Princeton sits in an ocean of cookie-cutter suburbs about 40 miles northeast of Dallas, at the edge of a gold coast of development washing away horse country. To the west is McKinney; to the east, Farmersville. In between, there's Princeton, where they love God, country and family and the divorce rate is well below the national average.
But sometimes, just one bad marriage is bad enough. In Princeton, that's the case with Dr. Glen David Hurlston and his ex-wife Suzanne Besse, the lead characters in a soap operatic story of alleged sexual obsession, violence, secret affairs and out-of-wedlock children. Toss in the accusation of murder solicitation, secret recordings, drug addiction and alleged police abuse, and Princeton, population 6,800, begins to look like General Hospital's Port Charles.
The center of the drama is the house on Sage Drive that Hurlston bought for his wife, Suzanne Besse, in July 2010, so she could be closer to her two older children from a previous marriage. Two years later, on New Year's night, it's where Princeton police handcuffed Hurlston and hauled him to jail, accused of beating his wife.
He says he doesn't remember beating Besse. He only remembers his daughter's eyes as officers led him away in handcuffs. "I saw little tears in her eyes," he says. "It was just like, 'I'm sorry ... I don't know what to say.' But I wanted to say, 'Hey, it's OK. Don't worry about it. The police aren't bad people,'" he recalls. "I didn't know they were bad people."
Hurlston would soon learn his wife was having an affair with Princeton's former police chief, Jeff Barnett, now the chief in Kyle, a town south of Austin. Besse had given birth to Barnett's son, whom Besse passed off as Hurlston's, Hurlston says.
The affair, Hurlston believes, is what led to his arrest and what he claims was continuing harassment by Princeton police. In a lawsuit pending in federal court in Sherman, Hurlston contends Besse and Barnett schemed to take the doctor's money, and he accuses Barnett, the cities of Princeton and Kyle, and Princeton police Lieutenant Robert Michnick of violating his civil rights. Hurlston claims Princeton police officers did not have probable cause to arrest him on a family violence charge. The suit also alleges Barnett conspired to have Hurlston arrested for violating an emergency protective order a few weeks after Hurlston's New Year's arrest and violated Hurlston's civil rights to privacy and protection from unwarranted search and seizure for personal motives. Finally, Hurlston claims that Michnick violated Hurlston's constitutional rights when he refused to assist Hurlston in retrieving his daughter from a drug addict living in Hurlston's home in Princeton.
More than three years after his arrest, Hurlston is still shaken by it. He still looks like his mugshot. His short, dark hair is disheveled, his clothes wrinkled.
"I have nightmares all the time about it," he says. "Last night, I had a nightmare again. What I feel like is that the police come after me. But I fight back.
"Being thrown in jail has affected me. And when I went to the Kyle city management, I didn't expect them to do phony investigations and cover-ups. I complained and expected them to investigate it. They just didn't do it. It was like they were protecting Barnett."
U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant recently issued a gag order in Hurlston's case, barring either side from talking about it. Instead, Hurlston talked with the Observer about his marriage and divorce. He's been telling the same story to any media outlet that will listen since late 2013. It consumes him as the case unfolds slowly in court. Because of her affair with Barnett, Besse wanted him to sign a parental agreement giving her $11,000 a month in support, Hurlston claims. The affair explains why Hurlston was arrested twice.
Barnett isn't speaking to the press, but he did issue a press release last December. "These claims are simply untrue," he wrote. "I do not believe Glen Hurlston has been harassed by any members of law enforcement, and despite his own paranoid beliefs, I did not influence any of the officers involved in Glen Hurlston's arrest for domestic abuse or any of the subsequent conflicts he has had with law enforcement."
He does admit he got Hurlston's wife pregnant, though.
Love in the Bayou
When he first met her in 2006, Besse was quiet but attentive and always seemed to know the right thing to say, Hurlston says. She'd recently moved from Texas and worked as a registered nurse in the surgery department at Byrd Hospital in Leesville, Louisiana. He was the chief resident of anesthesiology. He thought she was beautiful. She thought he was nice. He asked her out for drinks. "I was the luckiest guy when I met her," he says.
He was born in 1966 in Houston and attended a small Jesuit high school in Sugarland, a Baptist university in Dallas and medical school in Galveston. At Byrd Hospital, he oversees four nurse anesthetists, performs surgeries and assists in the ER. "It can be anywhere between an extremely boring day to an extremely intense day," he says.
