DEADLY INTENTIONS by William Randolph Stevens

DEADLY INTENTIONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A creepy but gripping story of a fiendishly clever revenge-killing attempt--by the prosecutor who put the culprit behind bars (for a while, anyway). It began as a bizarre puzzle: a man arrested at the Dallas end of a flight from Tucson for trying to take a gun onto the plane was found to be carrying two sets of identification and wearing an elaborate disguise. The man turned out to be Dr. Patrick Henry, a Baltimore dermatologist who'd come to Dallas for a convention. Why the side trip to Tucson in disguise? And why did Dr. Henry's briefcase contain a revolver, a knife, firecrackers, a blackjack, and what seemed like burglar's tools? From some cryptic notes in Henry's pockets, investigators backtracked to a Tucson address: the home of Christina (Tina) Henry, the doctor's ex-wife. To prosecutor Stevens and his team, it seemed clear that Henry had come to Tucson to murder Tina, a theory the doctor's notes seemed to confirm: ""Select window; tape; plunger; thru-open; find T; M T."" But that was only the beginning for Stevens. When he interviewed Tina about her ex-husband, she told a nightmare story. Nice young Dr. Henry was a Jekyll/Hyde type whose special obsession was photographing his wife in pain or distress--he'd kick her in the shins and then take a photo, or snap her while she vomited. According to Tina, he'd twice tried to murder their child, and once attacked her, growling like an animal, his hair standing on end. And he'd often described, in lurid detail, the sadistic punishments (e.g., firecrackers in body cavities) he'd inflict on anyone who crossed him--as Tina finally did, by bailing out after seven years of marriage (she was raised in a traditional Greek family, where a wife ""would never speak against her husband""). At trial, Stevens faced the twin problems of making the jury believe that the clean-cut young defendant was a monster, and proving attempted murder on thin, circumstantial evidence in the face of an ingenious defense (yes, said the doctor, he'd come to Tucson to kill his ex-wife, but couldn't bring himself to do it). Stevens succeeded, and Henry drew a five-to-15 year sentence. Which may not have been enough--""We know Dr. Henry will come again,"" says Stevens. Hair-raising for sure.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1982
Publisher: Congdon & Weed--dist. by St. Martin's