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Panic Story Frees Killer Wilbert Rideau After Three Murder Convictions


Summary: Louisiana convicted killer, Wilbert Rideau, a darling of The New York Times and now a free man debuts his new book, published by Random House, In the Place of Justice. But, does his book tell the whole story?

Baton Rouge, LA – May 17, 2010 - Every night, NCIS, Law and Order and Criminal Minds bring us stories of callous killers facing justice. But, what if the stories were real and the killers walked away?

A rare, 1981 interview with one of America’s most infamous murderers, Wilbert Rideau, makes that nightmare come true. And he did walk away. He left a Louisiana courtroom in 2005, a free man even after admitting in a 1981 video interview that he robbed a bank, took three hostages, emptied his gun at all of them and stabbed one to death after running out of bullets.

Watch the Wilbert Rideau Interview:

His sentence for the cold-blooded murder? Twenty years for manslaughter. Sound like justice was served?

On the videotape, Wilbert Rideau talks openly about his crime.

"Why did you cut that woman’s throat,” the reporter asks.

“I think I ran out of bullets,” he casually replies.

He talks of hating white people. He says he believes in the death penalty and that he should have been executed. He told the same story to reporters for 25 years as he rose to fame editing The Angolite, said to be the only free prisoner generated magazine behind bars in America. Wilbert Rideau earned national writing awards and respect for his “honesty” about his crime and life in prison. He was virtually deified by The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR) and other influential publications, local and regional, nationwide.

In 2005, Wilbert Rideau’s story abruptly changed. On the witness stand, in a packed Louisiana courtroom 44 years after his crime, Wilbert Rideau turns the tables, making himself a target of racism, not his victim. He said he was a panic-stricken 19-year old black kid, growing up in a viciously racist town so terrified of being caught that he tried to kill all his hostages in a panic.

The 1981 interview is the only easily available evidence of the story he told about his crime for almost three decades before he suddenly changed it for his last trial. Articles that quote Wilbert Rideau telling his original story are aging: brittle artifacts in newspaper and magazine archives, if they exist at all.

Wilbert Rideau was convicted of the 1961 murder three times. Each time, federal courts overturned the verdicts on grounds that he didn’t get a fair trial. His memoir “In The Place Of Justice,” published by Random House continues his new version of the crime. It should be named “In Place Of The Facts.”

About Wilbert Rideau The Real Story:

Wilbert Rideau’s book “In The Place of Justice” published by Random House was written as a catch back for years of festering resentment and calculated to burnish his image at the expense of others. Learn about Rideau’s real story at Interview Billy Sinclair, the man who knows the real Wilbert Rideau, the one you won’t read about in Rideau’s book.


 Wilbert Rideau
 Wilbert Rideau Interview
 convicted killer
 In the Place of Justice

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