The August issue of Chicago magazine includes a lengthy update on the fate of Jeanette Sliwinski, the model/stripper who killed my friend Doug Meis and two other Chicago musicians three years ago. Incredibly, although she was sentenced to eight years last November (far less than prosecutors sought in a bench trial) due to incomprehensible prison math, she's likely to get out of prison in just a few months:
[A]round Thanksgiving this year, [Sliwinski] will be asked to gather her things and prepare for her release from Dwight Correctional Center. The announcement will probably come on the day before her sentence officially ends: Jail officials say they time it that way so nothing holds up the inmate's last obligation—a meeting with a prison counselor. In this meeting, Sliwinski will receive a check from her "trust fund," the bank account that holds the prison wages she has earned since her first day in jail. The counselor will then describe the conditions of Sliwinski's parole, likely mentioning whom she'll report to and how she will be expected to conduct herself. Before she's set free, Sliwinski will likely learn that, in two years' time, she can petition for the return of her driver's license.
Depressing as that thought is (and perhaps nothing will anger you more than reading about the violence done to her victims in Noah Isackson's account and then glancing at Sliwinski's unblemished, unemotional DOC mug shot), there is a light at the end of the weekend. Doug was a drummer in several bands. One of them, Exo, disbanded after his death--the thought of playing those songs on stage without Doug's exuberance behind them had become unthinkable. But this Sunday night (August 10) at Schuba's in Chicago, Exo is reuniting for an acoustic show, with all proceeds being donated to the Doug Meis Gifted Artists of Tomorrow Scholarship Fund. It will be intense and it will also be great fun, an emotional gathering of musicians and friends honoring Doug and John Glick and Michael Dahlquist, as well. Absentstar will open the show and the terrific Coach K, who nearly ten years ago DJ'd the infamous McSweeney's event at the Ethiopian Diamond restaurant, will man the turntables starting at 7PM.
I hope to see you there. I hope to see lots of people there.
Simon Baatz's For the Thrill of It is out this week. The extensively researched non-fiction account of the Leopold and Loeb case is reviewed in this weekend's Trib and I have a short piece on the legacy of that murder (featuring comments from novelist and Friend of the Outfit Sam Reaves) in Saturday's book section. I commented on L&L just a few weeks ago so I'll leave it at that post and this weekend's essay, but frequently when I read a book like this it helps me to make a map of the events. And since I'm much more familiar with Chicago's north side than I am with the south side, it was particularly helpful for me in this case.
View Larger Map
This was a working map I slapped together as I was reading and I make no warranties to its accuracy. But it really struck me as I followed the geography of this case that, sensational as it was (and still is), this really was a neighborhood crime. The murderers lived within blocks of each other and Richard Loeb lived right across the street from their victim, Bobby Franks. (The fact that Kenwood is now Barack and Michelle Obama's neighborhood adds an irrelevant yet irresistible contemporary twist, of course.)
History has dwelt on the existential evil of the case, but the real horror of this particular Crime of the Century was a timeless one--the fear of the devil who lives next door.