Early Graves: A True Story of Murder and Passion

Open Road Media
4
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Shocking true crime from the Edgar Award–winning author. “Powerful . . . A frightening close-up of sociopathic personalities at their most deadly” (Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter).
 Evil has a way of finding itself. How else could you explain the bond between Alvin and Judith Ann Neelley, who consecrated their marriage in blood? Before the killings started, they restricted themselves to simple mischief: prank calls, vandalism, firing guns at strangers’ houses. Gradually their ambition grew, until one day at the Riverbend Mall in Rome, Georgia, they spotted Lisa Ann Millican. Three days after Lisa Ann disappeared, the thirteen-year-old girl was found shot and pumped full of liquid drain cleaner. In between her abduction and her death, she was subjected to innumerable horrors. And she was only the first to die. Drawing on police records and extensive interviews, Thomas H. Cook recounts the story of Judith Ann Neelley, who at nineteen became the youngest woman ever sentenced to death row.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Sep 6, 2011
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Pages
316
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ISBN
9781453228081
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / State & Local / South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV)
True Crime / Murder / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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In this “true story that reads like a novel,” the #1 New York Times–bestselling author reveals the facts behind a notorious Southern murder case (Library Journal).
 
When North Carolina farmer Stuart Taylor died after a sudden illness, his forty-six-year-old fiancée, Velma Barfield, was overcome with grief. Taylor’s family grieved with her—until the autopsy revealed traces of arsenic poisoning. Turned over to the authorities by her own son, Velma stunned her family with more revelations. This wasn’t the first time she had committed cold-blooded murder, and she would eventually be tried by the “world’s deadliest prosecutor” and sentenced to death.
 
This book probes Velma’s stark descent into madness, her prescription drug addiction, and her effort to turn her life around through Christianity. From her harrowing childhood to the crimes that incited a national debate over the death penalty, to the final moments of her execution, Velma Barfield’s life of crime and punishment, revenge and redemption, this is crime reporting at its most gripping and profound.
 
“A painfully intimate, moving story about the life and death of the only woman executed in the U.S. between 1962–1998 . . . With graceful writing and thorough reporting, it makes the reader look hard at something dark and sad in the human soul . . . Breathes new life into the true crime genre.” —The News & Observer
 
“Undertakes to answer the questions about the justice system and the motives that drive women to kill.” —The Washington Post Book World
 
“An extraordinary piece of writing . . . The most chilling description of a legal execution that we are ever likely to get.” —Citizen-Times
 
“Taut and engrossing on the nature of justice and the death penalty as well as on guilt and responsibility.” —Booklist
ONE OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Time, LitHub, Vulture, Glamour, O Magazine, Town and Country, Suspense Magazine, Inside Hook

New York Times Best Seller
 
“Compelling . . . at once a true-crime thriller, courtroom drama, and miniature biography of Harper Lee. If To Kill a Mockingbird was one of your favorite books growing up, you should add Furious Hours to your reading list today.” —Southern Living
 
Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted—thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.
 
Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.
The “riveting” #1 New York Times bestseller: A true story of three wealthy families and the unbreakable ties of blood (Kirkus Reviews).
 
The first bodies found were those of a feisty millionaire widow and her daughter in their posh Louisville, Kentucky, home. Months later, another wealthy widow and her prominent son and daughter-in-law were found savagely slain in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Mystified police first suspected a professional in the bizarre gangland-style killings that shattered the quiet tranquility of two well-to-do southern communities. But soon a suspicion grew that turned their focus to family.
 
The Sharps. The Newsoms. The Lynches. The only link between the three families was a beautiful, aristocratic young mother named Susie Sharp Newsom Lynch. Could this former child “princess” and fraternity sweetheart have committed such barbarous crimes? And what about her gun-loving first cousin and lover, Fritz Klenner, son of a nationally renowned doctor?
 
In this tale of three families connected by marriage and murder, of obsessive love and bitter custody battles, Jerry Bledsoe recounts the shocking events that ultimately took nine lives, building to a truly horrifying climax that will leave you stunned.
 
“Recreates . . . one of the most shocking crimes of recent years.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Absorbing suspense.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Astonishing . . . Brilliantly chronicled.” —Detroit Free Press
 
“An engrossing southern gothic sure to delight fans of the true-crime genre. Bledsoe maintains the suspense with a sure hand.” —The Charlotte Observer
The unvarnished true story of the tragic life and death of Aaron Hernandez, the college All-American and New England Patriots star convicted of murder, told by one of the few people who knew him best, his brother.

To football fans, Aaron Hernandez was a superstar in the making. A standout at the University of Florida, he helped the Gators win the national title in 2008. Drafted by the New England Patriots, in his second full season with the team he and fellow Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski set records for touchdowns and yardage, and with Tom Brady, led New England to Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. But Aaron’s NFL career ended as quickly as it began. On June 26, 2013, he was arrested at his North Attleboro home, charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, and released by the Patriots. Convicted of first-degree murder, Aaron was sentenced to life in prison without parole. On May 15, 2014, while on trial for Lloyd's murder, Aaron was indicted for two more murders. Five days after being acquitted for those double murders, he committed suicide in his jail cell. Aaron Hernandez was twenty-seven years old.

In this clear-eyed, emotionally devastating biography—a family memoir combining football and true crime—Jonathan (formerly known by his nickname DJ) Hernandez speaks out fully for the first time about the brother he knew. Jonathan draws on his own recollections as well as thousands of pages of prison letters and other sources to give us a full portrait of a star athlete and troubled young man who would become a murderer, and the darkness that consumed him. Jonathan does not portray Aaron as a victim; he does not lay the blame for his crimes on his illness. He speaks openly about Aaron’s talent, his sexuality, his crimes and incarceration, and the CTE that ravaged him—scientists found that upon his death, Aaron had the brain of a sixty-seven-year old suffering from the same condition. Filled with headline-making revelations, The Truth About Aaron is a shocking and moving account of promise, tragedy, and loss—of one man’s descent into rage and violence, as told by the person who knew him more closely than anyone else.

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