Former Baltimore City homicide detective Kelvin Sewell has seen it all.
Gang members burned alive; a baby unceremoniously stuffed into the ground by its own mother; a sex offender who killed a child in a delusional jealous rage.
The constant grind of bearing witness to violent death has given Sewell an unprecedented perspective into the minds of killers.
He sat in the Baltimore Police Department's interview room with 14-year-old Devon Richardson as the teen tried to explain why he shot a woman he didn't know in the back of the head. He watched the father of 17-year-old Nicole Edmonds cry over the corpse of his dead daughter, murdered for a cellphone.
But now for the first time Sewell has decided to share the insights and the pain, the dehumanizing effects of crime and waves of psychic despair and social dysfunction in his groundbreaking book, Why Do We Kill?
"I think people deserve to know the truth," said Sewell, a 20-year veteran of Baltimore City's police department. "They need to get a sense of why people kill in Baltimore.
"I want people to see what we see as detectives," he explained. "I think there are misconceptions about crime in Baltimore, and I hope this book will clear them up."
The book recounts some of the most notorious homicide cases in Baltimore in the past decade, all told from the perspective of the cop who worked them.
Joining forces with Sewell is award-winning investigative reporter Stephen Janis, who covered City Hall for the now-defunct Baltimore Examiner and is founder of the award-winning news website Investigative Voice.
"What makes this book different is the collaborative voice," said Janis. "Kelvin would discuss his thoughts on the cases and I then tried to tell the story by adding the context that comes naturally with being a reporter."
Janis's colleague at Investigative Voice, reporter and political scientist Alan Z. Forman, served as editor for the project.
Janis is no stranger to the Baltimore crime scene, winning a string of prestigious awards for his crime reporting, including two consecutive Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association awards in Category A for his series on the murders of sex workers and his investigation into the high number of unsolved killings in Baltimore.
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About the Author
STEPHEN JANIS is an award-winning reporter who publishes Investigative Voice, an online watchdog journalism website based in Baltimore Maryland. As a staff writer for the former Baltimore Examiner (and one of only a handful of reporters who worked at the paper for its entire existence) he won a Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association award in 2008 for investigative reporting on the high rate of unsolved murders in Baltimore. In 2009 he won an MDDC Press Association award for Best Series for his articles on the murders of prostitutes.
As co-founder of the independent investigative website Investigative Voice, Janis's work uncovering corruption and government waste in Baltimore City will be chronicled in the upcoming national documentary "Fit To Print."
The site has won worldwide critical acclaim for its unconventional presentation and hardnosed reporting and is read regularly by insiders in city government as well as the police department.
Janis is the author of two novels, Orange: The Diary of an Urban Surrealist and This Dream Called Death. In addition to reporting and directing content for Investigative Voice he currently teaches journalism at Towson University.
KELVIN SEWELL is a 22-year veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department. A former narcotics officer tasked to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, he worked on major drug investigations for nearly a decade, later becoming a supervisor in the BPD's Internal Affairs Division, where he led several high profile integrity operations.
Sewell worked as a supervisor and investigator in the fabled Baltimore City Homicide Unit, working some of the most notorious cases in one of the most violent cities in the country. He attended Harvard Associates Forensic Science School and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in criminology from Coppin State University.
Following his retirement as a Baltimore homicide detective he took a job as Lieutenant in the Pocomoke City Police Department on Maryland's lower Eastern Shore, where he currently continues to serve.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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