Friday, November 2, 2007

True Crime: Badge of Betrayal

Joe Cantlupe & Lisa Petrillo, Avon Books, 1991
Death in sunny San Diego, "America's Finest City," the type of Californian town in which the first day of tenth grade English class is spent trying to teach surf-obsessed toe-heads what a paragraph is. Twenty-year-old Cara Knott seems to have been one of those rare San Diegan students who probably not only knew what a paragraph was, but could write one too. A blond beauty with a future, she got pulled over one dark night by Californian Highway Patrolman Craig Alan Peyer. A "cop's cop," he was a by-the-book policeman and married man who loved to write tickets and pull hot babes over for any given infraction, by preference having them exit down the desolate Mercy Road off-ramp, a ramp that for all intents and purposes led to a non-existent road. There, tickets were usually accompanied by up to an hour or more of definitely unprofessional conversation and questioning, but he never touched a hair.
The night he pulled over Cara, a perfect, all-American daughter, something obviously went wrong, 'cause by the time she was found by the police—after her family found her deserted car—she was lying broken and dead at the bottom of a deep gorge. Two trials later, Peyer finally paid for his deed. Amongst other things this book shows, is that proving guilt—real or not—has less to do with truth than with competence. The first round in court was prosecuted by a lawyer that was obviously a product of the local school system, the second by someone who must have studied a little bit harder.
Cantlupe and Petrillo do a good job of making both the victim and the killer human beings, delving into both their personalities and lives, all with a minimum of bombast or aggrandizement. The murder was a crime waiting to happen, unluckily Cara was the victim.
Addendum: Despite his continual claims of innocence, with a simple “No thanks” Craig Alan Peyer refused an offer to have DNA testing done on some of the key evidence against him in 2004. That didn’t sit well as his parole hearing, so he is still in jail... where he should be.
1. Cara Knot, bright and beautiful, prior to her fateful meeting with
Craig Alan Peyer.
2. The "cop's cop" in court with his lawyer.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...