Good Soldier Bad Soldier

updated 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/25/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Scott O'Grady

He seemed to have walked straight out of the '50s, a modest, boyish hero for a nation still reeling from the carnage at Oklahoma City. Shot down by Serbs on June 2, airman O'Grady, 30, survived on ants and rainwater in the Bosnian forest while hostile soldiers passed within a yard of him. After his rescue by Marines six days later, he was an instant icon, addressing adoring crowds and facing a phalanx of the media. "I was trying to simplify my life," he says. "Boy, did I mess up!"

Captain O'Grady's book Return with Honor has just hit the stands, but the fanfare has subsided. "I was in an airport, and this lady started staring," he says. "I thought, 'Oh, no, here it comes.' " To his relief, she asked, "Would you like to take a survey?" He did—but then she returned with a final query: "Has anybody ever told you you look like that Scott O'Grady guy?"

Timothy McVeigh
Crew-cut, cold-eyed and defiant, he seemed to fit the role of a killer capable of blowing up 169 people in the nation's worst-ever act of domestic terrorism. After McVeigh, 27, was arrested for the April 19 bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, FBI agents showed him photos depicting the mangled bodies of the 19 children he allegedly had killed in the blast. Rather than recoil in horror, the Desert Storm vet simply asked for an attorney. Up for trial in May, he has pleaded not guilty, in spite of a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Is Tim McVeigh unhinged—or just the underside of the boy next door? As a youth in Upstate New York, he liked hiking, hockey and computer hacking. "He could make a friend in a minute," his father recalled. In the Army he shone, rising quickly to sergeant. It "teaches you to discover yourself," McVeigh said of the service. "It teaches you who you are."


Alicia Chapman
On Nov. 2, Chapman, 47, a Miami school-bus driver earning $8.03 an hour, was hauling a cargo of 12 disabled children and one adult aide. At 8:20 a.m., just as she picked up a 13th child, Catalino "Nick" Sang, 42, a tuxedoed waiter in tax trouble, forced himself and the child's mother onboard. For 75 minutes Chapman navigated congested streets—trailed, a la O.J., by police and media—while Sang reportedly threatened to blow up her bus. "I pray a lot," said the Cuban émigré when asked how she kept calm until a sharpshooter cut down her unarmed captor. She also harangued Sang and pumped the gas so he'd lose his balance: "I would have killed him if I had a sun."

Dee Dee Myers

Resigning after two stressful years as Bill Clinton's press secretary, Myers, 34, relished a more placid civilian life. No more Whitewater or Paula Jones, no Rush or Newt. Just some good gigs among the media elite—cohost of Equal Time, a CNBC talk show, and Washington editor for Vanity Fair.

Then, in the wee hours of June 27, Myers took a ride in northwest D.C. She double-parked the wrong way and was spotted by a cop. Asked to move on, she drove down the wrong side of the street and double-parked again. At that point, she was arrested, taken downtown and booked for DUI. Though the charges were dropped, the ex-flack was contrite. "I think drinking and driving is a really bad thing," she said.


Dr. Bill Frist
Frist in war, Frist in peace, Frist in the hearts of his countrymen—one of them, at least. On Sept. 14, the Rev. Graeme W. Sieber, 60, of Cleveland, Tenn., was in Washington to lobby on children's issues. He made it to the fifth floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building—then collapsed with a heart attack. An aide to Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.) burst from her office and summoned...Sieber's senator, Bill Frist, 43, a Harvard-trained heart surgeon. "I was sitting down reading the welfare-reform bill when someone came in and said a man had died," said the first-term Republican, the Senate's sole sawbones. Sieber's heart had indeed stopped, but Frist revived him using electric-shock pads loaned by the Capitol physician. "We get deeply involved with a billion dollars here and there," said Chafee. "But there are other things that are very, very important." Frist, in another first, has not sent Sieber a bill.

Dr. Rolando Sanchez
"I tried to recover from that sinking feeling," Tampa surgeon Sanchez, 51, told a Florida Board of Medicine hearings officer, describing how he felt when he discovered—too late—that he was amputating the wrong leg of patient Willie King. The irony is unbearable. Just before surgery on Feb. 20, King, a 52-year-old advanced diabetic with circulatory problems, had teased the medical team at University Community Hospital: "You know which one it is, don't you?" (Now legless—and unimaginably gallant—he calls himself 01' Stubby.) Though Sanchez was ultimately responsible, testimony revealed that because of a string of staff errors, King's left leg (also diseased), instead of his right, had been prepared for surgery. Said one colleague: "He's an excellent surgeon who made one mistake." Make that two. In July, Sanchez's license was suspended when, while removing tissue from a woman's badly diseased foot, he amputated a toe without her consent. "I felt a pop," he said. "There was no salvaging it."

good COP bad COP

Howard Wells

In the end, it took a small lie for Wells, 43, to catch Susan Smith in a horrific one. For nine days after she claimed that her sons had been abducted by a black carjacker, Smith's hometown of Union, S.C., was torn by grief, racial strife and pity for the mother who had begged for their return on national TV.

But from the start, Wells, the Union County Sheriff, doubted Smith's tale. And on Nov. 3, 1994, he met with her in a church annex. "I advised her it could not have been the way she said," he testified last July. He bluffed her, asserting that a police drug stakeout at the I scene confirmed that no carjacking had taken place. She burst into tears, took his hand and they began to pray. At last she scrawled a three-page confession, admitting " that she had drowned her boys. "Susan Smith is smart in every i area," Wells said. "Except life."

Mark Fuhrman

"We basically tortured them...their faces were just mush," Fuhrman, 43, said in a taped 1985 interview with aspiring screenwriter Laura Hart McKinny, describing one LAPD encounter with murder suspects. And real estate agent Kathleen Bell swears Fuhrman once offered this suggestion: "Take all the niggers, put them together in a big group and burn them."

The retired dick's sadistic, racist musings—even the two allowed as evidence by Judge Lance Ito—may have damned the case against O.J. Simpson. Whether or not Fuhrman planted the bloody glove, he chilled the national spine, smearing law officers everywhere—some of whom still stuck up for him. "He treated everyone fairly," said Det. Carlton Brown, an African-American who served with Fuhrman in 1993. "I never observed him violate anyone's civil liberties."

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