By Gregg Olsen
Stella Nickell's small-time international used to be considered one of big-time goals. In 1986, her greatest one got here precise while her husband died in the course of a seizure, making her the beneficiary of a $175,000-plus assurance payoff--until professionals chanced on Bruce Nickell's headache pills were laced with cyanide. In an try to conceal her tracks, Stella did the unconscionable. She observed to it stranger may additionally turn into a "random casualty" of cyanide-tainted painkillers. yet Stella's crafty plan got here undone whilst her daughter Cynthia notified federal brokers. And troubling questions lingered just like the mystery of sour almonds...
What may flip a gregarious barfly like Stella right into a cold-hearted killer in a single day? Why could Cynthia, a reflect snapshot of her mom, activate her personal flesh and blood? Did Cynthia demonstrate every thing she knew in regards to the crimes? the beautiful solutions could spread in a case that sparked a countrywide uproar, dug deep right into a afflicted family members heritage, and uncovered an American mom for the gorgeous poison she used to be.
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Within the culture of The Orchid Thief, a compelling narrative set in the unusual and genteel international of rare-book gathering: the real tale of an notorious booklet thief, his sufferers, and the guy decided to trap him. Rare-book robbery is much more frequent than fine-art robbery. such a lot thieves, in fact, thieve for revenue.
FROM TRUE-CRIME LEGEND ANN RULE comes this riveting tale of a tender girl whose existence ended too soon—and a made up our minds mother’s eleven-year campaign to transparent her daughter’s identify.
It used to be 9 days prior to Christmas 1998, and thirty-two-year-old Ronda Reynolds used to be on the point of trip from Seattle to Spokane to go to her mom and brother and grandmother ahead of the vacations. Ronda’s moment marriage was once dissolving after under a yr, her profession as a pioneering lady Washington country Trooper had ended, yet she was once confident approximately beginning once more. "I’m really waiting for getting on with my life," she informed her mom previous the evening sooner than. "I simply want a few days with you men. " Barb Thompson, Ronda’s mom, who had met her daughter’s moment husband just once ahead of, was once simply satisfied that Ronda was once coming domestic.
At 6:20 that morning, Ron Reynolds referred to as 911 and informed the dispatcher his spouse used to be useless. She had devoted suicide, he acknowledged, even though he hadn’t heard the gunshot and he didn’t be aware of if she had a pulse. EMTs arrived, detectives arrived, the coroner’s deputy arrived, and a postmortem used to be performed. Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson, who neither visited the demise scene nor attended the post-mortem, declared the way of Ronda’s dying as "undetermined. " Over the subsequent 11 years, Coroner Wilson could switch that demeanour of demise from "undetermined" to "suicide," again to "undetermined"—and then again to "suicide" back.
But Barb Thompson by no means for one second believed her daughter devoted suicide. Neither did Detective Jerry Berry or ballistics professional Marty Hayes or legal professional Royce Ferguson or dozens of Ronda’s buddies. For 11 grueling years, during the ups and downs of the criminal process and its unending delays, those humans and others helped Barb Thompson struggle to strike that painful notice from her daughter’s loss of life certificates.
On November nine, 2009, a precedent-setting listening to was once held to figure out even if Coroner Wilson’s workplace have been derelict in its responsibility in investigating the demise of Ronda Reynolds. Veteran true-crime author Ann Rule used to be current at that listening to, hoping to unbraid the tangled strands of conflicting statements and mishandled proof and current each side of this haunting case and to figure out, might be, what occurred to Ronda Reynolds, within the relax nonetheless of that tragic December evening.
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Additional info for Bitter Almonds: The True Story of Mothers, Daughters, and the Seattle Cyanide Murders
Davidson believed Fraser understood his criminality as a result of being given too much freedom too often by his parents, but didn’t elaborate. ’And Fraser was doing his best to make sure of it. Fraser’s relationship with Pearl appeared to be the only stable period in his life. Davidson believed Fraser drew his knowledge of women from his contact with prostitutes, bikie girls and women who visited him in prison. He did not express any warm feelings towards any of the women he claimed to have known, and the only way he expressed emotion was through anger.
His increased output when working solo turned his case managers’ tide of criticism to praise, for his work ethic as an external gardener on the prison farm. Staff were happy to work Fraser hard from ‘daylight to dark’ to keep him settled and not let him go ‘hypo’. Prisoners perceived him to be in the ‘screw’s pockets’. qxd 10/5/06 8:49 AM Page 34 compliant with those in authority to violent outbursts of defiance. With the few prisoners he did interact with Fraser was prone to bragging, indicating where he would dispose of bodies and lying about the real crimes for which he had been jailed.
Former chief prison officer Dave Robinson, who worked both in Townsville and Rockhampton jails when Fraser was an inmate, knew it would only be a matter of time before he returned to custody. ‘He was a very violent person,’ Robinson said. ‘He had bouts of violence, you never knew when he was going to go off. ’ As the end of Fraser’s sentence drew near, his temper would erupt. A contractor for the prison nursery later told police he often witnessed Fraser go ‘absolutely mad and was rather frightening’ when he got upset.