Siege of Shirley Ann Allen, Roby, Illinois, Fall of 1997
The Siege of
Shirley Ann Allen
by RON MARSH
Excerpt from http://washingtontimes.com
"Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer
yesterday said he and other police officials
with Mr. Lowell on the
details of conducting a lie-detector
test on Mr. Condit and collecting DNA samples
Ah, yes. Terrance W. Gainer. Director
of the Illinois State
Police during the infamous Siege of Shirley
Ann Allen, Roby,
Illinois, Fall of 1997. Once again, "No foul
unrewarded." Royally screw up one situation, get
the system -- big time. Perhaps Mr. Condit
himself with Mr. Gainer's past
performances. But, then, Mr.
Condit himself is part and parcel
of the corrupt system and,
therefore, of the problem, so the beat
merely goes on...
For those who are not familiar with the Siege
of Shirley Ann Allen
-- and as a refresher for those who are -- the
reprints of earlier items -- Lest We Forget.
(And, NO, Mr. Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer,
we who were there will NEVER forget!!)
Siege of Shirley Ann Allen
By Ron Marsh
(WARNING! Trying to understand the siege of
Shirley Ann Allen may
be hazardous to your own mental health: You
may become more
befuddled than she is alleged to be.)
They say that they are there for her own good -- for her safety
protection -- yet they have denied her electricity, gas, water
telephone for over a month.
They say that they are concerned
about her mental stability, yet
for the first ten days of the siege
they tormented her with
incessant noise: calling out to her over a
bullhorn every fifteen
minutes, day and night, and bombarding her
with loud music and
gibberish over a PA system at any and all
(Sleep deprivation is a fundamental tool in the science of
brainwashing: disorient the subject; totally break the subject;
reduce the subject to mental and physical putty; re-mold the
subject into your own desired image.)
They say that she might be
a danger to others; therefore, they
have denied her access to
friends, relatives, legal counsel, even
a minister -- in spite of
the fact that they offer no evidence
that she ever has demonstrated
unprovoked hostility toward anyone.
They say that she might be a
danger to herself, yet they have
subjected her to deprivation and
torment that would have driven
many "normal" persons to
If Shirley Allen were a convicted criminal, she would be
better than that.
If she were a prisoner of war,
the Geneva Convention would
guarantee her the necessities of life
and humane treatment.
If she were a mongrel dog in the local
animal shelter, she would
fare better than she has fared at the
hands of the Christian
County Sheriff's Department and the Illinois
The overriding problem in reporting the siege of
Shirley Allen is
the very isolation to which she has been
No one -- no reporter, no relative, no
attorney, no minister --
has been permitted to get within half a
mile of her. And her phone
has been rendered inoperative.
Because of that imposed isolation, there is so little that we
know for sure.
We do know that she has been charged with no
crime, yet she is
being hounded like a caged rat.
mundane level, we know that for over a month Shirley Allen
been able to flush her toilet...or take a bath...or wash
hair...or wash and dry a load of clothes...or call out for a
(or a minister)...or light her furnace, even in recent
temperatures have dropped to freezing or below.
In spite of the
fact that her tormentors "think" that she might
have Sterno or a
propane stove, there is reason to believe that
she has not been able
to cook a meal in over a month. Even if her
nephew is correct, that
Shirley has home-canned food to last for
months, cold green beans
from a Mason jar are not very tasty. (And
I do mean "cold" -- she
can't use her furnace, so even "room
temperature" takes on a whole
new meaning for Shirley Allen!)
Even if she has a reasonable
supply of bottled water -- and no one
knows that for sure -- she
probably would not "waste" it for non-
essentials; therefore, she may
not have brushed her teeth for over
say, "Well, a person must have something wrong mentally
all that for over a month."
Well, even with that as a given (and
it is not a given), is that
the way our society treats persons who
are mentally troubled?
Illinois statutes regarding involuntary
repeatedly specify that the subject must be
ill and dangerous." (Check it out at 405 ILCS
Thus far, no one outside of "law
enforcement" has suggested
publicly that Shirley Allen is
"dangerous" -- not her friends, not
her family, not her enemies (if
she has enemies).
In fact, according to newspaper reports, she
never has been
considered suicidal by friends, family or medical
even during alleged bouts with depression.
As to her being a danger to anyone else, as recently as Thursday,
October 23, Illinois State Police Director Terrance Gainer is
as saying "Mrs. Allen hasn't shown that kind of hostility."
the Christian County Sheriff's Department and the Illinois
Police have made a determination that Shirley Allen is
Are we to assume, therefore, that a psychiatric or
license is now a requisite for becoming a deputy
sheriff or a state
trooper? They apparently perceive themselves to
Or, as some suggest, is this whole debacle simply a
"Machismo"? Could it possibly be that certain men, the
strap on their manhood with their gunbelts, just can't
lose face to a 51-year-old widow woman?
