“Everybody knows who did it!” In the aftermath of a horrific murder of a mother in front of her four-year-old son, the entire close-knit community knew the murderer could only be one man. Several witnesses—including Eric, the boy left for dead—placed the murderer at the crime scene. But in Muncie, Indiana—also known as Little Chicago for its corruption, gambling, and attraction for criminal enterprise—during the late 1970s, nothing in the criminal justice system was that simple. After the county prosecutor declared the case “open and shut,” some very important people in town became nervous that if the murderer was convicted, he would start naming names and telling stories about the criminal activities in the area. After the prosecutor received a visit from the head of the local Teamsters union, suddenly there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed, and the suspect was set free, never to be prosecuted or held accountable.
Forty years have passed, and Paula Garrett’s family, friends, and community have had to live every day knowing that a murderer is walking among them. To this day, the murderer is still being protected. Eric Garrett no longer expects justice. This murder is not unsolved, it is unprosecuted, and probably never will be. But the time has come to stop accepting the status quo.
Unprosecuted: My Mother’s Murder and the Search for Accountability is the story of corruption, cover-ups, and a son’s frustration at knowing that the man who brutally murdered his mother and left him for dead may never be made to account for his crimes.
"Mr. Garrett's tragic story is yet another reminder why we must demand criminal justice reform." --Tristin Engels, PsyD, Forensic Psychologist