Yesterday, as part of a panel on writing an effective memoir, I used a brief example from my experience with writing the story of the Stacey Burns murder. It had to do with reluctant interviewees and why people are sometimes hesitant to share pertinent information. Afterward, as I revisited the comments I had made during the panel discussion, this one stood out. I said that in the case of interviewing people about Stacey’s murder, I found what I called the “fear factor.” As I thought about it, I came up with some reasons why anyone would be afraid to share information. In my humble opinion, here are just a few of the levels of fear.
The Attorney General’s Office-Fear of losing the case in court; fear of public humiliation if they do; fear of letting a guilty party go free (their primary reason, they say, for not bringing the case to trial)
The New Hampshire State Police- First three fears same as Attorney General’s above; in addition, fear of making a mistake, as in arresting the wrong person; fear of having their work on the case questioned in court, a public venue where errors cannot be hidden.
Stacey’s friends and family- A real and justifiable fear of reprisal (after all, this person who murdered Stacey still walks the streets); fear of having details of private lives exposed in a courtroom setting.
These are just a few obstacles that may stand in the way of the killer ever sitting in the defendant’s chair in a courtroom.
My biggest fear? There is never a trial and conviction and this killer lives his/her life without any sort of earthly punishment, waiting until the end for any kind of reckoning, if you believe in that sort of thing.
Just some random “fear” thoughts . . .