While reporting on the juvenile court system, journalist John Hubner kept hearing about a facility in Texas that ran the most aggressive–and one of the most successful–treatment programs for violent young offenders in America. How was it possible, he wondered, that a state like Texas, famed for its hardcore attitude toward crime and punishment, could be leading the way in the rehabilitation of violent and troubled youth?
Now Hubner shares the surprising answers he found over months of unprecedented access to the Giddings State School, home to “the worst of the worst”: four hundred teenage lawbreakers convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated assault to murder. Hubner follows two of these youths–a boy and a girl–through harrowing group therapy sessions in which they, along with their fellow inmates, recount their crimes and the abuse they suffered as children. The key moment comes when the young offenders reenact these soul-shattering moments with other group members in cathartic outpourings of suffering and anger that lead, incredibly, to genuine remorse and the beginnings of true empathy . . . the first steps on the long road to redemption.
Cutting through the political platitudes surrounding the controversial issue of juvenile justice, Hubner lays bare the complex ties between abuse and violence. By turns wrenching and uplifting, Last Chance in Texas tells a profoundly moving story about the children who grow up to inflict on others the violence that they themselves have suffered. It is a story of horror and heartbreak, yet ultimately full of hope.
“In the pages before us, the Counselor tells a saga’s worth of tales of the city. As the saying goes, he’s got a million of them.” —Tom Wolfe, from his Introduction
Edward Hayes is that unusual combination: the likable lawyer, one who could have stepped off the stages of Guys and Dolls or Chicago. Mouthpiece is his story—an irreverent, entertaining, and revealing look at the practice of law in modern times and a social and political anatomy of New York City. It recounts Hayes’s childhood in the tough Irish sections of Queens and his eventual escape to the University of Virginia and then to Columbia Law School. Not at all white-shoe-firm material, Hayes headed to the hair-raising, crime-ridden South Bronx of the midseventies—first as a homicide prosecutor and then as a defense attorney seeking to free the same sort of people he formerly had put in jail.
Tom Wolfe immortalized this setting in The Bonfire of the Vanities. Ed Hayes was his guide, and he served as the model for the scrappy defense lawyer Tommy Killian. Eventually, Hayes moved his practice to Manhattan, using his neighborhood white boy instincts and connections and the rough-and-tumble techniques learned in the Bronx on behalf of the rich and powerful and famous. From a high-stakes legal shootout over the Andy Warhol estate to working to secure financial justice for the families of the World Trade Center victims, Hayes has been behind the scenes of how New York City really operates.
For the tens of millions fascinated by New York’s unique blend of glitter and grime, of idealism and corruption, of avarice and ambition, Mouthpiece provides the ultimate close-up of high-stakes Gotham gamesmanship.
The suspected murderer—unbelievable.
One man’s pursuit of justice—unstoppable.
The death of promising young pediatric AIDS researcher Eric Miller stunned the Raleigh, North Carolina, community, largely because of the horrific way he was killed. For months, Eric was slowly tortured as arsenic consumed his body.
No one thought that Eric Miller’s wife, Ann—an attractive, demure, educated scientist—could be capable of such a horrible crime. No one except for veteran homicide investigator Chris Morgan, a man in the twilight of his career. But from the moment Morgan saw the thirty-year-old widow in the interview room at the police department, he knew he was seeing pure evil.
Now, journalist Amanda Lamb details Morgan’s dogged investigation—a quest for the truth that would last four years and see another life taken before Ann Miller’s tangled web of death and deceit finally came to light.
An abundance of DNA evidence.
A three-and-a-half year search for a killer who was always so close-yet untouchable.
After the rape and murder of Raleigh, North Carolina, resident Stephanie Bennett, police had ample DNA evidence. They also had a suspect: the man next door. But for more than three years, he eluded them by refusing to hand over a DNA sample, wiping down anything he touched and even planting decoy samples.
This is the gripping story of how a team of detectives finally tripped him up-and brought closure to an innocent young woman's family.
To their suburban Detroit neighbors, Stephen and Tara Grant were happy as could be. But their marriage, plagued by resentment and extramarital affairs, was held together only by their children. Until the night Stephen snapped, strangled and dismembered his wife, then disposed of her body piece by piece in the very park his children played in.
Norman "Red" Ryan was a notorious bank robber, safecracker, and killer. He escaped from Kingston Penitentiary twice - first by force, and then years later by gulling the credulous into believing that he was "reformed." The dupes of Ryan’s second emancipation included the prison’s Roman Catholic chaplain, several nationally prominent citizens, the country’s largest newspaper, and, ultimately, R.B. Bennett, the prime minister of Canada, who made the mistake of arranging a "political parole" for Ryan.
