Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pistol Shots in the Bar-Room Night

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pistol Shots in the Bar-Room Night

Article excerpt

The Hurricane Tapes

BBC Sounds

It was a crime scene so bloody that the New Jersey police slid across the red-pooled floor of the bar. That was one of the many insistent details in a new podcast about a triple homicide in 1966 for which the middleweight boxer Rubin Carter was tried, convicted, and released twice--eventually freed after near-20 years behind bars. "The full story has never been told--until now!" goes the long drum roll in episode one (in that helplessly preening way of Real Life Investigation podcasts), after which we are promised excerpts from "40 hours of unheard" tape recordings involving the police detective, Vincent DeSimone, who headed up the case.

So catastrophic were Vincent's injuries in the Second World War that his face was a chaos of scars and wounds, which caused him to slobber whenever he spoke--another burning detail. As is the story that Rubin Carter ran 100km in just 48 hours (that's more than two marathons) to escape from a boys' reformatory established during the civil war, full of "15-year-old rapists and killers", where he'd suffered since he was eight years old. …

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