As the sun rises over the quiet city of Kingston, New York on July 12, 1988, a local transient discovers the remains of 19-year-old Anna Kithcart. The pretty, black teen-ager had been strangled and beaten to death, with the letters “KKK” carved into her thighs.
While her heartbroken family mourns, and the police work around the clock to uncover the truth, the investigation is complicated by the entrance of the Reverend Al Sharpton who insists that a racist killer is responsible. As investigators struggle to find evidence, Sharpton and his supporters denounce the entire area as a “Klan den” and make public pronouncements that a “racist cult” is operating throughout the area.
Then, as if things can’t get any worse, the transient who found the body confesses to an unspeakable sexual act against the corpse. Almost immediately after the media reports his alleged depravity, he changes his story and accuses the police of making him a patsy and a scapegoat. To add to the expanding circus, he tells the world he is really an undercover agent for the CIA, FBI, and Interpol.
Only solving the crime can quell the chaos that threatens to ignite a powder keg of racial tension and get past the rumors to catch the real killer. But can investigators overcome the outside forces that repeatedly sidetrack their efforts? Find out in this great new true crime from Richard T. Cahill, the author of HAUPTMANN’S LADDER.
From The Book:
“It is possible Mr. Kiernan is being set up as a fall guy,” Maddox began, “Kingston is filled up with racists.”
“This place is a Klan den,” Sharpton added, “This is what Tawana got caught up in. This might be a pattern that is happening throughout this valley.”
Pausing for dramatic effect, he continued, “Several whites have told us there is Klan activity in the Hudson Valley area.”
Sharpton and Maddox announced that they not only intended to help the Public Defender’s Office represent Joseph Kiernan, but they also planned to conduct their own investigation into the murder itself.
They alleged that the Kithcart murder was part of a pattern that included the alleged abduction and rape of Tawana Brawley, and claimed that the Kingston Police could not fairly and properly investigate the beating and strangulation death of Anna Kithcart.
They added that Kiernan had information on both the Kithcart and Brawley cases, but refused to give any details.
“We understand that local people cannot be independent,” Maddox said, “We plan to find out exactly what happened.”
Sharpton also advised the press that he and his associates had been asked by the Brawley family to get to the bottom of the Kithcart murder because of the possibility of “a gang running around” committing acts of violence.
After finishing their inflammatory remarks, Sharpton and Maddox were starting to leave, when one of the reporters shouted out, “What do you think of the DA calling you a racial racketeer?”
The question clearly annoyed Sharpton and he turned to face the reporter. “DA Kavanagh or anyone else can make any statement he wants,” Sharpton roared, “I’m coming back and I’m bringing everybody with me. We’re going to lean on you until you bust. If you hear some bristling in the trees outside your house, it’s not a cat. It’s me.”
About The Author:
Richard T. Cahill Jr. is the INDIEFAB True Crime Gold Medal Award winning author of Hauptmann’s Ladder: A Step-by-Step Analysis of the Lindbergh Kidnapping. He has lectured extensively on the case. He has been an attorney in New York for over 20 years.