In early 1984, residents of Naperville, Illinois, breathed a small sigh of relief when three young men were charged with the abduction and killing of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. Although charges were eventually dropped against one of the men, the other two were found guilty of rape, kidnapping, and murder, and both sentenced to death. Case closed.
Except it wasn't. The authors of Victims of Justice recount, with an almost palpable shudder, how three completely innocent men were singled out by the system to pay for Jeanine Nicarico's death while the true killer, who freely admitted the crime, went unpunished (albeit while serving time for a separate rape-murder).
Garrett (who became obsessed with the case when he was a college student studying psychology) and Frisbie detail the years of struggle to free two innocent men condemned to death, and the multiple trials involved for both in their crooked path to redemption. What emerges is truly "one of the most shocking miscarriages of justice ever recorded," a textbook example of what the authors term the "Prosecution Complex"--in which prosecutors narrow their view of a case so severely to make it fit their preconception of a crime that no contradictory evidence can possibly fit through.
A compelling read and a sobering reminder that the authority figures we often depend on to be perfect are only human. --Tjames Madison