The Murder of Angela Mischelle Lawless: An Honest Sheriff and the Exoneration of an Innocent Man

Rowman & Littlefield. May 2023. 286p. ISBN 9781538172063. $36. CRIME
The 1992 case of a gang member, Joshua Kezer, wrongly convicted of murdering a young woman in southeast Missouri, is examined in this work. The author Snodgrass, a civil litigation attorney, was brought in to aid Kezer’s defense after a woman involved with a prison ministry reached out to friends. The book illustrates how pressure to find the killer of a young woman, understaffed rural police, and political ambition all led to the conviction of an innocent man. Snodgrass indicates that the defendant was framed by jailhouse informants seeking leniency for themselves, and the prosecutor knowingly used their false testimony. Furthermore, despite no connection to the victim, no physical evidence, and no proof that he was even in the state at the time, he was found guilty and imprisoned for 16 years. That’s when a part-time deputy who had investigated the murder scene was elected sheriff. He reopened the case and is still searching for the murderer. A state court judge freed Kezer. The book notes what he and the lawyers are doing now.
VERDICT True crime readers will likely appreciate this detailed examination of a flawed case. A read-alike is Bone Deep by Charles Bosworth and Joel Schwartz.
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