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Suspense Crime

Audrey Morgan was a court stenographer. She mostly transcribed for family courts bouncing between Judge Bosch and Judge Scully, and on occasion Judge Thomason who would borrow her from time to time. Audrey had been on the job for almost ten years and had heard seen it all. She would often say to her husband " In family court there are no rules." or "I wouldn't wish family court on my worst enemy." 

When she first started in her career, she thought she may not make it or last long. The stories of abuse (especially kids) were the worse, along with infidelity, lies, and money.

However, as time went on, she began to enjoy her work. Audrey became so respected among her peers that she caught herself constantly in the middle of a bidding war between the judges for who would get her each day. 

Tuesday January 4, 2022, the first day back to school after the holidays. The morning routine was in fact routine for Audrey and her family. With only her and her eight-year-old daughter in the mornings. Her husband worked on a spool base across the bay which is an hour drive with no traffic. His work required him there by seven every morning, so he was long gone before they woke up. Audrey didn't mind their arrangement. Her and their daughter had the morning process down to a science. 

On the morning of January 4, 2022, she woke up at 6:15 a.m. from a text by her husband (as usual) that read "I love you". She responded back "love you more". By 6:45a.m, her daughter was finished with her cereal and Audrey had a half-eaten bagel and a second cup of coffee in front of her.

They lived at the end of Burlington Dr. in a cuddle sack. The street was not big only one way in and one way out. Her daughter left the house every morning at 6:50 a.m. (as she did this morning) to walk to the stop sign at the end of the street and wait for her bus that arrived every morning at 7:05a.m. 

Audrey not far behind her let the dogs out and filled their water bowls before finally locking up and pulling out of her driveway by 6:55am. Once she made it to the end of the street her daughter was standing by the stop sign listening to her ear pods. She rolled down her window to say, "I love you" (as she did every morning) but as soon as she rolled down her window, she had a horrible uneasy feeling come across her. This was not depression or sadness. This was a fear. Something about the fear she couldn't describe. 

Almost like something bad was happening or about to happen. Audrey decided she wasn't going to leave her daughter instead she was going to wait with her for the bus. She didn't want to scare her plus she couldn't explain the fear if she wanted to.

She put her car in park and stepped out. Once her daughter saw her, she pulled out one of her ear buds "Hey mom what are doing?" 

"Oh, I got time before I have to be at work, I just thought I sit with my girl and wait for the bus with you."

Audrey did her best to pretend nothing was wrong but the minute she stepped out of her car she had a sense like someone was watching her and her daughter like they were intended prey. 

She looked in every direction but saw nothing. What seemed like an hour but only two minutes later she saw the bus heading their way? She kept scanning in every direction over and over while carrying on a conversation as if nothing was wrong. 

As the bus was pulling up, she hugged her daughter tighter than usual and told her she loved her "love you too mom." Audrey watched her as the school bus pulled away should I have taken her to school? Audrey thought.

That thought was followed by another rush of panic consuming her entire body. She ran to her car and locked the doors not understanding the fear or able to wrap her mind around the fact that at any minute she was about to be attacked. She picked up her phone and texted her husband 

"Are you OK?" 

"Yes. Why? Are you OK?" he replied

"Nothing. I had a weird morning just making sure."

Audrey sat the phone down in her middle console she felt vulnerable while parked even though it was on the same street, she called home. She buckled her seat belt driving a little faster than normal to work. By the time she got there the fear she had vanished like a huge weight had been lifted. Still, she couldn't shake the morning she had while standing at the stop sign with her daughter on the end of Burlington Dr.  

After lunch she worked out the schedule to leave work early so she could be waiting for her daughter once she got off the bus at 3:27 p.m. Once Audrey pulled on the street the same fear from that morning didn't exist. Her daughters bus arrived like clockwork (3:27pm). 

That night Audrey discussed her morning experience with her husband but pretended to brush it off explaining “I worried myself for nothing.” Audrey was not sure why she lied. She knew her experience at the stop sign was not normal and she was very confident what she felt was pure evil. 

The rest of the week (mornings and afternoons) Audrey was at the bus stop. However, the blanket of fear on the morning of January 4, 2022, never revealed itself again. She didn't forget about it only filed it back in her brain. As the weeks went by, she went back to normal thoughts that worked well with her normal routine.

March 17, 2022, she received a call from Judge Thomason who requested her services for court that morning due to a call out of another stenographer. "Not family court, I need you for a criminal case in Bay Minette. I know this is last minute and a long drive, but I'm stuck I could really use you today."

"You can count on me I'll be there." Audrey said without hesitation. Another routine morning (as usual) for Audrey and her daughter. Her daughter was off to school and Audrey was headed to Bay Minette a solid forty-five-minute drive from Burlington Dr. 

Audrey was excited about her day she could use a break from family court. Criminal court is not considered easy street, but a welcoming change of issues she would rather hear about today. When Audrey arrived, she found out there was no case docket only a special setting for arraignment. 

