Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mark Twain Library and High Bodycounts

I remember when I started my love for reading. It was when I was in the second grade and I could walk around the corner to the Mark Twain branch of the Los Angeles public library all by myself. In the world we live in today, it seems insane that people ever felt that safe. I was reminded of that more innocent time on the story we covered. We had to drive through a part of the neighborhood that I felt safe in as a child.

The guy in the center picture is Charles Dwayne Turner. He raped and murdered the twelve women in the photos that surround his picture. Not pictured is the unborn child of one of the women and also not pictured are the other murders he's suspected of committing. These are just the ones discovered through DNA testing by the Los Angeles Police Department.

He's in jail and the families of the twelve women have some closure. Our chief of police thanked his detectives. The family members of the victims spoke about their pain and they also thanked the detectives.

I'm often asked how I can cover these types of stories and not be affected. There's something to be said for having a professional detachment. It's fascinating to see Figueroa Boulevard, the street where this serial killer mainly prowled. A bit chilling to also see that he killed in an area that holds fond memories for me. I know the feelings I have are minor compared to the pain felt by the family members who actually lost someone to this murderer. As we interviewed them after the press conference, I looked these people in their eyes. I saw the tears and I heard their voices crack when they spoke of missing their parent or sister or daughter. I could tell that the closure they felt might lead to them someday being able to put away their pain.

That day wasn't yesterday and it may be many years from now.

Who says I'm not affected?


Ruby in Paradise said...

That picture is a little disturbing, the way they are framed around him. My son has a frame like that for his first year of life . . . that's what I first thought of when I saw the frame, and then I read your post and it made me ill and sad. I am glad it's someone like you covering the story, it makes it a little easier for me the viewer, to know your thoughts.

Michelle said...

I am with tw on this. When i look at that picture it reminds me of one you'd see on a a tribute. I am mortified at why the parents/loved ones, would allow their relative to be pictured with this ar&*^ what looks like a tribute to them...bizarre.

will said...

Interesting. Did your news report mention the case of David Allen Jones? He was quietly released this week after spending more than ten years in prison, accused of those very same murders. It's cases like these that steered me away from supporting the death penalty. Heart-wrenching stuff.

Grace said...

I agree about the picture of them surrounding him as if he is their father or something....ickie...I can't imagine what made him do what he did.
and feel horrible for the man who spent 10 years in prison for his crime...I wonder if his being found out helps the families of the women?

and if your part, bringing it to the public helps them feel resolve.
I can imagine that would be a difficult scene 4 u to tape, with all that grieving energy brought to surface and (hopefully) anger letting go.

beFrank said...

It might be difficult to believe, but through the tears many of the family members showed some happiness. I didn't speak at any length with them outside of the interviews we did, but it's not hard to imagine where the happiness came from. They all had gotten some closure and I think that closure brought about some measure of happiness. They were greatful and thanked the LAPD for never giving up. The Detectives and Investigators all had the satisfaction of seeing justice done. It doesn't happen often enough and I wouldn't begrudge any of the people involved the positive emotions they felt.

I didn't watch any news on Monday, but I can't imagine the man being freed who was wrongly accused of the crimes had a quiet release. That's a major part of a story that overwhelms us in terms of the different aspects deserving coverage.

As far as the picture goes, you all make good points about the composition being disturbing. I didn't catch that and I bet the person who made the graphic didn't either. If I can find out who makes these things, I'll pass along the comments I got.

Jack's Shack said...

It is amazing what kind of impact something like this can have on your life.

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