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About the author:
Sonny Long covered the triple homicide in East Texas since the day the bodies of Gerri Faye, Jessica and Mackenzie were discovered on a drizzly Monday morning in January, 1992. Even after the initial outcry died down and the main suspect released from jail, Long continued to write about the case. He became an active participant in the annual memorials for the victims, personal friends with the family of the victims, a trusted ear to the mother of the suspect, and was a regular contributor to an Internet discussion forum on the case.
Long has been an award-winning newspaper reporter for more than 20 years, dabbled in radio announcing and served as a master of ceremonies at numerous public events.
He is the co-author of "Bad News for McEnroe" (St. Martin's Press 2004), and two independently published books, "A Long Look" -- a collection of poetry and short stories and a collection of newspaper columns.
While a journalist in the U.S. Army, Long was the editor of the Fort Ord (Calif.) Panorama and later a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) and covered the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., as well as numerous ceremonies at the White House and Pentagon.
Long is a journalism graduate of Auburn University with a Masters Degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in sports information for several years at Auburn and with the Southeastern Conference Commissioners Office. He has met eight Heisman Trophy winners during his career.
He is currently a reporter for the Victoria Advocate, a daily newspaper in South Texas, covering the nonprofit beat and ranging into outlying counties for coverage.
While at the Advocate, he covered the trials of the Twilight Rapist, the murder of a Texas Game Warden and the starvation death of an 8-year-old girl by her adoptive parents.
Among Murderers And Madness
A Journalist's Journey Toward Justice
"Among Murderers and Madness" is the true story of murders long unpunished and questions still unanswered.
The story unfolds through the eyes and words of reporter Sonny Long, who covered the murders since day one. He tells the tale through his own experiences, through the voices of those closest to the victims and the suspect and through media reports of the case.
"Among Murderers and Madness" is a nearly 20-year journey; a winding road from the murders of a mother and her two children to the guilty plea of a man many believed from the beginning had committed the crimes. Along the way a cast of characters emerge, some good, some bad, some even bizarre.
The role of the media covering the case is also examined not only the author's own publication, but the other local newspaper, area newspapers and television stations as well as the national media.
Kevin Hailey, once described in a Gentleman's Quarterly article as "Opie on steroids," lived only 300 yards from the Atlanta, Texas mobile home where his former girlfriend and her two young daughters, 11, and 2, were found murdered on Jan. 27, 1992. By his own admission, Hailey spent the day before, Super Bowl Sunday, snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana, and drinking. Two months later Hailey, the son of a local deputy sheriff, was arrested and charged with strangling the mother, wrapping a telephone cord around the neck of the oldest daughter, and drowning the baby in the bathtub. A high profile Dallas attorney, Doug Mulder, swept into the rural county and got Hailey's bond lowered following a probable cause hearing. During that hearing the district attorney stunned spectators in the courtroom when he declared he was "on the wrong side" because of what he considered weak evidence. After his release, Hailey's life continued to take wrong turn after wrong turn until he landed in Angola, Louisiana's toughest prison, convicted of an unrelated attempted murder.
For 17 years, the murder of the Butts family went unpunished until a new district attorney and new DNA evidence finally resulted in Hailey's indictment and ultimate plea agreement.
Journalist Sonny Long reported on the case since the day the bodies were found. He established a close relationship with the victims' family and friends, befriended members of law enforcement, and remained in correspondence with Hailey's mother even after she was convicted of murdering her husband. He has also corresponded with Hailey with the convicted murderer proclaiming his innocence despite the plea agreement.
The author's intimate conversations with those closest to the case and his tenacity in keeping the case alive in the minds of the public makes "Among Murderers and Madness" the definitive source for not only the senseless stealing of three lives, but for the maelstrom the murders caused in both the lives of two families and in the consciousness of a community.
- Publication Date:
- Mar 14 2012
- 1468035835 / 9781468035834
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- True Crime / Murder / General