Mar 03, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
After her 2009 trial was featured on ABC-TV’s newsmagazine “20/20,” Stacey Castor became CNY’s most famous convicted murderer.
The Liverpool woman’s notoriety continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The Black Widow weaves her webs again in a new book by veteran true-crime author Michael Benson.
The paperback is titled “Mommy Deadliest.” Can the made-for-TV movie be far behind?
While Benson makes a few mistakes – for instance, he identifies Great Northern Mall as “Great North Mall” and refers to the “town of Liverpool” – the 403-page book recounts the Castor case in great detail. Despite Benson’s obsessive repetitiveness, it’s a riveting, yet disturbing story that leaves two husbands dead of anti-freeze poisoning and a daughter dosed will pills and booze and blamed for the men’s murders.
Benson’s trial coverage gives the prosecution and defense equal time, though the evidence against the 38-year-old mother of two eventually proved overwhelming. The jury could not overlook Stacey’s $71,000 insurance settlement after David Castor’s death in 2005.
Local notables such as Judge Joe Fahey, DA Bill Fitzpatrick, ADA Christine Garvey, defense attorney Chuck Keller, Sgt. Mike Norton, Det. Dominic Spinelli and Det. Diane Leshinski get plenty of ink in Benson’s book, as do Castor’s daughters, Ashley and Bree.
For some reason, though, the author only identifies Castor’s boyfriend, Michael Ochsner, by a pseudonym: “Michael Overstreet.”
Published in December by Pinnacle Books of New York City’s Kensington Publishing Co., “Mommy Deadliest” costs $6.99.
It presents “16 pages of shocking photos,” one of which is a close-up of the street sign at the corner of Glenwood Drive North and Wetzel Road, the site of the Castor house.
I wonder if Stacey Castor peruses a copy of Benson’s book in her cell at Bedford Hills…?
Benson has written more than 40 books, including “Who’s Who in the JFK Assassination.” His 2006 book, “Betrayal in Blood: The Murder of Tabatha Bryant,” is set in Rochester where a young wife was killed by her half-brother at the request of her husband, wealthy attorney Kevin C. Bryant.
“Odysseus DOA,” a new play by Stephen Svoboda, made its world premiere Jan. 21 downtown, at the Red House. This month the drama makes its Big Apple debut.
Svoboda’s ambitious script deftly blends his lead character’s obsession with Greek tragedy with snappy streetwise dialogue delivered by AIDS patients, medical staffers and a couple of mothers – one solicitous and one bitter.
The Red House cast and crew bring “Odysseus” to the Lion Theatre, at 410 W. 42nd St., in Manhattan, at 8 p.m. March 16-19 with matinees at 2 p.m. March 19 and 20. Tickets cost $18; (212) 714-2442; telecharge.com.
The play – which features John Bixler in the lead role – is a co-production of Red House and the Adirondack Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, where playwright Svoboda is the director.
Maheu returns Upstate
Clarinetist Jack Maheu – co-founder of the Salt City Six which put Syracuse on the world’s music map in the 1950s and ’60s – has relocated from New Orleans to Ithaca.
“I’m alive and doing well,” Maheu reports. He suffered two minor strokes in a few years ago. “I’m working on a full recovery to get back in the game.”
Now 80, Maheu stormed into the national spotlight in the mid-1950s with the Salt City Five and Six before being recruited by the Dukes of Dixieland in 1957. He returned to the Salt City Six in 1961. The remarkable reedman moved to New Orleans in 1990 and became one of the city’s most sought-after musicians. His band won the French Quarter Festival Battle of the Bands three years in a row.
Maheu left the Crescent City a couple months ago to be closer to his sons John and Mike in Ithaca.
“I want everybody to know that I plan on being back performing in music again as soon as I can,” Maheu said. “A mild stroke is not enough to finish me!” He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a nostalgic look at the Salt City Five and Six, visit saltcity56.com.
“I love that website,” Maheu said. “It brings back some good memories.”
Hard to believe but one of the most sought-after tickets in town is for a free-admission concert. The Legends of Jazz Series continues at Onondaga Community College, at 8 p.m. Friday March 4, with the Trem Brass Band of New Orleans.
Problem is that the shows are staged at OCC’s diminutive Storer Auditorium, with a maximum capacity of 330. OCC arranged to distribute tickets via Sound Garden in Armory Square, but many seekers were simply told there were no tickets left.
“The series theme is Jazz on the Hill: Exploring America’s Musical Roots,” said Syracuse Jazz Fest founder Frank Malfitano, who booked the 2011-2011 series for OCC’s Arts Across Campus program. The Lonnie Smith Trio concludes the series on April 2; 498-2944.