THE LORDS OF MARIJUANA AND THE KIDNAPPING OF POLLY KLAAS
God in heaven heard our cries,
and angel's tears filled somber skies.
Out of anger and out of shame
We quickly sought to place the blame.
It was as though secretly we shared
fear/of a finger pointing in the mirror."
-- a poem, "For Polly,"
By Captain Patrick T. Parks
"Who Killed Polly?" (Chapter 10) by Frank Spiering
On October 1, 1993, beautiful 12-year-old Polly Klaas was kidnapped
from the safety of her own bedroom in the small town of Petaluma,
California. The man with the knife confronted three young girls
enjoying a slumber party and demanded, "Who lives here?" Polly
replied, "I do" and she vanished into the night with the stranger.
The Petaluma Police Department responded quickly to the 911 call
placed by Polly's frightened mother, Eve Nichol. The 46 officers of
the Petaluma Police Department were under the command of Captain
Dennis DeWitt. Assisting the Captain in the investigation into the
kidnapping of the girl would be Captain Patrick T. Parks and Sergeant
Michael Meese. Sergeant Mike Kerns would become the spokesperson for
the police department handling the massive media that descended on the
The haunting words composed by Captain Parks in his poetic tribute to
Polly Klaas possess the ring of truth acquired by insider knowledge.
"Out of anger and out of shame
We quickly sought to place the blame"
All of America was outraged when we learned that a child had been
stolen from the sanctity of her own home. Anger is a natural and
justifiable emotion when a villain destroys the security of our
American dream. This is a given -- but shame? How many Americans
felt shame when Polly was kidnapped?
What would these hard-working Petaluma officers know that would fill
them with shame as they investigated this high profile case?
They knew that between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., a stranger armed
with a knife and carrying a duffel bag threatened Polly and her two
friends; the man took Polly away with him after he verified she lived
Responding to mother Eve Nichol's 11:03 p.m. call to 911 the Petaluma
Police arrive at 427 Fourth Street by 11:09 p.m. It is said that at
11:13 p.m., a description of the kidnapper is radioed to all law
enforcement in Sonoma County including sheriff's deputies throughout
the county. It is initially believed that the kidnapper is on foot.
However, less than one hour after Polly Klaas "goes missing", the man
who stole her takes her to a home at 7565 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa,
California. The location is also identified as 7565 Highway 12 and/or
7565 Sonoma Highway. To reach this property a traveler turns off of
Highway 12 onto Pythian Road. Once on Pythian Road one sees a large,
beautiful winery on the right and to the left are many buildings
belonging to Sonoma County. The road begins a slow gentle climb up the
hill but it soon narrows until two cars can barely pass each other.
The climb becomes steeper until the driver reaches a dead end. There
the road is closed by a gate posted with signs declaring "No
Trespassing" and "Beware of Guard Dogs". A fork to the left of the
dead end leads to several more residences; the road is also posted "No
Directly opposite this drive is another posted driveway leading up the
hill to the right. The drive is unpaved with a sharp drop off on the
right hand side to the vineyard below. The narrow pathway has a
steep, rugged hill bordering it on the left. As one reaches the top
of the hill they notice a 1960s style ranch house well concealed from
the circular drive by a wall of fencing and foliage. To the right
side of the home is a strange, two-story structure of wood and rock
just under 100' long. It appears to be some type of storage facility
but no access doors or windows are visible from the driveway.
It was to this property that Richard Alan Davis brought Polly Klaas
just before midnight on October 1, 1993. A home, a storage unit and
188.3 acres of prime Sonoma County real estate was the destination of
the stranger and the child. Who owned this isolated property and why
did the man bring the girl here? The owner was listed as the Aaron
Phillips Living Trust and the principal beneficiary of that trust was
Naomi Edith Phillips Knock. In twelve pages of paper work dated
March 10, 1994 and submitted to the court by Michael J. Fiorentino,
Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mrs. Knock's
relationship to her husband, John Richard Knock is detailed. (Click
to read.) The Pythian Road property is identified in the Fiorentino
declaration as "Property No. 1". The government informant named in
the declaration, Sonia Vacca, was the primary money courier for John
Richard Knock and his business partner, Claude Louis Duboc, from 1987
or 1988 until Vacca's arrest on October 12, 1993 -- twelve days after
the kidnapping of Polly Klaas. Vacca estimated Knock made 50 million
dollars from his smuggling ventures and Knock invested five million
dollars in real estate in the San Francisco Bay area. In paragraph
15, page 4 of the Fiorentino declaration "Vacca said that Knock had
his property listed under foreign companies, or in his wife's name,
Naomi, or various other names in his wife's family". The declaration
traces the history of the Knock/Duboc organization from the infamous
1988 "Drug Tug" case that resulted in the jailing of tug captain
Calvin Robinson to the case centering on Claude Duboc who, the
United States government alleged, ran a marijuana and hashish
trafficking organization that netted $165 million every year.
