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Wicked Takes the Witness Stand: A Tale of Murder and Twisted Deceit in Northern Michigan
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Wicked Takes the Witness Stand: A Tale of Murder and Twisted Deceit in Northern Michigan

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  36 reviews
On a bitterly cold afternoon in December 1986, a Michigan State trooper found the frozen body of Jerry Tobias in the bed of his pickup truck. The 31-year-old oil field worker and small-time drug dealer was curled up on his side on the truck’s bare metal, pressed against the tailgate, clad only in jeans, a checkered shirt, and cowboy boots. Inside the cab of the truck was a ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published November 17th 2014 by UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL (first published June 30th 2013)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was so disturbing that I had to occasionally put it down and find something else to think about! It is the true story of justice run amok in a small town in northern Michigan. When Jerry Tobias is found beaten and frozen in the bed of his pickup truck, there are no clues as to his assailant - actually it is not certain if he was murdered or froze to death! But did this stop a vindictive Prosecutor, Gaylord police, State Police, etc. from conducting an unfair and biased investigation? N ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes truth is stranger and more wicked than fiction.

Wicked Takes the Witness Stand tells the tale of a mysterious death in a small Michigan town in the mid 80s. The death is never really solved despite the murder prosecutions of 5 men.

What we learn is about power and its abuse, about truth and its manipulation, about citizens who should be more critical of officials and about the heroic acts possible when a small group of lawyers dedicate themselves to pursuing truth at great personal and e
Amy Smith
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Considering this murder and series of convictions happened in the town where I grew up and occurred when I was in high school, I found it intriguing to read. I knew a lot of the people or were friends with their kids. I never realized the depth of the lies and conspiracies and wrong-doings that occurred in my little town. It's really like a story that keeps you frustrated and wonder how all these small town people could let something so wrong happen and then just look the other way. I wouldn't b ...more
Kenzie Wehner
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
To all true crime lovers: this one is really something!There were so many angles to this complex case that were so frustrating yet so interesting at the same time! What’s even more interesting is that this took place in the county that I live and work in!
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne S
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books-read
This was a great book. I saw Ms. Link when she was sharing her new book and thought that I would check it out. The book keeps you interested as it tells the story of a man who was found dead in his pickup truck in the middle of winter in Northern Michigan. What happens next is a travesty of justice when one person is convicted and then another four people are convicted of murder based on the sole testimony of a sick, vengeful woman! As I read, I got mad at the criminal justice system, the DA and ...more
Emily Wilmot
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am so grateful that I was young enough to be protected from reading about the horrific events of this case while living in the city in which it happened. Rather, I've spent the last week reading this incredible story in shock, awe, and sheer disgust for the way this case was handled. Every citizen should read this book, especially those who have voted for some of the elected officials who played significant roles in it.
Cindy Koch-Krol
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If this had been fiction, I would have thrown it down as being implausible. But it's true. I moved to Traverse City about the time that this was happening and remember hearing about it on the news. But I didn't know even half of the story! It's incredible that a woman like Debbie Parmentier could even exist. But given her history and if even half what she said about herself is true then she was seriously disturbed. But then she became the vehicle for the police and prosecutor to use to convict f ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I originally picked up this book because it takes place in some of the towns I travel through on my way to my vacation place in Northern Michigan. I alternated between disbelief that something like this could happen and an anger at the destruction brought on by the prosecution and police behavior in this case. The power of one woman who was believable but lied just about everything was amazing.
However to quote the author " The one small bit of redemption in this tragedy is that none were a match
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book detailing a miscarriage of justice in Gaylord, Michigan. Somehow, five innocent men go to prison for a murder that probably never happened despite zero physical evidence tying them to the death. How can that happen? Combine prejudice and assumptions against certain people in a small town, the inability to critically think about any evidence that comes contrary to confirmation bias, and a psychopathic "witness" willing to say or do anything for attention (and to remain on the payroll). Thi ...more
Bonie J. Miller
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Amazing story about a true legal tradgedy. As a former journalist and now retired lawyer living within 30 miles of the site of this story, I appreciate the hard work and research that went into writing this saga of injustice and I am appalled at the conduct of the prosecutors, cops and judges who perpetrated this sham. And I am so proud of the three attorneys who never gave up.
Patricia E. McMillen
Too slow. Too many twists and turns. Could have been half as long. I love true crime books but this one didn’t keep me interested. Had to keep putting it down and coming back in a week. Took too long to get to the end.
Greg Jolley
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant work. A fine crafted and important story, made all the more amazing by Ms. Link's brave choice to take on a tale that doesn't have a clear solution (as if often found in the genre). Her voice and pacing are excellent.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a good example of why I love true crime. I this book were fiction I would have thought it was absurd, too farfetched. But it's true. It's unclear what part are from police reports and what parts are from interviews with the principles after the fact. A quick, engaging read.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Behind the scenes story of the investigation of a death of Northern Michigan. The accounts of an eye-witness, along with the trials of those implicated due to the reports, should shock your sensibility to justice. COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appalling story

