Vernon Keel began a long career in journalism on his hometown newspaper just three miles from where the Wolf family was murdered twenty years before he was born. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota where he developed skills in legal and historical research. For more than thirty years, he taught media law and headed journalism and communication schools at several midwestern universities.
Murdered Family: Mystery of the Wolf Family Murdersby Vernon Keel
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A wave of fear sweeps across the barren prairies of central North Dakota in April of 1920 with the tragic news that seven members of a farm family and their hired boy have been brutally murdered at their home just north of Turtle Lake in McLean County.A massive search for the killers begins immediately in the midst of an intense statewide election campaign. Three weeks later, eager investigators encouraged by nervous politicians get a signed confession from one of the prime suspects in the case. He is sentenced that same day to life in the state penitentiary.From the beginning, the man denies his guilt and says his confession was obtained under duress, intimidation and fear. In November, his lawyers file a motion in district court asking that his plea of guilty be withdrawn and for a trial upon the merits. Their motion is strengthened when some new evidence is discovered on the Wolf family farm only days before the motion is filed.Some ninety years later, people in the area still recall the words the convicted man was supposed to have said: My eyes have seen but my hands are clean!
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this book is one of its kind. i live in NoDak so i grew up hearing about this. reading the book put everything together and answered some questions my family didnt know answers to.
I absolutely loved the book! I was born and raised in North Dakota, growing up it was one of the stories I heard my grandparents talk about. Since returning to North Dakota to raise my family, I have been interested more in my home state. I found this book in my Grandma's collection one day and was immediately hooked. Mr. Keel did an amazing job in writing this piece and bringing light to this horrible tragedy, along with some doubt on if Henry Layer was truly guilty.