FROM A MARKETING PERSPECTIVE, this murder had just about everything. At its center, it had the white, attractive, middle-class couple so critical for mass appeal. It had the necessary measure of sudden, unseemly violence, not only against a loving wife, but also, and even more disturbing, against an unborn child. And most important, it had a surprise ending.
There were so many engrossing ways of examining the case too, so many intriguing lines of inquiry. It had the race angle, the class angle, the insurance-money angle, the psychopath angle, the family angle, the other-woman angle, the bungled-police-investigation angle, and, at its heart, most vivid of all, the gender-war angle. As a rule, women reacted instinctively to the murder, identifying completely with the pregnant Carol Stuart. (Curiously, the two people I know who suspected Chuck Stuart from the first were both women.) Men, unable to identify with Chuck, responded with a bemused fascination that quickly gave way to the kind of jokes that women rarely laugh at: What’s the difference between Chuck Stuart and Larry Bird? Bird jumps first, then shoots. According to one Boston newspaper poll, while 70 percent of married respondents asserted they still trusted their spouses after the murder, 14 percent owned up to some nagging doubts. The only elements the tale lacked were a hero—a grizzled cop who doggedly tracked down the killer, say—and a survivor to reveal the inside story of what really happened and why. But it had so much else, most of us were willing to overlook such deficiencies. It was, as many of the thirteen hastily written book proposals (mine among them) stated, a combination of Fatal Vision (about a Green Beret who snapped and murdered his family) and Common Ground (about conflicts of race and class in Boston’s busing crisis)—two best sellers in one.
Strip away the elaborate hoax and the global attention, however, and one is left with the most dreary and ordinary of homicides: Husband kills wife.
There were about twenty thousand murders committed last year in the United States. Roughly one quarter were family affairs. Of those, roughly half involved one spouse doing in the other. So we can estimate that about 2,500 American spouses are dispatched every year in this way. To be sure, husbands kill wives more often than wives kill husbands, 62 percent to 38. Men are far more likely than women to be killed by friends or associates. Forty-two percent of all female murder victims are slain by relatives, and when those females are wives, their husbands are the ones who usually do it. (It can be taken as an indication of Chuck Stuart’s considerable talents as a con artist that it apparently never occurred to the cops—well aware of the statistics—to seriously suspect him.) A wife’s pregnancy is no deterrent to her being slain, either, although some authorities argue that this stems from the fact that pregnant women are usually under forty, and murder is by and large an activity of the young.
Even the stunner in this case—Chuck’s fatal plunge off the Tobin Bridge—should not have been much of a surprise. Husbands commonly conclude the murderous act by killing themselves, leading at least one researcher to suspect that household-murder rampage is “as much suicidal as homicidal.” By contrast, wives who kill their husbands rarely kill themselves.
But the Stuart case was extraordinary in at least one respect. Most spouse killers act impetuously, without any thought of dodging a murder conviction. “Most take place in the context of a physical fight,” says Professor Murray Straus, codirector of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. “There’s an argument, there’s anger, and bingo, someone’s dead.” Most killings occur in the bedroom, in part because that’s where the gun is often kept, and it’s a difficult place from which to retreat. The kitchen comes in second—that’s where the knives are. The most deadly time comes on Friday and Saturday nights, between midnight and 4:00 in the morning, when the participants tend to be drunk. The general areas of tension are what you’d expect—child raising, money, and sexual jealousy, the big three in any marriage. But the precipitating arguments can be surprisingly petty. They frequently come down to struggles over what to watch on television or who gets to use the bathroom first.