* * * * *
Where and how did it all begin?
of Shirley Allen began September 22, 1997; the saga of
began more than twenty years earlier.
According to newspaper
reports, Shirley Ann Dugger met John Allen
in 1974, when Shirley, a
registered nurse, was 28 years old. John,
then 53 and a widower for
two years, had suffered a heart attack;
Shirley was his
In 1975, Shirley Dugger and John Allen married -- a
was to last 14 years until John's death from
pancreatic cancer in
In spite of the fact he had
four children from his first marriage,
John Allen reportedly left
his entire $120,000 estate, including
the house now under siege in
Roby, to Shirley Ann. The house and
accompanying 47 acres are now
reportedly valued at $146,000.
As is often the case, Shirley
reportedly suffered bouts of
depression after John's death. After
all, they apparently had been
an exceptionally happy couple,
enjoying many of life's experiences
together -- from gardening to
touring the country, with Shirley in
the sidecar of John's
The tighter the bond, the greater the loss.
Just how deep were those bouts of depression is a matter of pure
conjecture, but a matter that has been effectively used by
tormentors to cloud the fundamental and troublesome
Shirley has been accorded due process during -- and
prior to -- the
As to Shirley's mental condition, stories in the
"State Journal-Register" reveal an interesting
On the one hand, there are the
views of Shirley's "non-official"
"I don't think she'd hurt anybody. She's always been
me." (Darel Patrick, neighbor who has known her for
* 9/25: "She always kept a perfect garden, with beautiful
and her yard was always kept nice." (Mamie Stone, neighbor,
also described Shirley as friendly, reserved and a
"recluse, even in school.")
"There was no reason for the injunction at all. If they
leave her alone she would be fine. Her behavior may
she's a little eccentric, but it's not strange in my
eyes. I would
guess that she's frightened they're going to take
her away and she's
never going to see her home again." (Step-
daughter Betsy Tonias,
John's daughter by his first wife. Tonias
reportedly believes that
Shirley slipped into depression since
John's death, but doubts that
she suffers from more severe mental
"She struck me as being a very loving person who had a lot
to give. When she met [John], he just filled her life with
happiness, and I'll guarantee you that she's still mourning his
death." (Lorraine Fleck, counselor and employee of the Sangamon
County circuit court. She has sought, and been denied, police
clearance to approach Shirley during the siege.)
* 10/25: "About
99 percent of the people in here are for Shirley."
Carpenter, owner of the Buckhart Tavern, the nearest
restaurant-bar, about 3 miles from Shirley's home.)
On the other
hand, there are the "official" opinions:
* 9/25: "She was just a
little paranoid; she was never like this.
She was never to the point
of being where we thought she should be
committed." (Sheriff Dick
(Of course, she never had been set upon by armed men and
gassed before, either.)
* 9/25: "When you have a
mentally unstable person, we're not sure
how effective it would be."
(State Police Lt. Dennis Sloman,
commenting on the cutting-off of
Shirley's utilities.) "And it's
not that I think she would harm
somebody, it's just that you can't
take that chance."
* 9/26: "We've got a poor woman suffering a bout of
illness." (Gene Marlin, "right-hand-man" to state police
* 9/27: "We intend to stay
until we can get Mrs. Allen the medical
treatment she needs."
(Terrance Gainer, Director of the State
Police, who also has stated
that his men would remain even if the
judge rescinds the order for
involuntary psychiatric evaluation.)
* 10/03: "We're trying to
withdraw to give her some
space...perhaps she'll then exit the house
and we will then be
able to get her to the hospital care she needs."
And both lists of quotes could go on ad nauseam.
To those who know Shirley, she may be a recluse who misses her
husband; she is not "mentally ill" and/or "dangerous" and she
have been left alone.
In the minds of "law enforcement," she
should be committed.
Again it must be asked: Is a psychiatric or
now a requisite to becoming a deputy sheriff or
a state trooper?
If not, how can these cops be so cocksure that
conforms to the statutory definition of a person who
ill and dangerous and in need of involuntary psychiatric
evaluation/treatment -- and be so hell bent to see that she
* * * * *
The issue at hand is not Shirley Ann Allen's mental
issue at hand is due process of law.
Article 5 of the Bill of Rights provides, in pertinent part: "No
person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without
due process of law."
