Dead of Night: The True Story of a Serial Killer by Don Lasseter, copyright 1997, published by Onyx – with 8 pages of “shocking photos!”
Cesar Barone (birth name Jimmy Rode) was on death row in Oregon (1995) convicted with “six counts of Aggravated Murder, two counts of Murder, eight counts of first-degree Burglary, two counts of first-degree Attempted Sodomy, two counts of first-degree Attempted Rape, and one count of first-degree Sex Abuse” (see http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december242009/barone.php) until he died of natural causes in 2009.
This was one busy man. Why have I never heard of him? I must be falling behind on my true crime reading. The book seemed to start out a little slow but really picked up with the police hunt and the trials (usually the part I find the dullest).
But what I really want to talk about are those “shocking photos”. Whoever selected these photos has a different definition of shocking than I do, that’s for sure. There are the usual childhood photos of the killer, photos of the detectives on the case, photos of the killer’s cars and shoes and lastly a page of photos of the victims when they were alive and well. Where’s the shocking?
Perhaps the publishers figured the phrase “shocking photos!” would sell more copies. I don’t know about you, but if you enjoy true crime, the photos are the first thing you look at. If you want a good book with some great, but not shocking photos (except for G.), read:
Delivered From Evil: True Stories of Ordinary People Who Faced Monstrous Mass Killers and Survived by Ron Franscell, copyright 2011, published by Fair Winds Press
This book covers ten incidents:
- Spree Killer Howard Unruh
- The Atlanta Day-Trader Spree
- The McDonald’s Massacre
- The Luby’s Massacre
- The Howard Johnson Sniper
- The Texas Tower Sniper
- Serial Killer Derrick Todd Lee
- Serial Killer David Maust
- The West Paducah High School Shooting
- The Bluebelle Murders
The research is detailed, the stories well written and the photos at least semi-shocking.
This probably sounds callous, but like most true crime readers I know, I want to see more than the pair of Reebok’s the killer wore whilst committing his crimes. This book delivers.
To wind up, a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
- “Fortunately, true survivors of mass murders and serial killings are few.” I’m sure it wasn’t meant how it sounds, but it sounds a bit harsh.
- “He fell in with the kids who skateboarded and liked punk rock music.” Terrible! Why couldn’t he hang with the good crowd? You know, the druggies and the bullies and listen to death metal?
- After the 1997 shooting spree that left three girls dead at Heath High School their families sued the killer’s parents, “the school, video game makers, websites, the makers of the movie The Basketball Diaries . . .” and 7 Health High School students for failing to realize what was happening and stop it. Isn’t that America for you? Our daughter died a terrible death, how much money do you think we can get from people who HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CRIME? Not much it turns out as the judge threw out the case and only allowed them to sue the shooter who is now in jail and probably making 0.25 cents a day at best.