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Showing posts by: David Wilson click to see David Wilson's profile
Dec 8 2016 1:00pm

True Crime: Fact vs. Fiction

Read this exclusive guest post from David Wilson, author of Not Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California's First Insanity Plea, and make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of the novel!

Following a thirty-year career as a private investigator specializing in criminal defense, I wrote a book called Not Just Evil. The book describes the use of the insanity plea by William Edward Hickman, following his confession for the crime of kidnapping and murdering Marion Parker. Hickman based his insanity plea on the idea that he lived in a fantasy world caused by his addiction to the cinema.

Hollywood responded with a media campaign designed to dismiss the validity of his defense. The campaign was financed by Louis B. Mayer, who hired Edgar Rice Burroughs—the creator of Tarzan—to cover the trial as a journalist. I believe it would be fair to say Burroughs was less than objective in his articles about the trial. 

[Read more about David Wilson's career!]

Nov 29 2016 10:00am

Not Just Evil: New Excerpt

David Wilson

Not Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California's First Insanity Plea by David WilsonFor readers of true crime sagas like Tinseltown and Little Demon in the City of Light comes a chilling account of a murder that captivated the United States in the 1920s (Available December 6, 2016).

Twelve-year-old Marion Parker was kidnapped from her Los Angeles school by an unknown assailant on December 15, 1927. Her body appeared days later, delivered to her father by the killer, who fled with the ransom money. When William Hickman was hunted down and charged with the killing, he admitted to all of it, in terrifying detail, but that was only the start….

Hickman’s insanity plea was the first of its kind in the history of California, and the nature of the crime led to a media frenzy unlike any the country had seen. His lawyers argued that their client lived in a fantasy world, inspired by movies and unable to tell right from wrong. The movie industry scrambled to protect its exploding popularity (and profits) from ruinous publicity. Outside the courtroom, the country craved every awful detail, and the media happily fed that hunger. As scandals threatened the proceedings from the start, the death of a young girl grew into a referendum on the state of America at the birth of mass media culture.

David Wilson, a private investigator for over thirty years, captures the maelstrom of Marion Parker's death in vivid detail. From the crime itself to the manhunt that followed, from the unprecedented trial to its aftermath, Wilson draws readers in to the birth of the celebrity criminal.

Chapter 1

“You are talking about the devil incarnate. Not just evil, but the most evil man I have ever dealt with in my life. He was an untalented, mean, vicious, vindictive man.”
Helen Hayes, Actress

William Edward Hickman was arrested for the kidnap and murder of Marion Parker in December of 1927. The victim was twelve years old. Her father paid the ransom and found his daughter with her arms and legs removed from her body. The next day gruesome photos of the deceased appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the country. Within a week the crime was the subject of newsreels, shown in movie theaters alongside cartoons and two feature films. The graphic nature of the pictures of the crime scene was unprecedented.

[Read the full excerpt from Not Just Evil...]