Process for involuntary psychiatric
defined by Illinois statute at 405 ILCS
5/3-70, et seq. (It's a
lousy statute, and probably blatantly
unconstitutional, but that
is another matter.)
Allen certainly has been deprived of her liberty. Has she
accorded due process of law?
The judge has conveniently sealed
the court record, so neither the
form nor the substance of the
"order" can be known. (This in a
land of a supposedly open
Article 4 of the Bill of Rights provides, in
pertinent part: "The
right of the people to be secure in their
houses...against unreasonable...seizures, shall not be
Can "law enforcement" personnel comprehend the
being "secure" and being "secured" (as in "house
Allen's house has become her prison. Does this
conform to either
the letter or the spirit of the 4th
Article 4 of the Bill of Rights also provides, in
"No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
oath or affirmation, and particularly describing
the...persons...to be seized."
Apparently, no warrant has
issued. By what authority, then, does
the judge issue an
"order"...and does "law enforcement" attempt to
execute such an
"order"...and does the statute purportedly allow
for such an
"order"...to seize the person of Shirley Allen?
Article 5 of the
Bill of Rights provides, in pertinent part: "No
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness
Article 6 of the Bill of Rights provides, in pertinent
all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to
confronted with the witnesses against him...and to have the
assistance of counsel for his defense."
I promised you that
trying to understand the Shirley Allen
travesty of injustice might
Well...White water ahead. Hang on!
recent rallies in support of Shirley, speakers belabored the
that Illinois' statutes regarding involuntary psychiatric
evaluation/committal are "bad law" because they do not conform to
constitutional guarantees that protect a person from "being
compelled to be a witness against himself"...or that allow him "to
be confronted with the witnesses against him."
The action against
Shirley Allen is purported to be merely civil;
these guarantees are
for criminal defendants. Are an unkempt yard
and reclusion now
"criminal" offenses? "Quasi" criminal?
"Well, shouldn't a
defendant in a civil matter be afforded the
same protections as the
defendant in a criminal matter?"
Both reason and passion would
But the answer goes to the very heart of the
criminal and civil actions. In a civil action,
the defendant knows
his accuser; he is the plaintiff. In a criminal
action, the state
is the plaintiff, bringing action for and on the
behalf of the
We have totally lost this
concept as "compelled-compliance
regulation" has insidiously usurped
Common Law. The Founders
understood the concept well: hence the
upon "government as plaintiff."
Finally: if it is a civil action, why is the subject of a
involuntary psychiatric evaluation/committal afforded the right to
court-appointed attorney (405 ILCS 5/3-805)?
Has Shirley Allen
been accorded due process?
Until both the "nature and cause of
the accusation" have been
defined (6th Amendment), expect any
"official" response to that
question to be mere
For a synopsis of the statutes, see the pertinent
statement by Jay
A. Miller, Executive Director, Illinois Civil
Liberties Union at
to leave you in white water. More later?
The questions go
As does the Siege of Shirley Allen...
(c) 1997 by Ron Marsh Ron@Vigo-Examiner.com
granted to reproduce in full or in part, with
for non-commercial purposes only.
by Ron Marsh
His name is Montgomery.
He keeps a
lonely vigil: Watching The Watchers.
It was about 2:30, Sunday,
October 19, a bright, warm, autumn
afternoon, when I turned south
off County Highway 2 into the
"media staging area," a block or so
east of the intersection with
County Highway 23 and just west of The
Watchers' checkpoint. I had
been there the previous Tuesday
afternoon, between the noon rally
in Taylorville and the 5:00 rally
outside the Capitol Building in
were still there, as they had been on Tuesday, but
was no longer stifling. On Tuesday, there had been
two dozen or more
Watcher vehicles lining the road. This
afternoon, there were only
two, at times three -- and no doubt
another two or three at the
other checkpoint about a half-mile
The Watchers behind and entered the media staging area.
hail from, we would have considered that a mighty high-
for half an acre of meadowland, but that was what
The Watchers were
Then I saw it, maybe 400 yards straight ahead: A
mute symbol of
proud defiance, a bright ray of hope in an otherwise
From the media staging area,
the rolling farmland sloped downward,
away from the road and The
Watchers, then upward again. And atop
that second hill --
overlooking the media staging area, the road
and The Watchers --
someone had parked a camper, with an American
I had to meet the owner of that camper.
The two males and two females sitting outside the camper watched
I parked my car. As I began walking toward them, they stood up
started toward me. We met in the hollow between the hills.
introduced myself. The portly, forty-ish man and the two teen-
girls said "Good-bye" about as soon as they said "Hello," got
the only other car in the media staging area, and left.
my hand to the owner of the camper. "I don't believe I
"Oh, it's Montgomery," he replied. "Sorry. I should have
before." He shook my hand.
