Assault victim angered by book’s view
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
A nearly 25-year-old rape case, and a book about the case and those closest to it, have combined to spawn a minor controversy among some residents in Glenwood Springs.
To start with, a former Glenwood Springs woman – Holly White (now Miller) – who was kidnapped and raped in 1986 by a man she thought she knew and could trust, said this week that she is “outraged” over the recent release of a book that describes the event.
“I don’t want anybody to get away with lying, portraying some sick monster as a ‘martyr,'” said White-Miller, referring to her rapist, the late Mark Henderson, and Henderson’s mother, Marian Clayton.
Clayton, who works for Garfield County government, recently published a book titled “Murder with a Twist,” which is now available at the Book Train in Glenwood Springs.
The book relates, in occasionally brutal and painfully personal detail, her troubled life, the life of her son and his jailhouse religious conversion and his 1992 murder while serving a lengthy sentence in a Colorado prison.
“I stand by what I wrote in the book,” said Clayton this week, noting her research in newspaper archives, court documents and interviews. “I told it the way it was. If she wants to go to the public, that’s her business.”
As part of the fallout from the book’s publication, The Book Train bookstore recently canceled a book-signing event originally scheduled for Aug. 20, and a local farmers market quietly disinvited Clayton after agreeing initially that she could set up a table to sign copies and sell her book.
Clayton said she also has been getting hate e-mails from friends of White-Miller, and believes White-Miller had a hand in all of these developments.
“I did,” admitted White-Miller on Aug. 18. She said she also has convinced the printing company that produced the first run of Clayton’s books, to hold off on printing any more.
“I just wanted her to know you can’t slander people and always get away with it,” she said. “I don’t want her to profit off of my pain, ‘Judy’s’ pain and the pain of the other girls who we don’t even know,” referring to girls in other parts of the West who authorities say were raped by Henderson.
The book describes, over several pages, the lead-up to and commission of the kidnapping and rape.
It started out when Henderson picked up two teenage girls while they were walking to a “woodsie” party up Transfer Trail, in the hills north of West Glenwood.
Now living under her married name, Miller, the former Holly White, one of the two girls abducted, lives with her husband and children in Pennsylvania. But she still has family in the Glenwood Springs area, who told her of the book.
“My overall impression of the book is … disturbing. It definitely does not portray his crime as it was. It’s definitely an injustice,” she declared.
Preferring to talk only about the depiction of the kidnapping and rape in the pages of the book, White-Miller ran down a list of passages that she said were incorrect in the details or, as she put it, “outright lies” about how things happened that night in 1986.
To begin with, she said, “we were both 14,” not 14 and 15 as stated in the book.
And although Clayton did not name her or her friend, whom Henderson also raped that night, White-Miller said the pseudonyms were “not a very good protection,” since “Haley Brown is really not far from Holly White. Anyone could go to the yearbook and figure out who I am.”
She declined to discuss the other girl, who is named “Judy Paulson” in the book, withholding news of her current whereabouts or her life after the rape, beyond saying, “She did not do well after this.”
Among her objections to the book, she disputes its depiction of the girls as “dressed in short-shorts with hip-cheeks exposed, midriff tops showing bellies and low-cut necklines showing well-developed breasts.”
“We were both wearing jeans and T-shirts and sneakers, she said, adding unabashedly that, at 14, “I had no breasts.”
White-Miller said that when they first got into Henderson’s truck, she had vaguely recognized his face and he gave them a name, “but it was not Mark.
“From the very beginning, he had gone there with an intention,” she continued, “to rape somebody that night.”
Rather than “flirting” with Henderson, as indicated in the book, she said she stayed away from him at the party: “I felt very awkward with what I felt was an old man at the party.” Henderson was 28 and married with children at the time.
Admitting that she and “Judy” were drinking beer at the party, she denied the book’s claim that the two were using drugs, and said that before they reached the party she had refused an offer from Henderson to smoke pot with him.
The girls parted company from Henderson at the party, White-Miller said, and she did not see him again until she and “Judy” had started walking down the mountain road toward town, on their own, “because we were bored.”
She emphatically said she did not ask Henderson for a ride, as told in the book, but that “he must have seen us leave.”
When she spotted Henderson starting after them in his truck, White-Miller recounted, “I told [“Judy”] to run … there was something in me that was very scared of this man.”
But as they ran, she said, one of them fell in a roadside ditch and got soaked, “I honestly don’t remember which of us.”
And when Henderson pulled up and offered a ride, she said, “I felt, right then, that we had to [get in the truck],” because the night had gotten colder and she was worried they would soon be “freezing to death.”
It was after that, she said, that Henderson tied them up, took them to a vacant lot south of town and raped both of them at knifepoint.
Although the book describes Henderson as unable to complete the deed with either girl, White-Miller says that is true only in her case, because “I fought him every step of the way.”
But she spoke of watching helplessly while “he raped [Judy] until he was done.”
Afterward, instead of apologizing as depicted in the book, she said, Henderson warned both girls that “he would kill us and our families” if they went to the police.
The book tells of the two girls returning to the party after the encounter with Henderson, where they “both began to brag about their recent encounter with Mark” and “were even laughing about their experience.”
This is something that White-Miller emphatically denied, saying that they went to the homes of relatives after the rapes, called the police and spent the rest of the night with the authorities.
“That is the biggest lie, fabrication, untruth, whatever you want to call it. That part kept me from sleeping, kept me from eating” after she read the book, she said, adding that it felt to her as if Clayton were building a case “that we were possibly deserving” of the treatment they received.
Her denials were somewhat supported by the memories of local attorney Ken Jaynes, who prosecuted the case against Henderson.
“That doesn’t ring any bells with me at all,” he said of the book’s passage about the girls going back to the party after the rapes.
Jaynes recalled that the girls gave “a pretty consistent sequence and timeline” of the incident. As for the call to police, Jaynes said it “seemed that … it happened pretty quick” after the assault.
Clayton, however, said that for the segment about the girls returning to the party after the rapes had occurred, she relied on the testimony of a girl who was there that night and saw the girls come back.
Clayton said the girl, whose identity she would not reveal, did not approach Clayton until after her son had died, in 1992, but Clayton said she is “someone I feel I can trust.”
White-Miller pointed out other details she recalled differently from the book’s account, having to do with reporting the rape to the police, going to the hospital and other follow-up activities, and wondered, “What is this doing to my family, that still has to live there” in Glenwood?
“I think she wrote the book to feel better about herself … about making a monster,” White-Miller mused. “I’m sure she has a lot of guilt, and I’m sure she’s trying to make herself feel better … but unfortunately, it’s at the expense of those he hurt.”
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