Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bizarre stories make good journalism

I find that a lot of my best fiction writing starts with a question: What if? How? Who?

And that's why the answer to the question "How did a Boulder, Colorado, do-gooder end up charged with murder in Sharjah" is so fascinating.

In 1971, Shannon Morris was born in Boulder, Colorado. In 2006 he confessed to Sharjah police that he had killed a German engineer he met online. On Sunday, he tried to escape from jail. Now he waits as an appeals court considers whether he will be executed.

A blue suitcase weighed down the boot of the stolen white Mazda. At the wheel was Shahid King Bolsen, an American who had been living in Sharjah since 2003.

That evening, Bolsen carried the passport and credit cards of a man named Martin Herbert Steiner. The car belonged to Steiner, too. Miles behind Bolsen were his wife, his three children and a crime scene.

He was heading to Oman on June 14, 2006, prosecutors say, and the suitcase weighed 80kg because it contained a grisly cargo: the body of Mr Steiner.

But Bolsen, police say, was not confident he would make it over the Omani border. So he parked on the Dubai-Hatta Road and dragged the suitcase – weighing more than he did – behind a bush. After covering it with a tarpaulin and some dirt, he drove away, returning to Sharjah. Within days, he would be under arrest.

Read the whole thing here.

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