"That's OK," I
His hand was coarse -- much coarser than mine. He
wore fading work
jeans, a red and blue plaid shirt and a "camo"
hunting cap. He was
any plumber or electrician or bricklayer that
you might see at any
that first name or last?"
That was OK, too. I
could tell he was used to the question; I was
satisfied with the
"Could we sit and talk awhile?" I asked, nodding toward
"Sure." We climbed the hill and entered
room" just outside the camper. The plush
carpet was trodden meadow
grass. There was one blinding yellow light
set firmly in the blue-
sky ceiling. The furnishings were simple: two
chairs, a bale of straw for a couch.
I settled my 250 pounds gingerly into the flimsy plastic. "Where
"From inside the camper," he said, nodding
over his right
"That's about it, these days.
I've been pretty much all over the
country in it the last coupla
years. Heard about what was
happening here and just thought this
would be a good place to call
home for a while."
could tell he was used to the question; I was satisfied
answer. In these circumstances, prudence demands walls
The camper was vintage Chevy: larger than a pickup,
the dignity to be called a motor home. It had seen many
and, no doubt, many miles. In spots, paint had given way to
-- if aging aluminum is noble enough to wear patina.
Affixed to the side of the camper, just behind the passenger door,
was a makeshift flagpole. The gentle breeze held the flag at proud
attention -- not the garish, impudent pride of a half-time parade
flag, but the indomitable assurance of a veteran of a thousand Iwo
Its faded reds and blue and dingy whites were dim reminder
glory that once was -- and of the pervasive shame that now is
The presence of both flag and camper,
atop the hill and
overlooking The Watchers, seemed to hallow the
Montgomery removed his cap, smoothed his hair, replaced
His reddish hair seemed uncomfortably full, as if it had
trim or two.
"So, what's been
"Well," he said, "I think I've played my
psychological game with
them just about as far as I can play it. I
was parked over in the
media staging area for a while. Then I moved
up here. That really
seemed to make them nervous. They don't seem to
like it that I am
up here looking down on them. We just sit here
most of the time
and look at each other through binoculars. And I
have a video
Hmm. They charge that Shirley Allen
is mentally ill...but paranoia
also is a mental illness. I wondered
just who should be evaluating
"They came up here and asked to search the
camper. I said, 'No.'
Finally they told me they were going to
search it anyway. I threw
the keys inside and locked the door, so
they would have to break in
if they were going to search. Figured
I might get them for something
"That just made them mad. One of them grabbed me and
hands around behind my back, to handcuff me. As he went
cuffs, I reminded him of the Bill of Rights and of unlawful
searches and of his oath to the Constitution. I told him that what
he was doing was unconstitutional and a violation of his
"I don't think they liked it much, but they let me go.
left, I had to break into my own camper to get my
"Now we just watch each other.
"I'm afraid that
they will ask the guy who owns the land to ask me
to leave. If they
do, I hope he doesn't cave in."
He removed the cap again,
re-sized it and put it back on.
A reporter pulled into the media
staging area, got out of his
pickup and walked toward The
"It's so silly," Montgomery pondered. "They take down
license plate number. They don't realize that the people
here are decent, law-abiding people who are just concerned
Yeah. Paranoia, I thought again.
We talked for forty-five minutes or so, about the Bible and the
Constitution and Shirley Allen and The Watchers.
He turned his
chair once, away from the setting sun. And there was
thing" every few minutes. Montgomery was a quiet man,
grandstander. But I was certain: in his case at least, still
surely did run deep.
Unless unpreventably hindered, or until the
camper became too cold
to endure, he would be there for the duration
-- watching The
While we had talked, the dark
clouds had been rapidly approaching.
The blinding light in
Montgomery's sitting-room ceiling was no
more. The warm autumn
breeze had abruptly turned chilly.
The man and the girls
"They're back," Montgomery said. "Those are his
are home-schoolers from Decatur. He thought this
would make a nice
field trip for the girls, to see what was going on
over here. They
just went to get something to eat."
the trio climbed the hill with their bags of Subway sandwiches
cooler of soft drinks, I said my farewells to Montgomery.
left them to enjoy their supper.
As I headed back down County
Highway 23 toward Taylorville and
home, I looked one last time over
my left shoulder at the rolling
meadow, the "media staging area" and
Mentally, I saluted the flag.
Montgomery. And God be with you!"
At least The Watchers have no
doubt that they, too, are being
1997 by Ron Marsh Ron@Vigo-Examiner.com
granted to reproduce in full or in part, with full
for non-commercial purposes only.