Experts believe that only about 1 percent of marital homicides are planned in advance. Women are more likely to plan ahead, since their peril is greater if they try but fail. But women generally kill only to remove an abusive husband. Men are the ones with ulterior motives: They do it for the insurance money, to avoid alimony, to free themselves to pursue another woman. To plan and carry out your wife’s murder requires tremendous self-control and a powerful imagination. You have to think yourself capable of committing the ultimate crime. You need to calmly weigh the act’s legal and financial consequences. All the while, of course, you must be utterly numb to its immediate human implications. Chuck Stuart was not the only man in recent months to display these qualities. Shortly after Carol Stuart died, a report came from New Hampshire of thirty-seven-year-old Kenneth Johnson, who allegedly paid two teenagers $5,000 each to stab to death his thirty-six-year-old wife, Sharon, at a construction site while he looked on. He was deeply in debt and stood to collect on a $200,000 life-insurance policy. Like Carol Stuart, Sharon Johnson was seven months pregnant at the time. Just south of Boston, in Norwalk, Connecticut, former Eastern Airlines pilot Richard Crafts was recently sentenced to fifty years in prison for the “wood-chipper murder,” in which he crushed his wife’s skull, froze her corpse in a basement freezer, sliced it up with a chain saw, and fed the chunks into a rented wood chipper for dispersal in a nearby river. Unfortunately for him, investigators recovered a fingertip, two teeth, and several strands of hair—enough to identify the victim. Crafts apparently was infuriated to discover that his wife had hired a private investigator to photograph him in the company of his mistress. Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald slaughtered his wife and children and then claimed they’d been done in by marauding hippies. New Jersey insurance salesman Rob Marshall hired a hit man to dispatch his wife and then invented a tale of a crazed gunman.
It is typical in these schemes for the killer to emerge with some hazy story about a shaggy-haired stranger. But Chuck Stuart went much further. He offered a meticulous description of his wife’s murderer—describing his “raspy, singsong” voice, “splotchy” facial hair, black baseball cap, black jogging jacket with “two or three” red stripes, and black driving gloves with exposed knuckles. He added such convincing details as the assailant’s use of the expression “five-O,” meaning a police officer; taken from the old TV show Hawaii Five-O, it’s a term that Boston police say is common only to the Mission Hill area, where the murder occurred. Chuck had obviously also noted the recent, well-publicized shootings in the neighborhood, and the reports of a $1,500 bounty supposedly being offered by gang leaders for a dead cop, thereby lending credibility to Chuck’s claim that the “intruder” opened fire after sensing that the Stuarts might be police. In the age of Willie Horton, Chuck astutely drew on the popular mythology in a racially torn city. He knew how readily Bostonians would accept the notion that a black man could come hurtling out of the night to rob and shoot a white couple venturing in from the suburbs. Finally, to stifle all suspicion, Chuck gave himself an injury so serious that no one could think he did it himself. (Indeed, the surgeon who treated Stuart at Boston City Hospital said later it never crossed his mind that the wound might have been self-inflicted. At press time a grand jury was believed to have been investigating the possibility that Stuart had an accomplice pull the trigger.) Afterward, Chuck played the role of the grieving widower with some masterful touches—writing out, in wobbly script, a eulogy for his wife that brought sobs from the eight hundred mourners at Carol Stuart’s funeral, and asking, in the hospital, to be wheeled alongside his dying infant son. Stuart’s lawyer reports that he saw tears well up in Chuck’s eyes whenever he spoke of his dead wife. It was as if Chuck had studied all the true-crime books and learned from his predecessors’ mistakes. Where they pulled back, he charged forward—weirdly confident of the power of his fiction. Indeed, Robin Winks, a Yale history professor and regular reviewer of mystery books, said that Stuart had contrived a “plot” that held up brilliantly in both the literary and the criminal senses of the term. “What he was doing was acting out a novel,” said Winks. “He was being his own author.”
OF COURSE, ANY MAN capable of wiping out a heretofore key but suddenly inconvenient character might be said simply to possess an excessive desire to script his own story. Chuck Stuart certainly possessed a powerful drive to create a more glamorous, prosperous persona for himself, something in keeping with the idols of his time. But he took the American Dream into the realm of dementia; in clinical terms, he was probably a psychopath, incapable of feeling either guilt or empathy. He feigned emotions because he did not feel them. And so it may be seen as proof of the attraction of opposites that the woman Chuck Stuart married will be remembered fondly in part for her sensibly grounded approach to life. Where he was calculating, she was sensitive; where he was phony, she was real. More than one of her friends had received what they warmly termed “Carol talks,” in which she gently but firmly set them straight about their wanton or insensitive behavior. It’s yet another measure of Chuck’s talent for creating believable fiction that he was able to take such a woman in completely—so completely that, when it finally came time to visit the back of a certain grimy Mission Hill housing project, Carol rode along in their midnight-blue Toyota Cressida without seeing the death ride for what it was.
They had just come from their second birthing class at Brigham and Women’s Hospital on the outskirts of Boston’s medical district that Monday night, October 23. The normal route home involved a quick left past the hospital, north onto Huntington Avenue. Instead, Chuck drove straight across Huntington, past drab storefronts, bombed-out buildings, vacant lots, and deserted street corners. Three blocks down he turned left on Gurney Street and plunged into the projects. Maybe he told her it was a shortcut. Or maybe he said nothing.
