Shortly before Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, murdered journalist Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward, he apparently sent a letter to Robert Avent, his 45-year-old friend and former roommate who lived with him during his stint in the the San Francisco Bay Area.
In documents released to NY Daily News, Flanagan, who was gay, lamented to Avent about his fading looks and his family. He also noted his plans for burial, saying that he didn’t want a funeral. He also revealed that he worked as a male escort, which two sources confirmed with People Magazine.
“I totally CANNOT score right now ...,” Flanagan wrote in the letter to Avent. “And this is from a man who used to be paid hundreds an HOUR to sleep with men...one was a hot YOUNG guy in SF...he once asked, ‘Can I f--- you?’ He offered to give me $1,000...I playfully said, ‘No.’ Well, he gave me 2k.”
He added: “Life was so much better back in (those days.)”
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The package that contained the letter also included check stub receipts that Flanagan indicated were from his time as a male prostitute.
Avent received the package on Aug. 29 -- after the shooting.
The morning that Flanagan killed his former coworkers, he also text messaged Avent, telling him he'd done something bad.
“I’m sorry,” Flanagan wrote in the text message, according to Avent. “I had no other choice.”
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The text message was vague so Avent didn’t reply immediately. Instead, he called Flanagan later, at around 8:30 a.m. Pacific time.
“Hey, what’s going on with the text?” he said he asked Flanagan, two hours after the shooting.
“He said, ‘Oh, I did something this morning,'" Avent recounted to the NY Daily News. "And he was talking normal, like nothing. Like he didn’t do anything at all. Like a normal voice.
“And he said, ‘I shot and killed two people.’ Just like that, in a normal voice."
When Avent replied incredulously, Flanagan reportedly told him to check CNN, and then he hung up.
Flanagan was on the run at the time, and Avent called him back.
“He asked me, ‘How come you seem so calm after I told you what I did? You don’t seem like it bothers you,’” Avent said.
Avent reportedly replied: “I’m just trying to stay calm after hearing news like that. ...You’re talking to me in a calm voice after you did that? You shot these people. How come you’re talking to me in a calm voice?’”
Flanagan allegedly replied: “Well, you know, I just feel, I didn’t like those people.”
As the police cars surrounded Flanagan’s rental car, he told Avent: “Man, I’m not going to prison. I’m going to shoot myself in the head.”
Avent asked him not to.
“I said, ‘Just don’t do it,’” Avent said. “He said, ‘I love you and thank you for being there for me.’”
According to police, Flanagan shot and killed himself on I-66 near Markham, Virginia -- 200 miles from Roanoke.