True Crime: Missouri tells 11 stories of deadly doings in the "Show-Me" state. Author David J. Krajicek also considers whether there is something in the state's bloodlines that makes Missourians a particularly foul breed. One new resident of the state said a neighbor suggested that Missourians like to handle conflicts themselves. His advice: "You shoot, you shovel, and you shut up."
Among the featured crimes in the book:
- Lee Shelton's barroom murder of Billy Lyons in St. Louis, which inspired the popular song "Stagger Lee."
- The vigilante killing of the "town bully" of Skidmore, Ken McElroy. Did the tiny town, which has shriveled to nearly ghost-town status, curse itself by keeping a secret about the slaying?
- The heartless kidnapping and murder of millionaire Robert Greenlease's son in Kansas City by a couple of St. Joseph barflies.
- The Kirkwood City Council massacre.
- The "throwaway" serial killings of perhaps two dozen young prostitutes in Kansas City by a garbage collector named Lorenzo J. Gilyard.
- The forgotten story of "Cockeyed" Cook, a lost soul from Joplin who massacred an entire family and dumped them down a mineshaft.
- The "American Gothic" killers, farmer Ray Copeland and his wife, Faye. They murdered their farm hands near Chillicothe in a bizarre plot to make money, and then made the mistake of planting their human crop too shallow.
About the Author
David J. Krajicek is a special correspondent for the New York Daily News, to which he contributes the true crime feature "The Justice Story." He is the author of two other books and his work has also appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, and The Village Voice.
Published by National Book Network, 2011. Paperback, 127 pages.