BLOOD EVIDENCE: A Story of True Crime in the Suburban South by Craig A. Lewis

BLOOD EVIDENCE: A Story of True Crime in the Suburban South

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In early 1980, Kathy Graham (38) was bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of her Shreveport, Louisiana, home. The murder weapon was a sledgehammer found beside the bed. Her curiously impassive husband, a professor of biochemistry, claimed he'd been awakened by unseen intruders during the early morning hours, then had been stabbed (slightly) and knocked out when he was flung across the room. On regaining consciousness, he said, he discovered his wife's severely mutilated body. Their three children had apparently slept through the attack in nearby bedrooms. Lewis, who covered the case for the Shreveport Times, does a workmanlike, if not particularly suspenseful, job of reporting the crime, the police investigations, and the subsequent trial in which Lew Graham was accused and convicted of his wife's murder. Lewis' major problems in maintaining suspense are that the accused's alibi was well-high incredible and that there were discrepancies in his story that went unexplained during the trial. Why, for example, did not Graham, after discovering Kathy's body, immediately check on his three children's safety? Although the defense lawyers apparently attempted to establish that there had been reports of prowlers in the neighborhood on the night of the murder, their efforts, at least as recounted here, were unconvincing. A great deal is made of the use of experts in bloodsplatter analysis, but the material is highly arcane and ultimately undramatic. Although Lewis assures us the citizens of Shreveport were sharply divided concerning Graham's guilt, readers ate unlikely to feel the same way. Ho-hum true crime.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: August House