Monday, April 1, 2013

Like Father, Like Son, Like Brother?

As my wife and I pondered what to name our baby, we tossed around many names. Some we hated because of the sound, some because of the negative connotation it draws from knowing someone with that name. The conversation turned to whether we should name a baby boy after me. After all, I have my father's name. We have different middle names though so I am not technically a junior.

Then I remembered growing up. My mother yelling my name when she was calling for my dad or vice versa, opening my father's mail, answering my father's phone calls, and I still get all his AARP information.

In the end, we decided against it. But the conversation shook a story loose from the annals of my job.

A defendant was arrested for gun possession. Only, the arrest took place a month after the police saw him with the gun. He threw it and the police couldn't catch him that day. They knew who he was and arrested him the next time they saw him.

But there was a hiccup in the scheme and some things didn't add up. The defense attorney allowed us to talk to his client because he thought he was innocent. The conversation went something like this.

"Tell me your name," I said.

"Thomas Aaron Simpson," he said.

"What do you want to tell me?"

"I didn't do it. It was my brother. The cops arrested the wrong man."

I'd heard this story before. "Okay. So what's your brother's name?"

"Thomas Aaron Simpson."

"No, your brother."

"Thomas Aaron Simpson."

"No, not your name. Your brother's."

"Thomas Aaron Simpson."

The defense attorney gives me a little kick under the table, helping me realize I was mistaken.

Sometimes you just ask the obvious question. "So you and your brother are both Thomas Aaron Simpson?"


"Okay. Same mother, same father, or both?" I wanted to get some more detailed information to investigate.

"Same father."

"What's his name?" I should have known. I really should have.

"Thomas Aaron Simpson."

"All right. So where were you the night the police thought they saw you with a gun."

"I was home from the hospital with my wife and son. I'd just accidentally stabbed myself with a machete and just got home."

The first accidental machete stabbing I'd heard of.

"What's your girlfriend's name?" I needed to investigate the alibi.


"And your son?"

Do you think I should have guessed the answer by now? You'd be wrong.

"Thomas Aaron Simpson."

As it turns out, Thomas Aaron Simpson's DNA did not appear on that handgun. None of them. We dropped the charges.

And I did not name my son after me.

Like all my anecdotal posts, this is drawn from a mixture of cases and situations and was not a verbatim conversation from any one particular case or in any way providing confidential information. Nice disclaimer?


  1. "Did I ever tell you about Mrs. McCave/who had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?"--Too Many Daves, Dr. Seuss.

    Full text here:

    I guess those guys really liked the name Thomas Aaron Simpson. And I have to wonder what that guy was doing with the machete....

    Hope all is well and that you're all settled in nicely.

  2. Well, there's always Larry. And his brother, Darrell, and his other brother, Darrell. . .