Field Notes

Where's Waldo? Back on the run

Where's Waldo? Back on the run
Sketch by Ryan Homsley.

Out of prison a week, Ryan Homsley is already the suspect in a bank robbery.

Homsley captured headlines three years ago when he walked into a bank, put a box in front of the teller, told her it was a bomb and demanded money. He made off with $505. What got everyone’s attention, though, was the uncanny likeness to the Where’s Waldo character.

It’s not known if it was intentional, though it’s hard to imagine it wasn’t.

He was caught not long after.

That brings us to the sentencing memorandum his lawyers filed before he was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Sentencing memorandum are filed by both sides, trying to persuade the judge for either less or more time in prison. Ones filed by defense lawyers usually do their best to portray their clients as people who but for one misstep would probably be angels.

The one filed by Homsley’s lawyer takes a different tact. It shows him as someone who seems incapable of living a normal life.

Referring to a psychiatrist they had evaluate him, his lawyer writes: “Dr. Cooley found that Mr. Homsley is severely disabled and in extreme distress with significant difficulties in all area of life function. He was abused terribly as a child, suffers from severe physical issues including diabetes, suffers from chronic and debilitating major depression, has virtually no family support.”

His lawyer quotes Homsley talking about the first time he did heroin was with his dad “who wanted a buddy.”

And he then mentions that the doctor believes he has a personality disorder which causes him to walk a “fine line between neurosis and psychosis.”

His lawyer makes it clear that he is a drug addict. He has no clear way to support himself. He should be on Social Security and getting help. They understand why he’ll be sent to jail but write “incarcerating him will have virtually no impact on his dynamics or on his future behavior patterns.”

But Homsley is not without hope.

Along with the memorandum, his lawyer included a batch of his writings and art work that show a man capable of beauty (in his writing) and making a strong impression (in his sketches, which are raw and powerful).

“I want to know a morning where there is no hurt; no animated smiles more faked than those from a lost one to the TV,” he writes. “Caked with emotion I try to sleep it off and my insomnia is a wild dog rabid and foaming with the stuff that dreams die of.”

Later:

“The rain in January is a villainous way to know crushed you can get when there is no home and the Hawthorne is your roof….I will never know the truth of the mere being of me but I will find (one day) the belief that I am not as bad as I think I am.”

His lawyer includes a Q and A between Homsley and the woman who has been publishing some of his work.

She asks him whether there have been any positive outcomes from his time in jail.

“I’ve kicked heroin for good,” he answers. “I’ve learned how to deal with emotions I’ve ignored before. It’s given me time to realize that I know I can achieve my goals in life.”

She asks him about some of the goals and he includes “right my wrongs (in the works)… not die alone, not miserable.. looking back at a life wasted.”

Asked what he would do if he got a one day pass out of jail, he replies: “Easy. I would walk among those who take freedom for trivial and go have a pint and see a flick at the Bagdad. Paint a quick one before I go, stand on the roof of the biggest building and say hi and bye to Portland and go back to jail.”

As it turns out, Homsley did get a pass – he finished his time and was let out.

According to the police, it seems he went right back to his old ways.