On a summer night in 1963, in the town of Lodi, New Jersey, two policemen were shot to death in the Angel Lounge, a local bar, by two bar patrons. One of the killers was shot by police in New York City two days later; the other, Thomas Trantino, turned himself in and was imprisoned. He remained incarcerated for almost forty years—the longest-serving prisoner in the New Jersey penal system—until his release early in 2002.
The murder of the policemen in the Angel Lounge remains one of the most notorious crimes in New Jersey history, yet there has never been an in-depth examination of the case—until now. New York Times reporter David Stout takes readers inside the crime: from the close-knit community that was shattered by the killings—and will never forget them—to the courtroom where Thomas Trantino presented evidence that would keep him locked up for decades. Stout introduces us to the victims and to their families, who were determined that Trantino should never go free. And he allows us to hear Trantino explain why he felt he deserved to be paroled, despite the enormity of his crime.
As they trace Trantino’s tortuous path from death row to freedom, readers will be forced to confront their own attitudes about crime, punishment and America’s criminal justice system.
About the Author
David Stout, an Edgar Award winner, is a former reporter for The New York Times and has written frequently on criminal justice issues. He is the author of three novels, two of which were adapted for network-television movies.