This is a novel closely based on an actual event in 1976.
A startling new development occurred in February 2020 when the six adult children of the murder victim, all but one of whom had steadfastly insisted for decades that the man sent to prison was guilty, reversed their position and petitioned the Florida governor for a full pardon. The attorney who wrote the petition accused the prosecutor of framing the convicted man.
Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide That Never Died dramatizes a sensational, real murder that traumatized the peaceful, posh, oceanside town. In the thin guise of fiction, the book contains shocking new information never before made public.
Author Bob Brink, an award-winning journalist, was a newspaper reporter in the locale where the assassination occurred. It made media headlines for 15 years, from 1976 to 1992. The case made the media spotlight again with the request by the victim’s family for a pardon of the convicted man.
The doorbell rings in the home of a prominent Palm Beach citizen, quickly followed by a shotgun blast that shatters a window, cracking the calm of a cool January night. Rodger Kriger falls to the floor, mortally wounded, leaving a wife and six children.
An ambitious prosecutor pins the deed on Mitt Hecher, a hoodlum and karate expert. At Hecher’s trial, fellow jail inmates testify that he confessed. He is convicted and sentenced to the brutal and anarchic state prison at Raiford, where a stabbing a day and a killing a week are the “mean” average.
Judges repeatedly frustrate Hecher and several attorneys working without fees to get a new trial, as investigators pursue myriad scenarios. Meanwhile, his wife contracts a deadly disease.
Was Hecher innocent, and if so, who did it? Did the sons of a wealthy Cuban kill Kriger? Were the operators of a gambling enterprise out to get him? Was a love triangle the basis for the shooting? Did a vicious underworld figure do the bidding of a criminal gang? Was a prominent politician behind the slaying? Those are the questions seeking answers amid the exploration of issues of justice and power.
Murder in Palm Beach is the saga of a battle between a man whose swagger has sent him spiraling to the bottom and powerful, sinister forces determined to keep him there. It is a story of redemption wrapped in a mystery tale reeking with power, sex, violence, and romance.