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Trout: A True Story of Murder, Teens, and the Death Penalty Hardcover – April 15, 2012
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A haunting tale of teenage murderers, mistaken identity, and a brutal justice system
"In the tradition of Truman Capote 's In Cold Blood, Kunerth's Trout is seductive, repulsive, and compelling. I read it in one sitting. How fascinating is Trout? I begged my wife to read the first ten pages, and she, too, was hooked."--Gary R. Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida
"Kunerth skillfully provides a narrative, dramatic understanding of adolescent immaturity, the tragic consequences when it goes awry, and the chilling disconnect between our social constructions of adolescent immaturity and the harsh consequences awaiting teens in our criminal justice system."--Robert Kinscherff, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
On a cool Pensacola night in January 1991, just a few minutes before midnight, three teenagers pulled up to the Trout Auto Parts store. Patrick Bonifay, his body coursing with adrenaline, entered the store clad in a ski mask carrying a loaded gun, intent on carrying out a poorly laid plan. Little did he know that it was his life--as well as the lives of his companions--that was about to be forever changed.
Bonifay, Clifford Barth, and Eddie Fordham were hired to kill Daniel Wells by Robin Archer, who blamed Wells for losing his job nine months prior. The plan was orchestrated by the then-twenty-seven-year-old Archer, who allegedly promised his seventeen-year-old nephew, Patrick, a suitcase full of money after the job was done. But Wells had called in sick that night, and an innocent man was covering his shift.
In this shocking and thought-provoking volume, Jeff Kunerth recounts the events of that fateful night, the swift investigation of the murder, the trials and sentencing of the teens, and their subsequent lives within the Florida court and penal systems. Kunerth uses the story of the Trout Auto Parts murder and the lives of these boys to explore varying aspects of troubled adolescence, impulsive actions lasting but moments, and the national trend of trying juveniles as adults in court.
They were boys every teenager can identify with and circumstances every parent fears. Their story provides a disturbing, sad, and compelling inside look at the dynamics of individuals--not yet adults, but no longer children--who commit senseless, impulsive crimes. Trout is that rare book that continues to haunt you long after you've finished reading it.
Top Customer Reviews
Three boys who were becoming deliquents for various reasons began hanging out in a trailer of an older man, who encouraged them to drink, use drugs, and almost anything else they wanted to do. After promising one he would provide a large sum of money if he would kill someone, two of the boys asked a third,(who apparently didn't realize this was a planned murder, but thought they were going to rob the place), to drive them to the auto parts store and sit outside in the car.
A family man was brutally murdered, and there begins the question as to how do you handle teenagers, encouraged by an older "mentor," in the court system?
When a child feels no one accept them except this sorry man who has ordered the murder, should they be held responsible as adults?
I felt Kunnerth did a wonderful job of telling the details of the trials, and exploring how we should handle teens as criminals. However, I also feel he left it open for the reader to develop their own feelings on the matter, and would be a wonderful book to discuss in a book club setting.
Children who are extremely hyperactive, as one boy was, are extremely hard to manage, and generally are very immature and have short fuzes.Read more ›
I absolutely agree with him that teen-aged brains, as "parents and teachers have known forever" (and as the author states over and over--and over) don't work on the same levels as adult brains. As such, they often can't think things through to their inevitable consequences--however, there are still consequences, whether they've anticipated them or not. I agree with the author's premise that children do not belong on death row. Only people with the mental capacity to fully understand the finality of what they've done should receive that punishment, if indeed anyone should. That part of his argument I did not dispute.
It's hard to ignore, however, the fact that the author was clearly on the side of the juvenile offenders as he researched and wrote this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was a Jr at EHS and remember this very well. Enjoyed reading the back story. Very well written!Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I went to middle and high school with Eddie and high school with Patrick. Patrick was an insane delinquent who needs to be behind bars. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Leon
I've lived in Pensacola for 33 years. The author, not from here, gives a frighteningly-good description of Pensacola and its social structure. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Bob Ave
The author argues for the rehabilitation of minors who commit serious crimes. However, at the same time he blames the damaged character of the teens on the facilities which... Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Those damn self-serving public officials who are jumping on the band wagon for trying children as adults should read this book, and then honestly ask themselves if they are the... Read morePublished on August 4, 2013 by Keith L. Hull
This very compelling account of a Florida murder case and the truths it holds about juveniles in the criminal justice system is a fast and gripping read. Read morePublished on June 10, 2013 by kevnm
Rarely has such a well-researched true crime book come along. Kunerth is a master at this genre. I recommend this book as a study in the controversial discussion about... Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by ELIZABETH J. Randall