ONeil 59 became aware of and then involved with his co-author,
criminologist Dr. Henry C. Lee, by degrees.
Like most people in Connecticut, says ONeil, I
began following Dr. Lees career with great interest during the mid-
to late-80s, when he led the Woodchipper [murder] investigation and played
a critical role in solving the Sherman case. Then my son enrolled in the
University of New Havens Criminal Justice program and began regaling
me with stories about Henry.
In 1995, ONeil continues, I interviewed Richard
Crafts, the Woodchipper murderer, and did a story for the New Haven
Register on security lapses at Cheshire, a maximum security prison.
To polish off the story, I called Henry, and the two of us hit it off.
Margaret, his wife, and Emily and I all became friends and we started discussing
The eventual product of these discussions was Cracking Cases: The Science
of Solving Crimes, published this spring by Prometheus Books.
The cases unspool like a combination of Ellery Queen and CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation. Each chapter gives a quick overall introduction
to the case and then follows the same pattern: the facts of the case,
the investigation, the trial, the scientific facts and a closing summary.
In the most famous of the cases coveredbloody glove or no bloody
gloveit was Dr. Lees forensic investigation and testimony that
demonstrated most compellingly to the O.J. Simpson jury that some kind
of serious evidence tampering had taken place. As to the details of that
Well, youll have to read the book.
Working with Henry has been fascinating, ONeil says. He
has a great sense of humor and is eloquent. The whole experience has been
fabulous, and were talking about a second book.