Thomas Calabrese — Captain Terrence Malloy was a Marine Corps infantry officer during World War II and when the war in the Pacific ended, he returned to Camp Pendleton, California. Captain Malloy decided to stay in the Marines and his first son, Terrence Jr. was born in 1947 on base. Terry as he was called grew up on military bases that included Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and Quantico, Virginia. After graduating high school in 1964, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Marines.
Terry was assigned to the 7th Regiment, the first Marine unit to land in South Vietnam on March 8, 1965. He participated in numerous military operations and by the time he finished his second tour, he was a seasoned combat veteran and had risen to the rank of Staff Sergeant. Upon his return to the states in 1967, Terry visited his family at their government quarters at San Luis Rey base housing. His father was a Colonel now and the commanding officer of the Infantry Training Regiment on Camp Pendleton.
“Congratulations, mom told me that you’ve been selected for brigadier general,” Terry said.
“Thanks son, appreciate it, I’m being honest with you when I say that I never expected to ever get this far. One day turned into a month and then a year and then a couple decades and before I knew it I had a career,” Colonel Malloy responded as he flashbacked upon his life, “Your enlistment is about up, made any decisions yet?”
“I’m not going to stay on active duty, I’ve decided that much, but I’m thinking about transferring to the reserves. I figured that would give me a little money coming in every month and a pension when I got older. What do you think?” Terry asked.
“Sounds like a good idea to me.”
“Now I just need to figure out what I want to do when I get out. There aren’t many transferable skills from being a combat Marine to the civilian world,” Terry responded.
“You’d be surprised what comes in handy later on,” Colonel Malloy said.
“Like being able to make split second decisions when other people’s lives depend on you,” Colonel Malloy said, “Let’s get your mom and we’ll go out for dinner. Tonight is barbecue night at the officer’s club.”
Two weeks later, Corporal John Aikman told Terry, “I’m going to apply for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, their ad said that they’re looking for ex- military.”
Terry had not thought about a career in law enforcement, but since he did not have anything else going on, he took a ride with his fellow Marine to Carson, California for the job fair. Sometimes in life, opportunities present themselves when you least expect them. That was the case with Terry who filled out the application, went through the background check and received a letter accepting him after he was released from active duty. After graduating the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Recruit Training, he was placed on a six month probationary period. Henry ‘Hank’ Voight, a twelve year veteran was assigned as his training officer. They were patrolling the area north of Malibu when they received a call from dispatch to see an employee of Spahn Ranch.
Spahn Movie Ranch was a 55-acre property located in Los Angeles County, California. In 1947, Lee and Ruth McReynolds purchased the land from Dr. Sharon Atkins who bought it in 1928. The McReynolds built several movie sets on the property to catch overflow from the very successful Iverson Movie Ranch. In 1953 the ranch was sold to George Spahn, who added more sets and stables for rental horses. With its mountainous terrain, boulder-strewn scenery, and old western town set, it became a favorite filming site for many B western movies, but by 1966 it was no longer in use and fell into disrepair. It had also become a refuge for the homeless and transient.
Terry and Hank met a man at the entrance to the historic ranch on 12000 Santa Susana Pass Road just after sunset, “Are you the person who made the call?” Hank asked.
Daniel ‘Shorty’ Shea was in his mid-thirties and a stuntman and aspiring actor who supplemented his income by working as a wrangler on the ranch. He was from Del Rio, Texas and spoke with a drawl, “Reckon so, thanks for coming.”
“What seems to be the problem?” Hank asked.
“Damn squatters, I run them off and they keep coming back. This latest bunch is crazier than a Kiowa Paint Mare, especially their damn leader,” Daniel Shea said.
“Point us in the right direction,” Hank requested.
“Follow this trail, you’ll see their campfire over the hill.”
“Thanks,” Terry responded.
“Be careful, like I said this is a strange bunch,” Daniel warned.
“I know you’re a combat veteran, but the rules of engagement are different here than in Vietnam, you got that?” Hank reminded Terry in no uncertain terms.
