"RUN, BAMBI, RUN: The Beautiful Ex-Cop Convicted of Murder Who Escaped to Freedom and Won America's Heart" by Kris Radish

"RUN, BAMBI, RUN: The Beautiful Ex-Cop Convicted of Murder Who Escaped to Freedom and Won America's Heart"

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A meticulous but flat case is made here for a wrongful first-degree murder conviction. On her 21st birthday, in 1979, Laurencia ""Bambi"" Bembenek entered the Milwaukee police academy. Thus began the chain of events that, according to Radish (Journalism/Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), ended with Bembenek being framed for murder and receiving a life sentence. Dismissed from the force in her first year, Bembenek filed a discrimination suit against the MPD and married a detective--Elfred Schultz--after a two-month courtship. Soon, she began to suspect Schultz of continuing a relationship with his first wife, Christine--despite the detective's apparent bitter obsession with his having to pay the mortgage on the house that Christine now lived in without him. Within five months of Schultz's marriage to Bembenek, a disguised intruder murdered Christine with a single gunshot while she slept. Although Schultz had means (his off-duty gun was determined to be the murder weapon); motivation (he claimed that alimony and tax support were ruining him); and access (a key to the house), Bembenek was charged and convicted of Christine's murder. Radish details the incompetent defense Bembenek was given by an acquisitive (and later disbarred) attorney. After Bembenek's conviction, many came forth to protest, including a private detective who, working without pay for five years, unearthed evidence of an MPD cover-up. To date, however, Bembenek has been unable to receive a new trial. In 1990, she escaped to Canada, where (although imprisoned) she is petitioning for refugee status from the US. Paper-thin characterizations and minimal backgrounds dull Radish's narrative. Still, the author excels at factual accounts, and this could be grist for a TV movie.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol