Without exception, each man who saw the lifeless body of Betty Gore the night of June 13, 1980, reflexively averted his eyes. Even those who already knew what lay beyond the utility room door were never bold enough to look more than a moment before closing the door. Few looked at the head at all—the sight was too horrible—so the early reports as to the manner of death were conflicting, and usually wrong.
It was a small room, no more than twelve feet long by six feet wide, made smaller by the presence of a washer, a dryer, a freezer, and a small cabinet where Betty had kept toys and knickknacks. In one corner were a brand-new toy wagon and a child’s training toilet. Closer to the center of the room, where the freezer stood against one wall, were two dog-food dishes and a bruised book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. The book had a white cover, which stood out in sharp relief because, in the harsh overhead light that glared off the harvest-gold linoleum, it was one of the few objects in the room not coated in blood.
Her left arm was the first thing they noticed after opening the door. It lay in a pool of blood and fluid so thick that the arm appeared to be floating above the linoleum. To get a look at her face, the men had to walk around the ocean of red and black to get closer. What they saw was even