Al and Kathy Sanchez showed up to the Comptek/Barrister reunion party on September 29, 2006. I was going to go but decided instead to meet some friends at Curtain Up, the formal start of the theater season in Buffalo.
Kathy used to work at Comptek/Barrister, two companies that were one company but then split into two when Comptek went public (and Barrister soon followed). Comptek was purchased by Northrup Grumman and its name has been retired. Barrister has gone through several ownership changes and I believe still exists as a quasi-viable company somewhere in the South. Every year many of the employees who worked at these high-tech companies still get together to reminisce – we enjoyed each others’ company then, and still do today: the bonds are strong.
Al and Kathy supposedly had a great time there, and from the warm, wonderful shot of the two of them with another friend, they look like the great, happy, settled, couple that everyone knew them to be.
Only Al Sanchez has been arrested and charged with being the “Bike Path Rapist”, the person responsible for at least 5 rapes and 3 murders since 1981. He raped and killed his last victim, a mother of four young kids, on the day of the reunion. He looks great in the photograph.
He is the epitome of a normal guy. Only he’s not normal at all. There isn’t a lick of guilt in the photograph. No anger, no remorse, no paranoia, nothing but a normal guy having a great time with friends.
In the biochemistry of our brain we produce all kinds of chemicals that cause us to react in certain ways. Al’s biochemistry allows him to shelter away a horrific urge that must occasionally overwhelm him, and propel him to do things that virtually all of us find repulsive and wrong. Behind that warm, smiling façade is a killer.
Maybe he’s an innocent man, wrongly accused – which would explain the photograph. But the police and district attorney sure don’t think he’s innocent, and the fact that his DNA supposedly matches the DNA taken from 5 of his victims would lead me to think that he may have had a hand in their demise.
I am spooked by the existence of this photograph as much as I am spooked by the existence of this man.