Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Want Him Freed

Barry Siegel. Holt, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9415-2
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Siegel (A Death in White Bear Lake) leaves little room to doubt the innocence of Bill Macumber in this moving and powerful story of a Kafkaesque justice system gone awry. In 1962, a young engaged couple was gunned down outside of Phoenix. A lackadaisical handling of the crime scene stalled the investigation, until 1974, when, as Bill Macumber’s marriage was falling apart, his wife, Carol (a sheriff’s department clerk), told authorities that her husband had admitted to the killings, but that she had “forgotten completely about it” for more than a decade. That far-fetched claim was the prelude to a nightmare for Macumber, who was convicted of the crimes and condemned to a life behind bars, despite convincing evidence proving otherwise—including a confession from a violent criminal, which was withheld from the jury. The quest for justice falls to the Arizona Justice Project, which battles roadblock after roadblock—yet Macumber remains incarcerated. Reminiscent of Errol Morris’s compelling investigation into the dubious proceedings of the Jeffrey MacDonald case in A Wilderness of Error, Siegel’s detailed rendering of the decades of efforts on Macumber’s behalf makes the horror of his situation resonate. Agent: Kathy Robbins, the Robbins Office. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 01/22/2013
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