He pulled up by some empty parking lots at the corner of Station and Mindoro, a spot so menacing and bleak that even the drug dealers stay away. The isolation is broken only by the cabbies who drive prostitutes there for alfresco sex. At this point, Chuck might well have admitted, finally, that he was lost. Perhaps under some pretext—looking for a map?—he may have reached into his suitcase in the backseat, where he could have hidden the silver-plated, snub-nosed .38 he had taken from the safe at the fur store where he worked. With Carol no doubt peering anxiously out her window, sure it was from there that any danger would come, Chuck could have quietly swung back into his seat, pointed the gun at her head, just above and behind her left ear, and pulled the trigger.
The explosion must have been deafening. Carol’s head lurched forward and slumped sideways on her chest, her torso held in place by her seat belt. Blood streamed down her neck. Inside her womb, the fetus started to suffocate. Chuck cut the lights and engine and flipped down the visor on Carol’s side to hide what he had done. Then he removed her diamond engagement ring. It couldn’t have come easily, since her fingers were already swollen due to the pregnancy.
Since his crime was worth $282,000 in insurance money (with possibly still more to be discovered), it seems easiest to explain her murder as essentially mercenary, a simple liquidation of assets. She was worth more to him dead than alive, and he cashed her in. But there are other ways of getting money; any number of scams are available to a man of Chuck’s considerable skills in deception. Besides, murder is risky. And this scenario assumes that Carol was worthless to him, that the marriage was empty. That seems not to have been the case at all. After weeks of retrospection, mystified friends of the couple still believed that the Stuarts had, if not the ideal marriage portrayed in the initial newspaper reports of the “Camelot couple,” one that seemed normal, even enviable in certain respects.
At the time of the murder, they had been married just over four years. The Stuarts had celebrated their anniversary only ten days before, and they did it in a manner that was typical for them—driving to Connecticut to visit friends for the weekend. The Stuarts were often taking off like that around New England, to see friends or to hide away in a romantic country inn. They often ate out together after work, and they went to all the big Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox games. During the summer, they frequently entertained around the pool behind their house. If they argued at night, he could be counted on to send a dozen roses to her office the next morning. During the workday they often spoke on the phone, and she rarely ended the conversation without saying, “I love you.”
IN NORTHEASTERN Massachusetts, a town’s standing can be gauged precisely by its distance from the urban caldron. In this regard, North Andover, way up by the New Hampshire border, is probably the ultimate. The original settlers, the fabled Wasps, have surrendered Boston itself (except for a few posh locales such as the Back Bay and Beacon Hill) to those who arrived after them; the quiet, leafy, quintessentially New England suburban townships like Weston, Dover, Lincoln, and Beverly Farms have become the essential compass points for all social aspirants.
The Stuarts, both children of bartenders and products of the working-stiff suburbs of Revere (Chuck) and Medford (Carol), had obviously taken note, and, by 1987, were living quite impressively for a couple still in their twenties. The center of Reading—located halfway between Boston and North Andover—may have one too many auto-supply stores to qualify the town as positively genteel, but it does boast a pleasant village green, dominated by a handsome Methodist church with a soaring steeple, and its street signs are wooden. Harvest Road, though, on the eastern edge of town, is not a prize location, and that may have rankled as time went by. Their house stands in a small development of four nearly identical split-level homes. A ditch runs along one side of the property, draining water away from a nearby lake. Just past that waterway, Harvest Road itself turns into a pitted dirt lane that leads to a collection of aging bungalows, with junk cars in the backyards and stray dogs patrolling the streets. Route 128, the ring road around Boston, runs close by, and one can hear the constant rush of cars. Still, sitting around the backyard pool, which was fully equipped with scrubbers and skimmers, or merely gazing down on it from a rattan chair in the enclosed porch off the second story, Chuck could easily imagine he was doing pretty well.
