The Mothershed Case

Stephen J. Rivele, Author Bantam $5.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-29917-5
After a suburban Los Angeles cop is shot to death on Christmas Eve in 1980, a confused, violent drifter named Robert Berndt confesses to Oklahoma police, offering details of the crime. But a search for the gun used leads to a brilliant, baby-faced student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology named William Mothershed. Mothershed had joined classmates in fantasizing about committing criminal acts and admitted the shooting to his girlfriend. Police had to decide which of the two suspects to believe, and finally charged Mothershed. Rivele ( The Plumber ) writes smoothly; but with his straightforward style, he misses the opportunity to wring irony from the bizarre tale, and he fails to delve deeply enough into the mystery of the emotionally detached Mothershed. Confessing to police, he speaks in stilted, pedantic language and oddly believes that his girlfriend should claim the reward for finding him. Found guilty and sentenced to life, Mothershed tells his lawyer that the shooting was committed in the course of a robbery: ``Officer Webb was in the way. . . . What else could I do?'' TV movie rights to NBC. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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