Scott Peterson, who was convicted in California of murdering his wife and unborn child, had dozens of women pleading for his mailing address the first day he arrived in prison. “The more notorious, the stronger the allure,” says Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University who has studied what he calls “death row groupies.” “These are usually women who would love to date a rock star or rap idol, but if they wrote to a musician, they might get a letter. Here they could get a marriage proposal.” At the same time, he says, “The inmate is seen as evil by society, but only these women see the gentle side of their man. That makes them feel important.” The husband’s legal case adds purpose to her life.
Most wives, when they learn something about their husband’s past, don’t have to confront the idea that he burned a toddler’s mouth with a cigarette and broke the child’s arms and legs.
…Crystal, who had recently heard someone describe Randy as “someone who breaks the arms and legs and skull of a baby,” apparently had never heard all the details of the crime.
“What are they talking about?” she asks.
There is fascinating dialogue between the couple, at the link, and then it comes to this:
She goes silent again.
“I’m sorry about all this,” he tells her.
“I know you are,” Crystal says as she changes the subject back to the driving trip. “I’m behind a big yellow bus.”
Before he lets it go, Randy tells her that he’s really good with children. “You know how some people are just natural with children? That’s me.”
After just a few minutes of discomfort, they are back to small talk and professions of love. They exchange “I love you”s at the end of nearly every 15-minute call, so often that Crystal starts to joke about their “soap-opera moments.”
“Honey, I just want to look at you. I don’t have to eat,” she says, in a soap-star voice.