Charles Yulk. The piano teacher. A reclusive, eccentric artist whose dreams of sexual fulfillment lived-and died-only in his imagination. But one day he DID bring his sick, perverted fantasies to life. Eight years later, due to a shocking series of legal errors, he was granted the freedom to kill again.
The author was invovled in the tale and gives first hand knowledge of this psychotic killer.
"An important and frightening true story that dramatically illustrates the inevitable failure in America's relentless attempts to comingle psychiatry and law. It makes one realize that nowhere in the English-speaking world is there a system as inept and flawed as ours." Joseph Wambaugh
"The Piano Teacher takes the plunge into the dark terrain of a psychotic killer." Flora Rheta Schreiber, author of Sybil
Mary M. (emeraldfire) - , reviewed The Piano Teacher : The True Story of a Psychotic Killer on
Charles William Yukl was the eldest of two sons born to Czech parents - pianist and conductor Dorothea Freitag Yukl, and trumpeter Charles W. Yukl. Charles Yukl claimed that his parents were often abusive to him as a child, attributing severe beatings and other random cruelty to his "perfectionist, demanding" parents. As a young child, Charles was fascinated by fire and was accused of setting several fires by the age of nine.
He held a variety of jobs as an adult, and was soon urged by his mother to become a professional ragtime pianist. He was rather successful and played in Manhattan, Union City, New Jersey and in the Catskills, often using the stage name Yogi Freitag. He married a German photography student named Enken in 1961 and subsequently became a voice and piano teacher.
The real Charles Yukl was nothing at all like the facade he portrayed to the world. Behind the well-mannered musical prodigy with the choirboy looks dwelt a twisted psychotic misogynist. A reclusive, eccentric man whose dreams of perverse sexual fulfillment lived - and died - only in his fertile imagination.
Then on Monday, October 24, 1966, Charles Yukl brought his perverted fantasies to vivid life when he brutally murdered twenty-five year old Suzanne Reynolds. Suzanne was an aspiring actress who had been taking voice lessons for three months from the thirty-one year old ragtime pianist, and she had absolutely no idea of his true nature. Then, eight years later - on Tuesday, August 20, 1974 - due to a shocking series of legal errors that granted him the freedom to kill again, he lured a twenty-three year old aspiring model named Karin Schlegel to a Greenwich Village rooftop and savagely strangled her to death.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I had never heard of Charles Yukl or of the murders he committed. I found this story incredibly sad, and the fact that due to a bureaucratic oversight, he was allowed to kill again really made me angry. I will say that I found this book to be rather slow in places, and I really would have appreciated a deeper investigation of the wife's personality; other than mentioning that she was disturbing, very little else was explained about her, or their strange relationship. I would give The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer by Robert K. Tanenbaum and Peter S. Greenberg a B+!