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Tom Carr author appearance
East Lansing Public Library
950 Abbot Road., East Lansing
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19 — Tom Carr puts Michigan’s most malicious and dastardly residents in the spotlight in his new book, “MI Bad: Robbers, Cutthroats and Thieves in Michigan's Past & Present.”
Formerly a Traverse City Record Eagle reporter, Carr — now a freelancer — developed his passion for true crime after covering the police and courts.
One case in Kalkaska changed his trajectory into writing about true crime when Geraldine Montgomery, 68, was assaulted and murdered in her own home, he said.
It became one of his beats.
“There was a false confession and DNA evidence not on the database until 17 years later,” Carr said.
In 2014, DNA evidence exonerated Jamie Lee Peterson, who spent 17 years in prison for the crime.
The samples matched Jason Ryan, a man police cleared in 1997 for his involvement.
This will be his second book after publishing, “Blood on the Mitten: Infamous Michigan Murders, 1700s to Present” in 2016.
One crime described in his new book details a miscreant state police officer looking to get into a new line of work.
“Andy Salkovich was a state police officer who decided to try his hand at robbing a bank,” Carr said. “He was caught the same day and the state police were nervous it was bad press. But the robbery occurred on Nov. 21 1963.”
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated the following day.
“It made his crime get buried. Only a few papers wrote about it side by side,” Carr said.
Other focus figures include the last stagecoach robber, a brothel boss in the upper peninsula and the legendary Baby Face Nelson.
Carr believes readers’ obsessive infatuation with the grim subject matter comes from hearing stories of criminals being human and relatable.
“Drama doesn't get much more dramatic than a person committing a crime on another person.”
Carr said he does want to be respectful to true crime subjects, whether their stories are new or old.
“I try to be sensitive, even when it is an old one. If it involves organized crime, I don't have to be as sensitive, as if i'm writing about ordinary people.”
2:30 to 7 p.m., Allen Neighborhood Center 1611 E. Kalamazoo St. Lansing
5 to 8 p.m., Cedar Street Art Collective, 1701 S. Cedar St., Lansing
7 to 8 p.m., MSU Stars for Make-A-Wish, 439 Hillcrest Ave., East Lansing