Innocent Until Interrogated
The True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four
By Gary L. Stuart
(University of Arizona Press, Hardcover, 9780816529247, 360pp.)
Publication Date: September 2010
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On a sweltering August morning, a woman walked into a Buddhist temple near Phoenix and discovered the most horrific crime in Arizona history. Nine Buddhist temple members—six of them monks committed to lives of non-violence—lay dead in a pool of blood, shot execution style. The massive manhunt that followed turned up no leads until a tip from a psychiatric patient led to the arrest of five suspects. Each initially denied their involvement in the crime, yet one by one, under intense interrogation, they confessed.
Soon after, all five men recanted, saying their confessions had been coerced. One was freed after providing an alibi, but the remaining suspects—dubbed “The Tucson Four” by the media—remained in custody even though no physical evidence linked them to the crime.
Seven weeks later, investigators discovered—almost by chance—physical evidence that implicated two entirely new suspects. The Tucson Four were finally freed on November 22 after two teenage boys confessed to the crime, yet troubling questions remained. Why were confessions forced out of innocent suspects? Why and how did legal authorities build a case without evidence? And, ultimately, how did so much go so wrong?
In this first book-length treatment of the Buddhist Temple Massacre, Gary L. Stuart explores the unspeakable crime, the inexplicable confessions, and the troubling behavior of police officials. Stuart’s impeccable research for the book included a review of the complete legal records of the case, an examination of all the physical evidence, a survey of three years of print and broadcast news, and more than fifty personal interviews related to the case. Like In Cold Blood, and The Executioner’s Song, Innocent Until Interrogated is a riveting read that provides not only a striking account of the crime and the investigation but also a disturbing look at the American justice system at its very worst.
Gary Stuart interviewed here!
Gary L. Stuart is an attorney in Phoenix. He is the author of six books, including The Gallup 14, a novel based on the notorious court case of 1930s New Mexico, and Miranda: The Story of America’s Right to Remain Silent
"This is a thoroughly engrossing book that should awaken outrage. Stuart leads the reader from crime scene through trial and beyond in a way that is detailed but never boring." —Booklist"At the heart of the book lie irreconcilable questions about interrogation tactics, coerced confessions, convictions with no evidence and the stakes of forcing a confession." —Kirkus Reviews"Meticulously researched from all of the trial and appellate records, interrogation transcripts, and print and broadcast news coverage of the case—and over fifty personal interviews conducted by the author—Innocent Until Interrogated is a must for all true-crime fans." —Internet Review of Books