We need a witness

In Denver, the murder of witnesses become almost common of & # 39; a reality: they are slaughtered witnesses a gang murder. In one of the latest cases, witness the murder of bandits was killed just days before she was to testify. The murder of Denver Bronk Darrenta Williams, who was associated with the previous murder, the police ran into a wall of silence. Those who may know something, too, know what happens to those who are "informers & # 39.;

The criminal justice system depends on witnesses. The majority of cases can not be solved only by forensic evidence, but depend on to live a man shows his finger. No one understood this better than Ken Rex McElroy, "urban hooligan", who was shot while he was sitting in a pickup truck on the main street of Skidmore, Missouri, July 10, 1981. I told the story of McElroy & # 39; Reign of terror in northwest Missouri, killing him and then silence in the book "In the broad light day", which was published by HarperCollins in 1989 and received the Edgar Award for the best real crime. (And that was also converted into a movie starring Brian Dynei).

Uneducated, McElroy knew instinctively that no witnesses of his crimes will not be the case. "No witness, no case" could be his motto. McElroy raped and abducted, anger, plundered and attacks to the northwest Missouri for over twenty years with impunity. Time and again witnesses to his crimes or not & # 39 were either changed their minds what they saw. It debuted publicly threatened them. Cases are gone.

At one point he was accused of twenty-three charges of rape and abduction of a girl of fifteen. He used his lawyer in Kansas City, to quickly get a divorce, and then burned the house of the girl's parents to successfully try to get them to marry the girl. Shortly after the marriage, all charges were dropped. Parents have gone further. As soon as the girl grew into a woman, she joined McElroy during his reign.

Forty-five witnesses saw Ken McElroy was shot in the July morning. All testified before the jury three large and widely questioned by the FBI. They all said they did not see anything. Twenty-five years I returned to Skidmore to update the story for the new EPILOGUE In Broad Daylight, which recently reissued St. Martins Press in the 25-year anniversary edition. Witnesses are still not talking. DA said that will continue to bring to responsibility the witness, but no one expects that it will not happen all the time. Several were killed, taking his secret to the grave. No "confession on his deathbed," not here.

Of course, the great irony is that the rule that lived McElroy – neither witnesses nor the case – this is what will ensure that his murderers are brought to justice. Does anyone agree with many that McElroy come, and that the city does not really have a choice because of the failure to comply with the law, he is still with the & # 39 is a dangerous precedent, when the crime witnesses did not come. to tell what they saw. In the end, even with the use of DNA and all the fancy forensic experts, without witnesses, the criminal justice system is out of work, and if it does not work, we are all at risk.