It was just a few months after the rumblings started – Mark might get a new hearing – when outside his prison a man was being burnt to death inside a metal shed. Amidst the blaze was a little make shift sign, wired up on a thin metal pole which read: A-1 Diesel Repair. And this is exactly and only how the news reported the location of this unknown mans demise, making no mention of the enormous prison complex towering over the horrid cremation scene. And though the the name of the proprietor of the sign was known as JJ, a man who they simply said returned from lunch to find the shed in flames, none connected the A-1 owner to inmate Mark Woodworth just across the street – but they could have – everyone knew the Woodworth case: the farm wife murdered amongst allegation of theft in rual Chillicothe. The farmers knew things were missing for sure. And Mark, he would know JJ, he was his fathers associate and employee in farm business and crime business, which JJ admitted to in great detail in letters to Judges and Grand Jurors. Right before JJ was freed by Judge Lewis for his help back when sixteen year old Mark was on his way to conviction while the others were getting away.
But there stood JJ watching the flames leap high in the air amidst the back drop of a long and deep story of farm chemicals, feuding families and murder which landed the most unlikely of them all in prison – a quite small and shy farm kid who sought his fathers approval perhaps who took the heat for a yet unsolved crime that became a cauldron of deal making and political advancement and chicanery that is unsurpassed in any territory of the free states. Western Missouri had outdone itself in this one during an Ashcroft era that saw the suspicious passing of a Victims Rights Bill all during the clamoring of two families for “victim” status in the unfolding dramatic investigation of the gruesome murder of Cathy Robertson. After all, a Victims Rights Bill needs victims and scrutinizing a certain letter written by a lawyer in the Robertson name reveals it used the word “victim” and “rights” plenty enough to indicate that someone was being used as a political tool. For the civilians, their plight was real enough, with each side escalating the fight in and out of court – while those more politically inclined seizing the opportunity to create a smoke screen for more prurient purposes and political gain – yet in dead center was the one poor kid – the hub of these crooked spokes in a wheel that rolled like it always has for those out to get somewhere.
Did Mark see the flames, or get the message – A-1 certainly was aware of the threat – Mark would soon be in front of new judges and might talk. Was the message: keep your mouth shut or else? Shut up about what though? – the farm crimes, the crimes of the state, the planting of evidence – or,the suspicious surgery. Or was this fire coming from a more sinister collusion of state officials and judges involved in the happenings of the Lewis court and it’s connection to the soon to be Governor, or perhaps deeper into the mob connections beneath the veneer of that wacky double cliented lawyer Richard McFadin who threw Mark under the bus. A lawyer who had notorious ties in every direction from hog thieves to members of the House and Senate and Kansas city unions. Or were all of the above in league – “You don’t know what your messing with.” being heard in one form or another along the way by many – but here it was – the biblical trial in which Mark was seemingly stacked up against the thieves and killers, the politicians and the law with all the lines being completely blurred.
The identity of the burned man was never revealed. What passes as “news” in those parts wasn’t going any where near this story; It was after all a place where the Angel of Death was never reported in the paper even after eight deaths had occurred. A place of fear, retribution and murder – Chilicothe Missouri.