Cesar Barone signed letter envelope set

Cesar Barone signed letter envelope set


The Washington County detectives walked to the infirmary to face a door much like those that secured the cells at the penitentiary. Time was running out. Cesar Francesco Barone lay dying, his heart pinned by a tumor, his head full of brutal secrets.

As they drove from Hillsboro to Salem, detectives Mike O'Connell and Murray Rau knew that this visit would be the last. The question was: Would Barone understand the opportunity they were presenting to him?

When the door swung open, Barone turned his face from the wall and recognized the detectives. They had been among the dozens of law enforcers who chased and captured Barone in the early 1990s. A Washington County jury sent him to death row in December 1995.

Barone extended his hand, and the detectives shook it, but then O'Connell got down to business. Barone was not long for this world, he said and, "he could put a lot of people who've been hurting at peace by possibly apologizing or explaining what he had done."

"I didn't even plan on talking to him about any of the cases he'd been convicted of," O'Connell said. "I just wanted to talk to him about some of the others."

In their years of investigating Barone, O'Connell and Rau learned everything about him: his 1960 birth as Adolph James Rode (pronounced ROW-dee) and boyhood in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His parents' divorce when he was 4. His schooling, which got off to a troubling start when he was kicked out of kindergarten. Juvenile detention for burglary. His rape of his stepmother. His assault of his maternal grandmother. His rape and murder of a 71-year-old neighbor, for which he spent seven years in prison.

His tenure in the Florida penal system included escapes from maximum security, discipline for weapons possession, an assault on a female guard and a bragged-about correspondence with Ted Bundy.

At 26, Florida released Rode and he changed his name because, O'Connell said, "he had this obsession with Italian gangsters."

Cesar Francesco Barone enlisted in the Army and served during the 1989 invasion of Panama out of Fort Lewis, Wash. A year later, the Army discharged him for lying about his felony conviction.

By then, Barone had developed a liking for the Pacific Northwest and moved to Washington County in Oregon, where he married and had a son. That was one of the strange features about Barone, O'Connell said -- his life was divided between the sociable, pleasant man and the murderous sociopath.

The letter and envelope are handwritten. The letter is signed, Cesar.

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