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Above: Michael visiting the grave of Jack Hodges in Canandaigua, NY.
The Murder of Richard Jennings was rated "outstanding" (highest rating available) in the four areas
applicable to the genre:

Structure, Organization, and Pacing

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar

Production Quality and Cover Design

Voice and Writing Style
Judge's Commentary:

This is a fascinating story of an 1818 murder trial involving New York’s first murder for hire case
which involved five suspects-two were hung-and a prosecuting attorney, Martin van Buren, who later
became president of the U.S. The outcome of the case, including burial sites and the religious
conversion of one suspect, has been the subject of many myths, legends and half-truths. After four
years of painstaking research the author, a police detective, expresses his doubts about the verdicts.
The material amassed from the period is very impressive. The seeds of the murder involving a bitter
rivalry about ownership of a land parcel are established. Transcripts from the trial, facts on
indictments, and a roster of jurors are presented for the trial of each suspect. Diagrams of the
murdered man’s head wound, confessions and denials of guilt regarding each accused person, a
depiction of a chaplain’s visit to a condemned man, and the sentencing statement by the judge all add
great authenticity to the book. Material from newspapers of the day along with images, photos, poster
material publicizing the forthcoming hanging, and even a cartoon, embellish a riveting text.
Language from the period is retained as well as the structure of written declarations. Both the front
and rear covers are excellent, and the cover image should draw considerable interest.

- Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
14 words that set off a firestorm that ended in tragedy. 14 words that impacted countless lives for generations. 14 words that ultimately
inspired the first murder for hire in New York.

These 14 words are excerpted from the will of Jacobus (James) Teed and refer to property that his son, James, would inherit upon the death of
his mother. Among the property was 50 acres of land which eventually became the focal point of a family feud that led to murder.

Find out the shocking and true details in
The Murder of Richard Jennings: The True Story of New York's First Murder for Hire.

The image above is taken from the actual record on file in the Orange County Surrogate Court, Orange County, New York - a record from 1806!