After my father was murdered in 1973, I spent decades looking for the man who killed him. What I found changed everything Id believed about him and the life he lived.”>
ST. LOUIS Just before daybreak, sitting at the edge of her bed in an upper bedroom, she clutched her pale blue housecoat and listened tearfully to the transistor radio on the nightstand. At the top of the hour, a familiar, melodic voice confirmed what she already knew: Her husband was dead.
It had been a tumultuous relationship, at times beautiful and at others marred with ugliness. They were separated and had been for several years, living worlds apart and with other people now, but he was still hersstill her husband and the father of her youngest child. The news that he had been murderedfound shot in the head and pronounced dead on arrival at a city-run hospital was devastating.
Shed gotten the fateful call from nightclub owner Gene Normanwho doubled as a disc jockey on KATZ-AM 1600as she closed her shift as a cocktail waitress at The Windjammer. She left the bar, situated atop the Marriott Hotel near Lambert Field, and began the 20-mile drive home east along Interstate 70. As she crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis, Norman took to the airwaves and dedicated a songGladys Knights Midnight Train to Georgiato Jerry.
he couldnt make it,
so hes leaving the life hes come to know
It was still dark out when she pulled into the public housing complex in the Duck Hill neighborhood. She wailed, screaming and shaking in her car.
Id rather live in his world,
than live without him in mine
I watched my mother descend the stairs that Sunday morning. Overcome with grief, her voice breaking and her body still trembling, she reached for me. Hes gone, she whispered, grabbing me with both hands. Your daddy was killed.