Happiness is Not a Warm Gun

Andrea EberspacherNot for Andrea Eberspacher, anyway. Her boyfriend popped her one during a meth-fueled party turned rage incident, right smack dab in the middle of her belly tattoo.

We are not making this up: a tattoo with the John Lennon / Beatles lyric, “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” She survived, but her relationship with her boyfriend/ shooter, one Paul Boye, did not. Indeed, after Boye went to prison, she sued him for her medical expenses. Boye was in high dudgeon that the Department of Corrections did not provide a public defender to help him lose his civil case (as the state had provided one to assist him in losing his criminal case).

The lyric is not, apparently, intended as a reference to guns; according to Eberspacher’s Facebook page, she’s a fan of the midwestern Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today. (Sample video at youtube… they’re OK, less a visual than a sonic tribute, which is at times uncanny).

Boye shot Eberspacher sometime in the wee hours of 1 Feb 14 and she walked into the hospital with an incoherent  the police arrested him five days later. The delay was caused by investigational difficulties resulting from both Romeo and Juliet being less than truthful. The Lincoln, NE, Journal-Star:

She walked into Bryan West Campus just before 5 a.m. The bullet had gone through a kidney and lodged near her spine, and doctors operated on her, police said. They had released her by Friday morning.

The woman initially balked at giving police information and told them a stranger shot her at a party, but Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said the two know each other.

Investigators uncovered evidence over the next four days that led them to believe Boye fired the shot, Flood said.

Police searched his home Thursday and seized several guns, then arrested him about 5:15, she said.

paul boye mugshotWe’ve been unable to find out if he was previously convicted of a felony and therefore a prohibited person (he was prohibited as a drug user, but we’ve never heard of that provision being enforced against an actual criminal, only harmless holders of medical-marijuana cards).

He’s the guy with the blank expression on the right. Doesn’t look much like a Beatles fan, does he? (Maybe his favorite was “Run for Your Life”: “You better run for your life if you can, little girl… I’d rather see you dead” etc). Then again, no one’s at his best in his license photo, or jail mugshot.

Boye was tried and convicted and sent to prison by October, 2014; he did not take the stand in his own defense, but others recounted his actions that night:

At first, Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

A friend later told investigators Boye ran to the basement and said he had shot Eberspacher, according to the affidavit.

“I am toast,” the witness remembered Boye saying.

Maybe not “toast,” but he got 10 to 15, which under typically dishonest, lawyerly sentencing rules in Nebraska means he’ll be back menacing society by 2020.

A more recent story has some details of the shooting and the wound.

In court documents, attorney Perry Pirsch said Boye and Eberspacher argued after smoking methamphetamine and drinking vodka, and she suddenly felt pain in her right side and back and looked at her side.

“You … shot me,” she screamed, according to Pirsch.

We’re presuming the ellipses indicate language unfit for a family newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska. It does not tax the imagination to supply the missing adverbial epithet.

The .22-caliber bullet tore through her right kidney, liver and colon and lodged near her spine. On the way to the hospital, Boye apologized for shooting her, his attorney said at sentencing.

Oh, that makes it all okay, then!

And note, this is an “anemic” .22 wound that would have been fatal minus modern ER practice or further from a hospital. We’ll let Aesop tell us how bright these two folks weren’t, to drive to the hospital instead of calling EMS. (For one thing, it gets your car all bloody and unlike your ’84 Oldsmobile, the ambulance is designed to wash out).

Pirsch said Eberspacher needed a foot-long incision through her midsection, leaving a scar that, ironically, bisects her tattoo of the Beatles’ lyric.

She had to spend two days in intensive care.

Play stupid games, win what, kids? That’s right, stupid prizes. Silly buggers with meth and vodka is already a stupid game before some subgenius starts getting his brandish on.

In the civil case, Boye claimed the shooting was an accident. But as another Star-Journal story says,

In October, Boye’s attorney said the shooting was an accident. But at a deposition in the civil case against him, Boye invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 50 times, even after being told that doing so could be used against him.

… speaking by phone from his cell, Boye argued that the story had changed many times and the facts are in dispute. He repeatedly asked for an attorney, but they aren’t appointed in civil cases.

In court records in the criminal case, Lincoln Police Officer Carla Cue said Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, first told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

Eberspacher was awarded her medical bills of some $20k, and a second trial in the fall will determine if she has pain and suffering money coming, too. It may be a pyrrhic legal victory, however. As the old lawyers’ saw goes, “You can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardy, but can you collect?” Eberspacher now has a judgment against an indivudual who seemed to be leading a marginal, sketchy life before going into the nonexistent earning environment that is state prison. It seems improbable she will ever see a dime of that money, and so it seems unlikely that the hospital or the surgeon and other professionals who saved her life will get paid, either.

She says she hasn’t had, but needs, psychological counseling. She needs better taste in men and recreational activities; dare we build upon her experience and suggest more Beatles, less meth.

10 thoughts on “Happiness is Not a Warm Gun

  1. staghounds

    “The sheer enormity and permanency of this loss to the boyfriend far exceeds the power of the state to punish the him for his inattention under circumstances that should have been obvious to him”

    “In most cases where a fool whacks a playmate without meaning to, the state piling on doesn’t really serve an articulable public purpose, unless you’re the sort of state’s attorney who believes that your self-aggrandizement is the highest of public purposes.”

    1. Hognose Post author

      This character was convicted of doing it deliberately, albeit impulsively. The parallel you seek with the handbag-carry case doesn’t really apply, in my view.

      1. "Greg"

        I’m usually not bewildered by the behavior of homo sapiens but in this case, I am curious to ask what was the purpose for the modification and reposting of commentary from the handbag article to THIS article?

    1. Tam

      staghounds is no troll, unless “troll” has been defined down to mean “person who disagrees”.

      I don’t always agree with him, but I will say (and have said before) that he might be the smartest person I know. And I know some pretty smart people.

    2. Tam

      PS: Now to go look at this handbag thread that seems to have everyone (all of whom no doubt have extensive handbag experience ;) ) in such a tizzy.

  2. Raoul Duke

    From the Nebraska DOC website: “There are several Private Venture companies located on Prison grounds, etc. These Inmate-employees, in turn, pay State and Federal taxes and contribute to the costs of their “room and board” at the facility. Part of their income goes into a Victim’s Reparation Fund, as well as towards financial support of their families or in savings.”

    If NDOC is like most correctional agencies, participation in work is tied to other privileges, as well as a “resume enhancer” for their parole hearings, so there is actually a waiting list for inmate jobs.

    It’s entirely possible the victim will see her settlement money, just slowly…one license plate at a time. :)

  3. Red

    A meth fueled party. Those never go well, do they? Although I must say these fine ambassadors of the second look pretty decent for being the sort of folks who attend such gatherings. Maybe they hadn’t gone very far down the rabbit hole yet.

  4. staghounds

    The point was to show how the “no penalty because he’s suffered enough” argument gets little traction when it’s applied in most contexts.

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