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For the Children

“I figured if he was there, I’d make sure he wasn’t there [again],” Harlan Drake, a 33-year-old truck driver, told Det. Sgt. Scott Shenk of the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department.  But on the morning of September 11, 2009, James Pouillon was there, sitting across the street from Owosso High School as he had on so many other mornings.  And so Harlan Drake stopped his car, pulled a .45 out of a bag, carefully took aim, and shot Pouillon.  “He was still moving so I shot him one more time.  I aimed under the ribcage going up toward the heart.”

Alana Beamish, who had just dropped her son off at school, attempted to save Pouillon’s life, but it was too late.  The 63-year-old died on the ground.

Drake murdered another man, Mike Fuoss, that day, and went in search of a third, James Howe, intending to kill him, too.  Caught a few hours later, Drake told Detective Sergeant Shenk that “he was going to make our job very easy.”  He confessed to both murders, and from then until his trial ended in a guilty verdict on March 11, Harlan Drake expressed no remorse.

Mike Fuoss’s name was little more than a footnote in most media coverage of that fateful day in Owosso, Michigan.  It was the murder of Pouillon that captured the nation’s attention.  As Drake told Detective Sergeant Shenk, “I asked [Pouillon] over the years not to...

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