My first thoughts about the Sunday Scribblings prompt this week all related to the events of last weekend. But driving in the rain today, rolling the prompt around in my head, brought me to Dexter Jacobsen and what happened to him.
For a number of years, I worked in downtown San Francisco on Montgomery Street. It was the Russ Building with a claim to fame of being the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in the late 1920s. It had long been overshadowed by higher skyscrapers, including the nearby towering Bank of America building.
I worked in an office there from 1986 until 1990. Ironically, when the ’89 Loma Prieta quake hit, a real estate broker had just left our offices. Why were we talking with a broker? We were looking for space in Marin.
None of that is relevant, I suppose, to why “foul” brought to mind Dexter. He had an office across the hall from us on the 10th floor. Most of the building seemed to be filled with one- or two-office outfits. The research company I worked for eventually took up four offices.
I’d see Dexter in the hall from time to time. I’d chat with him. “How’s it going?” Nothing spectacular. He was always pleasant. At one point, we talked with him professionally, asking for his assistance in breaking off from our New York office and forming a new entity. He talked with us for free. We offered to pay, but he wasn’t interested.
He was just a nice gent who was part of the background of my life, much as the other dwellers in my apartment building were, or the valets in the parking garage, or the woman who owned the small snack shop downstairs, or Coral, the woman who cleaned the offices on the 10th floor.
Dexter was murdered on August 19, 1990. The circumstances are the stuff of conspiracy theorists. I buy into the conspiracy. He was a bankruptcy lawyer. He apparently had information on corruption in the federal bankruptcy courts in, I think, Santa Rosa. He was set to meet with the FBI. A couple of days before that meeting, he was murdered in the Marin Headlands.
The police theory was he was on his way back to his apartment in San Francisco, coming from Santa Rosa. He had to relieve himself. He drove off Highway 101 to go high up into the Headlands, pulled over to take a leak. Two people happened upon him, shot him dead, and took his wallet. They have a grainy photo from a store in Sausalito or Marin City where one of the two guys bought something with Dexter’s credit card.
I was shocked by his murder. When his sisters were cleaning out his office, I spoke with them to convey my sympathies. They didn’t believe any of the official story. He was a fastidious man. He would never have driven that far off the highway to use the bathroom, especially when he was passing by several gas stations just off the highway.
There’s no conclusion to any of this. Dexter is dead. Who killed him and why is unknown. What he was doing there is unknown. What he had to share with the FBI is unknown. A murder most foul of a soft-spoken, stand-up guy.