The Man with Candy

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The mass murder of almost thirty young boys in Houston may well have been the most heinous crime of the century. How could such a series of murders go undetected for almost three years before being exposed? The Man with the Candy is a brilliant investigative journalist's story of the crime and the answer to that question.

The night David Hilligiest didn't come home was both like and unlike other nights when other Houston boys disappeared between the years 1971 and 1973. At three in the morning the police were called, but they just said that boys were running away from the best of homes nowadays and that they'd list David as a runaway. No, there would be no official search for the youngster.

Aghast, the Hilligiests, in the months that followed, hired their own detective, put up posters, even sought the aid of clairvoyants. But David never did come home again because, along with at least twenty-six other Houston boys, he had been murdered and buried by the homosexual owner of a candy factory, the mass murderer of the century, Dean Corll, according to his two teenage confessed accomplices, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., and David Brooks. Many of the young boys had not even been reported as missing, and the fact that they were dead would probably never have come to light had not one of the murderers confessed. For in Houston, where in a typical year the total number of murders is twice that of London despite the fact that London is six times as large and far more densely populated, missing persons and violence are likely to be considered commonplace.

In the months before the trial of Henley and Brooks, Jack Olsen interviewed and probed for answers about the criminals, the victims and the city itself, which remained for the most part silent, angry and defensive. The result is a classic of true crime reportage.
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About the author

Born June 7, 1925, Jack Olsen was the award-winning author of thirty-three books published in fifteen countries and eleven languages, including Son: A Psychopath and His Victims. A former Time bureau chief, Olsen wrote for Vanity Fair, People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and The New York Times Book Review, among others.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 30, 2008
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781439128701
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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AS FAR AS FITTING THE STEREOTYPES bestowed to infamous chain-link murderers that exist outside African American culture, there was a time when black serial killers were recognized, to some extent, implausible by purported experts who probably cared not to explore the primary nature of the slayers transgressions. Nevertheless, the obscured story of handyman Morris Solomon Jr. has to be one of the most interesting tales untold as it is one of the most horrific yarns in the annals of American crime. The handymans misdeeds, when briefly brought to the publics attention, virtually reminded society that killers continuously come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Solomon was convicted of killing six young women, ages 16 to 29, in the Sacramento, California, neighborhood of Oak Park between 1986 and 1987. The handymans grisly method of murder left detectives and medical examiners mystified. The identification process of his victims remains was distinctly a laborious assignment, too. The victims drug addicts, prostitutes, and devout mothers were stuffed in closets, hidden under debris, and arguably, one court judge strongly considers, buried alive. In retrospect, the handyman was first accused of murder in the mid-1970s; and authorities suspect him to be linked to four more homicides in Sacramento. Solomon once declared as a Mentally Disordered Sex Offender is now on death row in Northern Californias San Quentin State Prison awaiting execution. The unassuming handymans 18-year reign of terror includes a record of sexual assaults, attempted kidnappings, and separate despicable sex acts performed strictly for humiliation. In The Homicidal Handyman of Oak Park: Morris Solomon Jr., author and journalist Tony Ray Harvey recounts the black serial killers dysfunctional upbringing, atrocious crimes, and hardly noticeable court trial. Harveys book also provides explicit crime scene photos, the history of the death penalty system in the state of California, the city of Sacramentos drug culture in the mid-1980s, and exclusive prison interviews of the mild-mannered handyman.
Prize-winning journalist Jack Olsen, armed with unprecedented access to one of the most infamous serial killers in American history, provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a murderer in the killer's own words . . .

In February 1990, Oregon State Police arrested John Sosnovke and Laverne Pavlinac for the vicious rape and murder of Taunja Bennet, a troubled 23-year-old barfly who had suffered mild retardation since birth. Pavlinac had come forth and confessed, implicating her boyfriend and producing physical evidence that linked them to the crime. Authorities closed the case.

There was just one problem. They had the wrong people.

And the real killer wasn't about to let anyone take credit for his kill. Keith Hunter Jesperson was a long haul truck driver and the murderer of eight women, including Taunja Bennet. As the case wound through police precincts and courts--ending in life sentences for both Sosnovke and Pavlinac--Jesperson began a twisted one man campaign to win their release. To the editors of newspapers and on the walls of highway rest stops, Jesperson scribbled out a series of taunting confessions:

I killed Tanya Bennett . . . I beat her to death, raped her and loved it. Yes I'm sick, but I enjoy myself too. People took the blame and I'm free . . ..Look over your shoulder. I may be closer than you think.

At the end of each confession, Jesperson drew a happy face, earning for himself the grisly sobriquet "The Happy Face Killer."

Based on access to interviews, diaries, court records, and the criminal himself, I: The Creation of a Serial Killer is Jesperson's chilling story. It chronicles his evolution from angry child to sociopathic murderer, from tormentor of animals to torturer of women. It is also the story of the fate that befell him after two innocent citizens were imprisoned four years for one of his killings.

Edgar Award winner Jack Olsen lets the killer to tell his story in his own words, offering unprecedented insight into the twisted thought process of a serial murderer. Olsen takes his readers along on Jesperson's vicious cross-country killing spree, letting him describe how he played his "death game" with eight innocent victims and how he finally came to grips with the fate he deserved.

I: The Creation of a Serial Killer is one of the most revealing and insightful pieces of crime reporting ever published.

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