How to go from homeless new dad to villain
As I neared the end of the Seattle Times' "Special Report: What's best for Baby M?", I began to feel amazement and anger simultaneously. I realized Michael Tesla, the father of a newborn taken from him and his girlfriend (both homeless) just two days after her birth, was the man who deliberately caused a six-car accident that left an innocent bystander in a 9-day coma (mentioned in a previous entry).
Amazed about the serendipity of finding the backstory of that crash, and anger that this man, once a struggling father trying to get his child back from the state, ruined his own life and that of several people around him (his girlfriend, his new daughter) and several random ones (the people driving nearby who were severely injured by his murder attempt).
The final tally:
Michael Tesla was sentenced to almost twelve years in prison for trying to kill his girlfriend and causing a major six-car accident in the process.
According to a police report, Testa, 40, told a pawnshop owner he planned to kill his ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Campo, the morning of March 23. Moments later, he saw her drive by, gave chase, and rammed her truck from behind until it flipped over and careened into oncoming traffic, hitting other drivers. Campo, 43, has a steel plate in her shoulder and numbness in her jaw from the accident. Another victim, Ethel Adams, 59, was in a coma for nine days and still must use a walker.
Michael Tesla's and Elizabeth Campo's daughter, initially a ward of the state when methamphetamines were discovered in her blood the day of her birth, is now with foster parents who are proceeding to adopt her. Both Tesla and Campo gave away their parental rights.
Ethel Adams, as previously mentioned, is recuperating from the injuries that Tesla caused and may not make a full recovery.
The story's writer and photographer, who followed Tesla and Campos for two years in writing this story, now know just one person in jail: Tesla.
Testa's descent into depression, drugs, violence and ultimately jail was catastrophic. For both (Seattle Times photographer Mike) Siegel and (reporter Jonathan) Martin, that was the most surprising aspect of the saga.
"I was surprised how delusional he got," Siegel said. "This person I came to know is going to jail for 12 years. I don't know anybody in jail."
Martin said, "I didn't see the domestic violence in this case coming at all." Testa ended up "hurting the one person in his life he had on his side, the only and perhaps last person on his side."
Michael Tesla - you are a villain, pure and simple. There is absolutely no possible way to excuse your actions.
May your daughter be raised by parents who are the exact opposite of you.