June 2004 Calendar of Books on True Crime and Justice
Into the Water by Diane Fanning the co-editor of Red Boots & Attitude and the author of The Windwalkers. Her stories and essays have been published in the Baltimore Sun and other periodicals. She is the Executive Director of Another Way Texas Shares, a non-profit federation. Fanning lives in New Braunfels, Texas with her husband, cat, and dog. Richard Marc Evonitz was the perfect gentleman--and one of America's Most Wanted sex killers. An astonishing true story of abduction, murder and the nice guy next door by the author of Through the Window: the Terrifying True Story of Tommy Lynn Sells. To authorities she spilled the shocking details of a night of horror. It was the lead they'd been desperate for in a multi-state manhunt for an elusive serial killer. Where the witness took them was to the last man anyone would have suspected. Richard Marc Evonitz was beloved by friends and family. He was handsome, intelligent, and compassionate. Serving a spotless eight years in the U.S. Navy, he was a town hero who lived in harmony in an exclusive South Carolina neighborhood. The only ones who saw Evonitz's dark side were his victims. They were helpless teenage girls who, one by one, were subjected to his twisted sexual fantasies of kidnap, rape, and murder-until his double life came undone by the brave cunning of his last young victim. But as authorities and the media descended upon him, Evonitz had one more shocking surprise in store for everyone-a stunning final act of violence and reckoning that would turn a bright sunlit morning blood red.
Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder by Steve Hodel
The Case That Never Dies: The Lindbergh Kidnapping -- by Lloyd C. Gardner -- When Charles Lindbergh's baby son was mysteriously taken from his home near Hopewell, New Jersey, in 1932, the world was shocked. It happened during the worst period of the Great Depression, at a time when kidnapping neared epidemic proportions across the nation. Despite the overwhelming publicity the case received both at the time and in all the years since, many controversies surrounding the "Crime of the Century" and subsequent trial have never been resolved. The Case That Never Dies is a comprehensive study of the Lindbergh kidnapping, investigation, and trial, placing it in the context of the Depression, when many feared the country was on the edge of anarchy. Historian Lloyd C. Gardner delves deeply into aspects of the case that remain confusing to this day. These include Lindbergh's dealings with crime baron Owney Madden, Al Capone's New York counterpart, through gangland intermediaries, as well as the inexplicable exploits of John Condon, a retired schoolteacher who became the prosecution's chief witness. The initial investigation was hampered by Colonel Lindbergh, who insisted that the police not attempt to find the perpetrator because he feared the investigation would endanger his son's life. He relented only when the child was found dead. After two years of fruitless searching, a German immigrant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was discovered to have some of the ransom money in his possession. Hauptmann was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. Throughout the book, Gardner pays special attention to the evidence of the case and how it was used and misused in the trial. Whether Hauptman was guilty or not, Gardner concludes that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree murder. The Case That Never Dies draws upon never-before-used FBI records that reveal the animosity between J. Edgar Hoover and Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the New Jersey State Police. The story is filled with incredible twists and turns that continue to fascinate people. Set in historical context, this book offers not only a compelling read, but a powerful vantage point from which to observe the United States in the 1930s, as well as contemporary arguments over capital punishment.
The Italian Boy: A Tale of Murder and Body-Snatching in 1830's London Sarah Wise -- Before his murder in 1831, the "Italian boy" was one of thousands of orphans on the streets of London, moving among the livestock, hawkers, and con men, begging for pennies. When his body was sold to a London medical college, the suppliers were arrested for murder. Their high-profile trial would unveil London's furtive trade in human corpses carried out by body-snatchers-or "resurrection men"-who killed to satisfy the first rule of the cadaver market: the fresher the body, the higher the price. Historian Sarah Wise reconstructs not only the boy's murder but the chaos and squalor of London that swallowed the fourteen-year-old vagrant long before his corpse appeared on the slab. In 1831, the city's poor were desperate and the wealthy were petrified, the population swelling so fast that old class borders could not possibly hold. All the while, early humanitarians were pushing legislation to protect the disenfranchised, the courts were establishing norms of punishment and execution, and doctors were pioneering the science of human anatomy.G-men And Gangsters: Partners In Crime -- by Dominic Spinale is a chilling account of the partnership between the FBI Boston Bureau and Irish gangsters to infiltrate and topple the Italian-American Mafia. The FBI's intent to bring down the La Cosa Nostra in Boston resulted in the affiliation of law enforcement agents with Whitey Bulger and his posse. The scandal resulted in the convictions of top FBI officials and mobsters. The book raises questions about the government's reluctance to apprehend Bulger. Dominic Spinale was born in Boston and raised in the Italian community controlled by the Mafia. He was a close friend of the Anguilo family. From his early association with the notorious mobsters, until his indictment in the Mid 80's, Spinale handled Anguilo's gambling activities.
