Friday, November 2, 2007

True Crime: All His Father’s Sins

Lt. Ray Biondi & Walt Hecox, Pocket Books, 1990
Another one of those truly unbelievable True Crime books that leaves you with the feeling that there is no hope left for the USA. Co-written by one of the cops that worked on two of the ten murders committed by Gerald Gallego and his equally sick bigamous wife Charlene Williams, All His Father’s Sins is the tale of their three year, multi-state crime spree.
Though the book is in theory more about the masculine part of the duo, it is the woman at Gerald Gallego's side who steals the story. Williams, a young lady barely out of her teens, was fresh out of her second marriage when she met Gallego. Her youthful slide into drugs, alcohol, bad grades and friends from the wrong side of the tracks does little to help explain or make understandable her later actions with Gallego, a violent braggart and petty criminal who couldn’t hold a job and often had trouble getting it up. Giving the phrase "stand by your man" a new meaning, she first acted as the lure to entrap a variety of innocent, unsuspecting teenage girls whom Gallego would rape and kill, and then later assisted him in the kidnapping/rape/murder of a pregnant hippie chick, a mother of two and a college student, as well as the murder of the last mentioned girl’s boyfriend. Unlike Gallego, who was a habitual criminal since childhood and the son of an executed cop killer, Williams was of a loving, well-to-do family and had displayed much promise as a child, making her involvement in the murders all the more unfathomable. Obviously a woman with more than one screw loose, she maintained to the end that she was not guilty of any murders because she never actually physically harmed any of the victims. The true extent of her participation is probably closer to that as presented in Michael Newton’s entertainingly concise and lurid encyclopaedia of women murderers Bad Girls Do It, but this book prefers to stay closer to the story as she eventually told it when they were caught and tried. In the end, she does get off lightly—she was eventually pardoned in August of 1997, the first year in which she became eligible—having plea bargained her way into the position of witness for the prosecution, helping to send her man and father of her child to death row. All His Father’s Sins is no literary masterpiece or insightful psychological study, its force coming less from any artistic or literary merit than from the simply disgusting nature of the bizarre crimes narrated.
Addendum: Gerald Gallego was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in both Nevada and California but kept his own state-sanctioned murder at bay through a variety of appeals. He died at 56 of Cancer at the Regional Medical Facility of the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City in July 2002. He never did admit being guilty.
After her pardon from the Department of Prisons Woman’s Center in Carson City, Nevada, in August of 1997, at forty-year-old Charlene Adell Williams Gallego dropped from the public eye. Who knows where she is now… maybe next door?

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