April 19, 2003

There's a great slice of life piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer today. It seems this fellow, Benjamin Harrison, 24, of Woodbury, N.J., killed his mother, Dolores Marie Harrison, carried her around in the trunk of his car, and then dumped her body in the Delaware River. (Or more likely, buried her, depending on which account one reads.)

After killing his mother, Harrison went to work for three days as normal, a routine that for reasons unclear to me shocked his co-workers. (If you're going to kill your mother, and I'm not recommending you do, and you wish to deflect attention from yourself, and I'm not recommending you do, I think going to work as usual would be one of your better strategies.)

The story, "Son Went to Job in Days After Slaying," by Nora Koch, includes the usual accolades to the accused: he was "a nice guy" and "a very private guy." And, of course, there's this obligatory note: "Neighbors said Benjamin Harrison and his mother were quiet and kept to themselves."

But here's the part that really got me:

Harrison told police that his mother died after he held her in a headlock during an argument, and that he left the body in his car trunk for several days before dumping it in the Delaware River near Camden, authorities said.

He had his mother in a headlock?


Not such a "nice guy" after all, I guess. "Private," I'm sure; I doubt he was opening his trunk to anyone over the course of those "several days."

But gee whiz, I've never even raised my voice to my mother, let alone put her in anything resembling a headlock, though I should add ours was a home in which I can recall being chastised for using the words "gosh" and "darn," which might explain why I say things like "gee whiz" an awful lot.


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