A little before midnight on May 30, 1997, fourteen-year-old Brandy DuVall waited at a bus stop in the Denver area when, for reasons that are still a mystery, she got into a car with several young men. Whatever the answer, the consequence was an unimaginable nightmare of torture, rape, and murder at the hands of a vicious Denver street gang. The crime, the investigation, the betrayals, the deals cut with the devil, and the subsequent court cases, including four murder trials and two death penalty hearings, tore apart families and affected all who were caught up in the brutal crime and its aftermath.
Anita Andrews was found in her own bar, stabbed to death in a bloody frenzy. She’d last been seen alive the night before talking to a drifter at the end of the bar, who was playing cards and flirting with her. A month after Anita’s murder, young Michele Wallace was driving down a road in the mountains near Crested Butte, Colorado, when she gave two stranded motorists a ride. She was never seen alive again. Fourteen years later, Charlotte Sauerwin, engaged to be married, met a smooth-talking man at a Laundromat in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The next evening, her body was found in the woods. The three murders would remain unsolved until the early 1990s when a rookie Gunnison County sheriff’s investigator named Kathy Young began looking into the Wallace case and identified a suspect named Roy Melanson, a serial rapist from Texas. This is story of Melanson, his depredations, and the intrepid police work that went into bringing him to justice.
Early one morning in May 1997, a young couple on their way to work off a dirt road in the mountains of Colorado spotted a man dragging a woman’s body up a trail. The subsequent investigation into the death of young street walker Anita Paley would lead from that idyllic spot to the seamy underbelly of Denver and a world of prostitution, drug dealers, and violent criminals. This is the story of two people from that world whose paths crossed first on the streets and then at a murder trial: Robert Riggan, a violent sexual predator, and Joanne Cordova, a former cop-turned-prostitute, who risks her life to testify against a man she believed killed her friend.