Besse was born in 1978. Her parents were independent missionaries, traveling the world. "My dad was called to minister to Muslims in south central Asia," she says. "That's all he talked about. That's where he felt like his calling was."
Besse lived with her sister and her sister's husband in Fort Polk, Louisiana, in early 2006. She was born in Rayne, Louisiana, moved away and then returned and married her high school sweetheart in 1998. They separated around five years later and divorced in 2004. In 2003, in between the separation and divorce, she moved in with, Jasen Whetstone, a traveling salesman she met while working in California. It was a volatile relationship that included Whetstone's arrest on domestic abuse charges in February 2005. Whetstone claims he took a lie detector test and was cleared, but no record of the case can be found in Collin Country courts. They separated about a year later. He stayed in Texas, and she moved in with her sister.
"Our relationship was like one big date," Besse says of Whetstone as she sits at her kitchen table in the house on Sage Drive on an August morning. When they first met, Hurlston would often talk with her while they were standing around the nurses station, she recalls. Soon they were dating. He'd cook her dinner, and she'd sleep over. He knew about her troubled relationship with Whetstone, but he didn't treat her like damaged goods.
The first round of their romance was short, ending when Besse discovered an email from one of Hurlston's former girlfriends on his laptop computer. He'd left his email account opened, so she took a look. "He was telling her how much he loved her," she says. "Everything that we had been doing together, Glen would narrate but leave me out of the story. So I left a note and wrote something like, 'I wish you could be honest.'"
It was around 10 o'clock on a May morning in 2006 when Besse met the man who would capture her heart. She'd just returned to the Princeton area from Leesville because she was fighting with Whetstone in court for custody of their two children. Their divorce was even more volatile than their relationship, with constant bickering and arguments that grew so heated they had to start meeting at the Princeton Police Department to exchange the kids.
Besse walked into the Princeton police offices to file theft charges against Whetstone for failing to return her iPod. Barnett personally handled the case, calling Whetstone several times before referring the case to the district attorney. Barnett took her report in his office. He was about her age with short blond hair and a permanent tan. "I knew when I saw him that I was attracted to him," she says.
Born in 1971, he grew up in East Texas, attended high school in Mount Pleasant and college in Longview. He had worked in law enforcement in Mount Pleasant and Camp County and as an FBI special agent. Some of his officers called him "a good, solid Christian man" and mentor. More important to Besse, he was nothing like Hurlston or Whetstone. He looked like he knew how to have a good time, she says.
After he finished taking her report, Besse says Barnett asked her personal questions. When did she move into the area? Did she have any friends? Then he asked her if she wanted to come out with him and a couple other officers for "choir practicing" at a sports bar in Dallas, a cop term for going out for a beer after work to decompress. Besse didn't know he had a girlfriend at the time, and she agreed to meet him. In court documents, Barnett says he couldn't remember if he and his fiancée were living together at the time; he does, however, remember living with her when he began having sex with Besse, according to Barnett's deposition in Hurlston's lawsuit.
At choir practice, Barnett sat at a table with three other Princeton police officers: Chad Wilhelm, Robert "Crusty" Michnick and Bryan Mesyrel. Wilhelm says in his deposition that not long after they arrived, Barnett leaned forward and asked, "Can y'all keep a secret?" Barnett got up from the table, walked to the front of the bar and returned with Besse.
"This was a victim in an active [domestic abuse] case where I had arrested the [common-law] husband, Whetstone," Wilhelm says in his deposition. "And now I've got the chief of police showing up with the victim at a bar. I thought it was highly inappropriate that he was having a relationship with the victim."
A few hours later, Wilhelm says, they headed to the Men's Club, a strip club in Dallas. In his deposition, he claims Besse was grinding her pelvis while sitting on the chief's lap, like the strippers onstage. In an interview with the Observer, Besse denied that. It was their first date, she says, a wholesome kind of night with a dash of PG-13 at a strip club. "He was just very fun and very outgoing. He was the opposite of me. I just kind of sit there and look at people."
When they left the Men's Club, Wilhelm testifies, Barnett rode with Besse and met the guys a short time later at a steak restaurant in McKinney. Barnett jumped into the car and told them, "She's a wild thing. Y'all drop me off at the pool house at the apartment where I live so I can wash this sex off me."
