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Innocent Until Interrogated: The True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four Hardcover – July 27, 2010
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*Starred Review* Many true-crime works have as their raison d’etre the exhumation of crimes just for shock value. Stuart’s examination of a mass murder goes beyond mere reportage into investigative journalism, uncovering a system of abuse that has led to many destroyed lives. On August 10, 1991, a woman who cleaned and cooked for the monks at the Buddhist temple Wat Promkunaram in the Valley of the Sun outside Phoenix found nine Buddhist monks shot execution-style, their bodies arranged in a ritualistic-looking circle, nine heads toward the center. The crime scene was rich in evidence, but, according to Stuart’s exhaustive research (he conducted more than 50 interviews, along with studying all the case documents, including police reports, trial testimony, depositions, exhibits, and sworn affidavits), that evidence was ignored in favor of convicting five men on the basis of a tip from a psychiatric patient and the men’s coerced confessions. This is a thoroughly engrossing book that should awaken outrage. Stuart leads the reader from crime scene through trial and beyond in a way that is detailed but never boring. His target is the system by which hard evidence is sometimes ignored in favor of coerced confessions, performed with great psychological skill on vulnerable suspects. Stuart, an attorney, is the author of Miranda: The Story of Americas Right to Remain Silent (2004). --Connie Fletcher
"At the heart of the book lie irreconcilable questions about interrogation tactics, coerced confessions, convictions with no evidence and the stakes of forcing a confession."—Kirkus Reviews
"Meticulously researched from all of the trial and appellate records, interrogation transcripts, and print and broadcast news coverage of the case—and over fifty personal interviews conducted by the author—Innocent Until Interrogated is a must for all true-crime fans."—Internet Review of Books
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This is not a poetic book that is a breeze to read, but the content will fascinate you and keep you engaged until the end. It is a bit frightening to now be aware of the quest to appease the general public at the expense of finding the truth in criminal cases, especially involving murders. It is also appalling to know that hard evidence easily available is overlooked in return for information received through unreliable sources and circumstances.
Prepare to have your views of law enforcement and the justice system as a whole exposed and overturned. This is definitely an interesting and worthwhile read.