Deidre Wilson was a 23-year-old heiress, the granddaughter of Xerox Corp. founder Joseph Wilson. Although she'd attended exclusive private schools and had a trust fund into which she could dip at any time, Wilson eschewed the champagne-and-caviar lifestyle. She wanted to experience the grit of life and she lived in a simple fashion.
Instead of studying business or finance at Wesleyan College
and following in her inventor grandfather'
s footsteps, she chose the humanities - African studies, to be precise. Like Bremner, she was active in campus anti-apartheid protests, and, during a semester spent in Tanzania
, she fell in love with a local journalist, according to the SF Weekly
She tried to help her African boyfriend get immigration papers to the United States and failed, and was still nursing a broken heart when she walked into a reggae club in The Haight on a late summer's night in 1987.
The Haight which was the epicenter of the 60s hippie and free love movementsis to this day a Mecca for young people who reject mainstream culture and seek alternative lifestyles. The neighborhood's nonconformist qualities certainly helped propel Wright, a privileged white woman who loved a poor black man, to the district that night.
As she stepped through the door into the small club, the hypnotic music pulsed through her and she blended in with the swaying crowd in the semi-darkness. She focused her attention on the rhythms and sounds and was happy to forget her troubles for a while.
After a while, a handsome black man with dreadlocks came up to her and introduced himself as "Rasheen Nyah" Wright's ethnocentric alter ego. Standing just under 6 feet, Wright had a muscular body and a powerful presence. He invited her outside to smoke a joint, and she accepted. As they smoked on the sidewalk, they swapped personal information. Wright was impressed with Wilson's travels in Africa and she readily agreed with him that "a white-dominated and materialistic society exploited people of color," according to a court-ordered evaluation.
At some point during that conversation, Wright realized he'd found the perfect mark.