Chapter 8

"I'd Like to Pray About This"

From The Evil That Men Do
By Stephen G. Michaud
with Roy Hazelwood

1999 by Stephen G. Michaud
Published by St. Martin's Press
Used with permission


Following his AFIP fellowship, Roy returned once again to Fort Gordon, Georgia, to serve as a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) instructor. In a short time, he was placed in charge of all new agents training for the CID.

Roy Hazelwood
He had so far enjoyed his army career and had done well. However, Roy also knew the next step in his career path likely would be a desk job at the Pentagon, a prospect about which he was only mildly enthusiastic, even though it also meant another promotion, to lieutenant colonel.

He was ten years away from retirement, and had no expectations of staying in the army beyond that time. That meant at age forty-two he'd have to start looking around for a second career. "What am I going to do, sell real estate?" he asked himself. "Do prison work? Become a special investigator for a sheriff's department?"

Roy had reached another of those periodic junctures in his life when all he knew for certain was what he disdained. It was time once more for chance to intervene.

It finally did one day in 1970, when he drove a friend to an interview appointment at the FBI office in downtown Augusta, Georgia. Dressed in his uniform, Roy was seated in the lobby, waiting for his fellow officer to finish, when he was approached by an FBI agent.

"While your friend's in there, would you like to look at an application?"

"No, I'm happy," Roy said, gesturing at his uniform. "Career army."

"Well, just take an application," said the agent.

Hazelwood did, and went home and filled out the form "on a lark," he says. "I just wanted to see if the Bureau would accept me."

To his delighted surprise, the FBI did. An agent contacted Roy, advising him to resign his commission so he could depart immediately when the imminent appointment letter signed by J. Edgar Hoover arrived.

Major Hazelwood was too cautious for that.

"Wait a minute," he told the agent. "I have a wife and three kids. When I get that appointment letter, then I'll make a decision."

The appointment letter didn't come; although Roy was his recruiter's top choice, the Bureau was not hiring agents at the time.

In early 1971, he was selected to attend the FBI's National Academy program, a three-month course for veteran law enforcement officers from around the United States. Of the fifty members in each class, only two were military officers. It was a singular honor for Roy to be chosen.

Since an FBI interview was part of the preregistration process, Roy soon found himself back at the Bureau's Augusta office. He remembers how the special agent in charge (SAC) noticed on his documents that Hazelwood had been selected both to the National Academy and, pending appointment, for FBI agent training.

"Which would you prefer?" the SAC asked.

"FBI," Roy answered.

"Well, then, let's hold up this National Academy application," said the SAC.

The very next day, Roy received a special delivery letter of appointment to the FBI, signed by Hoover, informing Hazelwood he was scheduled to begin training November 29, 1971, nine months away. "That was their first opening, he says. "And I accepted it."

Roy remained an army major until Friday, November 26. Then he left Georgia for Washington, D.C., looking forward to what he believed would be sixteen weeks of top-level training in the world's preeminent law enforcement agency.

Hazelwood knew there would be some personal adjustments to make. For one thing, he was barely able to maintain the FBI's minimum weight, and for the next four months he made sure he was carrying a couple boxes of .38 ammunition whenever he was weighed.

The more serious potential difficulties were his age and experience. Not only would he be older than all but one of the twenty-five agents in his class; Roy also brought to his new work an impressive record of prior achievement.

He was a former military officer with extensive training and command experience. Plus Roy was a decorated Vietnam veteran, holder of the Bronze Star and the army's Meritorious Service Medal, plus an Air Medal with three oakleaf clusters, awarded him for all the dangerous helicopter sorties he'd flown at An Khe. He'd also been decorated by the Vietnamese government.

But if he thought starting over as a mere recruit was going to be a challenge, by far the greater surprise was the indifferent quality of the classroom training he received.

"I'd iust come from what I considered the finest training for investigators available anywhere in the world, U.S. Army CID," he says.

"At the FBI I can remember my counselor, Cliff Browning, asking me, 'Well, Major, what do you think of our training?'

"I said, 'Cliff, this is the worst I've ever received.'"

Hazelwood's disappointment did not extend to firearm training or to physical training in defensive tactics, which he thought were very good, or to the hard work he was put through learning constitutional law.

But classroom instruction -- conducted in Washington, D.C.'s old post office building -- was for the most part an unending bore. "We learned everything by rote, and were tested by rote, too," he remembers. "They had very few permanent faculty members, so we'd get supervisors pulled in from headquarters to teach this subject or that."

