Framed: Angela Fletcher's victim tells her story

Amy's nightmare began last July with a weird phone call.

It was just after midnight, and the caller began by leveling an accusation. He claimed that Amy had been sending nasty text messages to someone named Nick — and it needed to stop.

She was confused. "Nick who?" she asked.

As it turns out, "Nick" was Nicholas Barrale, a former coworker at the Clayton store where Amy worked as a cashier. They'd been friendly; she even gave him a few rides home from work. But that was it. He was seventeen years younger than Amy, after all.

But that's how the whole thing began — and before it was over, Amy (which is not her real name) would find herself arrested twice, held in a dirty holding cell for 34 hours on end. She had to flee her home, spend thousands of dollars on attorneys and face numerous complaints to the human-resources department at her workplace.

It wasn't until months later that the truth came out: Amy wasn't crazy, and she wasn't stalking Nicholas Barrale. That's when police determined that Barrale's own girlfriend — a divorced mom of three named Angela Fletcher, who was a cashier at the same store as Amy — had sent the text messages in question.

Indeed, prosecutors say that Fletcher sent her own boyfriend, Barrale, a total of 897 texts from two different phones: violent, sexually graphic messages in which she claimed to be Amy. Sent in a five-week period, the flurry of texts supposedly showed Amy fantasizing about having Fletcher raped, "torchered," "decapatated" and killed.

"We are going to stab the bitch for sure," read one typical message. "She is going to die the most horrible humiliating death and i'm going to take the first stab...the bitch is going to get ripped apart."

So what was Fletcher's motive in sending the fake messages and then demanding the police take action? Did she want Amy's job? (Amy had greater seniority at the store.) Or was Fletcher, 37, worried that her 28-year-old boyfriend was interested in Amy?

Assistant Circuit Attorney Christopher Finney won't speculate on the motive. But it's clear Fletcher wanted to make Amy suffer: She and Barrale filed seven police reports, hoping to convince police that Amy was out to have Fletcher raped and killed — and claim Barrale as her own.

And because both Barrale and Fletcher had taken out orders of protection, barring Amy from having any contact with them, the fake texts were enough to get Amy arrested twice (and nearly arrested a third time). Police didn't even bother to verify that the messages were coming from Amy's phone; Fletcher's increasingly hysterical stories were good enough for them.

Finney, the prosecutor who handled the case, defends the actions of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. "Once the order [of protection] was granted, the police had to enforce that order. They can't say, 'We don't believe you,'" he says.

But Amy can't help but see things differently. She made repeated trips to the police station, trying to explain that she hadn't sent the texts and that, in fact, she couldn't have sent them. The cops just told her it was a civil matter. Or that she should knock it off. Then they'd issue yet another warrant for her arrest.

The first time Amy was arrested was the day Barrale and Fletcher got an order of protection against her. She'd been summoned to court; she was hoping for a chance to prove her innocence.

Instead, Barrale and Fletcher pressed their sob story. The judge issued the order of protection. And then Fletcher's attorney stood up.

He said he had a warrant for Amy's arrest — she'd allegedly violated the temporary order of protection, in place pending the hearing, by sending nasty texts the night before.

While Amy's family members watched, aghast, her hands were cuffed. "I didn't get to say goodbye," she recalls. "When they said, 'Yes, there is a [warrant], they cuffed me behind my back and led me away to jail." She wasn't released till nearly 6 a.m.

That morning, she worked to track down court paperwork then met with an attorney. But after her brother-in-law dropped her off at home, two police cars came flying down the alley, blocking him in.

An officer grabbed Amy by the arm, cuffed her and shoved her into one of the cars. He kept demanding to know where her cell phone was. She said she only had one; it was inside, and he was free to look at it. She knew there were no messages on it.

Meanwhile, her brother-in-law tried to plead her case to a different cop: "She's been with me all morning. She just got back from her attorney's office. She's not doing this." It was only after her attorney got on the phone that the police grudgingly let her go.