He grew up eight miles away, in a small Cape-style house at the end of a dead-end street a few blocks from Broadway, Revere’s drab main boulevard. If one disregards the mobsters Louis Fox and Hy Abrams, a pal to Meyer Lansky, the only person of great achievement to hail from Revere was Horatio Alger—and he left town with his family for rural Marlborough, Massachusetts, when he was twelve. Today, Revere is a harsh, impoverished city of forty-two thousand that is bounded by the sea on one side and protected on its other borders by its aggressive civic pride. Now that the amusement park has closed and the Suffolk Downs racetrack is out of business, Revere offers few attractions beyond the dog track at Wonderland and the strip shows at Squires. The beach is no longer safe for swimmers, and the marshland is sometimes used as a graveyard for junk cars. When a concerned citizen recently called attention to the environmental problems, her house was pelted with eggs.
There were six kids altogether in the Stuart family; Chuck was the oldest of four sons. It must have been cramped in that little house, all of the kids doubled up in bunk beds upstairs. Chuck began to pull away from his hometown when, instead of attending Revere High, he decided to enroll in the Northeastern Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield. That was the chosen route for the city’s more ambitious kids, for they at least had some idea of what they wanted to do in life, to become an auto mechanic or an electrician. And Chuck applied himself at “the Voke,” as the school is familiarly termed. The kids in culinary arts practiced for their ultimate careers by running an actual restaurant in the school. His instructor, William Lord, remembers Chuck as an “excellent” cook. “He was going somewhere and he let you know it,” said one classmate.
When he graduated he promptly moved out of his parents’ house and into an apartment one town over, in Malden. After that, he rarely mentioned his family to acquaintances. “We never even knew they existed,” one friend said. “I think the style he grew up in was not to his standards, so he kept everyone away from them.”
He worked in the restaurant of a Danvers hotel for a time, then settled into a job as dishwasher and short-order cook at the Driftwood, a big seafood place by the beach in Revere. He tried Salem State College for a few months in 1979, but dropped out, unable to decide on a major. He was still at the Driftwood when Carol Ann DiMaiti showed up to work as a waitress in the summer of 1980. Her father, Giusto, was the restaurant’s night bartender; he baked pizzas during the day in Boston’s North End. Carol had just graduated from Boston College, majoring in political science, and she was marking time for a year before tackling law school.
By then she also had time for a little romance. She had pretty much lost interest in her longtime boyfriend, Jeff Cataldo, who had been the star tailback for Medford High. Carol herself had been a pom-pom girl, cheering the boys on. Chuck had never had a serious girlfriend as far as anyone knows, and he went full tilt at Carol in an oddly old-fashioned way, sweeping her off her feet with flowers and valentines and little gifts. She must have been flattered by the attention. She was attractive, a trim, fast-talking woman with big brown eyes and a winning smile, but she was nervous about her weight. Chuck was plainly handsome. He was also “the kind of person who would send her cards for no reason,” the jilted Cataldo said, “and flowers, things girls love. It got to the point where she said, ‘Maybe he’s for me.’”
Giusto DiMaiti frowned on the relationship, believing that his daughter could do better than a short-order cook; he wanted her back with Jeff Cataldo. And some of Chuck’s friends thought his affair with Carol was just a fling. Nevertheless, the relationship survived Carol’s entry into law school at Suffolk University a year later. By then, perhaps in an attempt to keep up with his ascendant girlfriend, Chuck had abandoned his restaurant job for more glamorous work as a management trainee at Kakas Furs on Newbury Street, Boston’s version of Fifth Avenue.
The shop is owned by two dashing blond brothers, Ed and Jay Kakas, who inherited it from their father. The business takes a polar bear as its emblem, and, in a raffish touch, the brothers have positioned a huge stuffed bear by the entrance. Wide tables line each wall, piled with expensive furs. Chuck caught on fast. He was good at flattering the wealthy ladies who came into the store, and soon he began to carry himself with new flair, learning to appreciate suits from Louis and Brooks Brothers (although Carol always wondered why he couldn’t shop at Filene’s Basement). And he began getting his hair styled at a place called the Spa at the Heritage.
Carol may have had some misgivings about Chuck’s materialistic side, but she was proud to have him as her beau. “With Carol, you always knew she had a boyfriend,” says Cyndy Chappell, who works at Suffolk. “That was very clear. She’d always say, ‘Chuck, who is my boyfriend, . . . ’ She told that to everybody.”
