“The Lord created the world, mankind built the cities and the devil thunk up the small town.” – old saying
“How to Get Away With Murder” has morphed from bad network TV to familiar Nevada soap opera.
In 2014, I began a never-ending series about the meanderings of the madcap sheriff of Conforte County…er, Tesla County…er, Storey County, Nevada.
Last Sunday, The New York Times published an investigation about police gypsies, officers who leave when the heat’s on, then pop up as cops in often unsuspecting small towns.
Storey County Sheriff Gerald Cook-Antinoro is my pick to click as poster child for that particular pandemic.
The problem is eerily similar to the longtime lack of a national database on police shootings.
When Reno News & Review editor D. Brian Burghart noticed, he built one, FatalEncounters.org/ (The Washington Post picked his brain, stole his idea and won a Pulitzer without so much as a thank-you. Post/Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is thus a blackguard with a green back.)
Because backgrounds on bad cops are hard to come by, police gypsies like Gerald Cook-Antinoro proliferate.
He got a job in Storey County at the recommendation of a former colleague in the notorious Nevada-Utah bordertown of Wendover. Then known as Gerald Cook, Antinoro scurried to Las Vegas and changed his name. He failed to find work in Gomorrah South law enforcement, but Storey County hired him in good ole boy fashion. If you’re interested in trashy tales of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, you may access my series via the Barbwire web edition at NevadaLabor.com/
The current skulduggery about the sinister Storey sheriff involves murder most foul.
A couple of years ago, a bloody Judith Black was found at the bottom of a staircase in her Virginia Highlands home. Her husband said she fell to her death.
During crime scene investigation, the sheriff showed up, interrupted his deputies and personally took over. Acting as county coroner, he quickly ruled Mrs. Black’s death an accident – despite blood all over the upstairs area and at the top of the staircase.
In typical small town backbiting fashion, he nonetheless got re-elected in 2014.
Both the Washoe and Clark County medical examiners ruled the death a homicide well over a year ago. With a new district attorney, Black’s husband was indicted for murder last week. Insiders say that the investigation was so botched by Cook-Antinoro’s intervention that the accused will probably get away with it.
Judith Black was wealthy, leaving her widower with megabucks to hire top gun criminal lawyer David Houston who recently came to international prominence as wrestler Hulk Hogan’s mouthpiece. Houston promptly presented his first line of defense to the media: The sheriff hisself ruled it accidental. What more do you want?
If and when this comes to trial, Mr. Houston should beware. Basing his defense on the credibility of Gerald Cook-Antinoro is a very bad bet.
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.