been holding him on three counts of homicide and three tried counts.
Armstrong in the end was charged with killing 5 prostitutes within the higher Detroit space. Upon arrest, he confided to police that he was accountable for quite a few murders stretching again to earlier than his Navy enlistment. Armstrong confessed to killing girls in Washington, Virginia, Hawaii, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Thailand. It appeared with each Nimitz port of name Armstrong would discover a hooker, have intercourse along with her, then attempt to kill her.
In March 2001, Armstrong was placed on trial for a number of of the murders. His attorneys tried an madness protection, but the jury didn’t purchase it and located Armstrong responsible. He was sentenced to life in state jail.
I recall interviews with Armstrong’s Detroit neighbors who regarded him as a strong citizen and devoted household man. He even ran errands for the blind girl throughout the road. You have seen these post-tragedy interviews with acquaintances of a serial killer: “He appeared like such a pleasant man?”. Armstrong was a pleasant man, to most individuals. He was additionally a deeply troubled soul.
Trial reviews revealed Armstrong’s organic father had sexually abused him as a baby, but parental abuse alone doesn’t assemble a killer. The present scientific evaluation finds no direct sociological or psychological causation for such habits. Many contributing elements are in play. By all accounts, Jeffrey Dahmer skilled a superbly uneventful early childhood, but he went on to commit acts of cannibalism.
The human thoughts is a puzzle. We’re within the stone age with respect to understanding its complexities. I hope that John grasps the complete consequence of his actions and endures real regret for the households he irreparably harmed. I want him peace in his remaining time with us.
“Look down at me, you see a idiot. Search for at me, you see a god. Look straight at me, you will note your self.” ~ Charles Manson