“Yes sir, I’m used to taking orders so just tell me what you want me to do,” Terry answered.
“Just make sure, you got my back,” Hank said as he slowly moved down the trail.
Terry saw the campfire in the distance and the vague silhouettes sitting next to it when suddenly two men jumped out from behind a tree. One of them stabbed Hank in the side while the other assailant lunged at Terry who jumped back as the blade slashed across his arm, but did not cause any significant injury. Instinctively Terry drew his service revolver and emptied it into the two men who shook violently as the bullets entered their bodies then fell lifeless to the ground. Terry bent down next to his wounded partner; he had seen similar wounds when he was back in Vietnam so he had some valuable experience on how to render emergency first aid. He kept pressure on the wound while reassuring Hank, “Stay calm, you’ll be alright.”
Before he realized it, a group of men and women were standing around him. From out of their midst, a small man with a very large knife came walking out. Even in the diminished light, Terry noticed the man’s eyes, they were dark and cold, but even more than that, they were pure evil. He had been in dangerous situations before, but the chill that permeated his body at this particular moment was something that he had never felt before. It took all of his intestinal fortitude and military training not to be overwhelmed by the malevolence of the situation.
“Drop the knife, black eyes,” Terry ordered.
When the man hesitated, Terry pulled the trigger on his weapon to fire a warning shot, but it fell on an empty chamber. In all the excitement, Terry had failed to reload. The group moved closer as Hank grimaced, pulled out his service revolver and handed it to Terry, who quickly fired one shot between the feet of the short man, “Stand down or be shot down!” Terry warned.
The short man wasn’t quite convinced that the deputy sheriff wasn’t bluffing so he took one more step just to be sure. Terry fired another shot that whistled by the short man’s ear, “No matter if you get me or not, you’ll be the first one to die, so make your play, black eyes.”
The short man was convinced now, “No problem, let’s go.” The group walked away and Terry radioed in, “Officer down! Officer down! Spahn Ranch.”
Hank Voight survived his wounds and when the hearing took place, Terry found out the name of the short man, it was Charles Manson! The shooting of the two men was ruled appropriate use of deadly force. The only charge that the district attorney thought that he had any chance of convicting Charles Manson and his followers on was criminal trespass. When George Spahn who was 80 years old at the time and going blind refused to pursue the issue, the district attorney reluctantly dropped the criminal trespass charge.
Terry later found out later that Charles Manson had offered the elderly and financially strapped Spahn free labor in exchange for living on the ranch rent-free and dropping the charges. Since the horse rental business was Spahn’s main source of income, and he could no longer do the physical labor, he accepted the offer. This occurred on March 20, 1969 and on August 9th and 10th of the same year, the Manson family murdered Gary Hinman, Sharon Tate, Steven Parent, Jay Sebring,Voytek Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Leno La Bianca, Rosemary LaBianca. They also killed Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea for calling law enforcement on them.
Terry was one of the law enforcement officers that responded to the crime scenes and despite seeing the brutality of war, he was still shocked at the pre-meditated cruelty of these killings. When detectives found out that the Manson family was responsible, Terry was angry with himself because he had the opportunity to eliminate Manson, but passed. He did exactly what he was trained to do, followed standard procedures and had no way of foreseeing the future. While nobody blamed him, it was little consolation to the former Marine who was raised with the code to protect and serve. No matter how he added it up, the answer always came up the same; Terry knew that if he had killed Manson at Spahn Ranch on that fateful night, nine people would still be alive.
Terry Malloy married Lisa Monyhan, an emergency room nurse in 1978 and they had three children. His father, Lt. General Malloy passed away in 2004 and when his mother died four years later, Terry decided this was a good time to retire from the Los Angeles Sheriff Department. He had 40 years in law enforcement and was the senior homicide detective and had also retired from Marine Corps Reserve twelve years earlier as a Sergeant Major. His oldest daughter Julie was married and living in Texas, his son John was an Air Force officer stationed in Europe and his youngest daughter had followed in her mother’s footsteps and was currently working as surgical nurse at Palomar Hospital.
