DAMNED TO ETERNITY The Story of the man Who They Said Caused the Flood

Author: Pitluk (Adam)
Year: 2007
Publisher: Da Capo Press
First Edition
Edition Details: 1st US edn.
Book Condition: F/F
ISBN: 9780306815270
Price: 9.00
Hardback. During the summer of 1993, rain fell day after day across the Midwest. Levees up and down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Missouri gave way, flooding farmlands and towns. But one small town - West Quincy, Missouri - seemed about to escape nature's wrath: The levee that protected the town still held. For several days in July, James Scott, a troubled 24yr old native of Quincy, Illinois, right across the river from West Quincy's massive relief effort, hefted sandbag after sandbag alongside other volunteers to shore up the levee - and perhaps in the process gain back some measure of redemption from his fellow residents. But on the afternoon of July 16, while walking along a section of the dam, Scott noticed water pooling. Later, after attempting to enlist aid, Scott inspected the section again, saw that the water was still pooling, threw a few sandbags on the puddle and left. At around 8pm that night, the levee gave way. Over 14,000 acres of farmland flooded, and the bridge that connected Illinois and Missouri was almost entirely submerged. Some thought it a miracle that no one was injured, let alone killed. The story should have ended there, but it didn't. The state of Missouri charged Scott with the levee break, contending that he had intentionally "caused a catastrophe". Because Scott was charged under this obscure law - put on the books in 1979, yet never previously used - farmers who would otherwise not have collected a dime on their insurance now could, because the levee breach was deemed an act of sabotage. James Scott was convicted in 1994 and again in 1998. He is now serving a life sentence - despite the fact that no one died in the West Quincy flood. And he won't be eligible for his first parole hearing until 2023, when he will be 55yrs old. James Scott has steadfastly maintained his innocence. Was he the victim of an overzealous prosecutor, the Army Corps of Engineers - whose internal documents, never presented at either trial, concluded that the dam overtopped on its own - and a town hell-bent on putting away a local bad boy once and for all? The author answers these questions and many more. Illus., Interviews and Bibliog. + Index. 317pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. F. in f. dw.


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