"I think his desire to chase women outweighed his moral compass," Wilhelm says in the deposition.
Barnett claims in his deposition, "I wouldn't say necessarily that she was there with me, particularly." They both deny having sex that evening. She says a couple more weeks would pass before they slipped between the sheets. Barnett says in his deposition they were having sex in her apartment and at a restaurant. Two officers claimed in depositions that they heard Barnett and Besse having sex in the chief's office. But it wasn't serious, Besse says. She even started dating Hurlston whenever he visited town. They were all just people having fun. Besse and Barnett's fling, however, ended quickly. "He was the busiest person in the world," she says. "He was too busy. It was like radio silence for a time."
Besse was tooling past the Princeton police offices in May 2010 when she saw Barnett for the first time since their relationship ended. She had briefly tried reconciling with Whetstone, but that ended in early 2007. Hurlston had continued coming to McKinney on his days off from the hospital in Leesville, and she started spending time with him at his home in Leesville. He'd fallen in love with her, and she had grown to love him. Hurlston and Besse married in October 2007 and had a daughter. He bought her the brick home on Sage Drive in Princeton and hired a builder to build a bigger, more expensive one on the outskirts of Collin County, he says.
He also bought her a sleek 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo. She liked the way she felt when she was driving it, but it wasn't practical with three kids. She was driving it when she passed the police department and saw Barnett walking toward his car.
Much had changed since they ended their fling. She had started seeing more of Hurlston and tried to reconcile with Whetstone at Hurlston's urging in late 2006 and early 2007. Whetstone says Hurlston was buying her things, including a Cadillac Escalade, and Whetstone wanted Besse to choose either him and their children or Hurlston and his expensive toys. Besse says she didn't like being given an ultimatum. She picked the man with the toys.
Besse thought about ignoring Barnett as he walked to his car, but their eyes had already locked, and she says she didn't want to be rude. Her three years of marriage to Hurlston had been rocky. Their daughter was born in April 2008, but Besse says she had discovered he'd been cheating the night before their wedding. Later, she discovered emails sent by his former lovers. He'd also been threatening to divorce her in emails since 2007. A few days before she saw Barnett, Hurlston sent an email to her father, Pierre Besse, admitting his infidelity. "While I was sleeping I was awoken by Suzie striking me, saying she hated me," Hurlston wrote in a May 6, 2010, email. "She discovered that I had an affair with a past girlfriend. I told Suzie it was true and I was willing to give her a reasonable divorce which included a home, a car and a stipend more than I'm legally required under law."
"After that we didn't have a marriage," Besse says. "That ended it for me. It was never the same, but Glen refused to divorce me."
She sent her husband an email, explaining that his unwillingness to break off with former girlfriends gave her "every reason in the book to justify" an affair of her own. "Yet I refrained because I know what hurt feels like," she wrote him on May 7, 2010. "I can't grant myself the satisfaction and happiness or pleasure that I would feel in the act because I know how it would hurt you and my children."
Then she saw Barnett, and knew immediately she was going to cross that line. "Here, I'm in this situation that no one should ever be put in and trying to make it work because we had a daughter together," she says. "But it was always my fault because I found out about the affairs. So I just gave up, and I guess that's what allowed the door for Jeff to open."
A month later she was pregnant with Barnett's son.
"In case you couldn't see from the picture [of the home pregnancy test] I sent, the test was positive," Besse wrote in a July 21, 2010, email to Barnett. "Glen and I don't have sex so I may need the U-Haul before Christmas after all! I didn't mean to scare you if I sounded unsure about how I felt. I'm happy. I really am, and I loved the smile in your voice. I love you, and I'll take anything that goes along with that. But you have to promise me it'll be a boy."
Barnett sent her an email a few days later: "Sweetheart, I love you. I want to call you, but I don't want to wake you. I want to come see you, can I? I want us to be the best thing in your life ... my life ... our life."
It was more than a year before Hurlston realized the boy his wife birthed wasn't his son, according to January 12, 2012, text message exchanges between Hurlston and Whetstone, who clued Hurlston in on the boy's real father.
"That was the first time I had ever heard the name Jeff Barnett ... I thought Jasen was wrong," he says.
