MY DECEMBER 23, 1992 POLYGRAPH TEST by Robert McLaughlin

In late November 1992, after 29 months of getting no response from the FBI and not one question from Sgt Brown. Betty and Gary Ball and their lawyer Bill Simpich refused to leave his comfort spot in Oakland and come to Covelo, CA. (which for the Balls was only an hour plus drive away) and confirm what I had documented at great risk.

Had they had come to Covelo they would of been able to accomplished interviewing the Round Valley Inn waitress, the manager of the Western Auto and Frenchy (Unofficial mayor) and his downtown crew of “Hanger-On-ners”; the clerks at Keith’s Family market; the librarians and numerous others all of whom would of said they saw Nichols and Dunn in Covelo pre-Oakland bombing, but I didn’t think the householder on Mill Street because he was a retired logger and close to John Campbell of Campbell Logging and who lived on the same street albeit on the bluff overlooking his house. There were 195 laid off former employees of the Covelo Louisiana-Pacific saw mill who had to know something (Fishy) underhanded was going on right across the street from the mill at the former employee L-P/Campbell [bunk] house. So ,my only hope for an FBI investigation and a charge of “conspiracy” to connect Nichols and Dunn and the others to the [Bunk] L-P/Campbell house and the money they were freely spending was if someone with authority (The FBI who they may of answer questions for) to interview them and that hadn’t happened, so my last ditch effort was the polygraph.
So, when I asked Simpich to arrange a polygraph, he gave me the name of William Rock Hill, a former federal prosecutor whose office was in Oakland. I called him and he started talking in faux black drug street language so I suspected Simpish had told him I was a small “Survivalist” pot grower. Using the same street talk he told me the charge would be $500. For ten questions. I told him I wanted more questions and I agreed to pay $1,000 for 40 questions. I had no idea that Simpich would not write 40 questions or those ten questions were the normal limit for one polygraph session.
The night before the test, I told Betty Ball over the phone of my impending polygraph to which she said, “You don’t have to do that,” never explaining why not? Was there was something she knew that she wasn’t sharing with me? I didn’t know. While Betty was always friendly with a bright smile, she was a dogmatic pacifist and who seemingly could not digest my story. I’ve guessed she has always lived within a certain circle of think alike friends and never comprehended violent psychopathic types and she wasn’t alone I couldn’t either, but I was living them every day and she wasn’t.

On the day before the polygraph I was very nervous, with one continuous rolling-anxiety attack. I drove to a Willits motel to be closer to Oakland. On Main Street at the health food store, I ran into a friendly young Round Valley Indian man who I knew, who got straight A’s in high school and who had been Steve’s, my mechanic’s neighbor.
He informed me he now lived in Willits and invited me to his apartment a block away. In front of the building were three obviously angry, tall, thin, mustached, white men, who I guessed were loggers and not happy an Indian had moved into their building. My friend breezed by them and upstairs I met in their barebones, brightly painted apartment, his young wife and baby. I told him I was very nervous about tomorrows polygraph and why and asked I him to be my bodyguard and I paid him $250 upfront because I suspected they didn’t have any money, but the following morning I was late and my anxiety attack had passed so I didn’t pick him up.
I found downtown Oakland and Hill’s office easily. He was now a suited, urban-black professional running a polygraph business with multiple examining rooms and only one other customer, a young black man was there. He introduced me to the examiner whose name was said so fast I didn’t get it, he but said that he was the President of the Polygraph Association of America and added that that he had worked for the FBI for thirty years and “did all the Russians.”