Six people - three of them innocent victims - died as a result of Red Ryan’s freedom. Dubbed "the Jesse James of Canada" and "Canada’s most notorious criminal," Ryan had compiled a record of nineteen convictions for crimes of theft and violence, and had been in nine shooting affrays with police and citizens. He was a "lifer" in an era when "life" meant just that. Yet he got out of Kingston after just eleven and a half years and returned to Toronto, the city of his birth, amid fanfare befitting a national hero. His death in a liquor store robbery in Sarnia on May 23, 1936, just ten months after his release, was a huge jolt to Canada, and especially Toronto.
How could such an obvious threat to society be paroled from prison as a paragon of reform? This question is central to The Big Red Fox. The answer lies not with Ryan himself - not even the cunning and deceitful Red Ryan could have hoodwinked his way out of a life sentence - but with those who helped him, and who benefited from his release.
A TWO-BOOK SERIES
NEW! The latest on the Adam Walsh story, longform journalism on UPROXX:
"WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO ADAM WALSH?"
The top of the story:
On July 27, 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh vanished from a Hollywood, Florida shopping mall. His mother, Reve Walsh, left him unattended for several minutes, and when she returned, he was gone. Two weeks later,Adam's severed head was found in a canal, and to this day, the rest of his body has never been recovered. John Walsh, Adam's father, went on to champion unsolved crimes in his America's Most Wanted television program, using his son's loss as the impetus for his campaign. In 2008, Ottis Toole, a serial killer who died in 1996, was recognized as the man behind the grisly murder.
This is the story we know well, but, everything may not be what it seems. True-crime author Arthur Jay Harris has been following the Adam Walsh case almost since its inception, and he first challenged police's official statements when he posited that Jeffrey Dahmer, and not Toole, was the likely culprit for the crime. Harris' evidence included seven witnesses that saw Dahmer at the mall around the time of the disappearance, along with a police report that stated that the infamous killer was living and working a mere 20 minutes away from the Hollywood mall where Adam was abducted from.
Indeed, if you follow Harris' work with ABC and The Miami Herald, you too may come to the conclusion that police fingered the wrong man. But, that's not where Harris' story and investigation ends. As Harris posits in The Unsolved Murder of Adam Walsh, which has turned into a two-book series, Adam Walsh may not have been murdered after all.
What was your conclusion after years of research into the Adam Walsh murder?
After shaking out what police and the medical examiners, and yes, the Walsh family, and the news media have put out about this case, there is only one takeaway that remains true: Adam Walsh disappeared. Everything else you think you know about this case is either absolutely untrue or is so unlikely that it's essentially untrue.
In short, the evidence against Ottis Toole, who police blamed for Adam's murder, is between poor and none. Another police suspect, who they dismissed with little inquiry -- no less than Jeffrey Dahmer, who at the time was documented living no more than 20 minutes by vehicle from the mall, is a far more likely suspect. Dahmer: 11 severed heads. Adam: severed head. That and seven police witnesses who said they saw Dahmer at the mall at the time with or near Adam, plus Dahmer's access to the same type and color of van reported by mall witnesses as the getaway vehicle, and a comparison including Dahmer's mugshot to a police composite drawing from a stunningly similar attempted kidnapping of a child at a nearby location of the same chain store exactly two weeks earlier.
But I made most of that case years ago, and my evidence was widely reported. What's new in the case, and no less outrageous, is this: The dead child they said was Adam is overwhelmingly likely not him. And the only reason we could possibly know this is because when police closed the case investigation in 2008, 27 years after the murder, all the official agency case files finally became available, for the asking. Conclusive certainties in homicide cases are startlingly few and I don't leap to them. But this is certain: In the now nearly 35 years since the homicide, there never could have been a trial, and never will be a trial, against any defendant for the murder of Adam Walsh. That's not for lack of suspects; it's because the identification of the found child as Adam can never be proven in court..
ALSO READ BOOK TWO: FINDING THE VICTIM
In Uncertain Justice, Beverley Boissery and Murray Greenwood portray a cast of women characters almost as often wronged by the law as they have wronged society. Starting with the Powers trial and continuing to the not-too-distant past, the authors expose the patriarchal values that lie at the core of criminal law, and the class and gender biases that permeate its procedures and applications.
The writing style is similar to that of a popular mystery: "Harriet Henry lay dead. Horribly and indubitably. Her body sprawled against the bed, the head twisted at a grotesque angle. Foam engulfed the grinning mouth." Scholarly analysis combines with the narrative to make Uncertain Justice a fascinating and engaging read.
There is a wealth of information about the emerging and evolving legal system and profession, the state of forensic science, the roles of juries, and the political turmoil and growing resistance to a purely class-based aristocratic form of government.
Sixteen-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddard agreed to house sit for relatives on the weekend of September 22, 2006. It was something the teenager had done before…but this time something went terribly wrong. When the family returned home at the end of the weekend they found Cassie lying on their living room floor brutally stabbed to death.
Detectives focused on two of Cassie’s classmates who had briefly visited her on the night that she was murdered: Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper. Initially both boys denied any knowledge of the crime, but after two separate interrogations, Brian Draper told detectives a chilling story of murder straight out of a horror movie. The two boys were immediately arrested, and a shocking videotape was discovered that seemed to depict the two teens not only planning the cold-blooded murder, but celebrating it.
