Simon Says read this | VailDaily.com
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Simon Says read this

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Its a little easier to digest events like the Columbine murders when youre watching the news report in a living room 500 miles away from the crime scene. But what if those murdering teenagers lived in your neighborhood, and the crime happened right next door to you? That would be pretty hard to swallow.Author Kathryn Eastburn gives equal time to victims and killers alike in her book Simon Says, a real and gritty look at what happens when violence comes to a small town.Eastburn with smart and engaging writing relates the tale of a young boy and his family murdered by people they knew and considered friends. In the rural neighborhood of Guffey, Colorado on New Years Eve 2001, fifteen-year-old Tony Dutcher was camping in a crude shelter on his grandparents property when all three were brutally murdered by Tonys best friend Isaac Grimes, and another teenager, Jon Matheny. Tonys throat was slit and his grandparents shot at close range. In the following police investigation and judicial hearings, the lives of the families involved and the killers themselves were tragically smashed to pieces by grief, guilt and more violence.But most disturbing of all was the discovery that the plot to murder the Dutchers sprung from the mind of Simon Sue, a fellow student of Dutcher at Palmer High School. Sue lured Grimes, Matheny and another boy, Glen Urban, into joining OARA (Operations and Reconnaissance Agents), a covert group of soldiers-in-training that would fight crime and punish evil throughout the world. Only that was a lie, and Sue used his recruits to do his dirty work instead. Sue convinced his small following to steal weapons and give him money for OARAs cause, brainwashing them with threats that if they didnt do what he told them, he would kill them and their families. Out of fear for their own lives, Grimes and Matheny obeyed Sues orders to kill the Dutchers.

Eventually, the four boys were tried as adults. The only member to escape serious repercussions was Urban, who destroyed evidence of the crime but never took part in it. Sue, Grimes and Matheny all received near-life sentences.Eastburn provides no answer to the question of why the murders had to happen, only a sad and limited view into Sues sociopathic mind.A journalist for the Colorado Springs Independent at the time, Eastburn covered the trials of Grimes, Matheny, Urban and Sue for three years before writing Simon Says. She takes a deep look at why children kill, how mind-control is possible in the underdeveloped brains of Americas youth and the crushing affects that violent crime has on not only those who commit it, but on everyone in the community. Through recorded documents and interviews with the victims families and police involved in the investigation, Eastburn painstakingly pieces together the events, thoughts and emotions behind one of Colorados most violent and disturbing crimes. Simon Says doesnt give the reader any hope in humanity, it just reveals the slight difference between humans and monsters.High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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