The boy was born March 15, 2011, at Byrd Hospital. Hurlston wasn't happy when he found out his wife was pregnant. Their relationship was strained, and they already had three kids to support, but he was at the hospital when her son was delivered. Besse assumed because she wasn't having sex with Hurlston, he would know the child wasn't his son, according to court documents. Hurlston says she never told him that she was cheating on him with Barnett and had no reason to think he wasn't the boy's father. He and Besse did still have sex, he contends. Just not very often.
Barnett had long denied his affair with Besse. In June 2009, a former Princeton police officer, Samuel Kilpatrick, alleged Barnett was having an inappropriate relationship with a married woman who was the victim of domestic abuse. There were other accusations as well, including that Barnett made a traffic stop "for the purpose of making a date with a local female," according to a copy of Kilpatrick's complaint. In a follow-up investigation by the city of Princeton, Barnett denied Kilpatrick's accusations. Barnett moved on to become police chief in Kyle, but the accusations followed him. In February 2012, the city of Kyle investigated Barnett because an undisclosed complainant had alleged the police chief had an affair with Besse that produced a son. James Earp, the assistant manager of Kyle, conducted the investigation and interviewed only the police chief.
Earp wrote in the 2012 memo that Barnett denied having an affair during his employment with the city of Kyle in 2011.
In his November 7, 2014, deposition, Barnett denied that they had sex after he moved to Kyle. He did admit to knowing about the results of the DNA test. A month later, in a press release to KVUE, an ABC news affiliate, Barnett admitted Besse's son was his and that he knew when she was pregnant.
"She said her marriage was a marriage in name only," Barnett wrote in the press release. "Suzanne [later] informed me that she was pregnant and that I was the biological father. She told me that her husband knew both that she was pregnant — and the baby was not his — but that any involvement I might potentially have with the baby would endanger her and the baby.
"I believed her. And having later personally reviewed judicial testimony given by Suzanne under oath that Dr. Hurlston had threatened to physically harm her if she testified at his criminal trial for assaulting her, I was right to believe her. Suzanne made it clear that for her and the children's well-being, I could not be part of his child's life. I have since respected her wishes that I not be part of the raising of our son," wrote Barnett, a police chief and former FBI agent.
On a car ride back to Princeton, Hurlston's rage was finally captured on Besse's cell phone. She says she started recording her ex-husband because no one would believe that a doctor was capable of the horror she claims she endured. They were returning from a weekend in Leesville in early May 2011. She says she was simply reaching into the backseat to check on the kids, their 2-year-old daughter and 2-month-old son. Hurlston says she was intentionally provoking him by messing with the air-conditioner vent.
Married life hadn't been kind to the doctor. Whenever he returned to his home in Princeton for the weekend, Besse would keep him at a distance, and lately he'd been threatening divorce as frequently as saying, "I love you." He says at this point in their marriage she had no problem siphoning money from his account (about $20,000 a month, he claims), but otherwise she avoided him as if he were infected.
Married life hadn't been easy on the doctor's wife either. She kept uncovering emails from his former girlfriends. "Hey you dirty little cunt licker," one Houston woman emailed Hurlston on May 21, 2008. "I should make you walk into my office on your hands and knees like a dog and get under my desk and suck the pink off my pussy, you bad boy." "You want to try to hookup sometime? I miss you," her husband responded in an email a few minutes later. Hurlston says he didn't give his wife permission to access his email account. He also claims he never met up with his old girlfriends who sent the texts and emails. She says she eventually got to the point where she no longer cared about them. Barnett was all she needed or wanted.
The May 2, 2011, audio recording of what unfolded on their way back to Princeton begins quietly, then erupts. He screams and threatens. The kids cry. She screams. He threatens. The kids cry some more. "You break it; you're going to pay for it ... one way or the other," he warns at one point in the recording. "I don't want to be with you anymore, can't you understand that?" he asks at another point "Why are you doing that? Stop it! Stop it! I'll wreck us!" he threatens. "If you break that, I will crash this car! It's that simple. I'll crash us, Suzie."
What sounds like a beating happens around the 4:27 mark and escalates for a good 10 minutes. Besse screams; the kids cry even louder. It sounds as though Hurlston stops the car and reaches over. She's screaming, "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" Then he yells, "Shut the damn door." The kids fall silent, and she continues to scream, "Ouch! Ouch! I can't! Ouch! Ouch!" He yells, "What's wrong with you?" A few seconds later, it sounds like one of them hits the other. "You have to make me so mad," Hurlston says. "Get your foot off my goddamn car!"
