Amy's nightmare began with a weird phone call. It was July 10 of last year, she recalls, just after midnight.
The caller wasn't anyone she could identify -- and he began by leveling an accusation. She'd been sending death threats and sexually harassing messages to someone named Nick, he claimed. He told her a police officer was looking into it, and it needed to stop.
She was confused. "Nick who?" she asked.
As it turns out, the "Nick" in question was Nicholas Barrale, a former coworker at the Clayton store where Amy worked as a cashier. They'd been friendly -- they'd gone to happy hour with other coworkers and, once, a Cardinals game; she'd given him a few rides home from work. But that was it. He was seventeen years younger than Amy and, anyway, he was dating another cashier.
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.
And it wasn't until months later that the whole truth came out: She wasn't a liar, she wasn't crazy and she wasn't stalking Nicholas Barrale. That's when police determined that it had actually been Barrale's own girlfriend -- a divorced mom of three named Angela Fletcher and a cashier at the same store as Amy -- who'd sent the text messages in question.
Prosecutors say that Fletcher sent her own boyfriend, Barrale, 897 texts from two different phones: sexually violent, horrifically graphic text 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 -- often, in gruesome ways.
"My boys are going to make sure your fucking cunt pays for this," one typical string of texts read. "rape torcher and we are going to stab the bitch for sure she is going to die the most horrible humiliating death and i'm going to take the first stab after she is made to eat my pussy and sucks my boys dicks... the bitch is going to get ripped apart i will be there to make sure its done right."
So what was Fletcher's motive in sending the fake messages, then demanding the police take action against Amy? Clearly, she wanted to "get" Amy. Did she want her job? (Amy had a higher position at the store where the two worked as cashiers. She has requested that Daily RFT not name the store, since she still works there.) Was Fletcher, 37, worried that her 28-year-old boyfriend was interested in Amy?
Assistant Circuit Attorney Christopher Finney, who would eventually prosecute Fletcher for harassment, making a false report and making a false declaration, won't speculate on the motive.
But it's clear Fletcher wanted to make her fellow cashier suffer: She and Barrale filed no fewer than seven police reports, hoping to convince police in St. Louis (where they lived) and Clayton (where Fletcher worked) that Amy was out to have Fletcher raped and killed -- and claim Barrale as her own. Fletcher even filed a police report claiming that someone punched her while she was leaving home one day. "If [Amy] can't finish this, I will!" her assailant supposedly cried.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.