Candidate found guilty of faking disappearance

I caught this story this morning on Good Morning America as I was spinning and waiting to go to work.  If you don’t want to wade through the whole article, the overview is that Gary Dodds, a former congressional candidate in NH, was found guilty of faking his disappearance to gain attention for his languishing campaign.

I watched the interview Diane Sawyer conducted with Gary Dodds and his attorney.  to be honest, he was a fairly believable character and I was tempted to believe that they had been too harsh with him, and possibly even gotten it all wrong.

He faces up to 7 years in jail for this offense.  Which, if it is true, is a huge offense if you ask me.   All the heartache of his family and loved ones, all the emergency workers called out working long hours and overtime on someones dime.  I am sure there are many more reasons this, if it is true, would be considered a terrible offense in addition to the fact that it is a lie.  I don’t think “up to” 7 years is unreasonable.

But as I said, he was believable, and I started to feel sorry for him.

Until Diane Sawyer asks him if there is anything he would like to say in conclusion.

He says “May God have mercy on their souls.”

Well, now he has lost all credibility in my book.  It isn’t like he has been tried and convicted with a death penalty.  If he is innocent, in probably much less than 7 years he will be back to his family.  Yes, it would be terrible if he wasn’t guilty and they found him so.  But did it warrant such a strong statement such as “May God have mercy on their souls?”  No, to me these are very strong words.  Too strong of words for this situation.  Smacks of melodrama if you ask me.

Any thoughts?

16 thoughts on “Candidate found guilty of faking disappearance

  1. ShellsSells,

    I enjoyed reading your entry, you are dead on….Gary Dodds is very much believeable, is and has been telling the truth all along. The Jury actually believed that Gary staged the accident, causing his car to vault over the guardrail and into the trees at about 55 mph. There was an eyewitness who saw the accident as well. Next, the Jury actually believed that Gary left his car and jumped back over the guardrail and onto the highway where he was picked up by a getaway car…..the eyewitness did not see this however. Next, Gary was brought to a secret location where he soaked his feet until he had frostbite (or Immersion Foot, as the State’s Medical Expert, a retired veterinarian, claimed) and could no longer walk on them. Then, after 25 hours or so, and while there was an all out Man Hunt underway, including using State Police Helicopters, Gary was able to slip back undetected to a location about a mile from the accident scene and hide out under a pine tree to await his heroic rescue. Oh, please don’t forget, Gary was unable to walk at this point…so, someone else would have had to have carried him to that location.

    The truth is that Gary had a legitimate accident, at a high rate of speed. He hit his head on the A-Pillar, suffered a concussion in the accident, causing amnesia, etc. He fell into the nearby Bellamy River and nearly drowned. The State even reinacted this and tested the test subjects clothing and that confirmed 100% that Gary was in fact in the Bellamy River.

    What you probably don’t know is, but when Gary was found, he had hypothermia, frostbite, he was dehydrated and was suffering from Kidney Failure. You cannot get any of those serious conditions by sitting in a warm room and soaking your feet in buckets of ice water, which is what the Jury actually believed. That, to me is unbelieveable. Gary was rescued at 10:50 PM on April 6, 2006 and, after being pumped with multiple bags of saline to rehydrate him, he did not urinate until 3:30 AM…..that is how seriously dehydrated he was.

    Gary is a man of faith. He travels with his church each year to Bolivia to help with a humanity project that builds Schools and Churches. He often refers to God when he speaks, that is just who he is and a measure of his faith. Before trial, each day, he would say a prayer.

    I was with Gary yesterday morning when he made that comment on Good Morning America. I can assure you that he was sincere and he meant it.

    J Nadeau
    Nadeau Law Offices
    Portsmouth, New Hampshire

  2. I am going to go ahead and allow this comment. Though it brings to mind the saying “Even a pancake has 2 sides.”

    Strange how one little comment can completely change ones opinion on a person. His “God have mercy on their souls” comment smacked of melodrama and sacrilege to me.

  3. OK, I think I am beginning to understand where my annoyance with this lies. The nature of the crime he was convicted of was a very melodramatic crime. Though I had a tendency to believe that it just couldn’t be possible that someone would pull something that melodramatic, the statement at the end of the interview made me feel instantly otherwise!