Hurlston eventually realizes his wife's cell phone is recording. "Is this how you treat your husband?" he asks before silence falls.
Hurlston later says he wasn't beating Besse. He just grabbed her arm, and she started acting as if he were hurting her. The recording was a setup. "It's all a setup from Barnett because she's going to file for divorce and take my money," he says.
But Besse claims, "I tried to keep emails from girlfriends — and photos and any recordings I managed to make — because deep down I knew I had a daughter with this monster."
The night of Hurlston's arrest in early January 2012, Besse says she simply wanted to grab her son's diaper bag out of the bedroom before her husband locked the bedroom door. She had just returned from her first trip to Paris, where Hurlston had sent her to study photography. She was still unpacking when Hurlston headed toward the bedroom and locked the door. So she picked the lock. She claims he attacked her once she opened the bedroom door and was so angry that he stormed into the kitchen and poured dish soap all over dinner. She recorded the fight but not the alleged abuse. Several hours passed before she called police because, she says, he took her phone.
Besse took pictures of what she says were marks from the 2012 incident. They resemble other alleged abuse pictures she has revealed. She claims she took the other pictures in October 2008 and April, May, June and July 2009, but the photos are not time-stamped other than a date that looks as if it were typed after the photos were taken. In the January 2012 photo, a large bruise covers the back of her left arm and several bruises spot her right arm. Hurlston claims the large bruise came from a fall she took in Paris.
That January, officers arrived within minutes of Besse's call. She told him she'd been arguing with her husband and he had choked her. In her witness statement, she wrote, "My vision looked like the sides were getting black and Glen was getting further away. We fell to the floor and I mouthed, 'I love you' and he let my neck go." Officer Joe Pell reported that he observed a very large bruise on the back of her upper right arm and red marks on the front and side of her neck. Pell then went to speak with another officer who reported Hurlston had said he and his wife just had an argument and that was all. Hurlston told the officer that his wife did not strike him and he was not injured, according to the police report. They handcuffed Hurlston and called an ambulance to take Besse to Medical Center of McKinney for treatment. According to the police report, Hurlston later told police that his wife had been upset because he had received a text message from a former girlfriend wishing him a happy New Year.
"I went to sleep," Hurlston told the Observer. "Or no, I was asleep and then we got into an argument. I told her that you're just giving me more work to do. Then I went to bed, and the next thing, the cops are there. I go answer the door and said, 'I didn't call you.' And they said, 'We know you didn't.'"
In his lawsuit, he claims the Princeton police officers arrested him without probable cause and because of his wife's affair with their former police chief.
Besse was still emailing Barnett even though he finally admitted he had a fiancée. Besse says Barnett had a son with his fiancée a few months prior to her giving birth to her own son by him, and that Barnett had only seen their son once or twice. He was a police chief in Kyle at the time of Hurlston's arrest.
Even in Paris, the doctor and his wife had continued to fight. He was frustrated by her lack of communication, the lack of sex and the lack of affection. She was doing whatever she could to appease him since he was giving her a weekly allowance. In October 2011, he emailed that he wasn't made for the job of a husband. The following month he claimed she was drifting away and threatened to make her feel his torment. In December, a few weeks before she returned and he was arrested, his emails grew bizarre.
"You piece of shit," Hurlston wrote in December 11, 2011. "Words cannot express the deep hatred I have for you. I cannot say in words how I feel about you because they have not developed the words that express how I feel. I wish you would die a horrible painful death in your lies." He rambled for a few more lines before reverting to insults. "You piece of trash. I hate you and always will. I promise I will do nothing but dance on your grave when you are finally gone from this earth."
Hurlston says Besse just made him crazy, and he sometimes lashed out verbally.
"She was purposely pushing my buttons to get me to divorce her," Hurlston says. "I didn't want a divorce. I loved her and my children. I didn't even make her sign a prenuptial agreement."
After the Princeton police took her husband to jail on New Year's Day, Besse says she was examined at the hospital in McKinney and given a prescription for pain. She then emailed Barnett in the early morning hours of January 2, 2012: "I figured I'd write this since you got mad the last time I called the cops on Glen and didn't tell you," she wrote. "But I sent Glen to jail last night because he went into one of his rages yesterday afternoon, only this time he wouldn't stop choking me. I realized that I was really going to die if this continued."
