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The case has proven absolutely unforgettable to “I was able to sit down with him and get an in-depth
Petrucelli for decades. fi rsthand impression from him, along with the details of
“In 1950, I was a freshman in college, so I read about the trial. So that’s really when I decided that I wanted to
the case in the paper. But it wasn’t until later, after I do this,” he recalls.
became a lawyer, that the case captivated me,” the While loosely based on State of Connecticut v. Carol
Fairfi eld University and Georgetown graduate says. Paight, “A Love that Kills” is fi ction.
“What interested me about the case was that I never “It’s all fi ction, but was inspired by the real case.
thought the jury would buy this temporary insanity I made it fi ction so I could do a lot with it and make
defense in the 1950s. This was just so unique for the it more dramatic. The lawyer I describe in the book
time. In 1950, psychiatry wasn’t as respected as it is is fi ctitious and so is the defense attorney. The court
now.” proceedings are all part of my imagination, and the
jury’s deliberation is all fi ction that I devised.”
The case Petrucelli is now researching his second novel, based
The case surrounds Carol Paight, he details, who shot on United States v. Massie, tried in 1932.
and killed her police offi cer father, Carl, with his own When he’s not writing another law-based novel, the
service revolver in his hospital bed after he came out widower Petrucelli, who moved to Sun Lakes to be
from exploratory cancer surgery. closer to daughter Joan Saunders of Ahwatukee and
“There were confl icting testimonies from two his two grandsons, might be found reading the closing
psychiatrists. Her psychiatrist said that because of her arguments of Clarence Darrow. He’s also been known
fear of cancer and seeing her aunt die from it and also to serve as interviewer and announcer for cable channel
seeing one of her best friends die from leukemia, that Submitted image 14, Sun Lakes TV.
Carol just fl ipped out when she heard her father had FACT-BASED FICTION: “A Love that Kills” is In addition, Petrucelli acts with the Sun Lakes
cancer. She didn’t want to see him suffer like she’d seen
a work of fi ction, but based on a true story
written by Bob Petrucelli of Sun Lakes.
Community Theatre and teaches courses for Chandler-
her aunt and friend suffer.” Gilbert Community College’s non-degree program, New
So, Petrucelli continues, the psychiatrist in the case Adventures in Learning, which includes classes “Anatomy
claimed that the fear of cancer took away Paight’s free will, resulting in the of Criminal Law” Oct. 28 and “Anatomy of a Civil Trial” Nov. 4.
temporary insanity defense. However, a later-discredited witness claimed to “A Love that Kills” can be purchased online at www.bobpetrucelli.com or
have seen Paight at the shooting range beforehand. www.amazon.com.
Though his fascination with the case spanned decades, Petrucelli’s decision
to write “A Love that Kills” was cemented after he met Paight’s defense
Sharon Schnakenburg is a freelance writer who can be reached at Sharon@SanTanSun.com.
attorney in 1988.
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