Présentation de l'éditeur
Nash’s masterful feat of weaving together this story should give pause to anyone who trusts the integrity of the judicial system. Nash shows just how easily the social networks of powerful people within a local court system can lead to an influential person manipulating the process and infringing on the rights of ordinary Americans."
--Victoria Hewlett in The Somerville News Weekly On a hot night in July 1995, Janet Downing, a 42-year-old mother of four, was brutally stabbed 98 times in her home in Somerville, a city two miles northwest of Boston. Within hours, a suspect was identified: 15-year-old Eddie O’Brien, the best friend of one of Janet’s sons.
But why Eddie? He had no prior history of criminal behavior. He was not mentally ill. He had neither motive nor opportunity to commit the crime. Others had both. Yet none of that mattered because powers far beyond his Somerville neighborhood decided that Eddie needed to be guilty.
As laid out in THE POLITICS OF MURDER, the timing of this case did not bode well for Eddie. A movement hoping to stop the supposed rise of young “superpredators” was sweeping the nation, and juvenile offenders were the targets. Both the Massachusetts governor and an elected district attorney who personally litigated this case supported juvenile justice reform, and both aspired to higher offices.
Eddie O’Brien’s case garnered both local and national publicity: He was the youthful Irish Catholic boy next door. His grandfather was the retired chief of the Somerville Police Department. Court TV covered the trial in adult court gavel to gavel, calling it the altar boy murder case. His highly publicized case changed the juvenile laws in Massachusetts. Other states began to follow suit. But did the justice system fail Eddie?
That’s the contention of author-attorney Margo Nash in her explosive expose, THE POLITICS OF MURDER. Appointed Eddie’s guardian ad litem, Nash attended every court session and eventually gained access to all his files. Now after painstaking research and examination of each step of the investigation, trial transcripts and the forensic evidence, Nash makes the case that Eddie could not have committed the crime and that other viable suspects were never properly considered.
The Innocence Program has recently taken on Eddie’s case. Now readers can decide if politics sent an innocent boy to adult prison for the rest of his life."A chilling story about corruption, political power and a stacked judicial system in Massachusetts."
--John Ferak, bestselling author of FAILURE OF JUSTICE.
Biographie de l'auteur
Writing has always been an essential part of my life, but I never aspired to become a published author. Nor did I ever dream that I would write a book that could impact the life of a man who was falsely accused and convicted of a heinous murder. My early writing was personal and private, but when I got my first job as an editorial and teaching assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I started to share my writing with others. After the MIT job ended, I became a social worker with the City of Boston. My job was to help disadvantaged inner-city youth finish high school by supporting them in their schoolwork and matching them with jobs that would inspire them to stay in school and build a future. I had two life-changing experiences during my time as a social worker. Early on, I worked with a young man who had a history of trouble with the police. On the surface, there seemed to be little hope for him. He deeply identified with the inner-city lifestyle and was uncomfortable communicating with people outside his group. But soon after he started his job at the hospital, I witnessed him undergo a total transformation; he became a confident, productive individual who interacted well with people at all levels. He was also able to save enough money to buy his dream car. I later worked with a young man who seemed to have everything going for him. He was well-spoken and knew how to present himself, and I thought that the Massachusetts College of Art would be a good job match for him. Everyone there loved him, but after a while things fell apart. He began to steal from the college’s art store, which seemed to be totally out of character for him. He lost the job and five years later he was convicted of murdering an elderly woman he cared for has a home health aide. These two cases taught me how wrong the assumptions we make about people can be.