Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

A Murder Unintentionally Committed


This is the time of year when a group of politicians must confirm other politicians for jobs of some importance. As politician and crook are synonymous, it is amusing that the interrogators invariably uncover a dark secret in the interrogatee's past.
As much of my life has been spent in the company of politicians, lawyers, armed robbers and murderers I am aware that armed robbers and murderers live by a higher standard and are far more open about their past than politicians and lawyers.
Take my friend Jimmy Hendrix, for example. He always introduced himself by saying, "My name is Jimmy Hendrix and I spent 20 years in prison for a murder unintentionally committed." Right away you knew of the darkest deed in Jimmy's past. You also knew that if he killed you it would be unintentional.
One of my favorite murderers was the woman of 55 or so who decided her husband had given her a vicious beating for the last time. She had never fired a gun, but that didn't stop her from picking up a rifle with a bent barrel and firing a shot in the general direction of the brute, who was about 25 yards away. The best marksman in the world couldn't have done it with that weapon, yet she plugged him right in the head and he dropped to the ground, dead on arrival.
Another favorite was Marvin Sexton. He arrived home one evening to find the baby quite ill and his wife off at a bar with some other man picked at random. Marvin went to the nearby bar aptly named the Oar House, sat down in the booth with his wife and some stranger and begged her to come home because the baby was sick and alone. She laughed and threw her drink in Marvin's face. He left, then returned a short time later with his knife. His wife was on her way to the restroom with Marvin close behind. A moment later her head was attached to her neck by a mere thread of flesh.
A lawyer the wife had consulted a few days earlier amused everyone by saying he had advised her to "Remain calm and don't lose your head."
Marvin lived under a dark cloud. On a day when a schoolyard was packed with children, lightning singled out his daughter and killed her. He had been in prison, where they fried his brain with electric shock treatments, but was back working in the kitchen at the county jail when I first met him. He had a large butcher knife in hand at the time. That was of no concern because Marvin was truly a mild and gentle man. That's just the way life is sometimes.



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