INNOCENCE LOST: The True Story of a Quiet Texas Town and the Coldblooded Murder Committed by Its Kids by Carlton Stowers

INNOCENCE LOST: The True Story of a Quiet Texas Town and the Coldblooded Murder Committed by Its Kids

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Midlothian, a small town just south of Dallas, was stunned in October 1987 when an undercover narcotics agent was executed by the high-school students he was investigating. Here, Stowers, whose 1986 paperback Careless Whispers won an Edgar for Best True Crime book, offers a gripping but shallow retelling of this real-life horror story. Assigned to work undercover at Midlothian High School, 21-year-old George Raffield (or ""Moore,"" as the students knew him) had enthusiam and youthful looks--but only a few weeks of training. Apparently unaware that Greg Knighten, 16, the troubled son of a Dallas police officer, and others suspected that he was a narc, Raffield was lured to a field in the countryside to make a drug buy. Accompanied by 17-year-old Richard Goglein, who had a history of violence and a fascination with satanic worship, Knighten used his father's .38 revolver to shoot the policeman in the back of the head. The two boys, with the extra T-shirts Knighten had worn for the occasion, methodically wiped the blood spatters from the side of Raffield's truck and walked down the road to where fellow student Jonathan Jobe waited to drive them back to town. Stowers reports that the three boys--alternating between euphoria, casual bravado, and fear--then told practically everyone they met what had happened. In fact, they had spoken earlier of""wasting a narc""--but no one then, or after, bothered to inform the police. The deed done, the boys went to the apartment of Cynthia Fedrick, 23, a dissolute woman whose home was a hangout for drug users. She had warned Knighten that his new friend was probably a cop; now, though she kept the dead man's wallet and helped destroy some of the evidence, she threw the boys out. In the end, the county could not afford four major trials and arranged plea bargains with all but Knighten, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Succinct and suspenseful, but not very revealing: Stowers rests on easy explanations--neglectful parents, the evil of drugs and rock music--for the crime and the moral decay behind it.

Pub Date: July 9th, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster