Pro Bono: The 18 Year Defense of Caril Ann Fugate
Pro Bono - The 18 Year Defense of Caril Ann Fugate
Author(s) Jeff McArthur
Published 2012
Publisher Bandwagon Books
Country United States
Pages 336
ISBN 9781479108374

Pro Bono: The 18 Year Defense of Caril Ann Fugate is a book by Jeff McArthur, published by Bandwagon Books, Burbank, CA in 2012.


In 1958, 19-year-old Charlie Starkweather went on a murder spree that paralyzed Nebraska, shocked the nation, and left 11 people dead. With him when he was captured was his 14-year-old ex-girlfriend Caril Fugate. The question soon arose, was Caril a kidnapped victim, or a heartless accomplice? Appointed to her case, Attorney John McArthur initially accepted the assignment out of a sense of constitutional duty. But as he delved deeper, he found that the truth was far more complicated than anyone was letting on. Up against incredible odds, and with a strong conviction of her innocence, McArthur remained with Caril and fought for her freedom for 18 years. For this service, he took no pay, accepting the case pro bono. This book follows the long struggle of McArthur, his partner Merril Reller, and John's son James as they took on the Nebraska legal system and a public that had already determined Caril's guilt before ever hearing a word of testimony. The story continues through all it influenced, such as Stephen King, who became a horror writer because of it, Bruce Springsteen, who wrote a whole album about it, Terrence Malick, Oliver Stone, Martin Sheen, and Peter Jackson, who wrote his first major movie based on the Starkweather-Fugate incident. Pro Bono explores aspects of this incredible story that have never been revealed before, and sheds new light on these terrifying and complex events.

Table of contentsEdit

Chapter Page
Prologue 1
Chapter One – Service 7
Chapter Two – The Murders 12
Chapter Three – Caril 24
Chapter Four – The State of Nebraska v. Charles Raymond Starkweather 40
Chapter Five – A Quiet Man 68
Chapter Six – Ninette Beaver 85
Chapter Seven – The State of Nebraska v. Caril Ann Fugate: The Prosecution 98
Chapter Eight – The State of Nebraska v. Caril Ann Fugate: The Defense 161
Chapter Nine – Pro Bono 199
Chapter Ten – Escobedo 222
Chapter Eleven – The Legal Ladder 233
Chapter Twelve – Growing Up in Prison 248
Chapter Thirteen – Commutation 262
Chapter Fourteen – Badlands 284
Chapter Fifteen – Release 307
Chapter Sixteen – No One Will Ever Really Know 319

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.