|FOURTEEN by Bill O'Connell
They abducted him. They sexually assaulted him. They pummeled him with iron bars. They crushed his skull with a cement block. They flicked cigarettes on him and left him to die. The only thing they had in common was their age… FOURTEEN
Chicago Tribune editor Bill O’Connell explores one of the most heinous but least publicized crimes in Illinois history: the 1968 abduction, sexual assault, and murder of fourteen-year-old David Stukel by fourteen-year-old bullies Billy Rose Sprinkle and James Perruquet.
O’Connell—David Stukel’s Little League teammate—recalls the victim’s idyllic childhood and takes readers into the minds of the murderers and inside the homes, hearts, and photo albums of the victim’s family, whose grief is palpable a generation after the crime.
The Chicago Tribune’s Bill O’Connell, a journalist for four decades, excelled in positions at Florida Today and the Denver Post before joining the Tribune in 2000. O’Connell, an aggressive reporter who strives for accuracy and fairness, began his career as a sportswriter in Joliet, Ill., the setting of the 1968 murder of his former Little League teammate, David Stukel.
What They're Saying
"Forty years ago, at 835 Hill Street in Bill O'Connell’s hometown, something transpired that was terrible beyond words. But O'Connell — haunted by what happened that day — has given it words: thoughtful, precise, passionate words that seek to honor a stolen life, and to answer the question of how and why such a thing could have taken place. He brings humanity and dignity to a day that appeared to have neither, and to the darkest of corners brings light."
— Bob Greene, author of two New York Times bestsellers
"Meticulously reported, written with great passion and delivered in intensely personal fashion, Bill O’Connell’s Fourteen is a chilling true crime tale filled with a cast of compelling characters whose lives changed forever one bloody day long ago."
— Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune columnist
"Bill O'Connell has done the impossible by combining the passion of a great story teller with the detachment of an equally capable reporter in a brilliantly executed, though disturbing tale of life and death in the heartland."
— Mark Vancil, editor of three New York Times bestsellers