When Joe Burrows was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of an elderly Illinois farmer, he asked me -- a young reporter covering my first murder trial -- to help tell his story. This non-fiction narrative is a harrowing account of murder, betrayal, and of a femme fatale's wrongful accusation that put two innocent men behind bars, one of them on Illinois' infamous Death Row. It was never my intent to prove that Burrows was innocent of murder.
Rather, it was to uncover the truth, or close to it at least.
After finishing this book and forming their own opinion, readers may want to ask themselves this question -- "What was I doing three days ago, and who could I get to back my alibi?" TRUE CRIME BOOK REVIEWS: Innocent with a Death Row address "Former staff reporter for The News Gazette Peter Rooney reported on this case in his early journalism days and followed it until its very end – the exoneration of a innocent man. Rooney makes it clear that his book Die Free isn’t an argument against the Death penalty, but simply another example of why such an extreme punishment should re-evaluated.
His points are made clearly and with merit as he details obvious evidence withholding by an over-aggressive district attorney, threats and intimidation of a borderline mentally challenged man, and the old school thoughts of little women versus big, burly men." If you’re looking for an interesting, thought-provoking true crime quick read, consider Die Free by Peter Rooney." AMHERST DAILY BULLETIN: Justice gone awry: Amherst author's death-row story makes a case against the death penalty "When he was 24 and had just a couple of years on the job as a journalist, Peter Rooney was given a critical assignment: cover a murder trial. It was, he recalls, both "exciting and intimidating," the first time he'd ever handled a story of that magnitude. But the experience - chronicling the murder of an elderly Illinois farmer in east-central Illinois in 1988 - would ultimately lead him to witness much more: the wrongful conviction of an innocent man, the man's sentencing to death row, and finally his exoneration, all of which would go on to capture the attention of the national media." THE NEWS-GAZETTE: Book tells story of framed Villa Grove man "The true and sad story of man framed for murder in Iroquois County is now a book, told by the reporter who knows the story best. Peter Rooney, now an administrator at Amherst College, was a 24-year-old News-Gazette reporter when an ill-educated minor criminal told him he was being set up for the murder of an elderly Iroquois County man, William Dulin. Rooney followed the story for years and was the first to get a recantation from an important witness for the prosecution. With a clear style and the closest knowledge of the case, Rooney unravels the complicated story of how a high school dropout, career minor criminal and admitted drug user came to face the death penalty."