Roy finished his last class at 6:00 P.m. on a spring Friday in 1972. An hour later, he was issued his credentials, a leather satchel, a pair of handcuffs, and a .38 with a four-inch barrel, plus ammunition. He already knew his first assignment, the Bureau office in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was expected the following Monday morning.

There was no graduation exercise, nor was any diploma awarded.

"They just said, 'Good luck, gentlemen,' and that was it," he recalls. "You walked out the classroom door, got in the car, and headed for your assignment."

Norfolk, a relatively small Bureau office that worked a large number of roufine assignments inside the several nearby U.S. Navy installations, was not Roy's first choice. He had hoped instead for a big-city assignment with more compelling challenges, such as terrorism and kidnapping and bank robbery cases.

But it was precisely because of his extensive army background that the FBI first sent him to Norfolk. The Bureau figured that a man with Roy's military experience was a natural for working crimes on a military reservation.

While in time he would work bank robberies and kidnappings at Norfolk, it was his very first assignmentthat nearly tore it for the newly minted agent.

"Here I was a former army major, thirty-four years old," says Roy. "I'd been in charge of all new agent training for army CID, and I'm told to investigate a stolen vacuum cleaner?"

The appliance had vanished five years before from the community assistance equipment shed at the Norfolk Naval Station.

"Young navy couples were allowed to sign out equipment like chairs and couches and lamps," he explains. "Someone didn't bring this vacuum back.

"The people in the office weren't very concerned, so the matter just lapsed. Finally, during an inspection someone asked, 'Where's the vacuum cleaner?' And someone answered, 'We don't know. It must be stolen.' So they called the FBI. It was stolen government property on a government reservation and, technically, we had to investigate the case."

Hazelwood turned the matter into a personal challenge; he was determined to solve the so-far unsolvable mystery, and worked on it whenever time allowed.

He discovered that when the people who'd checked out the vacuum were transferred from Norfolk to a new base, they simply gave away the machine, piece by piece.

"So I tracked down everyone who'd ever come in contact with that vacuum cleaner," he says. "I got the nozzle from here, and the canister from there. It scared the hell out of some people when I knocked on their door. 'I'm with the FBI. Do you have a piece of this vacuum cleaner?'

"I spent a year at Norfolk, and in the last month before I left I walked into my supervisor s office, put the complete vacuum cleaner on his desk, and advised him what he could do with it."

Roy also coped in good spirits with the FBI's punctilious codes of behavior, a lingering legacy of the recently deceased J. Edgar Hoover. Instead of bucking the rules, Hazelwood bent them.

"People have asked me how I possibly could have worked in that environment," he says. "Well, I really enjoyed it. You just had to know how to beat the system."

Some rules, such as the requirement that all agents wear hats, could be safely ignored.

Others, equally silly if you took them seriously, had to be finessed.

Agents were forbidden to be at their desks for any reason for more than twenty minutes each day. They were supposed to be out in the field, working cases. Yet the paperwork somehow still had to be completed.

"Suddenly it dawned on me that libraries have air-conditioned reading rooms. So I drove to the local library with my paperwork and went inside and asked the librarian, 'Excuse me, can you tell me where your reading room is?' "She said, 'You're with the FBI, aren't you? You must be new.' "I said, 'Yes.'

"And she said, 'Well, it's back there where you'll find all the other agents.'" In spite of -- or perhaps because of -- the strictly regulated work environment, camaraderie was strong.

Most agents dealt with the rule against commercial radios in Bureau cars by installing their own, and then removing them whenever inspections were held. When one Norfolk office agent neglected to do so in time, and was caught, he was suspended without pay for fifteen days, punishment also known in federal law enforcement parlance as being "put on the beach."

Without much need for discussion, fellow agents made up the offending employee's salary from their own pockets, while he volunteered to work without pay for the suspension period.

Says Hazelwood: "Everybody, including the Bureau, was happy."

The dos and don'ts of working cases were equally detailed, and sometimes distracting. Yet Roy discovered the artful agent had plenty of opportunity to innovate.

In one case, Roy and his partner were alerted that a pimp wanted for violation of the 1910 Mann Act -- transporting women across state lines for "immoral purposes" -- had been traced to an address in Norfolk. When the agents arrived at the modest residence in one of Norfolk's rougher neighborhoods, the only person at home was the fugitive's mother.