After saying hey to Judge Thomason, she left her chambers to set up her equipment before the arraignment began. Audrey pulled out her pink and white Stenograph Luminex Pro from her rolling case. Hooked the power and internet through her machine, made sure everything was working, then engaged in small talk with a few attorneys before Judge Thomason entered the court room. Audrey locked in behind her Luminex Pro not looking back.... 

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS (March 17, 2022)

                                      Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         1

         1                 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         2                 FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA

     BALDWIN COUNTY

         3

         4   STATE OF ALABAMA,

         5             Plaintiff,

         6   vs.                             NO. 99-1417-JC

         7   MARC T. LINDER,

         8             Defendant.

         9

        10

        11

        12                  TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS

                                FEBRUARY 3, 2022

        13

        14

        15   BEFORE: THE HONORABLE MICHELLE M. THOMASON

                     United States Presiding District Judge

        16

        17

        18                        A P P E A R A N C E S

        19   FOR THE PLAINTIFF:       Robert Wilters

                                      District Attorney

        20                            Baldwin County, AL

                                      P. O. Box 1269

        23                            Bay Minette, AL  36507

        24

        25

                                      Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         2

         1   FOR THE DEFENDANT:       Mark Cline

                                      Charlie M. Hollander

         2                            HOLLANDER & CLINE LLP

                                      400 South Hope Street

         3                            Daphne, AL  36526

        24                            

        25

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         3

         1            THE COURT:  Court is now in session.  Please have a

         2   seat.  Let me ask counsel again to state their appearances in

         3   Number 22-0317, State of Alabama versus Marc. T Linder.

         4            MR. Wilters:  Yes, Your Honor.  Robert 

         5   Wilters; Baldwin County, District Attorney’s office. 

         6   Southern District of Alabama. Good Morning 

         7   MR. CLINE:  Good morning.  Mark Cline, Charlie M. Hollander

         8   HOLLANDER & CLINE LLP

         9   here as well.

        10   THE COURT:  Okay.  I understand the parties have

        11   finally reached a plea agreement satisfactory to everyone.  I

        12   have reviewed the most recent signed version, and I gather you

        13   are now ready to proceed with a plea hearing and disposition.

        14   Is that correct?

        15            MR. Wilters:  That is correct.      

        16            MR. Cline:  That is correct.

        17            MR. Hollander:  Yes, Your Honor.

        18            THE COURT:  All right.  What I will do is ask that

        19   Mr. LINDER and his counsel come up to the microphone at this

        20   time. 

        21            At this time I will ask Mr. Jonathan Davis to         

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         4

         1   administer the oath to Mr. LINDER.

         2         (Whereupon, an oath to tell the truth was

         3          administered to the defendant to tell the truth.)

         4            THE COURT:  Mr. LINDER, you are now under oath.  If you

         5   give any false answers to questions that I ask you, your false

         6   answers could be used against you in a prosecution for perjury

         7   or false statements or obstruction of justice, all of which

         8   are separate crimes.  Do you understand that sir?

         9            THE DEFENDANT:  I understand.

        10            THE COURT:  Would you please state your full name?

        11            THE DEFENDANT:  MARC T. LINDER.

        12            THE COURT:  And how old are you, Mr. Linder?

        13            THE DEFENDANT:  I am 48.

        14            THE COURT:  I am aware of your education from having

        15   read a number of documents in the file, but again I will ask

        16   you to state on the record your education, please, sir.

        17            THE DEFENDANT:  I have a bachelor’s degree in Arts

        18   

        19            THE COURT:  And that was from Auburn University?

        20            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, from Auburn University.

        21            THE COURT:  In the last 24 hours, have you used any

        22   alcohol or other drugs?

        23            THE DEFENDANT:  No.

        24            THE COURT:  Are you under a doctor's care?

        25            THE DEFENDANT:  No.

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         5

         1            THE COURT:  And are you taking any prescription

         2   medications?

         3            THE DEFENDANT:  No.

         4            THE COURT:  At this time, are you fully alert?

         5            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

         6            THE COURT:  If you do not understand any question I

         7   ask you this morning, would you please tell me?

         8            THE DEFENDANT:  I will.

         9            THE COURT:  Are you nervous at this time?

        10            THE DEFENDANT:  No.

        11            THE COURT:  May I see the original of the plea

        12   agreement, please?

        13           Mr. Wilters:  Your Honor, I have just handed up

        14   a copy of the original plea agreement.

        15            THE COURT:  Would you hand this to Mr. Cline, please.

        16            Mr. Linder, is that your signature on the original plea

        17   agreement?

        18            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        19            THE COURT:  Now, I notice that you signed M.T. Linder

        20   as a single name.  Is that correct?

        21            THE DEFENDANT:  That is correct.  That is the way I

        22   sign.

        23            THE COURT:  In all of the pleadings those names are

        24   shown separately, but your signature is the way you normally

        25   sign?

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         6

         1            THE DEFENDANT:  That is correct.

         2            THE COURT:  Let me ask counsel, is that your

         3   signature also on the plea agreement?

