Books by Ellen Harris

Released: April 1, 1995

The human drama overshadows the political intrigue in this uneven account of a Palestinian who murdered his daughter. Near midnight on November 5, 1989, in a run-down house in inner-city St. Louis, 16-year-old high school senior Tina Isa was stabbed to death by her father, Zein, while her mother, Maria, looked on. From the start police doubted Zein's claim that Tina had a long history of rebellion and had attacked him first; proof that he was lying came from an FBI bug of the Isa home that had captured Zein telling Tina, ``Die! Die quickly!'' and Maria responding, ``Shut up,'' as her daughter begged for mercy. The parents were ultimately sentenced to death, and the murder was depicted in news stories around the world as an ``honor killing'' perpetrated by a backwards Palestinian who felt his Americanized, free-thinking daughter had brought shame to the family. In 1991, however, it was finally revealed that the Isa house had been bugged because Zein was suspected of clandestine activities in the US in support of Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, and it was suggested that Tina- -short for Palestina—had been murdered because she knew too much. St. Louis TV reporter Harris (Dying to Get Married, 1991) interviewed members of the Isa family and had access to thousands of hours of tapes recording Zein and his co-conspirators. The author's descriptions of terrorist intrigue are muddled, and she is far too worshipful of the law-enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges she depended on as sources. But Harris shines in the chilling reconstruction of the events leading to Tina's death, complete with jealous older sisters urging their father to murder. At its heart, and where it succeeds, the tragic story of a talented, vivacious young girl who desperately wanted to be a normal American teenager. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Edge-of-your-seat account of the ten-week marriage and bizarre death of a young St. Louis executive, whose charred remains were discovered bound with adhesive tape in a burning garage in May 1986. Before her marriage, Julia Miller had suffered a series of mental breakdowns and was desperately lonely. She placed a personal ad in a local newspaper and was thrilled when one Dennis Neal Bulloch responded. Bulloch was apparently an ideal marriage prospect, a handsome, rising young executive with all the proper business and social connections. Julia was swept off her feet, and the couple soon married. Unfortunately, Bulloch's yuppie facade concealed several highly sinister quirks: He was a womanizer and a financial manipulator, and was into sexual bondage. Julia was soon disillusioned and may have been contemplating divorce when her naked body, strapped into a rocking chair with 76 feet of tape, was found in the burning garage. Her husband, immediately suspected of the crime, was apprehended in California and returned to St. Louis for trial. There, he claimed that Julia's death was the result of a sex ritual, initiated by Julia, that had gone out of control: Discovering her dead, he had panicked and set fire to the garage. Incredibly, the jury accepted this tale, and Bulloch was convicted merely of involuntary manslaughter. He was later convicted of arson and of destroying evidence; at present, he is out on appeal. Harris, a former reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, keeps the narrative moving briskly and is especially effective in delineating the manners and morals of various strata of St. Louis society. On a deeper level, she investigates the implications of Bulloch's ``she-made-me-do-it'' defense for the prosecution of sex crimes. A bang-up job—suspenseful and harrowing. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >