In this book, H. L. Pohlman reconstructs the dramatic story of this murder case and traces its disposition through the criminal justice system. Drawing on interviews with participants as well as court records, he closely examines competing interpretations of the evidence. Was the attack a hate crime? A sex crime? A class crime? At the same time, he shows how a broad range of substantive and procedural issues -- from the rights of the accused to evaluation of potential mitigating circumstances -- can influence the assessment of culpability in homicide cases.
Much of Pohlman's analysis centers around two fundamental and related questions: To what extent did the adversarial system facilitate or hinder the discovery of the "whole truth" in the Carr case? And was justice served? Pohlman concludes by revisiting the ongoing debate over the nature of the American criminal justice system and the legitimacy of its ultimate sanction -- the death penalty.