Star Press reporters and authors Keith Roysdon and Douglas Walker will host a book signing for their new, spooky read “Wicked Muncie” at Books-A-Million in the Muncie Mall from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.
The book focuses on crime and other odd stories that mostly took place before 1970 in Muncie because — for the most part — "dead people don’t complain about things very often,” Walker said.
Walker did a story in 2015 for The Star Press on the history of crime in Muncie. The History Press, a book publisher, contacted Walker about writing a book on the same topic. Walker brought in Roysdon, and the two wrote "Wicked Muncie," one in a series of Wicked books from The History Press.
“Since we were pretty much free to choose what we wanted, we didn’t necessarily go with the most well-known stories,” Walker said. "We kind of picked out things that were more obscure or things that we knew a little bit about but turned out being something entirely different."
What:“Wicked Muncie” Book Signing
Where:Books-A-Million in the Muncie Mall
When:Saturday, March 25 from 1-3 p.m.
"Wicked Muncie" opens with a story about gun play and killings at a gambling parlor in the late 40s and later features a chilling quote from 1965 prosecutor A.J. Hall: “Muncie had a reputation of being a place where you could kill a man and get away with it.”
“The defense attorneys made so much of the defense about corruption in Muncie, which made prosecutors and police and politicians very uncomfortable. So ultimately, the [killers] would serve five years in prison, and that was the extent of it because [prosecutors] just didn’t want to deal with it,” Walker said. “When it happened, the city kind of went nuts. The city ministerial association asked the governor to have state police take over Muncie because Muncie Police wouldn’t enforce gambling and prostitution laws.”
One of Roysdon’s stories is about African American triplets born in 1935. He said he had frequently seen a photo of the girls and learned through research that one grew up and got in trouble with the law.
“I dug around and found that in 1981, she killed a neighbor. You have these girls who were kind of famous in 1935 when they were born and really had fairly tragic lives,” Roysdon said. “By the time she went to trial, she was the only surviving triplet. I think she had emotional problems and got into a dispute over nothing pretty much with her next door neighbor and killed her neighbor.”
Both Roysdon and Walker are from Muncie and said they enjoyed being able to research the stories and share them with the community.
“People who’ve read something about Muncie history might recognize some of these [stories], but half of these stories probably have not been told unless there’s somebody who had a direct connection to it at the time,” Roysdon said. “That’s one of the things that I think we like the best about it, is being able to tell people something that they either knew just a little bit about but weren't really fully detailed on or that they’d never heard of.”
Copies of "Wicked Muncie" will be available for purchase during the event.