I Heard You Paint Houses : Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters,and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa -- is a fascinating account of a dark side of American history. The book's title comes from the first words Jimmy Hoffa ever spoke to Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran. To paint a house is to kill a man. The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. Sheeran lived a long, violent, passionate life. As a boy he took on older kids in bar fights so his dad could win free beer. During World War II he was a highly decorated infantryman with 411 days of active combat duty and a willingness to follow orders. He became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino and eventually becoming one of only two non-Italians on the FBI's famous La Cosa Nostra list. He was also a truck driver who was made head of the Teamsters local in Wilmington, Delaware, by his good friend Jimmy Hoffa. When Hoffa disappeared July 30, 1975, Sheeran became a leading suspect, and every serious study of the Hoffa disappearance alleges that Sheeran was there. For the first time the Irishman tells all - a lifetime of payoffs (including hand-delivering bags of cash to Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell) and manipulation (supporting Joe Biden's election to the Senate with a Teamster action) - for the book that would become his deathbed confession. He died on December 14, 2003. Sheeran also provides shocking new information on notorious mob hits: Joseph "Crazy Joey" Gallo - blown away as he celebrated his forty-third birthday in New York's Little Italy; Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio - long suspected of being a player in the plot to kill Hoffa. And offers new insights to the crusading of Robert Kennedy and the death of John F. Kennedy. This historic account is based on interviews of Frank Sheeran by Charles Brandt, who researched, cross-checked, and illuminated what Sheeran told him and turned it all into a gripping narrative that is sure to become an instant true crime classic.
Gangster City: A History of the New York Underworld, 1900-1935 is arguably the most comprehensive book written to date on New York City's underworld from 1900-1920. Its pages chronicle virtually every widely known (and lesser known) Mafioso, bootlegger, racketeer and thug who terrorized the City in the early 20th century. The murders of some 600-plus gangsters are profiled in detail. Beginning with the reign of Monk Eastman, this veritable encyclopedia of the New York underworld explores the origins of Mafia initiation rites and uncovers the most important gang wars, many still unknown to average readers. Also, for the first time ever, an in-depth look into the career of Vincent Coll reveals his probable killer, while myths are dispelled about the Irish White Hand gang, as their demise is frequently but wrongly attributed to a carefully planned attack by Al Capone. With a full listing of the specific addresses where criminals were killed throughout the New York and New Jersey area, Patrick Downey animates and expands all previous knowledge of this infamous era in American history. This is volume one of a two-volume series. Volume two will cover the years 1920-1940.American Taboo: A Murder in the Peace Corps by Philip Weiss -- On October 4, 1976, a brutal murder shocked the tiny island nation of Tonga. Deborah Gardner, a young Peace Corps volunteer was stabbed 22 times; another volunteer was identified at the scene, but despite the damning evidence against him, Dennis Priven was never convicted of a crime. A beautiful, free-spirited young victim; a brooding villain who carried a dive knife sheathed by his side; an exotic, Gauginesque setting: with material this sensational, it's surprising that the most compelling passages in American Taboo concern the inner workings of a government bureaucracy. But the Peace Corps did everything in their power to hush up her murder, then funded the aggressive defense that helped Priven go free. Weiss's account captures an intriguing historical moment, when the Corps' initial spirit of idealism found itself besieged by political and financial pressures. Was Dennis Priven an evil genius who planned the murder-and his defense-to ensure he would escape punishment? Or was he, as a psychiatrist hired by the Peace Corps contended, a budding schizophrenic? Weiss' answer is regrettably perfunctory: "He was a brilliant madman allowed to stay too long in the wrong spot who had lost control and then manipulated everyone around him with coldness and creativity."
Famous Crimes Revisited: A Forensic Scientist reexamines the Evidence by Henry Lee , Jerry Labriola , --
Readers who think they know everything about O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey, the Kennedy assassination, the Lindbergh kidnapping, and other headline-making crimes will have to think again as Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's most ingenious forensic scientists, looks with a fresh eye at the accused, and for the first time, reconsiders the true evidence.
Dillinger: The Untold Story, Revised Edition -- by G. Russell Girardin
Children Who Kill: Profiles of Teen and Pre-Teen Killers by Carol Anne Davis
Why would two young boys abduct, torture and kill a toddler? What makes a teenage girl plot with her classmates to kill her own father? Traditionally, society is used to regarding children as harmless - but for some the age of innocence is short-lived, messy and ultimately murderous. Children Who Kill is a comprehensive new study of juvenile homicide. Davis sets out to explore this disturbing subject using in-depth case studies of thirteen killers aged between ten and seventeen. Exclusive interviews with experts offer an invaluable insight into the psychology behind the role of society in an area too shocking to ignore.
The Search for the Green River Killer by Carlton Smith, Tomas Guillen
The complete story, updated with new information on the apprehended suspect and his conviction. Between 1982 and 1984, forty-nine women in the Seattle area were murdered. Despite an exhaustive search and investigation, the sadistic killer eluded authorities for the next two decades. Even to this day, bodies are still surfacing that are believed to be linked to America's most brutal serial killer case. But then in 2002, King County police arrested Gary Ridgway, a 53-year-old truck painter-and longtime suspect in the case-and charged him with the crimes. In November 2003, Ridgway admitted to the murders, finally ending the search for the notorious Green River Killer. Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen, two journalists who followed the murders from day one, offer insight into the crimes that have held a nation spellbound for more than two decades.
The Palm Beach Murder by Marion Collins -- For thirty-three-year-old millionaire James Sullivan, sweeping Lita McClinton off her feet was easy. But when the reckless social climber and adulterer turned marriage in their Palm Beach mansion into hell, Lita wanted out-and half of her husband's fortune. Then in 1987, a hit man unloaded three bullets into Lita's head. But it wasn't until eleven years later that a startling confession from a surprise witness would bring Sullivan's comfortable life crashing down. He was indicted and fled across the globe to exotic private playgrounds before settling with his new fiancée in a resort near Bangkok, where he was arrested four years later. From Palm Beach elite to life in a squalid Thailand jail cell this is the astonishing true story of one man's flight from justice.