THE PIANO TEACHER: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer by Robert K. & Peter S. Greenberg Tanenbaum

THE PIANO TEACHER: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Former N.Y.C. prosecuting attorney Tanenbaum (No Lesser Plea, 1986: coauthor, Badge of the Assassin, 1979) teams up with writer Greenberg to re-create a nightmare case in which Tanenbaum figured: a convicted sex-murderer gets paroled after four years--only to commit an identical murder. In the fall of 1966, in his own Manhattan apartment, a quiet music teacher named Charles Yukl strangled, slashed, and sodomized Suzanna Reynolds, a young actress and voice student of his. Blind to incriminating evidence, Yukl directed police to the body. which he claimed to have found in a vacant downstairs apartment. After hours of grilling by police and Assistant D.A. John Keenan, Yukl confessed--and later claimed that his Miranda rights had been violated. Given bail (unusual in a murder case), he was eventually allowed to plea-bargain down to a 15-year sentence for manslaughter (the D.A. feared a murder conviction would be overturned on appeal). Six years later, the nude, mutilated body of another young actress, Karen Schlegel, was discovered on a Greenwich Village rooftop--the latest residence of Charles Yukl. A veteran detective, Baezler, tipped Assistant D.A. Tanenbaum to the news, who carried it to Keenan, now D.A. Tanenbaum set an elaborate trap to get Yukl to confess, but the pressured D.A. and the Chief of Manhattan detectives rushed to have Yukl arrested. Incredibly, Keenan goaded a confession out of Yukl after he asked for a lawyer: Miranda foiled again. The killer drew a light 15-to-life sentence due to the weak case; in 1982, he hung himself in an observation cell. Stinging drama, moral momentum, and intelligent speculation about the flaws of the criminal justice system make this an unusually provocative and satisfying true-crime chronicle.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1987
ISBN: 1451604149
Publisher: New American Library