Monday, June 8, 2015

Have you ever known a murderer?

I met Jaki Girdner in the writer's critique group where she made the following confession:

I mentioned that I’d known two murderers during a mystery writers’ critique group meeting some years ago. There was a shocked silence among the other aspiring writers. None of them had known a murderer! I was as shocked as they were. I thought everyone had.

Was my predilection for knowing murderers just because I was a good listener and people told me their sins? Or was it because I’d worked in a mental hospital? She goes into riveting detail in her Lineup article

I joined the group a little later, but I probably would have made Jaki feel less alone if I'd been in it when the question was asked because I've known a few murderers as well. On the other hand, Jaki really IS the sort of person strangers share their secrets with.

When my late husband Charlie, worked in the law library while going to night law school, he amused himself by reading criminal case law. He was shocked to see the name of a mutual friend who was involved with and helped the police catch a murderer. Charlie mentioned it to me and I had to say, "Oh, yeah that guy, he used to hang around with [mutual friend's name omitted]."

Charlie adjusted quickly--after all, there had even been a murder in the apartment above us, though we moved in after most of the parties involved had moved on. Charlie soon learned to tease visitors by mentioning the crime when the weather got hot enough that flies circled around the apartment. No connection with the murder upstairs. We just didn't have window screens back then and the flies did that in all the apartments when it got too hot. But the homicide was real.

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