Defending Gary by Mark Prothero & Carlton Smith

Defnding GaryI am a true crime junkie. Thus, I jumped on the chance to read Defending Gary, a book about the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgeway, written by one of his attorneys, Mark Prothero.

This is not your typical true crime book. If you want the details of the investigation or how forensic evidence finally solved the case, this is not the book for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of other books on the Green River Killer for you to choose from.

Instead, this book focuses on the legal aspect of the case, including how to best represent the most prolific serial killer in America. The first part of the book details the relationship between Ridgway and his attorneys and how they planned to defend him at trial. The second part, details the plea negotiations between the defense and the prosecutors for Ridgway to exchange information on the killings in exchange for not being sentenced to death. The second half also details the extreme difficulty faced by the investigators in trying to get all of the information from Ridgway.

This is not a suspenseful book, nor is it intended to be so. However, it is a fascinating look into the entire process of defending a serial killer. In a nice twist, the book also points out the public relations risks that Norm Maleng, the prosecutor, took in accepting a plea and not pursuing the death penalty against someone who has pleaded guilty to killing 48 people.

If you enjoy true crime books, and want to get a behind the scenes look at the legal machinations rather than the investigative portion, then I would recommend this book.