This week for the True Crime Wednesday feature, I am recapping the first episode in the second season of the true crime documentary series, I am a Killer. I will recap and summarize the information from within the episode, followed by any additional information I found and my opinion on the episode. Content Warning: this episode does discuss drug abuse, alcohol abuse, psychological abuse, domestic violence, suicide and homicide.
Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the US in 1976, more than 8,000 people have been sentenced to death.
Episode 9 – In Her Hands
Each yeah in the United States more than 8,000 people are convicted of murder. Of these, fewer than 10% are women.
In 2015, Lindsay Haugen took the life of her boyfriend Robby Mast.
Lindsay grew up in Portland, Oregon. When Lindsay was young, she enjoyed going to church, and singing. In high school things changed, she began hanging with a new crowd and smoking cannabis. At 15, Lindsay began to run away from home, and began using harder drugs. At 17, Lindsay found out she was pregnant.
In 2003, Lindsay Haugen returned to her family. Clean of drugs, she enlisted in the National Guard. Lindsay’s son stayed with her mother during her military service.
Lindsay enjoyed her time in the military. It was there that she met a man at the end of 2013. According to Lindsay, this man would become mean when drunk, he was controlling and did not like the job Lindsay had because of the number of men she worked around. He would become violent with her and sexually assault her. During one incident, he crushed her hand and broke it while mocking her screams.
In June 2015, Lindsay Haugen’s Partner was jailed for his attack on her. She left the National Guard the same year.
Lindsay found herself alone at home, drinking to cope. She would wake up and drink until she went to bed. She would repeat this pattern day in and day out.
Lindsay Haugen first met Robby mast at a house party in August 2015.
According to Lindsay, Robby wanted to live a nomadic lifestyle. Robby had declined her offer of a place to stay, so Lindsay joined him on his travels. She claims that one day he told her that he could not be happy with her even though he wished he could. Lindsay tried to talk Robby out of this line of thinking and thought she had been successful. However, a few days later she says that Robby expressed being tired and wanting to end his life. At one point they were drinking, and Lindsay says Robby asked her to kill him because he could not do it himself. Lindsay started crying and the night ended with Robby holding Lindsay to comfort her. The next morning when Robby made a comment about how he could not have expected her to do that, that Lindsay felt guilty she could not give Robby what he wanted. Lindsay decided she was going to give Robby what he wanted while they were in the Walmart parking lot. At one point while Lindsay was strangling Robby, he began to have a seizure. When he stopped shaking Lindsay, panicked and at first began driving around before stopping in a parking lot to administer CPR. A police officer arrived on the scene and Lindsay told him that she had killed Robby.
Dori Greeson was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Robby was the second son she had with her first husband, Bob Mast. She had met Bob when she was 24 years old. She describes Robby as fun, outgoing, and precious. Gene Greeson became part of Dori’s family in May 1996. Gene believes that they had a good 12 years as a family before Robby left the house.
When Robby was 18, he left the family home in Clearwater.
When Robby left home, it caused Dori great worry and distress. They did not hear from for one year and twenty-four days. Robby rarely called due to the distress his chosen lifestyle caused his mother. Dori admits that there was a lot that they did not know about Robby’s life.
Over the next 6 years, Dori and Gene had little contact with Robby. They last saw him in December 2014.
In May of 2015, Robby had checked himself into rehab for alcohol. Robby’s parents had talked with supervisors at the rehab facility. He had been doing well, they figured they would hear from him again when he got out of rehab. However, the next phone call they got four months later was to inform them that Robby had died. Dori remembers the exact day she got the phone call about Robby (September 17th). She had been shocked to learned that he had died then could not believe that he had been murdered. It was in the paper that she read that his murderer was his girlfriend.
Detective Steve Hallam has been with the Billings Police Department for 14 years. When Detective Hallam met with Lindsay, he felt he knew what had happened to Robby. Up until this case Detective Hallam had never heard of someone asking a person to kill them. There were also things that Lindsay had said in her statement to Detective Hallam that made him question the validity of her statement. Detective Hallam also felt that if you look at her actions, to him they do not seem to be actions of a person who claims to love the victim. During the interrogation Lindsay admitting to wanting to take a life. Detective Hallam believes that Lindsay likes to paint a picture of herself to minimize that she is a deliberate killer.
