I don’t know if I would have found my way to journalism if I hadn’t been a witness to murder.

David Hechler | Author & JournalistI’d been a high school English teacher, and I’d decided to take time off to try my hand at writing. Fiction was my first love. I was scratching out short stories, but when I thought about subjects that demanded to be told, the one that cried out was that shotgun murder in Sacramento.

I wasn’t there the afternoon it happened. But I was with the killer and the victim the night before, and I’d always thought what I’d observed might help explain the perpetrator’s motive.

It wasn’t until I started investigating several years later that I confirmed I was right. The shooter had mounted an insanity defense and had been committed to a psychiatric facility. As I dug into the court filings, I learned that he was about to be released. I contacted him, and began working on what I thought would be a book about both this case and the insanity defense, which had been all but eliminated by changes in the law after John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Ronald Reagan.

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Hechler’s Blog

Thoughts on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, topics covered in my reporting to date.

The Presidential Election

An old friend from Finland, who has lived in the United States and visited many times, wrote to ask me to explain the results of the presidential election. I see it as THE BIG DISRUPTION. But this one wasn’t a disruption that came from the tech geniuses in Silicon...

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Article on Parenting Website about In Good Hands

I was glad that a parenting website was interested in writing an article about In Good Hands. The point of my book was not only to describe the twists and turns of an amazing case that slowly made its way through the criminal justice system, but to empower parents...

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Meeting with the Lawyers Who Defended Gail Cutro

When I was in Columbia to promote my book, I arranged to meet with the three lawyers who represented Gail Cutro at her first trial. After a few rounds of email, we agreed to meet in a downtown bar on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t spoken to...

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In Good Hands by David Hechler

In Good Hands

Investigating Death, Mystery and the Lessons of Broken Trust in One Family Day Care

In Good Hands is a book about the importance of safe day care. It’s also the story of one family day care that parents loved even after a baby died. They continued to drop off their children after a second infant died in the home. Doctors ruled that both children were victims of sudden infant death syndrome, but that didn’t stop the police from launching a criminal investigation.