Showing posts from November, 2016

'Wrongly Executed?' book now available

Sing Sing Warden Lewis Lawes had no doubt on the evening of January 5, 1939: He had just presided over the electric-chair-execution of an innocent man. The prison chaplain and many guards also felt that convicted cop-killer Charles Sberna had been sent to his death unjustly. Lawes made his feelings known in a published book a short time later. Syndicated Broadway columnist Walter Winchell also called attention to the flawed case against Sberna in the summer of 1939 and again early in 1942. According to Winchell, the government knew that District Attorney Thomas Dewey's office had sent an innocent man to the chair and was providing "hush money" payments to Sberna relatives. Since then, opponents of capital punishment have included Sberna's name in collections of those deemed "wrongly executed" and have used the case as a somewhat vague example of the possibility of death penalty error. Still, little is known about Sberna or the circumstances that led him to

Latest project: Writers of Wrongs

A number of writer-friends and I recently launched a blog that provides news, notes and book excerpts related to crime-history projects. We are calling the blog, The Writers of Wrongs . So far, posts have been provided by Christian Cipollini (author of Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend ; Murder Inc.: Mysteries of the Mob's Most Deadly Hit Squad ; Diary of a Motor City Hit Man ), Patrick Downey (author of Hollywood on the Spot ; Gangster City ; Legs Diamond: Gangster ; Bad Seeds in the Big Apple ) and, of course, me. We expect to have contributions from additional crime-history authors in the very near future. With big name publishers apparently disinterested in solid histories that dispute the tired oft-published myths of the past and with smaller publishers offering little to nothing in the way of book promotion services, this blog serves the interests of authors and readers. All crime-history authors are welcome to submit news releases to the blog, and an