         4            MR. CLINE:  Yes, Your Honor.

         5            Mr. Hollander:  Yes, Your Honor.

         6            THE COURT:  Mr. Linder, did you read the plea agreement

         7   in its entirety before you signed it?

         8            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

         9            THE COURT:  And did you discuss it with your

        10   attorneys before you signed it?

        11            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        12            THE COURT:  Did you fully understand all of the

        13   provisions of your plea agreement before you signed it?

        14            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        15            THE COURT:  You are pleading guilty today to the

        16   charge in Count 12 of the indictment.  Have you read the

        17   indictment?

        18            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        19            THE COURT:  Have you discussed it with your

        20   attorneys?

        21            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        22            THE COURT:  Do you understand all of the charges in

        23   the 24 counts of the indictment?

        24            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, I understand.

        25            THE COURT:  Are you fully satisfied with all

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         7

         1   explanations your attorneys have given you about these

         2   charges?

         3            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

         4            THE COURT:  Count 24 charges in reference code 13A-6-43 

         5   that on a date in 2022 up through the date of the indictment, 

         6   within the District of Alabama, you committed these crimes along 

         7   with accomplice Mr. Charlie. You planned to kidnap a child  

         8   wearing headphones at the same bus stop before you attacked the 

         9   victim until what you assumed was the mom showed up and stood 

        10   with her until she got on the bus. So, you waited for another 

        11   child (victim) who was running late to bus making sure no other 

        12   adult was around you attacked. Do you understand specifically 

        13   this charge that is made against you?

        14            THE DEFENDANT:  I understand.

        15            THE COURT:  Do you understand, Mr. Linder, that Count 1

        16   12 charges you with the commission of a felony crime?

        17            THE DEFENDANT:  I understand.

        18            THE COURT:  If I accept your plea of guilty to Count

        19   12, it will be the same as though you have been convicted of

        20   that felony charge.  Do you understand that sir?

        21            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

        22            THE COURT:  Are you fully satisfied with the way that

        23   you have been represented by your attorneys, Mr. Cline,

        24   Mr. Hollander and all of the other attorneys who have worked on

        25   you're behalf in this case?

                                        Audrey Morgan

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

                                                                         8

         1            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

         2            THE COURT:  At this time, I need to review the plea

         3   agreement with you.  Bear with me because I have before me

         4   to make sure that I cover everything in this final version.

         5   First I am going to advise you of the rights of a defendant.  

         6   Some of these are set forth in paragraph 2 of your

         7   plea agreement.  That----

         8   ----------------------

"Mrs. Morgan are you OK? Mrs. Morgan! Someone call 911!" Judge Thomason said as she and two other deputies ran to Audrey passed out on the floor.

The special setting had been continued after paramedics rushed Audrey to the hospital. She passed out in the middle of court without any warning to herself or others but declared stable by paramedics before arrival. It was later revealed to the Court what caused Audrey's health scare during the arraignment testimony of Marc T. Linder. Where he described in detail how he almost kidnapped Audrey’s daughter on January 4, 2022. 

The special setting was rescheduled for the following month April 2022. Audrey insisted on being there not for work but for the chance to read a witness impact statement before Marc. T. Linder’s sentencing. Audrey's knees were shaking as she walked up to address the court. Her husband standing right next to her grabbed her hand giving her strength to make it through.

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS (April 19, 2022)

                                      Alyssa Knutson

                                 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

3

1                THE Victim (#2): Honorable Judge, The actions of Marc 

2        T. Linder have affected my family in ways I could never put 

         3     into words. However, to make sure that I cover everything in 

         4     this final version. Since the defendant's testimony during his 

         5     arraignment last month. He described in detail how he almost 

         6     kidnapped our daughter on January 4, 2022, at her bus stop 

         7     describing the color of her clothes and headphones. This has 

         8     left us in constant fear. We don't trust anymore, we can't 

         9     sleep, and don't want her out of our sight. This has affected 

        10     our jobs and life which will never be the same as we knew it 

        12     before. This is no way to live or raise a child, have come to

        13     terms with our reality. What Marc did to the victim will 

        14    forever be ingrained in my mind as should this court during 

        15    sentencing. The connection we shared had been unknown to 

        16    myself and the defendant when court began that day 

        17    last month. You can chalk it up to mother instinct, God, or          

        18    even luck for what didn't happen to our daughter the morning 

        19    of January 4, 2022. I felt evil a little close for 

        20    comfort that day. Only to find out two months later that same 

        21    evil planned to hurt my eight-year girl while she waited for   

        22    her bus to school. That's not what scares me the most. What     

        23    keeps me up at night (still) is the same evil I felt that 

        24    January morning I came face to face with a two months later 

        25    and didn't even know it. Marc. T. Linder is an evil monster 

        26    that has no business in society and should never ever see

        27    the light of day in this life or the next.

        28            THE COURT:  The end. 

January 06, 2022 23:41

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