She brought Chuck around to law-school keg parties, even though he didn’t feel entirely comfortable around so many fast-track law students. Almost none of the law students came away with a clear impression of him, and looking back on it later, they all thought that it was odd. “I didn’t get a good sense of Chuck,” Chappell says, summing up the general reaction. “My recollection of him is, he was just kinda there.” Only Carol’s old friend Robert Bonsignore picked up anything unsettling: “I sensed a little bit of a strain in his voice, a little lack of confidence. He was smooth, but to me he wasn’t quite natural.” Carol’s antennae were not attuned to that sort of thing, however. Even if they had been, she would not have rejected him for his social insecurities. More likely, she would have found them endearing.
On Christmas Eve, 1983, Chuck took Carol out to dinner and proposed. He gave her a wallet with the initials C.A.S. (for Carol Ann Stuart) on the outside, and a $4,200 diamond engagement ring inside—the same one he pulled from her finger the night of the murder. Carol couldn’t wait to tell her friends. “She called me and asked me to meet her. When we met, she was just going like this,” her friend Marsha Falk said, stroking her hair in such a way that no one could miss her ring.
Eager as she was to get married, Carol wanted to wait until she had graduated and settled down into her first job. That came with the accounting firm Arthur Young in downtown Boston the September after graduation, in 1985.
The Stuarts were married a month later, on October 13, at St. James Church in Medford, just down the street from where Carol had lived with her family. The reception was held at Lombardo’s, an East Boston function room that adjoined P.J.’s Lounge, where Chuck’s father, Charles senior, once tended bar to supplement his income as an insurance salesman. The last song the deejay played for them, the “going away” song, was Carol’s favorite, “Dancing in the Dark,” by Bruce Springsteen. One wonders if she even heard the words about the frustrated working-class kid who fears he’s going nowhere, and is desperate for action and ready to “change my clothes, my hair, my face”:
Can’t start a fire, can’t start a fire without a spark. This gun’s for hire, even if we’re just dancing in the dark.
THE STUARTS FIRST SETTLED into a small Medford house four blocks from Carol’s parents. She was plainly thrilled to be married, but Chuck’s happiness was less apparent; while she made prominent display of her wedding ring, he pretty much put his away after the ceremony. Bill Zecco, the stylist who had cut Chuck’s hair monthly for the last few years, said that he had had no idea that Chuck was even married until last May. And even then his marital status came up only when, in the course of a conversation about the miscarriage that the Zeccos had just suffered, Chuck had casually mentioned that his wife was pregnant.
In 1987 the couple moved to Reading, taking a $177,000 mortgage to buy a $239,000 house with a Jacuzzi and a pool. Carol shifted to a less demanding job in the tax department at Cahners Publishing, in Newton, tired of the long hours and the narrow focus of the accounting firm. She took a cut in salary too, from about $60,000 to $41,000. But Chuck had recently been promoted to office manager, and he was well on his way to the $103,000 a year he would ultimately take in. So, they could easily make the mortgage, as well as handle the family that Carol was eager to start.
“If Carol had a theme,” says her friend Robert Bonsignore, “it was a family theme. She wanted to be Harriet, you know, from Ozzie and Harriet.”
She first broached the subject of having a baby that year, but Chuck said he wasn’t ready. While she waited for him to come around to her opinion on the matter, she lavished affection on her two black Labradors. She carried a picture of them in her wallet, and perched another on top of the bookcase in her office, next to a photo of Chuck.
Aside from their immediate neighbors and the owner of the local convenience store, the Stuarts made few acquaintances in Reading. They didn’t join the Newcomers Club, or worship at the Catholic church in town. Instead, Chuck cruised back to Revere for companionship, working out in a gym there, playing basketball a few nights a week with some of his high school pals, and frequently dropping in for a beer at Reardon’s. Now, though, he liked to dress up for these encounters, to lord it over the kids he’d left in his dust. When he coached in the Revere Little League, even on hot summer days, he wore pressed pants and matching sweaters in the dugout.
But Chuck had already begun to see the limits of his upward mobility at Kakas, a family-owned firm. He had been looking for another job since 1986, but apparently found nothing to his liking. It had long been his grand entrepreneurial dream to open his own restaurant, a place where guests might receive personal treatment, where, as one friend recalled Chuck’s saying, “people remember your name.”
He subscribed to restaurant magazines—along with Playboy and weight-lifter publications—to fuel his fantasies.
When the couple finally decided to have a baby, in early 1989, Carol got pregnant quickly, and she couldn’t have been more excited. “She called me on the phone and just started screaming, ‘I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant!’” said her friend Marsha Falk. Carol proudly saved the strip from her pregnancy test, immediately gave up alcohol and caffeine, and started drinking milk by the quart.