Lisa consulted with an interior designer and completely renovated her in-laws home in the Morro Hills section of North Oceanside. When it was completed, the couple moved in and since they were both retired and still in good health, Terry and Lisa kept themselves busy with a wide variety of activities. They skied, surfed and went to the fitness center on regular basis. Lisa volunteered her medical skills at a clinic in Vista two days a week and on those same days Terry went to the Veterans Center on Mission Avenue to assist in counseling young military veterans.
Terry also made himself available to detectives that were still on the job as an unpaid consultant. He had plenty of experience and knowledge and there was no reason for it to go to waste especially if it helped solve cases and save lives.
In 1989 Terry met Tom Selleck soon after he purchased a 65 acre ranch in Hidden Valley, California. The property had a ranch house, horse corral and 20-acre working avocado ranch. Since the property was in a secluded area, Selleck wanted a state of the art security system to protect his wife and daughter when he was away on location, so he asked Terry for his expertise on the best way to accomplish this.
Tom Selleck often told people that he based his character, Frank Regan in his series Blue Bloods on Terry Malloy. When Terry received a phone call from his friend, he was pleasantly surprised, “What’s up, you doing alright?”
“Not bad, how’s Lisa?” Tom Selleck asked.
“Good, what about Jillie and Hannah?” Terry responded.
“They’re well, Hannah is in New Mexico working with her horses. I’ve got something I’d like you to see, you got time to take a ride up here?”
“I’ll make time, is it important?” Terry asked.
“Could be, that’s why I want you to see it,” Tom Selleck said.
“I’ll leave about 0400 hours tomorrow morning to avoid traffic. I should be there by zero six. Is that too early for a big shot like you?”
“Just call me when you get close and I’ll have breakfast ready,” Tom Selleck retorted.
Terry and Tom were sitting at the dining room table with a panoramic view of the valley in the background, “These are really good Huevos Rancheros, probably the best I’ve had,” Terry commented as he swallowed another mouthful.
“I got the recipe from Sam Elliot, he used to make em’ when we were on location doing the Shadow Riders.”
“How many years have I known you and yet this is the first time that I’ve tasted this culinary excellence. What are you doing, holding out on me?” Terry joked.
“If you’re going to whine and complain then all you have to do is drive up here from Oceanside anytime you want, good enough?” Tom laughed.
“I’m holding you to that,” Terry finished eating, “I always get a little drowsy after a good meal. If you have something to show me, you better do it quickly.”
“Over the years I’ve upgraded my surveillance cameras like you suggested, got really good resolution on these new ones,” Tom picked up the remote control and turned on the television, “This is the security footage from the south end of my property, down by the avocado grove.”
The video showed five individuals scaling the chain link fence and stealing several bags of avocados.
“So you’ve got some people stealing your avocados, it’s not that I’m diminishing the value of good guacamole, but this is a routine case for the sheriff’s department. It’s a misdemeanor at best,” Terry said.
“There’s a guy down the road that is allowing several transients to stay at one of his guest houses in exchange for free labor,” Tom explained.
“Rent is high in California, people have to make deals to survive in this environment. You’re saying that the people living on your neighbor’s property are the ones stealing your crops. Have you tried telling them to stop?”
“That’s no big deal, how much avocado toast can I eat,” Tom hesitated then began to speak in a slow measured voice, “I was taking a horseback ride on one of the back trails when I saw some smoke in a ravine. We get a lot of homeless cooking and using dried brush for fuel. It doesn’t take much to start a raging wildfire in these canyons.”
“We’ve seen our share of them in our lifetime, that’s for sure,” Terry agreed.
“When I get down to where the fire is burning, I find a bunch of papers and debris smoldering and pulled this out of the pile,” Tom handed a scorched Wells Fargo debit card to Terry.
Terry held the card at an angle to read the imprint, “Dwayne LaSalle, the name sounds familiar,”
“There has been a series of home invasion robberies and murders in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern counties, Dwayne LaSalle was one of the victims.”
