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In an exclusive interview with HLN’s Nancy Grace Wednesday night, a friend of victim Travis Alexander, Duane Tolman, recounted the harrowing experience he shared with Alexander of being held up at gunpoint at a restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
“About 30 people disappeared under the tables for cover and Travis and I had no room to go anywhere so we went to the other side of the partition. The gunman saw me go under the table but apparently Travis couldn’t get around in time so the gunman forced him down to the ground, he was about 3 feet in front of me, and the gunman put the gun to his temple,” said Tolman, who has known Alexander since he was a teenager, and says he couldn’t have been prouder of him if he was his own son.
“I can tell you there was one person right there at that time who was praying pretty hard that I wouldn’t have to see the end result of that gunman pulling the trigger.”
Tolman told Nancy Grace producers that the gunman demanded Alexander’s wallet, but since he didn’t have one, Travis gave the gunman his cell phone instead. After the robbers left, Alexander then called his cell phone and negotiated with the thief to try and get him to give it back.
“Before the police arrived, he borrowed someone else’s phone and called his own phone. He had a conversation with the perpetrator trying to negotiate the return of his phone. When he did this I was amazed! The guy stayed on the phone with Travis for five minutes.”
When Grace asked Tolman for his reaction to the way Travis Alexander is being portrayed during the trial of his alleged killer, Jodi Arias, Tolman said it’s a disgrace, especially since Alexander isn’t here to defend himself. “I’m appalled. We could hardly believe it. Who would want to do that to such a good guy with a great future?”
Tolman says he believes Arias, who faces the death penalty if convicted, is trying to drag Alexander’s name through the mud just to save her own life.