Marine Lance Cpl. Carson, a Russian-language student at the prestigious Defense Language Institute in Monterey, was arrested March 15 after allegedly admitting that he and Pvt. Jason Blad, 21, were responsible for the November attack that nearly drained the life from a 20-year-old woman on the Pacific Grove Recreation Trail.
Pacific Grove police said shortly after the arrest that the young Marines apparently just wanted to kill someone, anyone, and had their sights on other targets as well. Though authorities say Carson spelled it all out in a journal found near his barracks bunk, details are being kept under wraps by a court-imposed gag order.
“The Jesse Clarke that we know is very talented and is an all-around intelligent and stable person,” said Robin Morris, his former journalism teacher at Richland High School. On a Web site profile of himself, Carson listed Morris as the teacher who has most influenced his life.
There are other indications that both defendants had been involved in fantasy games.
A former classmate and friend of Jason Blad’s at Spencerport High School in Spencerport, N.Y., said his schoolmate had often engaged in the games at the time and tried to talk others into joining. That man also spoke on condition of anonymity, saying he did not want to be drawn into the investigation.
“Jason was very big into role-playing games,” he said. “All the time I was friends with him, he tried to get me into that type of scene. Whether it was Dungeons and Dragons or superhero-type games, Jason was always trying to get me to play them with him.
“My parents, knowing all too well what those types of games have led to, told me never to play them and not to get involved with him.”
He said Blad was shy and reclusive, and came from a relatively poor family. Other students would tease him for such things as wearing clothes from the Salvation Army. Eventually, the two boys drifted apart, and Blad started doing “crazy (things) like chasing behind the school bus in the afternoons, screaming like a madman.”