By Bill Kurtis
True crime investigative reporter invoice Kurtis tackles his greatest case yet—the loss of life penalty—and exhibits us why it has to be abolished from our justice approach
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Someone told him of a possible score in a townhouse full of student nurses. He slipped in through a screened window and waited as they came home from work. One by one over a seven-hour period, he knifed and strangled seven young women. When police arrived to investigate they had to put a wooden plank across the floor so they wouldn’t lose their footing in inch-thick blood. I was present outside the Peoria, Illinois, courtroom when prosecutor Bill Martin announced the death penalty leveled against Speck and was again disappointed when the Furman decision later saved his life.
The tape was Ray Krone’s downfall. Dr. Rawson used it like Ron Popeil demonstrating a new carrot dicer. He performed magnificently and effectively. No other evidence would be necessary. The video did it for the jury. Jones must have known it. He tried valiantly to attack the tape. On Thursday, August 6th, just before he rested the defense case, he asked to be granted a one-month recess to allow his own expert to produce a tape or, at least, give him time to discredit Dr. Rawson by finding other trials in which he had testified, on the chance he had been wrong.
In 1997, the legal profession was embarrassed publicly when some Northwestern University journalism students working on a class project asked a few simple questions about a trial. The students’ project required them to re-interview a witness who had helped convict a homicide defendant and send him to death row. Their professor, David Protess, had a tip that the death row inmate was innocent and that the witness had lied on the stand. When the students and a private investigator conducted the interview the witness recanted her testimony and admitted that she had lied on the witness stand.