Trials: Reliving a Murder

In a Topeka, Kans., courtroom last week, the lights were flicked off and judge and jury sat enthralled as a deadly serious story began to unfold on TV screens in front of them. The central figure. Thomas Kidwell, 47, had already been convicted of the murder of his promiscuous wife—although he could not remember much about what had happened before he was found in his wrecked car with her nude body on the floor.

At his first trial last February, the prosecution offered a compelling reconstruction. Kidwell was angry at his wife because...

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