Lindsay Haugen plead guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Gene and Dori have been ministering in prisons for at least 14 years. They have compassion for people who have lost their freedom due to bad decisions. Because of Dori’s faith, she has been able to forgive Lindsay. Dori believes holding onto resentments only harms the person holding on to them. Gene believes it is important to get the message about forgiveness out to those that need to hear it.
Ten months after the murder of their son, Dori and Gene wrote to Lindsay to forgive her.
When they first forgave Lindsay, they did not see themselves having love for her. Through the letters Dori felt that Lindsay was sorry for what she had done and she was paying for it with her time in prison.
On June 10th, 2017, Dori and Gene visited Lindsay in Montana.
The first thing Lindsay said upon being led into the visiting room was “I’m so sorry,” to Dori. Dori tells Lindsay, she forgives her, and they hugged. Dori believes Lindsay is an example of how she needs to be with her savior.
Detective Steve Hallam investigated the circumstances leading to Robby’s murder.
Before reaching Billings, Robby and Lindsay had met with Robby’s friends.
Lindsay Haugen met Robby on August 20th, 2015. She killed him on September 15th. They had known each other for 26 days.
Detective Hallam believes that the timeline alone is enough to question the version of events that Lindsay is telling everyone. Detective Hallam believes that Robby was using Lindsay to get back to the love of his life Kate, and that Lindsay’s jealousy is ultimately what led her to killing Robby.
Robby Mast’s father, stepmother, brother, stepsisters, and friends declined to participate in this film. Many of them object to Robby’s killer being offered a public voice. Some also believe Dori and Gene are exploiting Robby’s death for their own interests.
Dori understands why others may not be able to forgive Lindsay, but she does not believe she is betraying her son by giving forgiveness. To Gene it does not matter if Lindsay is telling the truth or if it was premediated murder, it is their place to forgive her. Gene and Dori look at things the way they do so that they can see a purpose in Robby’s death.
In the state of Montana, prisoners may become eligible for parole after serving a quarter of their sentence.
The support of a victim’s family is taken into consideration by the parole board. Lindsay Haugen could be eligible for release in 2030.
While Lindsay is aware that having a good relationship with Robby’s family would help her in front of the parole board, she is not focusing on that. She is okay if she has to serve the entire sentence of 60 years. Lindsay regrets her flippant attitude at the time of her confession. She recognizes where her history of domestic violence played into her decisions and choices. She is forever changed by taking a life and she has to live with it everyday for the rest of her life.
These are all the people interviewed for the episode. They are listed in order of credited appearance.
- Lindsay Haugen, inmate
- Dori Greeson, Robby’s mother
- Gene Greeson, Robby’s stepfather
- Detective Steve Hallam, Billings Police Department
Out of respect for Robby’s family members that objected to this documentary I am going to only say a few things about Lindsay and move on to focus on Robby. Lindsay seems to have stayed out of trouble while incarcerated. She had made appearances on other media outlets for her participation in the music programs offered. Now I would like to highlight the fact that Robby was only 24 years old. I refuse to speculate on Robby’s mental health but I will state that a lot of people who struggle with addiction and alcoholism tend to be self-medicating. Getting proper mental health treatment is the only way for someone to be successful in recovery. I also want to say that I do not believe that the 12-step programs out there are the only way to get and maintain sobriety. If you or someone know is struggle with mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault, or addiction, help is out there. Please use any of the resources listed below.
RAINN http://rainn.org 1.800.656.4673
Trevor Project http://thetrevorproject.org 1.866.488.7386
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1.800.273.8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline http://acf.hhs.gov 1.800.799.7233
Tomorrow for the Writing Thursday feature, I am presenting an original scene from a one page challenge. Next week for the Missing Person Wednesday feature, I am highlighting the Doe Network profile of Mark Charles Burleigh. Until then keep sleuthing the cases; Nerd out!
Connect with me on social media:
*If you would like to support this blog, please share it with your friends and family. You can also support this blog for as little as $1/month on Patreon. By being a supporter on Patreon you will receive rewards and access to exclusive content. All support received through Patreon goes towards the costs associated with the blog. https://www.patreon.com/tshathaway *