COLUMN 114, FEBRUARY 1, 2005
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
GREEN HAVEN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, 4TH FLOOR
[The following is the first chapter in a novel called Perfect Accidents]
It was routine, as
executions go. Then they tried to
find a vein to put the needle in. Maybe
it was that the veins were bad from the years on IV drug usage or that the Med
Tech was nervous. Whatever the
reason, Dickie Hoon screamed as the blood began to drip from his elbows.
Kenny McCreary and the
other fifteen witnesses assembled by the state of New York to watch the event
squirmed. McCreary had covered six
actual executions and had been involved in three-dozen other cases.
He had never borne witness
to a botch. (An execution where the
procedure is in some way bungled and the Executee suffers.)
Not, of course that most of the assembled witnesses cared.
Richard Stebbin Hoon was a
Serial Rapist and murderer who tormented young women on the Lower East Side of
New York for close to two years. He
was chronically unshaven, wore filthy flannel shirts and had aspirations of
being a singer-songwriter. He fit
right in the artist ghetto that was the neighborhood.
Hoon was released from Danemorra Correctional Facility in Clinton, New
York for the rape and attempted murder of a 22-year-old woman.
He had met the woman one
cold October evening in a Fredonia bar and wanted to involve her in one of his
S&M fantasies. These were the
same fantasies he had been having since he had read the Sacher-Mascoh
book Venus In Furs at age 13.
He was 35 at the time of his release and gravitated to the area of the
state where he felt he could find women of "easy morals;? women that he
hoped "enjoyed? S&M/Bondage and Discipline as much as he.
Seven years later, he
committed the first of the "Alphabet Rape-Murders? and the women of the city
went into a panic. Eventually, five
women were found strangled, raped and their false fingertips protruding from
their right cheek.
During this time, Kenny
McCreary had ditched his dreams of becoming the next Lou Dylan and had taken a
job with the A.P. covering the death penalty on a freelance basis.
He also picked up the assignment to write about the second through fifth
(and last) of the Hoon killings.
After his arrest, the only
reporter Hoon would speak with was McCreary.
He respected McCreary's knowledge of the underground sex scene and
music industry. Hoon had followed McCreary's series on his murder spree in the
Sun very carefully. He was
impressed. It was as if Kenny had
been in his head, he marveled to the detectives that began his interrogation.
After he had spoken to his attorney and was arraigned, Hoon asked to see
Kenny McCreary. They conducted
three interviews: one after his arrest, one after his conviction and the last
after Dickie Hoon dropped his appeals and demanded his execution.
Close those fucking BLINDS!? Superintendent
Denton hissed. He was trying not to
be heard in the witness room but the microphone that to carry Hoon's last
statement to the world was on.
An attractive 40-something blonde woman sat next to McCreary wearing a plum business suit
to a hanging
and a string of pearls.
He looked down and noticed she wasn't wearing a wedding band.
"Have you been to any
these?? She whispered.
"A couple in Texas and a
hanging Delaware." McCreary said.
"Is this common
practice?? She started to
scribble notes down on the yellow pad provided to the media witnesses by the
"No." He answered.
"Usually they keep the blinds down until they have the IV's in."
Screams and various curses
emerged from the loosely veiled death chamber.
"Did they keep the blinds
down during the hanging?? She
turned in the small white chair to face him as he answered the question.
"Actually the gallows are
outside in a vacant parking lot. They
walk the guy out, up thirteen steps. It's
just like every movie you've ever seen after that."
He smiled shyly at the ground.
"We've never had
anything like this at the paper before. Everyone
was like so excited at the prospect of getting to go to an actual execution!
We drew lots and I won. I
can't believe that I got so lucky." She said.
"Well, sorry to
disappoint you but the whole thing is very clinical.
It's not like they're going to be writhing at the end of a live
"I know! But we haven't
killed anyone in New York in 40 years. This
is such big news."
More screams and moans came
out of the death chamber. The other
witnesses looked at and whispered to each other. They heard a door open and shut three times.
"Do you have any idea
what is going on in there?? The
blonde asked McCreary.
"I think they're
looking for a vein in a leg." He
turned his chair toward the woman and caught her gaze.
"I'd like to say that
Hoon was a poor man but after what he did to those girls, I just don't have
any sympathy for him." She
brushed the blonde hair behind her ears. "I'm Stephanie Blonowitz."
He shook her hand.
"From the Sun??
That's me." He winked.
"You're the reporter
that got Hoon off the streets."
"NYPD detectives Jackson
and Baines got him off the streets. I
just chronicled how it happened."
"You are too modest."
She ran her hand down his shoulder.
He began. Then the blinds
came up again.
Hoon was there, strapped in
the crucifix position, and covered by a sheet up to his neck.
The witnesses saw the IV tubing go up under the sheet.
A mop and bucket stood in the corner.
Blonowitz, McCreary and the
rest of the witnesses straightened their chairs so they faced the Plexiglas
partition once again.
"Do you wish to make a
last statement?? Warden Denton
asked. He straightened his striped
tie and wiped the sweat off of his chin.
"Yes, I do." Hoon
raised his head to get closer to the microphone.
"Bell and Caminitti,? He
addressed his lawyers. "Make sure
my sisters and her kids know I said goodbye."
"Is there anything
else?? Denton demanded.
McCreary, tell the gang at Paddles I'll miss them."
Kenny squirmed in his seat.
Stephanie Blonowitz reached out and grabbed his hand.
"Now let's do this
fucking thing." Hoon put his head
back on the gurney.
"We are ready."
Ten minutes later, Richard
Stebbin Hoon was dead. ##
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The sometimes scattered chronicles of
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certainly takes a bit of hubris to say that "the '60s wouldn't have been
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