A few hours later, she sent another email: "I think I'm going to get up and write my bank a check, try to get as much of the $100,000 in the account that I have access to before he cleans it out. But I'm so tired, all I really want to do is sleep!"
Barnett responded at 8:04 a.m. on January 2 and explained what would occur since her husband had been arrested on a family violence charge. He told her an emergency protective order would be issued. Then he asked about her phone: "Does he have it? Does it have anything in it to be concerned about (phone numbers, pictures, messages, Skype info, email account info)? Once attorneys get involved, they seek anything negative, so keep that kind of stuff in mind.
"I would begin to think from a very defensive standpoint, taking extra precautions," he added. "Think from a standpoint of a subpoena to your cell phones, all email accounts or any other record, then think where they would lead anyone, to the next subpoena. Of course the same goes for you and your attorney, getting his stuff, so it works both ways!" He signed his email with "sending lots of loves and soft kisses! Xoxoxox"
Besse ended her relationship with Barnett in February 2012 in a text message, explaining that it wasn't fair to his live-in girlfriend and that he should tell her about their relationship. "So I know you've said it's unfair to you," she wrote. "But I really can't anymore ... like I said, it's too painful to me. I hope you know that none of this is fair to me, so I guess that makes it even. I can go and pick up the pieces of my mess and find a way to be happy regardless of the situation but not when I'm constantly reminded of you."
Hurlston later gained access to those emails. He's currently using them as evidence in his lawsuit.
A Son Who's Not a Son
Hurlston claims he had reconciled with Besse after they took a trip to Disneyland in February 2012, where they traveled to talk about their relationship because she had filed an emergency protective order against him. He sent her back to Paris to finish her photography school in January 2013, but his wife says they didn't reconcile and he only sent her overseas so she couldn't be subpoenaed in his family violence case after the grand jury indicted him in March 2012. She says she only complied because he had manipulated and threatened her "into believing that she had no other options but to continue to do as Glen asked or face the full force of his wrath."
The court tried to subpoena Besse in Hurlston's criminal case in the fall of 2012, but she was living in Paris. She was still living there when the court subpoenaed her a second time on January 7, 2013. A couple of weeks later, Hurlston submitted a plea of no contest to a reduced charge of assault causing bodily injury and received two years' probation with community service of 40 hours, according to the Collin County court documents.
From 2012 until May 2013, Hurlston continued to beg his wife not to end their relationship. He told her that he's the only one who truly loves her. Barnett didn't love her, he claims, because he chose his fiancée and their child over Besse and his son with her. Hurlston says that he thought their relationship still had a chance until he returned to the home on Sage Drive in late May 2013.
Hurlston had come back to Princeton to pick up his Jaguar from Besse's residence when he saw an orange Volvo SUV with Virginia plates parked in front of her house. Ever since he found out about Besse's affair, he'd felt like the Princeton police were just waiting for him to screw up. So he brought Besse's ex, Jasen Whetstone, with him because he wanted a witness just in case police tried to take him to jail again. He had struck up a friendship with Whetsone after the latter alerted him to his wife's affair a few days after his first arrest. "I wouldn't do a DNA test even if I had suspicions, but you should," Whetstone wrote in a January 12, 2012, text message. "The kids said their mother told him that he was family. They called him 'Silly Billy.' His name is Jeff Barnett."
Barnett denied using the nickname. "I don't particularly recall coming up with it," he says in his deposition. Whetstone says his children told him about it when they saw Barnett's photo online on an events page.
Hurlston walked to the back of the house, knelt and peered through a crease in the back door. He saw a man's shoes by the front door. He tried to open the door, but Besse had changed the locks. So he waited on the mystery man to come out of the house. A short time later, Gabriel Brow, Besse's new lover, appeared, shirtless and tattooed. Hurlston called 911. Lieutenant Michnick arrived, questioned everyone and said Brow didn't have to leave. Hurlston tried to take his daughter, but Michnick wouldn't let him because Besse wasn't home. "That's another civil rights violation," Hurlston says. "I have to leave my daughter with a drug addict."
