Friday, December 26, 2014

NBC Dateline: "The Secrets of Cottonwood Creek"

NBC Dateline’s “The Secrets of Cottonwood Creek” Friday night told the story of who two juries hung on a murder trial in Colorado of Frederick Mueller for the 2008 death of his wife of 27 years after she fell into a creek on a winter hike.  Typical news story is here. When is a misstep really an accident?  This reminds me of an incident in John Knowles's novel and 1972 film "A Separate Peace", when a teen accidentally injures a rival, who dies later, by jousting a tree limb. 

The local sheriff believed that she had been pushed, based on his own interpretation of the lack of normal blows.  Fred would be arrested by Texas Rangers and brought back to Colorado.  After the first jury hung with 11-1 wanting to acquit, the judge dropped first degree murder chargers, but a second tril for second degree murder followed in Denver, in a different venue.  This time, more jurors wanted to convict.
The charges were dropped but the case remains open.  He would need to be acquitted to remove the "triple jeopardy."  The interviews with the thee adult kids, one of whom is in the Navy, were interesting. 
Wikipedia attribution link for Leadville view  I was there in 1973 and then 1994.  One scene in my novel happens there, as it is one of the highest towns in the US, over 10000 feet.  

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