The Trunk Murderess, Winnie Ruth Judd: The Truth about an American Crime Legend Revealed at Last

Jana Bommersbach, Author Simon & Schuster $20 (272p) ISBN 978-0-671-74007-8
In one of the most sensational cases of the 1930s, Judd was accused of killing two women with whom she had previously shared an apartment in Phoenix, hacking up one of the bodies and taking all the remains in two trunks and a suitcase to L.A., where they were discovered. She confessed to various acts in connection with the murders, was found guilty and sentenced to die; on the eve of her execution she was judged insane, and she spent the years from 1932 to 1971 in confinement, escaping seven times but always being recaptured. Even at the time of her arrest and trial there were doubts that the petite, slight defendant had acted alone-doctors had quickly deduced that the hacked-up corpse had been dismembered with a surgical skill she did not possess-but the identity of her lover, a prominent businessman, Happy Jack Halloran, was kept out of the trial and the local papers. Phoenix-based journalist Bommersbach skillfully recaps the entire story, including suppression of evidence by the police, an inept courtroom defense and a vindictive juror. Those interested in women's causes will want to read her account, as will Arizona residentsalthough the portrait of 1930s Phoenix as the center of hypocrisy in the Southwest is unflattering. Photos not seen by PW. First semal to Phoenix magazine; Literary Guild alternate. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-79564-1
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