Monday, July 30, 2012

Lennie Guttman Laid to Rest

In a touching ceremony under a bright sky attended by nearly the whole town of Willow Cove, Lennie Guttman was finally laid to rest on Saturday, a week and a half after being brutally murdered in his own bowling alley.

Looking around at the faces gathered to pay their respects to Lennie, it was impossible not to feel the profound effect he had on this community and its people. Eulogized by no less than five mourners, Lennie’s legacy was evident in every moment of the service.

Lennie’s wife, Marcie Guttman, gave a moving testimony to Lennie’s tender yet stalwart love as both a husband and a father. Frank Kraft, nearly inseparable from Lennie since their elementary-school days, talked at length of Lennie’s accomplishments and would have made even a complete stranger come to love him. “Whether it was his three-win performance in the ’95 playoffs,” Kraft said, “when he struck out 40 guys and put three out of the yard, or the kindness he showed the young man who will soon be taking this podium, the thing about Lennie is that you could always depend on him. He was a rock for us all.”

The young man Kraft referred to was Sigmund Buttle, who left not a dry eye in the house with his eloquently touching account of Lennie as a better father to him than the one biology gave him could ever be. By far the most surprising eulogy of the day came from Jake Perry, who stepped up to speak only when Gloria Blatt’s emotions got the best of her and she couldn’t proceed. To those not accustomed to Jake’s wry wit and light touch, this was a far cry from the Tom’s Place mainstay they thought they knew all about.

But the most heart-wrenching moments of the day were when Lennie’s firstborn, Jack, stood to speak. Clearly intending and wanting to say more, he could barely get past his correction of “Uncle Frank” that his dad had also hit three more homers in games he didn’t pitch in those playoffs before hastily retreating in a vain attempt to hide his tears.

The Sheriff’s Department is still investigating Lennie’s murder. New evidence has recently come to light, giving hope to many that justice may soon be served.

While a man like Lennie Guttman can never be replaced, this day at least gave us hope that, in having touched and inspired so many around him, Lennie’s last gift to us all may be the desire to live up to his example

Thursday, July 19, 2012

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Sheriff Kring and Deputy Young

Willow Cove Courier: Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. I take it that didn’t go as planned?

Sheriff Kring:
People are understandably upset and on edge. It’s not surprising that they could be provoked in such a way. But no, I would certainly have preferred it not happen. And I think Deputy Young did an outstanding job defusing and controlling the situation.

Deputy Young: Really? Thanks, Boss.

WCC: So was there any information you were hoping to disseminate tonight that you weren’t able to get to?

SK: No, but it’s worth reiterating that we do not believe there is currently any reason for any other resident of Willow Cove to fear. And while we handle the important business of finding and capturing the perpetrator of this heinous crime, the most important thing the citizens of Willow Cove can do is comfort the Guttman family in this unimaginable time. And maybe spend a little extra time with their own families, reconnect with what really matters.

WCC: That’s a nice sentiment.

DY: And please trust us to do our jobs. Which we will. Absolutely and with extreme vigor.

WCC: I don’t think anyone doubts that. Is there anything else you can tell people about the crime, now that the situation is a bit more…calm?

SK: Well, a lot of these details will have to be released soon anyway, so we may as well release them in a controlled manner. Of course, there’s medical investigation to be done, but the death certainly seems to be due to blunt force trauma to the back of the head. Our best guess from the blood at the scene is that it occurred right around midnight, though that will of course need to be confirmed. A blood-spattered bowling pin was found at the scene, and that is currently our most likely murder weapon. The killing blow was apparently delivered at a location other than where the body was found. It is still unclear whether the body was moved or Mr. Guttman moved under his own power. But given the relocation, we’re currently looking into the number 17, which is the lane in which the body was found.

WCC: What about fingerprints? Were any found at the scene?

DY: Yeah. Too many.

SK: What Deputy Young means to say is that it was a bowling alley after a full day of business. The place was crawling with fingerprints. We’ve already recovered nine distinct partials from the bowling ball found in the display case alone. We will of course pursue every lead, but I don’t think fingerprints will be a particularly fruitful avenue.

