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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jeff Ashton's Book Cover

Looks like publisher HarperCollins scrambled through the weekend to get a cover together for the Jeff Ashton book.  Here it is.

I knew it would have photos of the two of them, fascinating antagonists that they are: the scholarly, science-boy jurist at the end of his highly accomplished career and the confabulating high school dropout club-maven just embarking on life.  Their images are famous enough to carry the book cover through (although I wouldn't be surprised to see the design change again before publication. See "crashing a book" post below) though the design is simple and I know he will get great sales.

Authors do obsess about their book covers and this is a moment for me to say I confess the team at Penguin did a better job on mine. She* is famous (see 48 Hours: Diary of a Showgirl, and ID Deadly Women) but my cover, in my humble opinion, is more artistic, more intriguing.

*"She" = Marjorie Orbin, convicted dismemberment killer

FAQ: Is that really Marjorie Orbin on the cover? (scroll down half a tic to see)
Answer: Certainly! That photo was taken at the Maricopa County Jail while Marjorie talked to me. I am sitting just inches from her, on the freedom side of the steel grid. You can see both of us at the same grid here and compare to cover. Many more pics related to Marjorie Orbin on this site. Just click the tag below.

Camille Kimball's books:

A Little Bit of Marjorie Orbin

   From Ch. 11:
      Marjorie's voice dropped to a whisper. "I don't know."
     "Well, I think you do know."
     "Okay, I need my lawyer present in here, okay? Cuz you're scaring me."
     "You're scaring us, too."
                          Marjorie didn't realize just how frustrated the detective was...
 (click title below to buy or read reviews)

Camille Kimball's books:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jeff Ashton Book Deal ("crashing" a book)

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton has confirmed he has a book in the works and it is due on shelves in November of this year. In the world of professional publishing, that is putting out a book virtually instantaneously. The Casey Anthony trial came to its conclusion over the 4th of July weekend...the book to appear in stores just 5 months later? I believe the technical term the publishing pros use to describe that is "crashing" a book. See, most books do not appear on shelves until at least a year, sometimes two, after the deal is made. And that is when the book is already written, such as a novel. 

For Mr. Ashton to write the book from scratch; an editor to read it and outline revisions; copy editors look up obscure trade names and other meticulous details; typesetters to lay out the font and page numbers and the art department to design a cover all in five months is going to cause a lot people to work non-stop for those months. I'm sure migraines will be had, teeth will be ground, and hair will fall out and what's left will turn white on many heads.

That is, 5 short months from the verdict itself! You have to shave off some time for business and administration, such as Mr. Ashton a) deciding to do it b) picking an agent (I'm sure he had his pick of the litter) c) putting together the deal with the publisher. So let's take at least 2 weeks off for all of that and now we have Mr. Ashton and his team getting the book together in no more than 4 months. Wow. Tip o' the hat to you, my friend.
(screen shot below from Barnes and Noble. No kidding the "image is not available"--there's an army of artists scrambling to come up with a cover design and Irene ain't helpin'!)

Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony

by Jeff Ashton

People often ask me if the murderers make money off a true crime book. That is never, ever true unless the suspect himself writes the book. In this case, it is the prosecutor who is writing it. He will control the funds. Either they go to him or possibly to a charity he designates as some one-shot authors in this type of case do.  So, please, feel free to buy Ashton's book.

I've been asked about "rights" to Casey's life story or some such. No. He does not need her permission nor need to pay her any kind of royalty or fee. That only happens when the story is told from Casey's point of view AND with her participation. It usually happens with movies or TV deals. It doesn't happen that much. You can clearly tell the difference by the author's name on the cover: in this case, clearly "Ashton," not "Anthony."

jeffashtonMost "authorized" movies/books will be screaming at high decibels the fact that the perpetrator is in bed with the producers/publishers. Remember the OJ book as it was originally announced?  Have you seen that happen again? No. I haven't either.

Let me repeat: Ashton's book will NOT BENEFIT CASEY.

In my opinion, Ashton worked very hard and did an excellent job in this trial and I will be fascinated to see what he thinks went so wrong. I'm anxious to hear him talk about the "CSI Effect."   I believe it had a lot to do with the CA verdict, does he? I'm sure he has a lot of thoughts and observations that may even have an impact on how I view the trials I sit in on. At the same time the Casey Anthony case was going on, the sweat lodge trial (James Ray) was proceeding in a courtroom in which I sat, taking notes and listening intently. Yet the sweat lodge verdict, in an arguably more complex and less sure case, came in "guilty." What was the difference? I will love to hear Ashton's opinions.

