Gut-wrenching account of a brutal 1988 rape/murder in Louisville, Ky., and the miscarriage of justice that resulted when killer's prosecution was botched. Louisville Courier-Journal feature writer Hill begins with the disappearance of Brenda Schaefer in September 1988. Her family and the police suspected that her fiancÇ, Mel Ignatow, was responsible, but no physical evidence linked him to the possible crime. After 16 months, Mary Ann Shore-Inlow, Ignatow's mistress, confessed to having been coerced into helping him bury Schaefer's body and led authorities to it. The FBI hastily set up a wiretap in which Shore- Inlow was to initiate a conversation about the burial, but the results were ambiguous and poorly recorded. The arrest was made despite these complications, but the jury refused to convict Ignatow based solely on Shore-Inlow's testimony. Community outrage prompted the authorities to retry the case on federal charges of perjury (since he could not be tried twice for murder). In the interim, Ignatow's house had been sold, and the new inhabitants discovered graphic photographs of the crime hidden under the carpet. This evidence was used to force him to plead guilty to the federal charges, and he received the maximum penalty: eight years and one month, of which he will serve five—about the same that Shore-Inlow received for her plea bargain. The author relates this tragic tale with an overly obsessive attention to detail (even providing the high school background of the rug installers who discovered the photographs) that prompts the uneasy feeling Hill is stalking rather than researching the story—an effect most pronounced when he details the type, color, and size of the socks and underwear worn by the victim on the day she was murdered. Effectively executed, but a repulsive story nonetheless.
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