Very well told compilation of an incredible true story. I live near Otsego County but may never go to Gaylord again
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read, but incredibly frustrating. Makes me lose faith in our justice system.
Brenda Beaudoin
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Found it an interesting read as I was from the local area.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the miscarriage of justice in a small town in Gaylord, Michigan. When Tobias is found dead in the back of his pick up truck, the law is determined to find the killer. They focus on the first man, Moore who seems guilty and throw out all the other clues. No clues that don't lead to Moore are investigated. Five men are tried and put in jail, loosing years of their life when the D.A. Norm Hayes and the State Police decide they are guilty. They don't provide the prosecution with man ...more
Gary Street
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a very sobering book. It is a non-fictional account of a legal system that has gone totally out of control. Several men are convicted of a murder they could not possibly have committed by a vindictive prosecuting attorney and an inept, but very biased State Police force. Their case is almost entirely based on the testimony in court by a woman that everyone knows is totally whacko. Yet the prosecution, and the judges let her testify and even defend her totally absurd statements

The fact t
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I cannot even imagine the amount of research that went into this book. There are so many twists and turns and so much detail. At times I had difficulty remembering who was who as so many people were involved. The cast of characters that the author included was very helpful in keeping them straight.

I feel terrible about the injustice of this case and the innocent men that were charged and their lives ruined. It is also appalling seeing how much money was spent to put them away with no evidence a
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Once again Mardi Link writes an exceptional, well researched book. It was a very difficult story for me to read because this was the town where I was raised, I attended high school with some of the people and grew up admiring some of the key players. It reminds me that everyone has feet of clay and to be grateful for the three attorneys who worked so diligently to see that real justice ultimately prevailed.
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to fans of the true crime genre. Mardi Link is a former crime reporter and does an excellent job of researching this crime and all the players. Her books are real page turners. I discovered this Michigan author by accident. She has also written two memoirs, Bootstrapper and The Drummond Girls.

Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: it-s-true
Very journalistic style, but that was actually refreshing for a true crime tale - especially one that needed to concisely convey so many varied facts. An honest retelling of how the system failed to bring justice to five men.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As the other review said, truth is stranger than fiction, and Mardi Link does an excellent job of recreating the unbelievable story that played out over nine years in my hometown. How the accused finally were vindicated is one of the best nonfiction books I've read in a long time.
Micki Durocher
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Once I got the many characters straight and the legal jargon down, I absolutely LOVED this book but the story pissed me off! It's very similar to the recent Netflix hit, Making a Murderer. Innocent people's lives ruined due to crazy people and botched investigations & prosecution.
Riva Wharton
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. It's a true crime story that is unbelievable. Although I wanted to read it right through, I was so appalled by the behavior of the prosecutor, police and witnesses, I would put it down to catch my breath and regroup. Amazing story.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A well-written true-crime story about a murder in a small town in northern Michigan in the 1980's. It is incredibly well researched and told with a journalistic style but it is weakened by the author's bias.
Marion Cornett
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mardi Link is an investigative reporter with an eye for detail and a writer that knows how to weave a story with all of the facts. This book is excellent.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe this really occurred!!
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Mardi Link is the author of the memoirs The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond Time and Chance and Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm . She studied agriculture and journalism at Michigan State University and creative writing at Queens University of Charlotte. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, a street tree planter, a seamstress, and a tournamen ...more
“In his closing argument, Hayes apologized to the jury for surrounding them with witnesses who weren’t the most upstanding citizens, but explained that was the nature of solving crime. “Dope murders don’t occur in front of bankers and clergymen,” he said. In” 0 likes
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