A novel called "The Killing Jar", by author Gloria Nixon-John, is based on a true story from rural eastern Kentucky in which an incredibly gifted, but mentally disturbed 15-year-old named T0dd Ice is convicted of murdering his neighbor’s 7-year-old daughter and assaulting the neighbor in 1978.
The main character – named Ted Lynch in the book – spends several years as the nation’s youngest person on death row until his murder conviction was thrown out on appeal. During a re-trial he is convicted of manslaughter and winds up serving 15 years in prison before being released to a mental institution and then a halfway house.
Before his initial trial, Todd (Ted) was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. He would die in 2010 at age 47 after a dramatic weight gain, partially blamed on the medications he was prescribed.
The book is a novel, but the author says she started the project as a non-fiction presentation of events. She says 95 percent of book is based on factual documentation.
She will speak at Barnes and Noble in Bowling Green tonight at 7 p.m. as part of the Kentucky Live! Series, presented by WKU Libraries.