The Killing Jar - Based on a True Story

by Gloria Nixon-John with Robert "Skip" Noelker

The Killing Jar is based on the true story of Ted Lynch (his fictitious name), one of the youngest Americans to be charged with a capital crime and sentenced to death.

In 1978 in the insular hollows of Eastern Kentucky, neighbors know that Ted is being starved, living in squalor and being verbally abused by his fanatically religious mother. But instead of intervening they make his plight grist for the local gossip mill. Ted’s teachers are aware that this straight-A student is growing strange and using drugs and alcohol to cope, but they do little to change the situation. It isn’t until fifteen-year-old Ted murders his seven-year-old neighbor that anyone pays much attention to the abhorrent conditions under which he has been living.

The resulting swirl of anger and desire for vengeance, along with moral indignation and blind religiosity of the community, turn Ted’s first trial into a circus. With a weak court-appointed attorney representing him and a corrupt judge as overseer, Ted is found guilty and sentenced to death at the age of sixteen.

While spending nine years of his young life in the foreboding Kentucky State Penitentiary, known as “The Castle of Cumberland”, Ted makes friends with the men on the row. Among them is a notorious rapist and murderer who becomes Ted’s closest friend, remarkably showing him a kindness that he has never experienced before.

With poor psychological help on the inside, Ted’s delusions fester. There is little hope until the defense team of Glenda and Devon McKnight, together with psychologist Robert Newport, becomes involved. They are determined to save the life of this troubled and mentally ill young man, but can they convince a jury of Ted’s insanity?

Co-authored by Ted’s psychologist, this telling looks at the circumstances, the pathology, the warning signs, and the trigger of a heartbreaking and senseless tragedy compounded by the ignorance of a community bent on blind revenge.


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ISBN: 9780982697146

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