Who Killed These Girls?
Cold Case: The Yogurt Shop Murders
“A true-crime page-turner.... Lowry exhausts every possible scenario behind the shocking, unsolved quadruple murder ... and offers a theory on what really happened.” —New York Post
"Gripping, moving, and as good as any depiction of a murder case since In Cold Blood.... Brilliant." —Ann Patchett, award-winning, bestselling author
The facts are brutally straightforward. On December 6, 1991, the naked, bound-and-gagged, burned bodies of four girls—each one shot in the head—were found in a frozen yogurt shop in Austin, Texas.
Grief, shock, and horror overtook the city. But after eight years of misdirected investigations, only two suspects (teenagers at the time of the crime) were tried; their convictions were later overturned and detectives are still working on what is now a very cold case. The story has grown to include DNA technology, coerced false confessions, and other developments in crime and punishment.
But this story belongs to the scores of people involved, and from them Beverly Lowry has fashioned a riveting saga that reads like a novel, heart-stopping and thoroughly engrossing.
In this taut true-crime account, Texas-based author Lowry (Harriet Tubman: Imagining a Life) explores the 1991 murder of four teenage girls in an Austin frozen yogurt shop and the botched investigation of four suspects railroaded into giving false confessions. After recounting the terrible details of the murders, she enumerates the errors of the investigators at the crime scene, the grasping at false leads, and the unethical interrogation practices, including marathon stretches of grilling and threats to two of the suspects. She provides interesting information on how the brain creates memories, "adding, subtracting, removing, revising," and about the creation of "false or illusory" memory that can lead to a false confession. Nearly a third of the book deals with the defendants' trials and these sections are meticulous to a fault, providing irrelevant material such as descriptions of testimonies that were ultimately not given and even, ironically, the contents of an attorney's statement that had "gone on too long." However, the flaws of the state's case are well articulated. One of the more compelling parts of the book is the end, where Lowry explores an alternate theory of the crime originally presented by Jordan Smith in the Austin Chronicle on the 20th anniversary of the murders in 2011. The case itself is fascinating, and Lowry covers every angle diligently with first-person interviews and other research, yet the story never takes hold of the reader.
I’ve been haunted by this story since it made headlines around the nation 30 years ago.
Who Killed These Girls
Excellent book, showing how truly important details and careful examination of details are in addition to strict and careful investigative protocols.