In 1993, Davis kidnapped Polly Klaas at knifepoint from a slumber party in Petaluma, committed a lewd act on her, and strangled her to death. After he was caught and convicted, Davis stuck his middle finger up at the judge and said that before Klaas died, she told him, "Just don't do me like my daddy." Klaas' horrified father, who denied the allegation, had to be held back by security. The judge told Davis that his behavior made handing down the death penalty easy.

Samantha says she doesn't condone the murder of children or innocent people. "It's horrific. It's disgusting, really," she says. "But [the killers are] still human beings, and they still need attention. I like the idea of nurturing a side of them that doesn't get nurtured."

As it turns out, Davis wants to nurture Samantha in return.

Dear Samantha,

 

Well, good day and I do hope you are feeling better physically. No more signs of your past nightly outings of sexual delight. So you know, I've been getting your writings and you are very much in my thoughts. I have to say that reading about that one certain person [a reference to Karr] who still inflicts himself in your life J I thought about how much you needed someone willing to wear a ski mask and take a baseball bat to the legs. Seriously, just someone smacking the back and front thigh muscles a few good hard times LOL! Though they won't walk for about a week, slowly getting back on the feet changes the person's attitude much for the better...

Reading this letter aloud to her roommates and the reporter outside the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Pacific Heights, Samantha is basking in the attention. Her flowered notebook is sprawled on her lap, displaying about a dozen letters with San Quentin return addresses. Not all are from Davis, it turns out. Samantha has also hooked the Night Stalker, Richard Ramirez: a burglar, rapist, and serial killer who murdered more than two dozen men and women across California.  

She likes corresponding with Ramirez; he even sent her a picture of himself and a drawing of two dinosaurs fighting. But she finds him to be a bit of an awkward writer. He asks a lot of mundane questions about her family and what she likes to do. But sometimes he cracks her up. "If you had won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?" she reads aloud. "I'd buy an island and fill it with girls in bikinis."   

Davis, on the other hand, is somebody she believes she could actually fall for. "He writes me like ten-page letters," she says. "And he does all these faces. Like this." She points out an emoticon with a slanted smirk. "What would you call that?" she asks her roommates, who seem a little zoned-out.

"Sideways face?" Nastassia offers.

Here's the thing about Davis, Samantha says. Although he goes on rants about crappy prison kitchenware and his back problems, he also makes a point of responding. He tells funny stories and uses Lone Ranger stamps, and gives her compliments.

She picks up another letter and starts reading. "I want you to know you have a soft, sensual voice. Wink. You match your voice very well. Nice looking and sounding. It's not often I can talk to someone. Especially a woman and there's nothing of an awkward silent moment while we talk."

It's true, she says, glowing. "Me and Richard Allen Davis never have an awkward moment."

When it registers with Pamela that this all means Samantha has actually spoken with him on the phone, she freaks. "What the fuck?" she says. "What are you doing?"

"But he's so funny," Samantha offers, cowering a little.

"I swear to God ..." Pamela starts.

"He sent me a visitation form," Samantha says.

"Dude."

"It's my rescue complex," she says, referring to her desire to comfort the afflicted killers.

"You are not that person," Pamela says. "You aren't supposed to do that for them. No one has to. Who cares about those stupid people?"

"I feel balance when I write to them. Like I have a purpose," Samantha says. Sure, she knows Davis and Ramirez are sociopaths. She knows that. But there's just something she can relate to.

Pamela shakes her head.   

A few days later, there's a status change on Samantha's Facebook account: "Samantha Spiegel is in a relationship."


Samantha had been carrying Davis' letters around with her, reading them multiple times. He said he was doing the same with hers. Then, in late September, a letter arrived that made his intentions clear. He wanted to be more than friends.

Although he had received letters from many, many women, "no other women except for you is in the cell with me," he wrote.

Samantha told Davis that she was also hoping to take things to the next level, and says they entered into a relationship she considers monogamous. Lately, they've been discussing ways to get her into the jail for a visit. Since she is not a spouse, the visit would not be considered conjugal. But she is hoping they can arrange to meet face to face. She's already thinking about the possibility of having Davis' child, if he wants one.

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