See you at the bookstore!

Camille Kimball's books:

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Photos from Marjorie Orbin Crime Case

(click on these 1 or 2x & they should become legible)

Pages 1 & 2 of Marjorie Orbin's love letter to Larry as transcribed by police. Compare to her description and his description of the affair in Chapter 10 in my book, WHAT SHE ALWAYS WANTED.

This is the entry to way to the house, photographed after
a SWAT raid. The 2 towels mark blood shed after a Taser was fired. (left)

This is the kitchen island that Marjorie built. Police later became very interested in it. (above)

New! True Crime Short just 99 cents!
Special for viewers of Bridal to Homicidal on E! Network



Going to jail, buying documents, and everything else it takes to get this kind of info for the blog takes time and money! 

Every time you make a purchase here, it helps me be able to do more for you! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ray Case Affects Other Big Murder Trial

Pssst....following the James Arthur Ray sweat lodge trial? There's another very interesting case seated in the exact courtroom and I happen to know that it's coming to a TV near you.

A USB stockbroker named Steven DeMocker is accused by Yavapai County of a very bloody murder.

Steven DeMocker
Camp Verde Murder Defendant Steven DeMocker--shares a judge with James Arthur Ray

DeMocker's ex-wife--the divorce had gone through just about 3 months before--was found clubbed to death in the couple's former home, in which she was still living. Very sadly and very Hollywood, the former Mrs. DeMocker was on the phone to her mother when she exclaimed "Oh, no!" and the line went dead. In Tennessee, Carol Kennedy's mother frantically sought help and Carol was found in an ugly scene with her skull bashed in.

The case has been wrapped in many layers of mystery, including the discovery of unknown DNA under Kennedy's fingernail in what seemed to be evidence of a defensive action against her attacker. DeMocker, who is accused of killing her to get out of expensive alimony and other divorce-related financial obligations, did not match that DNA and his defense vigorously claimed that was slam dunk evidence exonerating him.

However. The DNA eventually was traced to a man who had no connection whatsoever to Kennedy or DeMocker. In fact, he had died within 24 hours of Kennedy in the same county and had certainly been in no condition to beat anyone to death. He had died of bleeding from failed heart surgery. "In the same county" is the key part--his remains were taken to the same facility as Kennedy's were. His DNA could only have ended up under her fingernail as a result of cross-contamination of the fingernail clippers used by lab personnel.

In spite of the lab snafu, and it certainly is not what anyone wants to see in a murder trial, the cause of death has been confirmed by an outside medical personnel, including Maricopa County's forensic anthropologist, Dr. Laura Fulginitti. Yes, "forensic anthropologist" is the same profession made famous by actress Emily Deschanel as Temperance Brennan in Bones. Real-life bone lady Fulginitti happens to also have done the very gruesome examinations in the dismemberment case in my book, WHAT SHE ALWAYS WANTED about convicted killer Marjorie Orbin.

(click to buy link below)
In my experience with Dr. Fulginitti, if she says a golf club was the murder weapon, you should probably start looking for golf clubs. And in this case she does. Fulginitti's science testimony is, in my experience, a courtroom treat. Her science always flows, as the scientists like to say, "elegantly." In other words, in her hands 1 + 1 always equals 2 and then, voila, you can see that 2 for yourself.

There are many other twists and turns to the DeMocker story and it has caught the attention of national shows that have been in the same obscure Camp Verde courtroom for the James Ray trial. Shhhhhh!!! Don't tell where you heard it, but look for the DeMocker case on a national show coming soon!

Jame's Ray's Judge Warren Darrow is presiding over the DeMocker trial. In the last few days, the also troubled DeMocker case has been kicked upstairs to the presiding judge for possible re-assignment. Trouble is....that Camp Verde Courthouse staff is very small. There's Darrow, the presiding judge himself and only one other who can be considered for the DeMocker case. Presumably, the other two also have heavy workloads but only Darrow has the uber-complicated, unprecedented and Beverly Hills-defended sweat lodge case. (Attys had argued Darrow was too tied up with the James Ray case to give enough time [and courtroom space] to the DeMocker case.)

ADD: If you want to talk about the Ray case, the discussion has gravitated to this post. Join in or start a new thread here. :)