SNEAK PEEK: Life Sentence: How My Father Defended Two Murderers and Lost Himself By Amy Bell


Life Sentence: How My Father Defended Two Murderers and Lost Himself By Amy Bell

Haunting true crime book Life Sentence reveals a compelling story that reads like a murder mystery

In her new book, Life Sentence: How My Father Defended Two Murderers and Lost Himself, to be published on April 4th by Nimbus Publishing, London, ON, crime history professor Amy Bell weaves her own history with the story of a horrific crime that affected her entire family.

“When I was a child,” Amy Bell writes in her introduction, “I always had to know. Surrounded by the tensions and whispering conversations familiar to any child from an unhappy family, I determined to discover as much as I could about why the adults around me were so unhappy. I didn’t like what I found. That’s the danger of knowledge, once you know something, it changes you forever, and you can never go back.”

On December 15, 1974, when Amy Bell was one year old, the city of Moncton, New Brunswick, was consumed with the search for two missing police officers—Corporal Aurèle Bourgeois and Constable Michael O’Leary. They had been abducted by petty criminals Richard Ambrose and James Hutchison after a kidnapping that had scored them $15,000. The search would lead to a clearing in the woods where the officers were found—murdered, and buried in shallow graves.

Amy’s father, Ed Bell, stepped up to defend the killers. His unpopular stance—”every person accused of a crime deserves a defense”—eventually led to the ruin of his career and his marriage, and Amy and her brother lived with the aftereffects: poverty and isolation. Ed Bell never spoke of his involvement in this case. It wasn’t until forty-two years later, when he lay dying, that Amy, now a crime historian, stumbled upon a Polaroid photograph of one of the killers among her father’s things. That discovery led her on a search for answers.

Life Sentence: How My Father Defended Two Murderers and Lost Himself  is a riveting work that fuses personal and criminal justice history to tell the story of a horrific crime and examine its terrible costs. The book includes personal and archival news. Author Amy Bell is a full professor of history at Huron University in London, ON. Her research focuses on the history of crime and forensics. Life Sentence is her third book.

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Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors, Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller - Historical, Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories. Writing humorous cozy mysteries and romantic comedy, Jocie can find humor in most everything, even when she shouldn't. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family.