The last time Hurlston saw Besse's and Barnett's son was in September 2013 in front of a courthouse in Virginia. He had flown to Virginia to attend a custody proceeding between Brow, an ex-con who had moved in with Besse in May 2013, and Brow's 7-year-old daughter's aunt, who was attempting to get custody of the girl because she believed he was an unfit father. Hurlston says he met the aunt and decided to help her with her legal fees. He couldn't believe his wife had betrayed him again. "I just wanted to squeeze him financially." He hired an attorney for Brow's third wife next. She served Brow with divorce papers when he left the Fairfax County courthouse in Virginia.
In front of the courthouse, the boy ran toward Hurlston, yelling, "Daddy, daddy!" But his wife quickly walked over, grabbed the toddler and led him toward the other side of the courtroom where Brow waited.
Brow had re-entered Besse's life while she was staying in Paris in early 2013. He was an old flame. She had met him in Russia during her days as a missionary. Bald, with tattoos covering his body, he looked like a biker. He says he even used a bounty hunter to track her down. "She was on Facebook under a different name," Brow says.
"Gabe was always that question mark in your head," she says. "What might have been ... Was he really my first love? Did I miss something?"
They shared their secrets. He told her about his issues with addiction, his stint in prison and his six children with four different women, she says. She told him about Hurlston's infidelities and Barnett's betrayal.
Besse says Brow would eventually become one of those awful guys, too. The cracks in his persona began to appear as soon as he arrived at her house in Princeton. Brow says he worked as a car salesman earning a six-figure salary in Virginia. But he gave it up, sold both of his houses and emptied his bank account to be with his old flame in Texas. He'd brought his daughter with him but left his third wife homeless with their newborn son. Unlike Hurlston, Brow was willing to give up his life for her, Besse says.
"He wanted me," she says. "And he did what he needed to do to get there. He told me that he was married. He said that they were getting divorced. But that wasn't the case. She had no idea. She had just had a baby."
In early August 2013, Hurlston and Whetstone sought temporary emergency custody orders for their children with Besse — Whetstone for his two kids and Hurlston for his daughter. One month later, they were standing before Judge Angela Tucker with their attorney, one Hurlston hired to represent both fathers. Besse didn't bring an attorney — only Brow. The judge removed her children from her custody, except for her youngest son.
"I actually thought that if you had all of the evidence and everything you needed, you could go into court, present it and get a fair trial," she says. "I had all this evidence, and I couldn't get anything on the record. Every photo, every email, everything. His attorney basically said, 'I object' and I couldn't overcome the objection because I'm not a lawyer and I had no idea what to do."
A Mother's Plea
Besse still lives in the house on Sage Drive. The deed is still in her ex-husband's name, and she sells clothes on eBay to help pay the bills. She wears a Band-Aid over her ring finger to hide a matching tattoo she and Brow got not long after they began living together. She says it's not a wedding band but a "memory band." Since her divorce was finalized in September 2014, she's been trying to rebuild her life. A few months ago, a Texas judge gave her standard visitation instead of supervised with her two older children, who live with Whetstone in Princeton. Hurlston's temporary custody has lasted two years now, and she's only seen her daughter twice during that time.
"I want my daughter," Besse says. "Everything that Glen did to me, and all of this that he is still trying to do and make people believe all these horrible things about me, I could care less what anyone thinks because I'm still alive. That's really important to me. You can pick up and go on from there, no matter how broken you are. But there is a piece of me that was taken away two years ago. I want her back."
Not long after the hearing in Virginia, she found needles, the blackened bottom of a Monster can and a few pain pills in Brow's bike messenger bag. She took a picture of the items, then kicked him out of the house. She wouldn't let him take his 7-year-old daughter, who had lived with an aunt in Virginia before Brow took off to Texas, according to court documents. Besse says she thought Brow was strung out on drugs, so she called Brow's aunt asking her to pick his daughter up. Brow later claimed that neither Besse nor the aunt had the right to take his daughter from him. The FBI investigated, and Hurlston says it cost the aunt about $10,000 in legal fees. But he helped her pay the fees just like he paid for legal expenses for Brow's ex-wife. The aunt eventually received custody of Brow's daughter.
Brow believes the aunt paid Besse $10,000 to give her his daughter, so he testified against Besse in Hurlston's divorce hearing in late 2014. He told the court that Besse and Barnett had concocted an elaborate plan to throw Hurlston in jail and take his money. He claimed that when that plan didn't work, she asked him to murder her husband. "She said, 'I need you to kill Glen for me,'" according to the September 2014 divorce court documents.
