Friday, November 2, 2007

True Crime: Abandoned Prayers

Gregg Olsen, Popular Library, 1990
Chuck Kleveland, a good ol’ Nebraskan boy went a-hunting on Christmas Eve in 1985 and stumbled across the frozen corpse of an unknown 9-year-old boy lying off the road in blue pajamas. "Little Boy Blue," as the dead child was named as it slowly gained national attention in the US, remained unidentified for two years before an article in Reader’s Digest finally reached some folks who thought they might know who the kid was. This couple from Ohio led the police to Eli Stutzman, a homosexual man in his thirties who had been living an itinerant life since going on the run after the death of a man named Glen Pritchett. Pritchett, a one-time "roommate" and employee of Stutzman, was found dead in a ditch with his pants down and the back of his skull blown away. (Anyone with a little imagination can picture how Glen had his head blown away from beneath his chin as someone—Stutzman?—blew his weenie.)
Born and bred amongst the conservative Amish, Stutzman left and returned to his familiar roots many a time before finally leaving his past behind after his pregnant wife died in a highly suspicious barn fire. Cursed with a hefty sex drive and an alleged 11-inch dick that supposedly never lost its erection (oh, the poor, poor man), the egotistical, conniving, devious, manipulative and self-centered Stutzman went where his prick pointed, using the contact adverts of The Advocate and other gay magazines as directional markers.
His enviable sex drive and tool aside, Eli Stutzman was one sick puppy, always on the lookout for the next better thing, forever destroying all that he did or touched, most often at the expense of others but, in the end, destroying himself as well. Author Gregg Olsen often seems more shocked by the highly active, pre-AIDS gay lifestyle Stutzman lived than the deaths that followed him, as if his sexuality had more to do with his socially deviant and murderous behavior than his egotism and psychopathic complete lack of remorse. In the end, Stutzman more or less got away with the death of his son and was only sent up for manslaughter, but Pritchett’s death resulted in a murder conviction.
Though he got off on manslaughter for his son's death, for Pritchett’s murder Stutzman was sent to prison in Texas. There, he got to share his hefty meat with other undesirables within the Texan penal system until the Spring of 2005 when he got released on parole. Two years later on 31 January 2007, a 56-year old Stutzman committed suicide in Ft Worth, Texas. Neither his parents nor anyone else of the Pennsylvanian Amish community bothered to claim his body. Currently, now that his DNA samples can be used without his permission, a couple of other still unsolved murders of known gay men in locations where he had once lived are being reviewed.
All in all, if Stutzman's story were fiction, people would bitch that it is too unbelievable to warrant reading. Indeed, Abandoned Prayers almost reads as if some warped puritan with latent homosexual desires went off the deep end while trying to write a depressing pulp murder mystery. Were that the case, the book might have been more entertaining, but as it is the story remains as involving as it does depressing and unbelievable.
Illustrations (top to bottom):
1. The "Little Boy Blue," alive and happy.
2. An example of one of Stutzman's advertisements.
3. The "muscular g/W/m" showing off his body and bulge.
4. Out of jail and over-the-hill, Stutzman awhile befoe he finally did what he should have done long ago.

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