WCC: Are you focusing on any persons of interest yet?

DY: Well, there is one…

SK: We’re not releasing that at this time.

WCC: What about witnesses? Security cameras?

SK: We are not aware of any eyewitnesses at this time, though we of course would be interested in talking to any. If anyone out there has anything to say on the matter, anything at all, they should be in touch.

WCC: And the security cameras? I know I’ve seen them in Guttman’s Gutters before.

SK: Yes, Guttman’s Gutters is fully outfitted with a security kit. Unfortunately, they burst a pipe earlier in the day causing extreme flooding, which shorted out the entire system. It doesn’t appear that the security apparatus was functional at the time of the murder, though we are of course looking into it.

WCC: That’s unfortunate.

SK: Extremely.

WCC: Anything else you can share with our readers?

DY: Anything anybody can tell us, we’re listening. Really, we’d love to hear it.

SK: No, I think that’s it for now.

WCC: Thank you for your time, both of you.

SK: Thank you.

DY: Thanks!

Town Meeting Devolves Into Violence

This article has been corrected from its original version. Please see details below.
Last night’s town meeting, meant to allay fears and settle nerves, did anything but. After brief remarks from both Sheriff Kring, via phone, and Deputy Young, the floor was opened to questions from the townspeople. Many understandably focused on the circumstances surrounding the death of Lennie Guttman on the night of July 17/18, and the Sheriff’s Department was just as understandably reluctant to release details. Besides confirming the scant details already available to the public, nothing else of substance was related concerning the crime scene or what occurred there.

Multiple attendees, including the Sheriff, offered touching accounts of their esteem for Lennie Guttman, but the mood changed quickly once Bear McHue, leader of the local Willow Cove Warlocks biking club, took to the microphone. Sheriff Kring took particular exception to McHue’s grisly curiosity, and after being rebuffed, Bear again prodded the frazzled nerves of those attended by loudly interjecting, “So you’re confirming it’s murder?” while Sheriff Kring answered another question. Bearing this along with Don Givens’ insensitive reaction to this interjection proved to be too much for Frank Kraft, Lennie Guttman’s lifelong best friend. He stood to confront Givens, but was quickly restrained.

The newly restored order only lasted so long, though. By the time Bruce Klugman, owner and president of Klugman Development, stood to speak, the powder keg had been lit. After what appeared to be heartfelt remarks about Lennie Guttman, Klugman shifted gears directly to the business implications of Guttman’s death, and the keg exploded.

Kraft lunged at Klugman and a scuffle ensued on the ground, as the two tumbled over. Attendees in the near vicinity scattered, while others inclined to such displays and just looking for an excuse, exacerbated the situation by enthusiastically joining the melee. As the innocent bystanders just looking for information scattered, chairs were overturned and punches were thrown. After a mercifully brief scuffle, order was restored. It was at this time that Deputy Young smartly called an end to the meeting and presided over an orderly exit of the school grounds. It was after everyone had exited that I was able to speak to both Deputy Young and Sheriff Kring.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the target of Kraft's lunge as Guttman. This was an obvious error and the story has been updated to reflect that Kraft lunged at Klugman, who was speaking at the time. We regret the error.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Town Meeting Tonight

An emergency town meeting has been called for tonight to discuss the grisly circumstances in which Willow Cove now finds itself entangled. Authorities intend to use the meeting to solicit any information that may be helpful in their investigation, as well as quash the rumors that have already begun circulating and allay any fears townspeople may be harboring, reasonably or otherwise.

The meeting will be in the cafeteria of Willow Cove High School. It starts promptly at 7:00pm and will be led by Deputy Danny Young. Sheriff Dave Kring will be in attendance by conference call.

After opening remarks by both Sheriff Kring and Deputy Young, there will be a Q&A session for any questions, comments, and concerns about the murder of Lennie Guttman. As the meeting is scheduled for only two hours, attendees are respectfully asked not to monopolize the Q&A and to keep all questions and comments on topic. Anything not related to the murder of Lennie Guttman must wait until the next regularly scheduled town meeting less than two weeks away, on Monday, July 30th.