A riveting blend of true crime and memoir, following the unravelling of a New Brunswick family after a brutal murder.
On December 15, 1974, when Amy Bell was one year old, the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, was consumed with the search for two missing police officers –Corporal Aurèle Bourgeois and Constable Michael O'Leary. They had been abducted by petty criminals Richard Ambrose and James Hutchison after a kidnapping that had scored them $15,000. The search would lead to a clearing in the woods where the officers were found — murdered, and buried in shallow graves.
Amy's father, Ed Bell, stepped up to defend the killers. His unpopular stance–"every person accused of a crime deserves a defence" — eventually led to the ruin of his career and his marriage, and Amy and her brother lived with the aftereffects: poverty and isolation. Ed Bell never spoke of his involvement in this case. It wasn't until forty-two years later, when he lay dying, that Amy, now a crime historian, stumbled upon a Polaroid photograph of one of the killers among her father's things. That discovery led her on a search for answers.
Life Sentence: How My Father Defended Two Murderers and Lost Himself is a riveting work that fuses personal and criminal justice history to tell the story of a horrific crime and examine its terrible costs. Includes personal and archival news images.