The fact that Amy's own lawyer vouched for her whereabouts should have sent up red flags. But the police continued to believe Fletcher and Barrale as they filed a barrage of complaints. Knowing there were warrants for her arrest, Amy moved into a cheap hotel room — then crashed on a friend's couch in Illinois.

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16 comments
Allliii23
Allliii23

my mom was in school actually doing something with her life. which she is almost back in school and graduating soon and will have a job doing more with her life then ann ever will.mom didnt want her job she was getting ready to go on to bigger and better things and mom wasnt worried about nick leaving her cause guess what theyve been together for almost 3 years and there getting married and he claims me my brother and sister as his own so fuck all of you.

Allliii23
Allliii23

ann did try to get with nick. she did send the texts i was there my mother had nothing to do with this the police investigate nor would they hear what i (angie's) daughter had to say.

Allliii23
Allliii23

the dumb cunts name was ann not amy you dumb mother fuckers. if you cant get the name right then you dont need to be talkin shit and giving false information to the public. kay?

Gail
Gail

No, the system does not work!! Why weren't red flags emerging way before this poor woman had to endure all this and who is going to reimburse her for all of her trouble? If the system worked, criminals would not be let out to commit a crime again and it is usually one of a more serious nature.

James Hodges
James Hodges

The problem with all the insightful people posting in here is this… If they were receiving threatening texts and phone calls and they believed they knew who it was that was sending them… they would want the police to get them off the street immediately... The last thing they would want the cops to do is waste time checking out someone’s phone log. If the cops didn’t pick the person up and the threats were real the victim could be murdered. That being the case they once again would want to sue the cops for not doing their job.

This is an unusual case. And there are laws in place to deal with the person who filed the false complaints.

Arthur
Arthur

Typical stupid Missouri cops. No damned sense or brains. Proves that you don't need either to be a cop here!

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

these kind of incidents are very common and usually occur without being brought to light. i knew a case where a professional person attacked and beat up a bum. the bum called the police then the bum was charged with assault and sent to prison. this stuff is common. read "one flew over the cuckoo's nest" by ken kesey.

Lannem 2009
Lannem 2009

what happen to 'you're innocent until proven guilty'? It's not guilty because someone said so, there has to be proven facts! Police Depts, DO YOUR JOB!

Andrew
Andrew

Would have been nice if someone had bothered to check and see where the 'harassing' calls were coming from.

I mean, seriously? NOBODY bothered to check, they just took someones word for it? What happened to 'innoecent until PROVEN guilty' in this case?

I'd sue. Not just Flecher, the appropriate police departments. Checking phone records is trivially easy, and they just couldn't be bothered.

Janet
Janet

wow. cops acting stupidly. what a surprise.

Michael
Michael

IF I WERE AMY I WOULD BE BRINGING A LAWSUIT AGAINST NOT ONLY ANGELA AND HER MOTHER BUT AGAINST THE POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT CHOSE NOT TO INVESTIGATE AMY'S ALLEGATIONS THAT SHE WAS NOT GUILTY.

MIKE

Allliii23
Allliii23

angie's daughter here, umm what the fuck does my grandma have to do with this?oh and btw you dont know shit my mother did not do this. you dont know shit

Fishintheseam
Fishintheseam

Well, as much as i would like to say the police were correct in what they did... did it ever occur to then to even check to see if she was sending them... sounds like they were lax in even doing that. So, to amy... if you sue the whackjobs doing this, i'd go after the cops too.. considering they weren't doing their jobs and just took the word of someone.. without checking phone records and whatnot...

Bettyluvsinsects
Bettyluvsinsects

Fletcher should be forced to undergo psychological testing, pay back ALL the money Amy spent defending herself/sleeping in hotels, plus some for pain and mental anguish, and then, Fletcher should have at least five years added to her sentence just for being a Class A Bitch!

222coffee
222coffee

I wonder if Amy who didn't do it's record will be exsponged or will justice system fail her again?

 
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