Simon Says: A True Story of Boys and Murder in the Rocky Mountain West

Overview

On a frigid New Year’s Eve, just twenty months after the Columbine massacre, three teenage boys carefully plotted the murder of a schoolmate and his grandparents at their mountain hideaway outside of Colorado Springs. The boys’ leader, Simon Sue, was responsible for strong-arming the others into believing they were members of a secret paramilitary organization-and that their very lives depended on successfully executing the organization’s “mission.” Simon Says tells the page-turning story of how these boys’ lives...
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Overview

On a frigid New Year’s Eve, just twenty months after the Columbine massacre, three teenage boys carefully plotted the murder of a schoolmate and his grandparents at their mountain hideaway outside of Colorado Springs. The boys’ leader, Simon Sue, was responsible for strong-arming the others into believing they were members of a secret paramilitary organization-and that their very lives depended on successfully executing the organization’s “mission.” Simon Says tells the page-turning story of how these boys’ lives could have gone so horribly astray, how their parents assumed all was right in their sons’ lives, and what the fallout of the grisly murders was on all the families. Through painstaking research, journalist Kathryn Eastburn gets into the minds of these boys to reveal a place where the rites of passage to young manhood, to acceptance, come at an exorbitant price.
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Editorial Reviews

Colorado Springs Independent
[Eastburn] uses both her reporting skills and her sensitivity to get inside not only the lives of the victims, but also the minds of the boys who committed the murders, and the families devastated in the aftermath.Eastburn brings us inside Grimes' world leading up to the crimes.The story will give you much to ponder.It may be only through examining such stories that we begin to understand how they can happen, and maybe how we can help prevent them from happening in the future.
Summit Daily News
An intricate study of the triple homicide.[Eastburn] has been able to peel away layers and layers of courtroom proceedings and psychological underpinnings to expose the complex personality of Simon Sue.This is an amazing and totally riveting story.With imagery equal to that created by Golding in "The Lord of the Flies," or Conrad in "Heart of Darkness," Eastburn opens the door into this hidden and macabre underworld that existed under the nose of respectability in Colorado Springs.
Denver Post
The prose wrapped around this true story is excellent, and Eastburn manages to keep tension acute while describing a four-year period, much of it involving the ponderous legal system. That's a tough chore with an audience more attuned to the seemingly quick solutions presented on `Law and Order.'
Rocky Mountain News
Grade: A.Pros: The author weaves a gripping tale out of a complicated investigation.Cons: There's not much to dislike in this can't-put-down read.
Aspen Times Weekly
Eastburn does an impressive job of tying together the odd facts about this case as it limps along for three years. Eastburn diligently follows the story to completion and questions how these teenage boys got tangled in a drama that ultimately led to three needless murders. For fans of true crime, "Simon Says" fits the bill.
Santa Fe New Mexican
Kathryn Eastburn, a newspaper reporter who covered the court proceedings against the boys, tells this tragic tale with clarity and compassion. Her narrative, culled from official records, direct observation and interviews, is swift, compelling, and without a hint of sensationalism. This look at darkness, dysfunction, and human detritus needs no manufactured thrills. Eastburn relates some truly chilling moments. With Simon Says, Eastburn reveals wounds that may never heal. There are also open questions, doubts about guilt and innocence, and the conflicting stories of the participants. We may never have the answers, but this predatory tale reminds us that there are monsters, and they are very human. That's reason enough to tell the story.
Vail Daily
Eastburn gives equal time to victims and killers alike in her book "Simon Says," a real and gritty look at what happens when violence comes to a small town.Smart and engaging writing.[Eastburn] takes a deep look at why children kill.painstakingly pieces together the events, thoughts and emotions behind one of Colorado's most violent and disturbing crimes. "Simon Says" doesn't give the reader any hope in humanity, it just reveals the slight difference between humans and monsters.
Galveston County Daily News
Tautly written and is as exciting as a crime novel. The book is at its best when Eastburn shows how the murders affected the families of those involved, both the victims and the perpetrators.
Colorado Springs Gazette
Not only is this longtime local journalist's writing crisp and engaging, but she follows the twists and turns of the "Guffey murders" tale down several roads worth following. Eastburn has a knack for the telling detail. The story is sad and gripping, and it feels as if it is being told by a neighbor.
Publishers Weekly

On New Year's Eve 2000, Isaac Grimes, a Colorado Springs high school sophomore, went on a sleepover at the rural Colorado home of the grandparents of his former best friend Tony Dutcher. There, Isaac confessed three months later, he slit Tony's throat while his accomplice and fellow student Jon Matheny shot to death Carl Dutcher, a military veteran and licensed arms dealer, and his wife, JoAnna. Grimes and Matheny blamed high school senior Simon Sue for planning the triple homicide; Sue had bullied them into believing they were guerrillas following orders in a Marxist Guyanese paramilitary organization. At 15, Grimes became the youngest inmate in the adult prison system after he was convicted and sentenced to 60 years; Matheny and Sue were sentenced to 66 and 53 years, respectively. Eastburn, who covered the case for the Colorado Springs Independent, offers a well-researched, fast-paced account of events. The crime is ultimately more interesting than the criminals, who shed meager insight into their own motives and psyches. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306815522
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Journalist Kathryn Eastburn covered the court proceedings against the boys in this case for nearly three years for the Colorado Springs Independent. She lives in Colorado Springs.
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