The Edge of Innocence is a work of narrative nonfiction based on the 1964 murder trial of Casper Bennett, a man accused of drowning his wife in a bathtub of scalding water in Lorain, Ohio. Bennett’s sensational trial pitted an aggressive, mercurial county prosecutor against the author’s father, a civil trial attorney who had never defended anyone for murder. The book not only recreates the tension and excitement of this courtroom battle, but also highlights the uncertain edge that often divides guilt from innocence.
The author was ten years old when he answered the phone late at night when Bennett called his father from jail, seeking his legal representation. Forty years later and long after his father’s death, the author found the Bennett file buried in the bottom of his mother’s closet. From the moment he began reading the papers, the long-forgotten drama cast a spell on him. As he uncovered more and more of the facts, the story he had known as a child disappeared, replaced by one far different.
The Edge of Innocence takes the reader through the criminal justice system and ultimately to the trial where the reader, like a juror, must sift through competing claims and conflicting evidence. Full of twists and turns and colorful characters, The Edge of Innocence is all the more entertaining because it tells a true story.