The Claude Duboc case is featured in author Rodney Stich's 1999 book,
"Drugging America - A Trojan Horse". (Click to read.) Stich is the
only author to detail the relationship between Claude Duboc and his
duplicitous attorneys. This relationship led to Duboc's life sentence
and the forfeiture of all of his assets to the United States
Government. Of course Duboc's attorneys, including "dream team"
members Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey, took their cut off the top.
According to a June 4, 1996 article by ABC News, "Bailey began
representing Duboc in March of 1994, about three months before joining
the defense team for Simpson's double murder trial. Bailey said he
was drawn into both cases by Los Angeles attorney Shapiro and traded a
$500,000 referral fee due Shapiro for the Duboc case for what Bailey
was owed for his role in Simpson's defense." [United States v. Claude
Luis Duboc, Case No. GCR 94-01009-MMP, United States District Court
for the Northern District of Florida, Gainesville Divison)
The infamous "Flea" Bailey became lead counsel and brought on board
another expensive attorney, Ed Shohat of the Miami law firm of
Bierman, Shohat, Loewy, Perry & Klien. Counsel fought counsel who
retaliated against counsel and, of course, all at the expense of very
rich Claude Duboc who was sitting in a Florida jail, having been
convinced by his original attorneys to waive extradition to the
United States of America.
This case would become F. Lee Bailey's Waterloo. In the 1996 federal
trial conducted in Tallahassee, Florida, Claude Duboc was convicted.
But it was not just Duboc who lost. When his client lost, so too did
F. Lee Bailey. Following Duboc's conviction, Bailey was ordered to
forfeit $17 million in BioChemPharma, Inc. stock that Bailey insisted
constituted his legal fees. This dispute between Bailey and the
federal government over Duboc's international treasure trove would
lead to Bailey spending 44 days in jail and eventually to his
disbarment. Two of the witnesses testifying for the federal
government against Bailey were his former associates, Robert Shapiro
and Ed Shohat.
Shohat earned $11,867 in legal fees before Bailey convinced Duboc to
fire him. In May of 1996 Shohat sued Bailey for slander because,
court records disclose, Bailey said Shohat "was a liar, could not
conduct himself with honesty and fidelity, was guilty of misconduct,
was guilty of a felony, would conspire to kidnap a criminal
defendant's child, and could not be trusted to conduct himself
honorably in or out of court" (emphasis added). Bailey's statements
were made in Bailey's affidavit to Judge Maurice Paul dated May 10,
1996. The statements were privileged as being statements made during
the course of judicial proceedings. Shohat's lawsuit argued that the
statements made by Bailey did not fall under this protection statute
because the statements were irrelevant to the case. The specific
statements at issue were shocking.
AFFIDAVIT OF FRANCIS L. BAILEY, JR. DATED 5/10/96, filed in U.S.
District Court, Northern District of Florida, Case No. 94-1009,
entiteld United States v. Duboc et al.
5. In the fall of 1994, Mr. Shohat devised a scheme whereby he
would arrange a drug importation from Colombia about which the
authorities would be tipped, with the resultant credit flowing to
Duboc. He claimed that he had used this scheme successfully in the
past. I was asked to fund the venture. I refused, telling my client
that I did not wish to wind up in a cell next to Shohat, and that such
a move, if made without prior DEA approval, would constitute a
6. Shortly thereafter Mr. Shohat proposed that the children of
John Knock, Duboc's fugitive co-defendant believed to have more money
than Duboc, be kidnapped and held to induce Knock to surrender, all to
the credit of Duboc. I was told that kidnappers in Ft. Lauderdale
were prepared to go forward, and that I should fund the deal. I
refused, pointing out to Duboc that such an undertaking would be a
serious felony, and that in all probability his own children would be
kidnapped by the very people he was hiring to kidnap Knock's and held
for a large ransom.
7. As a result of these two incidents, both of which were
discussed with SA Carl Lilley in Gainesville in October 1994, I
advised Duboc to fire Shohat, to which Duboc agreed. A motion to
strike Shohat's appearance was subsequently filed and allowed.
