Friday, March 19, 2010

True Crime: Evidence of Murder

Evidence of Murder
(Bill McClellan, Onyx Books, 1993)
An interesting book about a relatively uninteresting “murder,” for while McClellan never comes out and directly says it to be so, Evidence of Murder leaves the reader wondering if the slimebag, wife-beating asshole of a real estate agent presently sitting behind bars for killing his wife actually did so. In theory, one has to be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a jury of one’s peers before justice has the right to strap one to Old Sparky or, as in Ed Post’s case, throw away any keys. McClellan presents more than enough facts that cast doubt upon the outcome of the twice-tried case to cast more than one long shadow of reasonable doubt, but then, he is allowed to include in his book many an interesting fact that the jurors were never permitted to see or hear.

That Ed is a scumbag—indeed, probably a likable scumbag—with a lot of hidden dirt behind his ears is true, as is made obvious in Evidence of Murder. It is also obvious that George Hollocher, one of the Saint Louis cops that set the ball rolling to pin Ed down, is either a habitual liar or a spinner of exceptionally tall tales, depending on how one looks at it. Likewise, “Dr. Death,” the New Orleans’ based police pathologist that helped turn the pin into a stake is obviously less than likely to ever say anything that would contradict a policeman’s findings, no matter how much the evidence might point the other way. While the events narrated in the book reveal an empty urban landscape of middle class pointlessness that turns into hell, nothing in the book shouts “Murder!” In fact, at most, if one weeds through all the conflicting “facts” and statements and then pretends to be Sherlock Holmes, the obvious “truth” seems to be more along the lines of, if anything, accidental manslaughter followed by a brazen attempt at insurance fraud.

All in all, Evidence of Murder paints a picture of a less than clean system of justice; a system in which a cop can say he knows a man is guilty by the size of his feet, in which jurors can party all night long with witnesses for the prosecution, in which a body bruised and cut up from having its inner organs and bones removed for donation can be shown as proof for the signs of a husband’s angry fists. By the end of the book, the reader is left with the feeling that not only one should never, ever go to a convention in St. Louis, but that one should definitely always have deceased family members cremated and keep those insurance policies low. (And I, for one, am never, ever going to admit to anyone that I also sometimes draw my wife's bathwater. Real husbands don't do that, you know.)
Images (from the web): Above, the book; below, the author.

No comments:

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