Presumed Innocent: Charles Stuart

Because Charles Stuart was white and affluent, he almost got away with murder. Now Boston must ponder why it so readily believed his lie

The appalling truth is out, although a tantalizing portion of it vanished forever when Charles Stuart jumped to his death into the icy waters of the Mystic River. A stunned city is left to wonder which is worse: the ease with which it embraced Stuart's lie that a black mugger murdered his wife for a bit of jewelry, or the knowledge that evil can wear an expensive suit, hold a respectable job, own a house in a pleasant suburb?

By identifying the killer of his seven-months-pregnant wife as a raspy- voiced black man dressed in a jogging suit, Stuart tapped into...