The children of John Richard Knock were the target of a conspiracy to
kidnap them, according to Bailey's affidavit. The kidnap conspiracy
was an attempt to force asset-rich Knock to surrender himself in
exchange for the safety of his children. If there was a conspiracy to
steal Knock's children to realize the largest asset forfeiture in
United States history, could there have been a like conspiracy to
steal Polly Klaas as a part of a drug deal gone bad? Several sources
in law enforcement, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that
rumors at the time of kidnapping, shouted that there was a sting
operation involving international drug dealers that had to be
protected at all costs. The price for protecting the largest asset
forfeiture in United States history might well have been the life of
The home that Davis took Polly to that fateful night was owned by the
Aaron Phillips Living Trust, but who occupied the house at the top of
the hill? The chief witness to the events that occurred on Pythian
Road the night of October 1, 1993, is a mother named Dana Jaffe and
her young daughter, Kalila. Dana Jaffe further identifies herself on
May 9, 2000 when she testifies in the trial of the United States v.
John Knock and Albert Madrid in the court of Judge Maurice M. Paul.
Assistant United States Attorney James Hankinson questions Ms. Jaffe
on direct examination and in response to his questions she states the
"My full name is Dana Louise Jafe, J-A-F-E." Here Dana Jaffe spells
her name with only one "f"; a spelling that differs from all other
court documents, social security number papers, credit reports and
newspaper articles documented prior to this court appearance. She
states that she is currently working as a banquet chef for the Sonoma
Mission Inn, an employer she has worked for on and off since 1989.
Jaffe is then asked if she is related to the defendant, John Knock.
She states that Knock is her brother in law and that her sister,
Naomi, is married to Mr. Knock. Jaffe states that she moved back to
California from Philadelphia in 1989 and moved into a residence
located on Melita Road with her sister, Naomi. She is then asked if
she moved to another residence in that same general area and she
states, "Yes, it was right off of Sonoma Highway". She furthers
identifies the home as "the Hill House". She states that she rented
the home and paid her rent to a property manager, Liz Goodwin, who
was also involved in the Aaron Phillips Living Trust. Jaffe states
that she was originally paying $700 a month rent which also included
the 199.3 acres; later her rent was lowered to $450 when she assumed
some maintenance duties.
Jaffe states that she moved into the Hill House around the same time
that her sister, Naomi, moved to "the Kahala" house in Hawaii. The
prosecutor asks her if she visited the Knocks several times late in
1993. She states that when she visited the Knocks in November 1993,
she assumed that they were buying the home in Hawaii. Jaffe stated
that John Knock was present when she visited and, in fact, she took a
phone message for John at the Hawaii home. The phone message simply
said, "Tell him that Claude (Duboc) called".
Knock's sister-in-law, Dana, describes her brother-in law's "rather
abrupt" departure from Hawaii in late 1993. In December of 1993 Jaffe
states that she once again spoke with a person identifying himself as
"Claude" and asking for John.
When AUSA Hankinson asks Jaffe if John Knock ever told her what he did
for a living, she replies, "No, sir". However, she is later asked
about an incident where a woman she did not know came up to the "Hill
House" and left a briefcase with Jaffe. The female told Jaffe that
the briefcase contained money for Naomi and that it was from "a friend
of a friend of a friend". The stranger claimed that she did not know
either Naomi or John Knock. Jaffe claimed that the briefcase was
locked and she stuck it under the bed at the "Hill House" and then
telephoned Naomi in Hawaii to tell her what had happened.
Approximately one and one-half months later Naomi picked up the
briefcase at roughly the same time that Mr. Knock was arrested in
France. The prosecutor points out to his witness, Jaffe, that Knock
was arrested in April of 1996.
Finally Jaffe is asked if she is familiar with a fellow named Marshall
Way and she states that she is, but she "does not know him very well".
Perhaps she did not, but Marshall Way and his many connections are
described in a search warrant signed by United States Customs Service
Special Agent Gregory Small on October 25, 1993. Detailing the
enormous international sting operation that began with a confidential
informant's tip in April of 1993, Small describes the day to day,
week to week, month to month observations until he announces on page 9
and 10, "On October 20, 1993, a federal complaint was filed in the
Northern District of California charging Marshall WAY and three others
with the conspiracy to distribute twenty tons of marijuana." Way
appeared before Magistrate Brennan and was remanded to the custody of
the U.S. Marshals Service (UCMS).
The 40 tons of pot had been brought into the port of Seattle by ship
and downloaded and stored in Unit G, 25 Commerical Boulevard, Novato,
California in Sonoma County's sister County -- Marin County. The
domino effect had begun, that would ultimately result is life
sentences for John Richard Knock and Claude Duboc. Why didn't the
so-called "legitimate media"publicize any connection between an
international sting operation and the disappearance of 12-year-old
Polly Klaas? Had the cover up already begun only twenty days into her
Dana Jaffe was the RP (reporting party) that phoned in a "suspicious
vehicle" parked on her Pythian Road property. Jaffe had placed the
call from a pay phone at a deli store near Pythian Road and she waited
there for Sonoma County Sheriff Deputies Howard and Rankin to respond.
