CRIME: Young Man with a Gun

When William E. Cook was five years old, his mother died; his father, a ne'er-do-well Joplin, Mo. smelter worker, abandoned the boy and his seven brothers & sisters in a deserted mine cave. After the authorities discovered them there, most of them found foster parents, but only "the county" would take William, a small, ugly child with a deformed right eyelid. William bit like a caged wildcat at the institutional hand that fed him.

When the county put him in a boarding home, he threw tantrums and complained that he wanted a bicycle like...

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