Although she grudgingly allowed the agents inside, this mother was having no truck with federal officers in search of her son.

Glancing around her living room as he listened to her speak, Roy noted a Bible open on a table, and a view of the Last Supper on the wall. On a table, he saw the weekly bulletin from a Southern Baptist church. He immediately knew how to handle the situation.

"Do you know what I'd like to do?" he asked. "I'd like to pray about this, and I'd like you to join me. Maybe it will help you to decide whether you should cooperate with us."

The woman agreed, as Roy expected she would, and they both knelt by the coffee table to pray.

"My partner," Hazelwood recalls, "looked at me as if I was nuts."

After an intense silence, the woman opened her eyes and gave Hazelwood a level look.

"You're right," she said. "I'll call my son and tell him to turn himself in to the FBI in New York."

"Uh," Roy replied, "we can handle that down here."

No sense in New York getting credit for the collar.

"Well, he's coming down tomorrow, but that's Saturday," she said.

"That's all right, ma'am. We work all the time."

At nine o'clock the next morning, Roy was waiting in the FBI's Norfolk office.

"And that guy pulled up with two of his girls," says Hazelwood. "He walked into the office and said, 'My mother told me I had to surrender.'

"And he did."

Roy left Norfolk in the spring of 1973 for assignment in Binghamton, New York, a medium-size community in the south central portion of the state, just north of the Pennsylvania border.

The Bureau had begun taking notice of Binghamton and the surrounding area in November of 1957, after a state police raid on a house near the village of Apalachin, just west of Binghamton, netted sixty-five Mafia thugs at a meeting there, including godfather Vito Genovese.

From 1973 to the middle of 1976, Hazelwood would work little else but OC -- organized crime -- in Binghamton, including extortion cases, gambling, and labor racketeering.

His partner was agent Bob Ross, also a veteran of Vietnam, where Ross had been an artillery captain.

Their adventures together included innumerable stakeouts. Sometimes Hazelwood and Ross posed as joggers, taking mental notes as they casually trotted around a suspect's house. Other times they'd pick a vantage point and sit together in an unmarked Bureau car, posing as lovers.

"Roy always wore the wig," says Ross.

One evening they followed a suspect into an Italian restaurant. Trying to be inconspicuous, the agents nursed cups of coffee at a table as their target sat down to a meal.

He was not fooled.

"You guys following me?" the suspect asked.

Ross and Hazelwood said yes, in fact, they were.

"Well, I'm going to stay here and eat," he told them. "If you guys want to get something, go ahead, instead of just sitting there with coffee."

Hazelwood asked what was good.

The suspect recommended spaghetti with olive oil and garlic -- ajo e oio -- which he himself was enjoying that night.

Roy ordered the pasta, liked it, and has been ordering it ever since.

Much of the OC in Binghamton necessarily entailed the use of listening devices, called Title 3 cases after the federal statute that legalized the use of bugs. During the three years Hazelwood spent in Binghamton, he had a Title 3 listening device in place more than half the time.

In one case, Roy and an agent from the Utica office were assigne pre-dawn street surveilance to cover an FBI black bag team installing a court-authorized bug in a suspect's carpet shop. As the two agents sat quietly in their car, watching the streets and maintaining discreet radio contact with the team inside, a man walking his Doberman pinscher came onto the scene.

"It was about four-thirty A.M., and the sun was going to come up in about forty-five minutes," Hazelwood recalls. "Instead of walking on with his dog, this guy decided to walk back and forth, back and forth, in front of the carpet store."

As time grew tighter and the first faint blue light of day streaked the eastern horizon, worried agents inside the carpet store began pleading with Hazelwood and his partner to do something about the man and his dog.

Finally, the Utica agent directed Roy to drive up alongside the man.

As they pulled even with him, Roy's partner rolled down his window.

"Hey, mister," he called.

"Yeah?" answered the Doberman's owner.

"Want a blow job?"

Man and dog vanished at once.

Another investigative target was a Mafia-owned travel agency, which arranged complimentary trips to Las Vegas for high rollers. In the event these players ran up bills they couldn't settle on the spot, the tour office became a strong-arm collection agency. That was illegal.

