The epic case of horrific family dysfunction and the psychopathic mastermind whose reign of terror and abuse could only lead to brutal murder . . .
For years, Eddie Lee Sexton ruled his large family like Charles Manson. The depraved patriarch dominated his ragged brood of 12 children mentally, physically, and sexually, and enforced every cruelty imaginable, from vicious beatings to raping his daughters and fathering their children. Finally, in 1992, Sexton’s 18-year-old daughter Machelle, seeking refuge in a women’s shelter, revealed the shocking, sordid details of her father’s abuse to authorities.
As the law attempted to catch up to Eddie Lee Sexton, he moved his family to a mobile home in western Florida. Ultimately, Sexton’s efforts to escape prosecution led to two grisly murders in his own family. Yet Sexton’s sick genius almost helped him elude the justice he deserved. Lowell Cauffiel’s true-crime masterpiece vividly exposes the horrors of Eddie Lee Sexton’s psychosis and the shattered lives of those who survived.
“An odyssey into American pathology. Deeply disturbing.”
—Detroit Free Press
“A balanced and grimly engaging true-crime account.”
“Cauffiel knows how to dramatize true crime.”
Contains 16 pages of photos.
Before his 1994 death sentence, Eddie Lee Sexton had masterminded the killing of his son-in-law, killed his grandson, raped four of his daughters (he had 12 children in all), sired at least three children by his favorite daughter, Pixie, and sodomized several of his sons. At base, Sexton is shown in this carefully drawn true-crime tale to have been a low-rent hustler, albeit a strange and terrible one. He collected over $750 a month in permanent disability from the state of Ohio for afflictions--blindness, multiple sclerosis--that he did not have. He burned his way through the real-estate market, buying new property with the money from repeated insurance claims. He claimed to be a minister, practicing a peculiar blend of Satanism and Pentecostalism that involved animal sacrifice, seances and mind control, and he also claimed that he and his family were "Futuretrons" from another planet. Cauffiel (Dark Rage) does well at depicting Sexton's erratic criminal behavior, his flights from the law and his attempts to charm strangers he and his family met on the road. Sexton's wife, Estella May, meanwhile, although sentenced to life in prison for her complicity in her husband's incestuous rapes, comes off here, not quite convincingly, as simply a terrified partner in an out-of-control situation. That flaw aside, this is a balanced and grimly engaging account of one of the weirdest domestic situations this side of the House of Usher. Photos not seen by PW.