Until the day I took Mrs. Terpening the book, I had not had many dealings with Michael. We were never friends prior to this case, just basically knew each other momentarily. I was not so personally attached to Michael that I was unable to see the truth for what it was later. Maybe in the beginning, yes. I will not say it wasn't difficult, in the beginning, because the recant had just took place. I was still having to try and see it from the perspective Rodney was coming from.
Over time, Michael and I became friends. From the beginning, he said he was innocent of the charges. I confronted him about things I had read and heard a few times. Michael was always aware that I felt there was always a possibility he could be guilty of some things.
Michael and I also talked about personal things, like my struggles where I was living at the time. He asked me for help out at the farm, and although I was not a regular farm hand there, I did go out there several times to either muck stalls, help lift mules that had accidents, was starting to ride horses at his farm (when this story took a twist and Michael went back to jail), and had many opportunities to spend time with various family members of Michael's. Jamie Moore Bell, Susie, Jerry Bell (Jamie's husband), Michael's sister's boyfriend (I am refraining from using his name. He has been upset his name got dragged into this by the media, so I do not want him being tagged in anything. He gave revealing information regarding the "many sides of Michael Terpening". (conversation happened a few days before Michael went back to jail).
I spent a great deal of time previously with Michael on the telephone and saw him a few times outside of court on a social basis.
Once, I met Michael at a local pub. This was at least 5 or 6 weeks ago. On Wednesday nights, the pub hosts a karaoke competition. Michael loves to karaoke and goes up to this pub to get away from the case and let loose a little. Michael is an amazing singer, and we all had a good time hanging out. Michael was not in attendance with anyone from the case, just a few casual friends who support him from a distance.
One of the prizes for winning the competition was a massage provided by a stylist who had attended beauty school. She was young, maybe 25, and had a really good time dancing with Michael. He looked extremely uncomfortable, but he was humoring her, so he danced with her. Later, I teased him and told him a professional massage might be good for him, to get rid of some of his tension. He replied with a denial and said he would be giving the massage to his wife if he won it. I asked him why. He replied in a quiet voice, "Because guys get boners Jennifer!" He appeared embarrassed to make that statement. I thought this did not seem a typical comment for a predator, so I continued to support his innocence and the case.
I also visited Michael at his apartment in Emmett Township. At the time, we did a lot of talking about house buying. He knew I was getting ready to buy a house. The lawsuit I had won was not a huge amount, but it was definitely enough to take care of some bills, buy a house, and get a leg up on my previous status.
As it turned out, his apartment was in a trailer that he bought from my old landlord (rented from him until 2007), his first name is Jim. I do not need to post his last name. What was ironic was the house I used to live in was a part of that bundle, so Michael openly invited me to his new place. To date, it has been at least six weeks since this event. I will later be scoping all my FB messages between he and I to see if I can pinpoint that date for verification. I do have a picture of one FB message he sent from his phone on FB, which I just noticed a few days ago. I have begun to re-read previous messages between Michael and I. The GPS locator on his phone logged him at his address, complete with a map, which is the same address he was arrested at for bond violation. I knew where Michael was for at least six weeks before his arrest. I had not reported it to anyone, nor shared it with anyone. I had not had behind the scenes communications with the police, Attorney General, or anyone else during this time. I was still in support of Michael because Rodney was still saying the recant was the truth, as well as the notarized statement.
I also did not know that Michael had never changed his address to his new location. I assumed he was playing by the law. That was news to me at the time of his arrest.
A later party at Susie's brings Michael, Mrs. Terpening, Rodney, Jamie Moore Bell, and Jamie's husband into attendance not long before his arrest.