This particular set of gangsters operated above a bar in Binghamton. One night, a Bureau team installed a bug inside their office. Across a parking lot from the bar stood a paint store, where Roy and his fellow agents set up a second-floor listening post and photo surveillance operation.

"We photographed everyone who came and went," says Hazelwood. "We identified them, and then matched them up to their voices."

One day the conversation inside the travel agency turned to the FBI surveillance.

"We saw their boss point toward us and say, 'I think those are feebles.'

"We knew we had a problem" -- one that required an innovative solution.

Hazelwood and Bob Ross asked the New York State Police to send out their scruffiest-looking undercover drug agent. When he arrived in Binghamton, he was to head straight for the bar beneath the travel office, making it as plain as possible that his business was drugs.

"Then," Hazelwood explains, "we asked them to have a marked car full of troopers pull up in front of the bar. We wanted them to go in and arrest the drug agent. And we asked that on their way out they wave up at us."

The plan worked to perfection. The state police dispatched a longhaired undercover operative to Binghamton. Upstairs over the paint store, the federal agents made a busy show for the gangsters' benefit, snapping picture after picture of the narc as he entered the bar.

The state troopers arrived in a flourish about twenty-five minutes later. "They played it just right," Hazelwood recalls. "They checked out his license plate and then went into the bar. He put up some resistance. They used physical force to drag him out, cuff him, and throw him into the back of their car.

"Then they waved up at us, and we waved back and came downstairs and got into another car."

According to what the FBI picked up on the bug, Roy's ruse was a success. Because of it, they were able to leave the listening device in place for another

six weeks. The photo surveillance team took up a new vantage point and continued spying on the unsuspecting thugs.

Hazelwood enjoyed his time in Binghamton, where outfoxing professional criminals seemed an agreeable way to earn his living. There was a component of gamesmanship that appealed to him, a contest of wits as well as will. "I loved working those guys," he says. "It was a challenge. I had a lot of respect for them, and they had a lot of respect for us."

Then fortune again intervened.

Roy was a capable street agent. "He was good at it," says Bob Ross. "Some guys aren't comfortable hitting the bricks, developing informants, running surveillance. Roy wasn't one of those."

But Hazelwood was ambitious for advancement.

In early 1976, he learned about MAP, the new Management Aptitude Program starting up at the FBI Academy at Quantico. Hoping to identify agents with executive acumen, the Bureau each month brought six of them back to Quantico, where they competed among themselves in the solution of management problems. The best and the brightest students could expect promotions.

"It basically was game playing," Roy explains. "In-basket problems. Employee problems. Industry used it, When I found out about it I said, 'Yes! I want to do that.'"

Hazelwood aced the competition, and was rewarded with an invitation to become a MAP administrator.

He enjoyed the assignment, and also discovered how much he enjoyed living in the wooded hills of eastern Virginia. Then, after eighteen months at MAP, the Bureau seemed ready to relocate him again, Roy went shopping for another gig at the Academy, anything to avert another transfer. All that was available was the sex crimes instructor's slot at the BSU.

"I put in for it," says Hazelwood, "although I really had no particular interest other than I didn't want to leave Quantico."

Since joining the FBI, Roy had put aside his old fascination for extreme and unusual criminal behavior. While at MAP, he'd paid almost no attention to the Behavioral Science Unit, located in the subbasement of the Academy library, not far away.

"There was nothing special about the unit then," Roy recalls. "They taught classes like everyone else. I really had no particular interest in them."

Nor did he have an inkling of what he was getting into after his arrival at the BSU, January 1, 1978.

He discovered space was at a premium throughout the subterranean office warren. But at least most of the other agents' brick-walled cells were connected with one another by a hallway.

The esteem in which sex crime instructors were held at the BSU was forcefully brought home to Hazelwood when he came at last to his appointed workspace, a converted mop closet in the dreariest, darkest corner of the underground complex.

On his otherwise empty desk, Hazelwood's predecessor had left a box full of pornographic magazines, together with some nude glossies. Inside the box, as well, he found a collection of sex toys, bottles of oil, and assorted materials of indeterminate use.

For teaching materials, Roy discovered a robed statuette. If you pressed its head, its penis jutted out. There was low-grade fraternity humor everywhere.

Alarmed, Roy looked around the room to find a pair of women's black lace panties and a brassiere nailed to the wall behind his desk chair.

Affixed to the adjoining wall was a whip. A sign beneath it read: "Without Pain There Is No Pleasure."