Double Jeopardy

Double Jeopardy

by Bob Hill
     
 

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In America, it is illegal to prosecute a person for the same crime, no matter what the circumstances. It is a law intended to protect the innocent from unfair harassment and persecution.

But sometimes it protects the guilty as well.

Guilty As Sin

The circumstantial evidence against southern businessman Mel Ignatow was solid —

Overview

In America, it is illegal to prosecute a person for the same crime, no matter what the circumstances. It is a law intended to protect the innocent from unfair harassment and persecution.

But sometimes it protects the guilty as well.

Guilty As Sin

The circumstantial evidence against southern businessman Mel Ignatow was solid — effectively damning him for the savage 1988 sex torture/slaying of his former girlfriend, Brenda Schaefer. There was motive, unimpeachable forensic evidence . . . even testimony from an eyewitness who took photographs of the gruesome, horrific crime. But in a Kentucky courtroom, frustration, ignorance, incompetence and fate pulled a supposedly open-and-shut case in shocking, unexpected directions — and tied the concept of American justice into knots that might never be undone.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Louisville divorce Brenda Schaefer disappeared in 1988, last seen with her ex-fianc, Mel Ignatow. A year and a half later, Ignatow's sometime mistress, Mary Ann Shore, revealed that he had tortured, raped and murdered Schaefer, and she led police to where the body was buried. She was certain of Ignatow's guilt, because he had had her photograph the entire five-hour spree of sadism. Ignatow was brought to trial, but a combination of sloppy police work, an excellent defense attorney, the bad impression created by Shore on the stand and the lack of direct forensic evidence resulted in an acquittal. An expert on sexual sadism suspected that the incriminating photos would not have been destroyed, and indeed they were found under a floorboard in Ignatow's former house in 1992, proof that Shore's testimony had been true in every particular. The Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy provision meant that Ignatow could not be tried again, although he was given some prison time for perjury. Hill, a Louisville Courier-Journal columnist, has done an outstanding job of showing how the case developed and what went wrong. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Sue-Ellen Beauregard
As grisly, sadistic murders go, Brenda Schaefer's ranks right up there. In 1988, after the 36-year-old Louisville native's car was found abandoned, her manipulative boyfriend, Mel Ignatow, quickly became the prime suspect. After months of dead-end leads, enigmatic Mary Ann Shore, another of Ignatow's lovers, finally admitted that she had witnessed the murder and helped Ignatow bury the body. Although the case seemed airtight, a flighty jury found Ignatow innocent of murder, sodomy, and rape. Sadly, incriminating photographs were eventually found that directly linked Ignatow to the brutal slaying. Louisville journalist Hill reconstructs this convoluted, disturbing case in precise detail. But although he presents the facts admirably, the veteran reporter fails to explore the psychological reasons and motivations for Ignatow and Shore's despicable actions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380721924
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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