  4. After watching the clip, and reading everything here, I’m inclined to say that in the context it didn’t seem very melodramatic to me. I think he’s genuinely upset, but whether that’s because he got caught, or because he really is innocent, I can’t tell. =/

  5. While his comment may have seemed melodramatic,I’m sure he was extremely upset with the turn of events. I just don’t see how he could have faked everything that was wrong with him. Unless they were trying to commit suicide, why would anyone run a car off the road at 55 MPG? I think the jury made a huge mistake.

  6. That is precisely why I am torn Shadow, You would have to be taking some serious drugs to manage to stick your feet in ice water voluntarily long enough to have frost bite or immersion injuries. Or serious mental health issues, which though I felt he was melodramatic, I don’t think there was any evidence of.

  7. I do agree the jury messed up, absolutely. I hope there’s some way the conviction can be overturned. I just thought Mr. Dodds remark came across a bit too much as “performing to the camera.” Perhaps it’s because I’ve only heard such a remark made in instances such as Shellsells has said, death penalty convictions.

  8. I’m sorry that Mr. Dodd’s jury found his guilty. However, if they found the evidence to be overwhelming against him, then I guess the level of court will have to decide. I do find it rather odd his attorney responded to this blog. I feel fairly certain the trial lawyers I know wouldn’t do that.

  9. I don’t know any who would have done so before a trial, but after? I would think public opinion might be free game at that point.

  10. Gary Dodds was found guilty because he is guilty. Consider his actions:

    1. Staging a 25-hour disappearance/rescue in a tight suburb to gain publicity for his faltering political campaign. Ask yourself this: could a dazed man wander around the backyards of your neighborhood all night and all day without being seen, or without him seeing anyone?

    2. Leaving one set of footprints from his ditched car that led back to the highway.

    3. Being seen by a toll taker at the toll booth a little further down the highway from the “accident” changing his clothes in the back of an SUV, which had picked him up at what was obviously a prearranged time.

    4. Using his knowledge as an EMT to simulate hypothermia and frostbite by soaking his feet in cold water, which left a distinct borderline on his legs between bruised and healthy skin marking the bucket’s capacity.

    5. Faking tears on the witness stand about 9/11, irrelevant to the case, in a cheap ploy to win the jury’s sympathy, then turning on the waterworks again for Diane Sawyer.

    6. Saying, “May God have mercy on their souls.” Way, way over the top. At the outset of the case, Dodds refused a chance to plea bargain and pay back the approximately $20,000 the state wasted on his phony search-rescue. He apparently believed he could dupe the jury. Well, he failed, and now he’s New Hampshire’s most famous felon since Pamela Smart.

    Oh, and about his lawyer, J. Nadeau, who wrote the fiction at the top of this column — he got caught pilfering a piece of evidence in the trial, and was reprimanded by the judge. So take his word for what it’s worth. Nothing.

  11. I tend to live in a cave, don’t watch TV news programs, and never heard of this man nor the incident, so I have no opinion on the case. The phrase he used is a big turn-off to me — I think I might have reacted much as you did, Shells.

    I also think it’s kind of bizarre that his lawyer is out there searching the internet for any reference to his client and making comments in the personal blogs of strangers. That reeks of something other than melodrama, but I think I’ll pass on saying what.

    Sadly, this is why I do not blog. I don’t want everyone and their brother (or lawyer) to be able to read my most personal thoughts.

  12. Phy, if I minded, I’d protect the page so that only a few with a password, or myself using it as a journal, could read. Frankly, I won’t post anything here that I don’t want people to read. I do have a few protected pages from early on, but I find that I want my friends and family to read and comment. I guess I live so far away from the people that I care about, it gives me a chance to have dinner table conversation even while missing them terribly. Since these are subjects I can imagine any of my family bringing up, I love to do so and hear opinions! If that means that Gary Dodds lawyer is going to comment, well, I have a choice, I can approve the comment, or just let it disappear. Thats my choice. I have never had to censor anyone and I hope never to have to, but I am pleased that wordpress offers me that option!

  13. I have to admit, it is a nice way to be able to let people know what’s going on in your life 🙂 I hadn’t thought about that aspect. I wonder if my kids would read a blog of mine, if I blogged. I do miss them.

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