As for Chuck, this part of his story might have come straight from Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, the tale of the striver who murders his girlfriend when her pregnancy interferes with his monumental social ambitions. Chuck seemed less than thrilled by the thought of impending fatherhood. Rather than allowing that to force him to shelve his plans to quit his job and start a restaurant, he immediately enrolled in a course at the Boston Center for Adult Education, one called Buying and Operating a Restaurant Successfully.
The Stuarts’ neighbor, Maureen Vajdic, in whom Carol used to confide as they jogged, said it was during this period that Carol started to complain about her husband. Apparently, Chuck was still staying out late with the boys on Friday nights, a practice he had established back in their courtship days. One night when Chuck didn’t return until 4:00 A.M., the Stuarts fought so loudly that Carol was afraid the Vajdics had heard them yelling from across the street. It was around the same time, says David MacLean, an old friend of Chuck’s from vocational school, that Chuck complained that Carol was gaining “the upper hand” during her pregnancy. He claims Chuck had asked her to have an abortion, and she had refused. Her friends dispute this, saying that Carol would certainly have mentioned something about it. In any case, it was to MacLean that Chuck first turned for help in killing Carol, or, as he phrased it, “taking care” of her. Chuck had been “businesslike,” MacLean said, “almost like [at] a board meeting.” MacLean declined, and Chuck eventually turned to his youngest brother, Matthew. According to him, Chuck described the plot as merely an insurance scam. Chuck’s choice of accomplice betrayed some desperation, since the brothers had broken three years earlier over Matthew’s lack of ambition (he was a ten-dollars-an-hour paint mixer and a sometime musician). For a fee of $10,000, Matthew came aboard, and remained silent about the plot—at least until January 3, when he finally revealed to the police what he knew.
The plot to kill his wife wasn’t the only subterfuge Chuck Stuart was managing in those final days. At Kakas, one of his tasks was to supervise the office secretaries, which he handled with special aplomb. Ed Kakas noted approvingly that “Chuck related better to the girls.” One of them was Deborah Allen, the fabled “other woman” in Chuck’s life. Now twenty-three, she worked at Kakas during the summer. She must have been quite a temptation to Chuck: blond, athletic, Waspy, sexy. She made Carol look plain by comparison. Allen had gone to Noble and Greenough, the elite prep school in Dedham, and then to Brown University. She was an accomplished figure skater and member of the Nobles field-hockey team. Touchy about his true origins, Chuck had always claimed that he had attended Brown on a football scholarship until a knee injury forced him to withdraw (he must not have known that no Ivy League school offers football scholarships). Deborah Allen’s boyfriend actually had played football for Brown, and Chuck may have seen this coincidence as a sign that he belonged at her side. He started referring to her to some of his friends as his “mistress,” although there is no evidence that she ever was. But she did spend time with him and, as Carol had, accepted his small gifts. In early October, she took him to her old prep school and introduced him to some of her teachers there. Nobles looks like a wooded country estate, dominated by a great stone mansion called the Castle. Strolling the grounds with a gorgeous Wasp at his side, Chuck must have felt that he had entered the promised land. It was a long way from the Voke. He took Carol on her ride into Mission Hill and oblivion a few weeks later.
Nothing revealed the hollowness of Chuck’s fiction more than his actions in the final months of his own life. He suddenly began wearing his wedding ring. He wrote Carol’s heartrending eulogy. But he also acquired a telephone credit card for Deborah Allen so he could chat her up from his hospital bed, and he acquired a beeper for one friend so he could he paged instantly. In the hospital he asked to be wheeled alongside his dying baby son. He also asked a lawyer for advice on removing the baby from his life-support system. He traded the Cressida in for a new car, the $22,000 Nissan Maxima he drove to the Tobin Bridge. He bought jewelry. He gave an expensive clock to the lawyer who had passed his lies on to the press. He had his stylist touch up his hair at the temples, where it was starting to gray, then tipped him fifty dollars. He invited himself to dinner with his in-laws. He complained about having to wear a colostomy bag. And when the whole show finally fell apart, he jumped to his death, proclaiming he had suffered more than he could bear. He outlived the Eighties—the decade driven by heartlessness, greed, and status-hunger—by four days.
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