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Desire Street: A True Story of Death and Deliverance in New Orleans
by Jed Horne
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374138257, Hardcover)"This much is certain and always was. That on a Thursday afternoon in late September 1984, a housewife named Delores Dye... ran afoul of a thief as she loaded a shopping cart of groceries into her car out front of a New Orleans supermarket." So begins Jed Horne's brisk, crisply written Desire Street: A True Story of Death and Deliverance in New Orleans, which follows the convoluted tale of how a small-time drug dealer and product of the New Orleans housing projects named Curtis Kyles, who was convicted, sentenced to death row, and finally exonerated in Dye's grisly murder.
Rarely does any murder case appear as straightforward as the one against Curtis Kyles. The murder weapon, a .32-caliber pistol, was found in his apartment; the victim's purse was discovered in a trash bag in front of his building; and a bag of cat food purchased on the day of Dye's murder--the exact brand her husband said she always bought--was stashed under Kyles's sink. The truth, of course, was not so simple. As subsequent trials revealed, Kyles's conviction was the product of overzealous prosecution, an incompetent court-appointed lawyer, false eyewitness testimony, and, Horne argues, an attempted framing. In the end, after five trials and nearly 14 years, Kyles's death sentence was overturned, and he was released from New Orleans prison in 1998. Horne, the city editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, doesn't shy from colorful, sometimes lurid turns of phrase. But if Horne is a crime writer, he is also a journalist, and his detailed account of the unraveling of the case against Curtis Kyles makes a compelling case that a justice system that wrongly convicts men like Kyles and sentences them to death is broken and badly in need of repair. --Erica C. Barnett
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:46 -0400)
In a New Orleans parking lot in the fall of 1984, a white housewife and grandmother was shot, and the killer, a young black man, made off with her purse, her groceries, and her car. Four days later, following a tip, authorities arrested a known drug dealer and father of five named Curtis Kyles. Kyles would then be tried for Mrs. Dye's murder five times, though he maintained his innocence, and he spent fourteen years on death row before the charges were dropped. But the case slowly yielded a deeper drama: The crime turned out to have been the side effect of an intricately plotted act of revenge. That police and prosecutors may have been complicit in framing Kyles cuts to the heart of a system of justice for Southern blacks in the era since lynch mobs were shamed into obsolescence.--From publisher description.
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