We Thought We Knew You

M. William Phelps. Kensington, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2881-4
In this well-researched if uneven account, Phelps (The Killing Kind) delves into the murder of 60-year-old Mary Yoder. On July 20, 2015, Mary returned home from the chiropractic clinic she shared with her husband in Utica, N.Y., complaining of severe stomach pain. She died two days later of suspected poisoning, though it would take time before the authorities could identify the particular toxin. At first, the police suspected her son, Adam, but evidence emerged that 24-year-old Kaitlyn Conley, Adam’s ex-girlfriend and a receptionist at the clinic, was the culprit. Her desire to get back at Adam after their breakup was the apparent motive. Kaitlyn’s first trial ended in a mistrial; in her second trial, she was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 23 years in prison. The descriptions of the principal players aren’t particularly vivid, and pedestrian, repetitive prose slows the initial background about the Yoder family. The pace picks up in the chapters covering the trials, which are enlivened by quotes from the lawyers, and Phelps does a good job exposing the way reality TV coverage can influence and indeed corrupt perceptions of guilt and innocence. True crime and popular culture fans will be fascinated. Agent: Matthew Valentinas, Kneerim & Williams. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/27/2020
Release date: 12/29/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-7052-8488-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-7052-8489-6
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