Brow says he refused to kill Hurlston because he was just trying to be a good father, not the monster Besse had made him out to be.
Besse says Brow made up the whole story because he blames her, not the drugs, for separating him from his daughter.
After Besse kicked Brow out of her house in Princeton, Hurlston invited him to stay at his house in Leesville for a short time, then put him up in a hotel room for a few weeks and gave him cash — about $1,000 — for food, according to the September 2014 divorce court records. "She told me she was married to this psychopath, but as soon as I get down there, he doesn't bother anybody," Brow told the court. "He helped save my life."
Today, Brow lives on the streets in Virginia, about 10 miles east of Washington, D.C., battling addiction. "I fucked up," he said in a telephone interview. "I sold out my family. But she was my first love, and I was heartbroken for years when we parted. I had to make it work again."
"I made a bad decision with Gabe," admits Besse, touching the Band-Aid around her finger. "I will own that up until I die. But I thank God every day that I am no longer with Glen. I was able to get away from Glen because of Gabe."
She says she didn't testify in her divorce hearing because her court date kept getting postponed or canceled. "It was made pretty clear to me that this judge intended to let this go on forever without giving me my day in court," she says. The judge died a few weeks ago.
Besse never got to play a February 25, 2014, audio recording she made of Brow promising to ensure she never saw her children again.
"Let me tell [you] something," Brow tells her. "I'm a monster and you don't know how bad, but I'm gonna help you see. I promise. You did this to yourself. I ruined my life to be with you, and all you had to do was love me. All you had to do was treat me good. All you had to do was save a place in your heart for me. But instead you didn't.
"You think those guys [Hurlston and Whetstone] are fucking monsters," Brow continues. "Well, I'll show you. Because there's nothing I'm not capable of ... I'll see to it you that you never have your kids ... You think you can fuck me over?"
In her 2014 divorce hearing, Besse never showed what she claims are pictures of her ex-husband's abuse. Even though Hurlston was able to use emails that Besse had sent to Barnett, she never got to submit Hurlston's emails, his former girlfriends' emails or his threatening text messages.
"Basically, he railroaded me," Besse says, "and he was granted divorce on grounds of adultery."
Besse says she never got the chance to testify because the judge postponed the divorce trial for another three months, and she couldn't afford to pay her attorney.
Hurlston claims that his ex-wife gave herself those bruise marks like the wife in the movie Gone Girl. "I just didn't react as cool as Ben Affleck did in the movie," he says.
Besse says she attended domestic abuse counseling at Hope's Door in Plano in early 2014. "I was getting into these relationships but didn't say that these are the lines that I will never cross," she says. "Abusers tend to isolate their victims. They separate them from everything. They threaten them. You do feel like you're alone in this world, and the only person who can help you is the one who is hurting you."
Of course, over the course of her relationship with Hurlston, she lived in their home in Princeton while he spent most of his time at his home in Leesville. She spent several months in Paris on two different occasions, with Hurlston only visiting her there one time. And she carried on an affair with Barnett that produced a child. Hurlston says he wasn't abusing his wife. If anything she was abusing him, he says, and stealing his money to fuel her adventures with Barnett, some of which took place in the 2009 Lamborghini.
He sold it.
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In May 2012, Hurlston turned himself in to the Collin County Sheriff's Department for violating Besse's emergency protective order. He says he was on his way to attend a City Council meeting in Kyle to tell everyone about Barnett's affair and love child with his wife. Then his attorney told him about a warrant out for his arrest for violating Besse's emergency protective order three months prior to the warrant being executed. The case was later dismissed.
Hurlston is awaiting the next phase of his federal lawsuit. The federal gag order is still in effect, preventing the cities, chief, officers and other parties involved from speaking about the case, but that's easier said than done for the doctor. This tangled web has dominated his conversations for three years now. He has tried to remove Besse from his life completely, even moving another woman into his house in Leesville. And yet whenever he mentions his ex-wife's name, his eyes grow distant and the tone of his voice softens for a second or two before the venom returns.
"That woman just gets under my skin," he says. "I don't know why it is. She could be sitting there right now and say, 'I love you. I'm sorry for everything,' and I would take her back. That's the powerful effect that she has on me. It's a very strange thing."