The Law: The Boy Who Wanted to Die

On a winter morning in 1959, the body of Airline Clerk Mary Meslener, 23, was found on a canal bank three miles from Miami International Airport. She had been shot once in the head. More than two months after the murder, Airman Joseph Shea, 20, waved a bloody shirt at his sergeant in West Palm Beach and vaguely insisted that he had done "something bad." Because Shea had been trying to fake a medical discharge, the sergeant was skeptical; because the Meslener murder was still unsolved, though, Shea became a potential suspect.

After questioning...

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