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Till Death Us Do Part - A True Murder Mystery
Till Death Us Do Part - A True Murder Mystery Author:Vincent Bugliosi with Ken Hurwitz This book will take its place alongside Anatomy of a Murder, In Cold Blood, and Helter Skelter as a classic in the literature on crime and the criminal mind. It is a story you will not easily forget. — Following a series of unsolved attempted murders in the southern California area, on December 11, 1966, a murder is committed in a blue-collar nei... more »ghborhood of Los Angeles. The victim is a pleasant young man with no known enemies. Sometime after midnight, the killer enters the house, shoots the young man three times in the head from point-blank range and twice in the chest, then sets fire to the house. The police have no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses, and no suspects.
Sixteen months later, again in los Angeles, another murder takes place. This time the victim is a beautiful young woman, recently married, who is shot and bludgeoned to death in her Jaguar in the carport of a luxury apartment complex. Again, the police find no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses, and no obvious suspects.
These two murders were the result of bizarre conspiracies rooted in passion and greed. Taken separately, the murders appeared unrelated, but they were linked by a single criminal mind. Shreds of evidence- jottings in an appointment calendar, suspicious bank transactions, a spending spree in Las Vegas- were the starting points of a fascinating investigation and a trial that generated more tension and unexpected reversals than the fictional courtroom dramas seen on television. The principal figure in the investigation and trial was Vincent Bugliosi, co-author of Helter Skelter, the man who put Charles Manson behind bars.
Bugliosi, perhaps the only prosecutor since Thomas E. Dewey to achieve a national reputation for his courtroom exploits, is faced here with a classic case of purely circumstantial evidence. There is no smoking pistol, no fingerprints or physical evidence, no one incontrovertible fact that will, in the minds of the jury, prove the defendants' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. And so Bugliosi must track down leads and sift through the statements of many people involved in the case, some of whom seem to be lying out of love, or fear. He must constantly construct and discard theories as to the real circumstances and motives in the crimes. He must, above all, fashion a convincing psychological portrait of two people for whom murder is but an incidental step in their pursuit of the fast, easy affluence of Southern California.
The trial itself was full of dramatic shifts: Bugliosi's brutal cross-examnination forces a key witness to contradict himself; a fingerprint expert confesses a dramatic mistake; the prosecutor and defense counsel clash violently over the admissibility of damaging evidence. Tension mounts daily with the realization that the game is being played with the defendants' life at stake.
Finally, there is Bugliosi's brilliant summation that synthesizes for the jury, and for the reader, the many inferences and shades of meaning in the complex testimony, fitting all the pieces together into a mosaic of guilt. But will the jury agree with him?
This is a true story, and in many ways, even more disturbing and fascinating than the Manson murders. Interspersed with the narrative are prosecutor Bugliosi's highly innovative, provocative challenges to those precepts of the criminal law called into question by this case.« less