cover image Double Jeopardy: Obsession, Murder, and Justice Denied

Double Jeopardy: Obsession, Murder, and Justice Denied

Bob Hill. William Morrow & Company, $23 (321pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12910-1

Louisville divorcee Brenda Schaefer disappeared in 1988, last seen with her ex-fiance, Mel Ignatow. A year and a half later, Ignatow's sometime mistress, Mary Ann Shore, revealed that he had tortured, raped and murdered Schaefer, and she led police to where the body was buried. She was certain of Ignatow's guilt, because he had had her photograph the entire five-hour spree of sadism. Ignatow was brought to trial, but a combination of sloppy police work, an excellent defense attorney, the bad impression created by Shore on the stand and the lack of direct forensic evidence resulted in an acquittal. An expert on sexual sadism suspected that the incriminating photos would not have been destroyed, and indeed they were found under a floorboard in Ignatow's former house in 1992, proof that Shore's testimony had been true in every particular. The Fifth Amendment's double jeopardy provision meant that Ignatow could not be tried again, although he was given some prison time for perjury. Hill, a Louisville Courier-Journal columnist, has done an outstanding job of showing how the case developed and what went wrong. Photos not seen by PW. (July)