The amazing thing about this terrible crime is that there was no way to see it coming. The saddest thing is that a man who had opportunities to overcome childhood issues - was surrounded by a loving family, didn't. And another family that was happy, connected and lived for each other - were caught in the web of Chris Hightower's pain. He killed a man he was angry at, then the man's wife and young child for nothing but his own greed. This murder was beyond evil. Yet as you read (this very well written account) and 'watch' from the perspective of observer - hindsight of his collective behavior aside- there were no tell tale signs of this man being a monster. But at his trial - in his own words he let everyone know how disturbed he actually was.
Well research and written. Fast read. Amazing and sad story.
This book is a thorough account of the horrible murder of Ernie Bendel, Alice Bendel and their 8 year old daughter. All because of Chris' greed and illusions about himself and his abilities. Thinking himself a savvy commodities investor, he is, in reality, a con man. Ernie becomes incensed when Chris "loses" Ernie's $15,000 investment and reports Chris to some governing board. Despite Chris' pleas, Ernie refuses to drop his report. Everything comes down on Chris all at once. His landlord wants him out of his office since he's very late for his rent; his wife serves divorce papers on him; he's kicked out of his home with no place to live; the car he uses is his father-in-laws and is taken from him; and, the commodities fraud agency is sending 2 men to check his books. Chris knows they'll find illegal activity on his part which will cause him to lose his license and never be able to practice in the commodities field again. As terrible as this avalanche of woes is, the reader is shown clearly how Chris' greed and overestimation of himself caused all these problems. Unable to take responsibility for his own actions, Chris turns all his rage against Ernest Bendel. The book's title "Death of an Angel" is really about two adults and their little girl, Emily's murder. However, Emily was the innocent "angel" in this case and she's the one that galvanizes law enforcement into finding the killer. This book, though very sad, is hard to put down despite some unnecessary details. Do we really need to know Emily's social security number? It's mentioned once and never enters the case. Then Chris gives a long, convoluted account of what happened which is all based on lies. A true sociopath with no hint of remorse whatsoever. I didn't feel the authors' needed to write the whole testimony which I ended up skipping much of out of boredom.
I found myself getting frustrated, as I often do, when a killer can't be indicted for murder despite the wealth of cicumstantial evidence. It was only when the bodies of the 3 victims were found was the murder indictment put into place.
Ripped by recent headlines, true story of Ernest Brendel and his wife and 8yr. daughter Emily. True story that led to a sunday school teacher and respected member of the community who was psycholtic liar obessed with greed, jeaslousy, and murderous revenge. Good read.
It is hard for me to believe that money would cause someone to kill a family. I finished this book feeling sad for the family of the deceased. The part that bothered me the most was that this was from outward appearances a "normal" person. No one had any reason to fear him. Just a bad businessman which there are many out there. Who would think it would turn into murder. Read if you like true crime, a interesting look into a mind of a killer. Who knew???
Amanda F. (aafolk) reviewed Death of an Angel: The True Story of a Vicious Triple-Murder that Broke the Heart of a Town on
This book definitely proves that Mark Twain was right when he said "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."
This book is Well-researched and well-written. Mr. Davis adds fascinating insight into the motives of not only the murderer, but all others involved in this case, including the attorneys involved in the trial.
When prosperous lawyer Ernest Brendel mysteriously disappeared, along with wife Alice, and 8-year-old daughter Emily, friends in their close-knit Rhode Island neighborhood worried the family had been kidnapped. It would be agonizing months into a massive FBI search before they would know the heartbreaking truth. The shaken community began to lose hope that the family would ever be found alive. Their worst fears were confirmed when heavy rains from a tropical storm uncovered Alice and Ernest Brendel's decomposed bodies-shot with a giant crossbow, strangled, and buried in the quiet woods of the town. Lying under her mother's corpse was little Emily's lifeless body, now a silent witness to her killers shocking identy. Like a hand pointing from the grave, the evidence led authorities to one of Ernest Brendel's closest and most trusted friends. What Ernest couldn't have known was that Christopher Hightower-a Sunday school teacher and respected member of the community-was a psychotic liar obsessed with greed, jealously, and murderous revenge.