Community outrage was strong and immediate. The public demanded justice. But was the video actually what it appeared to be: a cold-blooded documentary that detailed the plotting of Cassie’s murder; or something else entirely? Could anyone uncover the truth in time and convince a jury that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be?
The Guilty Innocent is narrated by Shannon Adamcik, mother of Torey, one of the accused boys. It takes readers behind the scenes of a trial where prosecutors cared more about public opinion than truth, defense attorneys, who had never argued a murder case, were in over their heads, and a young boy’s life hung in the balance.
The United States is the only country in the world that will charge a juvenile as an adult and sentence them to life without parole. As the mother of one such child, I know exactly what happens when a juvenile is placed in adult court where they cannot defend themselves. They are immediately cut off from all human contact, locked in isolation, and railroaded through a justice system they simply cannot comprehend. Consequently, many of these juveniles are sentenced too much longer and harsher terms than their adult counterparts. I've personally lived through this, and I was compelled to write about it.
I began for the simple reason that I had lived through this horrendous ordeal and I ached for someone to confide in. But reliving the most painful part of my life was extraordinarily difficult. Ultimately the only reason that I was able to persevere was my deep belief that the story was important and needed to be told. That is still true.
This is a true story and no one can tell it better than the people who lived it. A crime reporter can look at the details of a case, but they cannot tell you how it feels to live through it. I can and I did. I used the pre-trial and trial transcripts, copies of the police reports, the autopsy and DNA reports, and DVD recordings of all of the evidence in the case. I've done copious research. But more importantly, I take readers step-by-step through what it feels like when your 16-year-old son is accused of first-degree murder; all the odds are stacked against him; and his defense is in the hands of attorneys you can’t fully trust to come through for you.
--The Miami Herald
"Flower delivery for Marie Luskin!"
That was a curious surprise. Her husband Paul used to send her flowers all the time, but those days had passed forever. A year and a half before, following Paul's affair with another woman, Marie kicked him out of the house his parents had helped them buy--the biggest house in Emerald Hills, which was the best section of Hollywood, Florida--then filed for divorce.
And what a spectacular divorce. If nastiness could be judged quantitatively, the civil war of the Luskins was the meanest divorce Broward County had ever seen.
"Who is it from?"
"There's no name on the card."
"What florist are you from?"
"Emerald Hills Florist."
Still apprehensive, she cracked open the wooden door just enough to see him. With a sudden incongruous movement, the man stuck his foot in the doorway and thrust the flowers at her with his left hand. As she reached to take them, he stuck a silver pistol in her face.
Marie started shrieking uncontrollably. She tried to run inside, but the man grabbed her, one arm around her neck, grasping for her mouth with his hand. The flower pot fell to the black-and-white marble parquet floor and shattered, pink petals scattering.
"Shut up! Shut up!" he yelled, closing the door behind him. "I'm not going to hurt you. Shut the hell up, stop screaming!"
She finally stopped when his hand formed a gag hard around her mouth, and she realized the gun was at her temple. She couldn't stop looking at the gun, which framed his cruel eyes.
Then the man made an odd demand:
"Give me all your cash! Give me all your cash! Show me where you keep your cash! I'm not going to hurt you, but if you don't cooperate, I'm gonna blow your brains out!"
With the man clenching her long blond hair, the gun to the side of her head, she led him upstairs to a small room where she showed him a hundred-dollar bill.
"Where's all your cash! Give me all your cash!"
"It's in the bank!" she whined. "It's in the bank! This is it. This is all I have at home, I keep all my money in the bank!"
As the crescendo of voices in the Luskin house rose to a climax, exactly what happened next remains in dispute. Marie fell to the floor, a terrible pain in the back of her head. She didn't lose consciousness, but pretended to. Meekly, she opened her eyes and noticed there was blood all over her. She thought she was going to die...
The man had left without taking anything. The issue would become, had she been hit like she thought, or shot? That would seem to be the difference between a robbery and an attempt to kill her that might have descended from her husband.
Doctors found three minuscule pieces of lead in her bloody scalp. If they were fragments from a bullet, could she have been shot without realizing it? Or were they from the gun or whatever it was that hit her, or the decorative metal hair barrette she was wearing that had broken, separating its clip that had been held together by lead-based solder?
Also, if a gun was fired in that small room, where was the rest of the bullet? The police didn't find it. And why hadn't it shattered one of the room's three full-length mirrors?
That would become the story's essential mystery, and the answer would determine whether Paul and his alleged accomplices would go to prison. It must have been a shot, a federal court jury determined, because they convicted all four of attempted murder-for-hire.
Doubting it, true crime author Arthur Jay Harris went on an Odyssey through the heights and depths of Miami and Baltimore.
To the very last page, what he found kept surprising him.