Now someone in the Anderson Valley advertiser pooh! Poohed! The polygraph saying there are websites on the internet that teach how to defeat the polygraph. First of all, in 1992 these websites may not yet have existed and only one person I knew Gary Ball had internet service. I’m willing to bet the naysayers have never visited those sites or ever taken a polygraph so let me tell you something, a polygraph is not easy to defeat unless you are a pathological liar because you have to beat the machine and the experienced examiner.
The polygraph was long and gruesome. After you sit down in front of the desk in the small examining room, the examiner makes small talk while assessing you like, “You know Rocke is a former federal prosecutor!” He then attaches a wire from the machine to one of your fingers. Then he comes around and straps an ordinary blood pressure device to your arm and starts pumping and pumping and pumping some more and keeps on pumping until your veins are bulging and you sitting on the edge of the chair about to scream. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life. He then goes around the desk, putters with his machine, looks at you and takes his time assessing whether you are going to tell the truth. I got the impression that if I didn’t appear to tell the truth or if the machine made me out to be a liar in his opinion, he would just repeat the process until he got the results he wanted.
Then finally he pops the question where he wants a simple yes or no. Then the process repeats itself nine more times and an hour has flown by. I was very glad Sempich hadn’t written 40 questions. I was asked to go to the waiting room where I sat sweating profusely and overheard the examiner and Rock’s comments. The first thing Rock Hill said was to tell the examiner that he had gotten $1,000 off me and he would split it with him. Then Rock asked to be shown the test results and then I overheard the examiner say, I had passed to which Rock said “I don’t believe it” to which the examiner said “Hey, look at this” but I never found out what he was referring to.
Later that day, I was planning to attend a Mill Valley memorial service for Petra Kelly, a co-founder of the German Green Party who had been shot to death recently under strange circumstances but I was so exhausted that I asked Mrs. Brown, Rocks secretary where was the nearest hotel and she gave me directions to what turned out to be a nearby five- star hotel, two blocks from the examiner’s office. The hotel turned out to be very expensive for the first time in my life I paid over $100 for a night, but I was so tired (more burnt out than I realized) I felt I had no choice and checked in and where I spent the rest of the day and night and part of the next day in bed.


#1) On March 23, 1990, in Covelo CA, did Bob Albonico say, “We have an operation south of here” and then pointed south. As he was walking you to your car did he say, “I met ex-Special Forces officers, explosives experts from Oregon and I also met an old man with religious tendencies which I don’t agree with, but he has stinger missiles for sale.” Did you ask him what they were going to blow up? After a long pause did Albonico say “bridges and equipment?” And then arriving at your car did he say, “The money’s good” as you got in the car? (Again I thought he was talking about the coming logging season as that was what he was talking about)
#2) Did you go to Dennis Snell and did he tell you that Albonico had him buy nine pounds of marijuana. ($30,000 worth)
#3) Did you ask Dennis Snell what the real story was with Albonico? He replied “he likes to kill people and start forest fires.”
#4) At your home on Mt. Anthony did Bob Albonico tell you he had just bought a new chain saw, boots, and clothes for $2,700 at Bailey’s Logging Equipment in Laytonville?
#5) At Dennis Snell’s cabin, did Bob Albonico call you over to his truck because he said he wanted to show you his new chain saw and then did he frantically rummage around a pile of gas cans in the back of his truck and did he get excited when he found and pulled out an oil can, the kind with a depress-able lever on the handle that opens a flap on the spout when it is depressed, did he then get a fiendish look on his face and push the spout into your face depressing the lever and opening the spout?
#6) In late June of 1990 were you surrounded by six threatening men at the Black Butte Market at the base of Mt. Anthony in Covelo, California?
#7) The following day, were you accosted in a threatening way outside the Black Butte Market by the older, tall white man and did he try to engage you in a conversation and did you manage to notice that his eyes were gray? (Ron Aronld)
#8) On June 12, 1991 in Round Valley did you stop in your lane at the intersection of Route 162 and Mill Street as a blue and white Bronco approached and stopped next to your car and an older man with white hair and a goatee leaned across the bald-headed driver and shouted, “I’m going to get you” at you and then they turned left on Mill Street.

#9) On July 23, 1991 in Covelo, CA. did you identify as Lew Dunn, the bald headed driver of the blue and white Bronco whose passenger an older man who threaten you saying, “ I’m going to get you,” at the intersection of Route 62 and Mill St. and then turned down Mill Street. (Dr. John Phillip Nichols)
#10) Did you Identify from a September 4, 1991 San Francisco Chronicle three part article a photo of Dr. John Phillip Nichols as the man who threatened you saying “I’m going to get you,” on June 12,1991 at the intersection of route 162 and Mill Street in Covelo, California.


William M. Simpich,
NOTE: There were no questions on my finding the blue towel and the small pile of rocks I was directed to at
Linda Ann Raynor’s murder scene.

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