The deputies went back up the hill with Jaffe and her daughter and
interviewed a man whose identification showed him to be Richard Allen
Davis. Davis appeared disheveled and was drinking an open can of
beer in front of the deputies. The officers noticed additional cans
of beer in the car. The deputies told him to discard the open can,
attached chains to his car, got the vehicle out the quagmire, and sent
the man on his way.
Later Davis would state that Polly Klaas was alive on the very steep
hillside bordering the left hand side of the driveway and when the
deputies departed the area, he came back to retrieve her. Allegedly
Davis killed the girl on the outskirts of Cloverdale where her body
was found in the early wintery days of December 1993.
Dana Jaffe resurfaces again on November 27, 1993 when she calls the
Sonoma County Sheriff's Department to report she accidentally stumbled
upon what would later be called "key pieces of evidence" while on a
hike near the site where she had seen the intruder on her property the
night of kidnapping. The evidence includes several items of clothing,
an unrolled condom, a condom wrapper, wrist ties and strapping tape.
Deputy sheriff McManus takes the evidence back to the sheriff's office
where he lays it out to dry and photograph. He leaves the condom
overnight and picks it up the next day.
The very next day, on November 28, 1993, Sonoma County Sheriff
Deputies Howard and Rankin are called into their office by Detective
Vanbebber and each man is asked to recall the events of October 1,
1993 (Incident History #LS932740300). Neither deputy sheriff had
completed a written police report at the time of the incident. They
are now asked to complete a supplement report in detail, the day after
Jaffe discovers more damming evidence. Their reports are very similar
and each report specifies that Richard Allen Davis told each officer
that he was on the Pythian Road property just before midnight "sight
seeing" (Case no. 93-1128-14).
Two days later, on November 30, 1993, in the Mendocino County Jail,
Richard Allen Davis is interviewed by Petaluma Police Officer Larry
Pelton and FBI Special Agent J. Larry Taylor. Petaluma Police Sgt.
Mike Meese makes the introductions and is present for the interview.
Davis keeps saying that he thinks he is being interviewed for getting
a DUI which is a violation of his parole. On Page 5 of the transcript
Davis talks about the incident that occurred at 7565 Pythian Road on
October 1, 1993. He states:
"Anyway, dudes I used to know a long time ago. Thought I'd get and
out and get in contact with them and, you know, try and cause work
wasn't going right. I thought I'd be able to, dude, I use (sic) to
deal weed with a long time ago, and I ended up getting stuck on some
people's property and the sheriffs had to pull me out of a ditch."
In the last paragraph on page 5, Davis continues:
"....the next thing I know there these two sheriff's unit and a...
they told me it was marijuana county..."
Finally in the last paragraph on page 6, Davis states:
"...they got a gate there right - says Private Property, I didn't know
whether to keep on driving, I didn't want to drive in nobody's yard,
because I know people who grow stuff you drive into there (sic) yard
they (unintelligible) start shooting."
Officer Larry Pelton asks Davis, "What's the name of the friend you
were going to see?" Davis replies:
"I can't say that."
On page 19, Davis again states:
"Yes, No. That's why I was trying to go do a drug deal instead of
getting back into crime, you know. I'm done with robberies.......You
know I do another robbery or anything and I'm going back the rest of
On page 20 Davis tries to convince Officer Pelton once again that he
was after drugs the night he got stuck on Pythian Road the night of
October 1, 1993. He says:
"So I figured well, you know, if I can find these dudes, you know, I,
I never did them wrong. Maybe they'll kick me down half a pound and
maybe I can keep myself going and start kicking 'em back, you know."
Who is telling the truth about the Pythian Road events the night of
Polly Klaas's kidnapping? We might never know, but, as citizens and
parents, we should not allow ourselves to accept one side's version
of the truth while that side withholds the necessary information to
see the events in their full perspective. Our well being, and the well
being of our children, depends on obtaining the full truth about why
our children "go missing" and end up murdered while the multi-million
dollar war on drugs continues to fail.
If we do not demand the truth from those sworn to protect us, we can
echo the last two lines of Petaluma Police Chief Patrick T. Parks ode
to Polly Klaas:
"It was as though secretly we shared
fear/of a finger pointing in the mirror."
Virginia McCullough © 3/4/2002