Monday, July 31, 2006

Murder in Greenwich

Yeah, I know the title's been used before, but the topic, it seems, is inexhaustible. Everyone knows the safest place to commit murder - or any other major felony - is right here in Greenwich, CT, where the cops are clueless and money rules. Exempla gratia, the now-convicted and -jailed swindler extraordinaire Marvin Frankel, who used to hire off-duty members of the GG to guard his two Lake Avenue houses - the cops must have seen the boiler shop he was running, which, if nothing else, violated our (often-flouted) zoning regulations. Then there was the mysterious alleged suicide of one of his harem of "love slaves" - a potential tip-off that all was not normal in Frankelland. But those nice little envelopes of cash money tended to create selective myopia, and no one said boo! until Frankel skipped town two steps ahead of the Feds.

Speaking of whom, they are what give rise to today's topic, as the local rag says the GG have finally called in the Fibbies to help on the torture/murder of another of our local swindlers, Andrew Kissel. I did not have the opportunity to know Mr. Kissel personally, but I did have a chance to review some of the interesting documents memorializing his chequered career when I went to a tag sale next door and found the stack of court papers left by a feckless sheriff who apparently thought abode service on a neighbor counted as legally sufficient. Linda the lawyer was at the tag sale, too, and together we pored over Kissel's shenanigans as treasurer of his NYC co-op. If the GG are really looking for suspects, the plaintiffs in that lawsuit sure had plenty of motive.

Historically, the GG have technically never caught a murderer. In the early 20th century a man was found dead with seven gunshots in his back, and a six-shooter by his side. The chief of police pronounced it a suicide. Michael Skakel was convicted of murdering Martha Moxley, as we all know, but that was only because the state took over the "cold case" from the GG. The GG's only contribution to the matter, as far as most of us could figure out, was managing to misplace the shaft of the golf club of the murder weapon - only the head survived their chain of custody of the evidence at the crime scene. The broken shaft, you see, not only bore Michael's mother's name, but was the instrument used to stab Martha repeatedly in the neck. At least one member of the GG claims to remember having seen the shaft, but then the Kennedy lawyers arrived en masse and shooed the cops away - and they simply folded their tents (I speak metaphorically - they didn't even have time to put any up) and went away.

Matthew Margolies, barely into his teens, was murdered while fishing in the Byram River. Local scuttlebutt has it that the GG have a pretty good idea of who dunnit, but because there is a cop connection they have not pressed too hard to bring the perp to justice. I have no way of knowing if the scuttlebutt is true or not, but I do know for a fact that after more than two decades Matthew's murder is still officially unsolved.

The only Greenwich murderer in recent history to have been arrested, tried, and convicted is A. D. Wilson, who shot Jack Peters to death in his own swimming pool - and on his birthday, no less. But the GG gets no credit for this one: Wilson drove himself to police HQ, told the desk sergeant what he had done, and said they would find the murder weapon in the trunk of his car. He spoke the truth. A. D. had once been the boyfriend of a daughter of former First Selectman John Margenot, but claimed to have had his brains fried by drugs sneaked into a drink by Dirk Peters, son of the deceased. Wilson blamed the Peters family for all his subsequent misfortunes, including the break-up with his girlfriend, and wrote long rambling letters pretty much telegraphing his intentions to all and sundry. His sister Julie tried to get the GG to take notice, but they said A. D. had (as yet) done nothing wrong and it was therefore not a police matter. Even after being told that A. D. had bought a gun, they refused to lift a finger. And so it was that shortly thereafter Jack Peters was killed in his own back yard. If A. D. had just driven back to Maine instead of GG HQ, that probably would have been the end of the story.

There are numerous other recent examples of serious unsolved crimes here in Disneyland East, but I think you get the general idea. If you have felonious intentions, and would prefer not to be caught when you carry them out, the obvious venue of choice is right here in good old Greenwich. Why else do you think "Boss" Tweed made Greenwich his second home, and when he made his break from the Ludlow Street jail, took the train straight to Greenwich (well, Cos Cob, actually)? And he was right to do so: he'd spread so much money around town in his sunshine days that no one uttered a peep. Tweed went on to Spain, where apparently they have better law enforcement: he was arrested, extradicted, and returned to the Ludlow Street jail, where he died. His big mistake, obviously, was in not hunkering down in Greenwich.

Yes, folks, we're right proud of our crime rate here in town. To hear the GG tell it, it's all but non-existent. But we who live here know differently, and the facts pretty much speak for themselves. Meanwhile, the GG have finally called in the Feds on the Kissel case, a sure sign that after many months of their trying to go it alone, nothing has gone anywhere fast. And so it goes....


Blogger cecilia said...

I am in law school and just read about the Jack Peters case in my criminal law book. I googled it and came upon your blog! The history of the GG is soooo funny. A great diversion from studying- thanks:)

April 26, 2007 8:36 PM  

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