“The fog begins to clear,” Terry said, “So you think that the people stealing your avocados are also the killers.”
“I know it’s a stretch, but wasn’t it you that told me that a hunch is sometimes as good as a clue?”
“I didn’t know you were listening, let me take another look at that footage, can you zoom in on their faces?”
Tom Selleck pressed a button on the remote and when Terry saw the close-up of one of the men’s faces, it brought him back to a different place and time. Later that day, Terry called his wife, “I’m going to be up here a few days. Tom needs my help on a project that he’s working on.”
“Stay safe and keep me posted,” Lisa answered.
“Affirmative, love you.”
Terry went down to a law enforcement supply warehouse in Thousand Oaks and borrowed a tracking device with the appropriate software from a former co-worker who was now in business for himself, “I’ll get this back to you in a few days.”
Trevor Samuels smiled, “Take as long as you need. Working on a case?”
Terry pretended that he was a potential buyer when he came on the Baxter property. While he was waiting for the owner, he leaned against a 1993 black Ford Crown Victoria.
A short young man with cold dark eyes approached and demanded, “What are you doing here?
Terry had seen those eyes a thousand times before in his dreams, “Waiting for the owner.”
“What for?” The short man snapped back.
“Are you the owner?” Terry asked.
“I work for him.”
“Is this your car?”
“Yeah why?” The short man asked.
“I have a friend who’s got one just like it,” Terry answered, “only his is white.”
Chuck Baxter came walking up and snarled, “You looking for me?”
“I heard from some guy that your property is for sale,” Terry lied.
“I don’t know who that was,” Chuck Baxter grumbled, “but I ain’t selling nothing.”
“Maybe he got it wrong, no big deal, sorry to bother you,” Terry had deliberately untied his right boot so he would have a reason to bend down without arousing suspicions. While tying the laces and temporarily out of view, he quickly attached the tracking device with the magnetic plate to the undercarriage of the vehicle.
The short man walked Terry to his vehicle then followed on foot all to the way to the gate to make sure that he exited the property. The device was designed to send an alert to Terry’s phone anytime the vehicle moved. Once it was on the road he could use a laptop to watch the Ford on the map quest program. For the first two days, the vehicle stayed locally, but on the third day it headed north on Highway 101.
Tom Selleck volunteered to go with Terry, but his offer was declined, “You’re too high profile from this point on. They’ll rip you to sheds on social media for being a politically incorrect vigilante if we get caught, I’m already typecast in this role.”
The Crown Victoria was parked outside a large home in the Channel Islands, two miles north of Port Hueneme Naval Base. It was 2AM as Terry silently moved up the sidewalk and when he got closer, he heard the muffled screams of the occupants. Terry looked through the window and saw a man and woman being beaten and if he was still on the force, this would be the time to call for back-up. That would be standard procedure, but times were different now. Terry entered through the unlocked front door with his weapon drawn and called out a warning as he approached the men from behind, “Drop your weapons and put your hands in the air.”
Terry was outnumbered four to one and the assailants weren’t convinced that this man had it in him to shoot them. When three decided to fight rather than surrender, Terry quickly showed them the fatal error of their decision and shot them down. This left only the short man with the haunting black eyes still standing with his weapon still in his hand. When both men made eye contact, they locked in on each other and it was the classic confrontation of righteousness versus evil. It may have been only 45 seconds, but seemed much longer to Terry as past memories came rushing back. When the short man’s trigger finger moved ever so slightly, Terry did not fire a warning shot this time, unless you count six shots to the chest as a warning.
When he got back to Oceanside, Terry had two large bags of avocados and a recipe for Huevos Rancheros in his possession. Detectives found conclusive evidence that linked the gang to the home invasions and murders. In Terry’s mind, what he did in the Channel Islands did not balance the scales on what he failed to do on Spahn Ranch back in 1969, but it helped ease the regret.
A DNA test showed an ancestral link between the leader of the gang and the infamous killer of decades earlier. One thing was certain, Terry will never forget those Manson Eyes and the fact that Bad Blood Runs Deep.