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Book details
  • Genre:TRUE CRIME
  • SubGenre:Murder / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:270
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543962000

The Unforgiven

The Untold Story of One Woman's Search for Love and Justice

by Edith Brady-Lunny and Steve Vogel

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"Save my babies!" Amanda Hamm's screams echoed in the late summer air surrounding Clinton Lake in rural Illinois. "The Unforgiven" is the story of how what appeared to be an accident turned into a crime. But was it murder? In this anatomy of an exceptional case that attracted national media attention, readers journey through unspeakable tragedy, small town justice and the consequences of scalding decisions that changed people's lives forever. The story stretches well beyond the deaths of Amanda's three children to a Chicago courtroom years later where she is caught once again in the state's sticky web of justice. This time the lives of her three new children are at stake. "The Unforgiven" offers an inside look at how the criminal justice system handled this exceptional case. The co-authors are veteran journalists with extensive first-hand knowledge of the matter and access to nearly every record related to the court proceedings. Edith Brady-Lunny covered the story from start-to-finish. Steve Vogel, who lives nearby, is author of Reasonable Doubt, a New York Times best-seller.
It's a case reminiscent of the explosive story of Susan Smith, convicted in the drownings of her two young sons in South Carolina. But in "The Unforgiven", three young children are in the back seat of a car driven by Amanda Hamm's boyfriend as it slips into an Illinois lake. Amanda and her boyfriend survive. Her three children do not. The question of whether it was a horrible accident or a murderous plot divided family and friends and traumatized the entire community. The brief but intense police investigation included seven interviews Hamm voluntarily gave police without the benefit of counsel. The outcome remains controversial to this day and comes full circle with state child welfare workers' concern about children born to Hamm since the fateful day at Clinton Lake. "The Unforgiven" co-author and journalist Edith Brady-Lunny covered the case from start-to-finish, beginning the night of the drownings. Her co-author Steve Vogel lives nearby. His "Reasonable Doubt", considered a true crime classic, was a New York Times best-seller. Together they have extensive first-hand knowledge of the case and access to nearly every record related to the court proceedings.
About the author

Edith Brady-Lunny is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. For more than three decades, she has covered the criminal justice system in Illinois, including the court proceedings for the Amanda Hamm and Maurice LaGrone Jr. cases referenced in "The Unforgiven: The untold story of one woman's search for love and justice". Her career as a journalist began at The DeWitt County Observer as a reporter in Clinton, Ill., a weekly publication she later owned. Her work as an investigative reporter has been recognized with awards from The American Civil Liberties Union, The Associated Press, the Illinois Press Association and the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors. Edith's reporting on mental health issues in the criminal justice system was recognized by Mental Health America with a national media award. Edith is a reporting fellow with the John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice in New York. Her fellowship projects have included investigative reporting on juvenile justice, mental health and prison-related issues. Positions with the Clinton (Ill.) Daily Journal, San Clemente (Calif.) Sun Post and the Midland (Mich.) Daily News preceded Edith's position with The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.) as courts and legal affairs reporter. Her current assignments take her to county, state and federal courtrooms where she covers everything from drug and murder cases to the impacts of overcrowded prisons. Her work has appeared in Orange Coast Magazine and Orange County Illustrated. In addition to her work as a journalist, Edith was appointed media coordinator for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit extended media program. She is responsible for overseeing media coverage of court cases with cameras, video and recording devices, She has assisted state media organizations with educational efforts for the extended media program. In 2014, Edith and Pantagraph Photo Editor David Proeber produced an hour-long documentary on community mental health and its intersection with the criminal justice system. "Shortchanged: Unjailing the Mentally Ill" was presented to audiences in central Illinois. Edith and her husband Calvin live in central Illinois. They have two children and two grandchildren. They also are foster parents of a daughter and three foster grandchildren who live in Chicago. Her website is www.edithbradylunny.com/

Steve Vogel is a veteran print and broadcast journalist, columnist and talk show host who covered every minute of the original trial described in Reasonable Doubt.

He invites you to visit his web page at www.stevevogelauthor.com.

With a B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, his career has spanned print and broadcast news, radio programming, corporate communications and newspaper column writing. His work has appeared in publications ranging from The Congressional Record to Corvette Magazine.

He claims his journalism career began with production of a neighborhood newspaper (circulation was in the low single digits--he lived on a farm with very few neighbors). While in high school, he covered sports and wrote a weekly column for The Minonk (Ill.) News-Dispatch and worked part-time in the sports department of the Bloomington, Ill., Pantagraph during his years at IWU. (His undergraduate degree is in political science with a minor in economics.) His graduate school education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army, including a year in Europe where he was assigned to the American Forces Radio Network.

After finishing grad school, Steve resumed his broadcasting work with WJBC Radio in Bloomington, where he did a daily talk show and headed the station's award-winning news department while also doing commentaries on the Voice of America. He later headed the media relations department of a Fortune 25 company and served the company's chairman and CEO as a communications assistant. He retired from that position in 2012 and returned to his print journalism roots by writing an opinion page column for The Pantagraph. He is the recipient of numerous journalism awards,including a Champion-Tuck Award for economics reporting from Dartmouth College, from the Freedom Foundation, the National Headliners Club and the Associated Press. He was also a semi-finalist in NASA's First Journalist in Space competition.

Steve lives near Bloomington with Mary, his wife of 45 years. They have three children and three grandchildren. He loves music, and likes to read almost as much as he likes to write. He says other writing projects are in the pipeline.