News release: Chestnut Heights Publishing releases A STRANGER KILLED KATY, a book from William D. LaRue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2021
Contact: William D. LaRue
CHESTNUT HEIGHTS PUBLISHING RELEASES A STRANGER KILLED KATY: THE TRUE STORY OF KATHERINE HAWELKA, HER MURDER ON A NEW YORK CAMPUS, AND HOW HER FAMILY FOUGHT BACK
In the early morning hours of August 29, 1986, Clarkson University sophomore Katy Hawelka – bright, pretty and full of life – strolled back to her upstate New York campus after a night out. On the dimly lit path beside the university’s ice hockey arena, a stranger emerged from the darkness. The brutal beating, sexual assault and fatal strangulation that followed rocked the campus and the local community in Potsdam, New York.
Now, on the eve of the convicted killer’s seventh parole hearing in April 2021, award-winning journalist William D. LaRue has authored A Stranger Killed Katy, a 295-page book about this small-town murder and how Katy’s family channeled their grief into action, including a campaign three decades later to keep Brian Milton McCarthy behind bars.
The book arrived in stores on January 18, 2021, in both hardcover ($21.95) and eBook ($9.95) editions from Chestnut Heights Publishing.
Based on more than two-dozen interviews, as well as thousands of pages of court records, police files, prison records, and other documents, LaRue details the tragic events that occurred before dawn outside Walker Arena, including why two Clarkson security guards who witnessed the attack failed to intervene. The book also reveals how a bureaucratic glitch allowed McCarthy to avoid court-ordered supervision, despite being on parole at the time of the attack; why the judge gave McCarthy less than the maximum sentence in Katy’s murder; and how public comments by Clarkson officials prompted Katy parents to file a $550 million civil lawsuit against the killer, the university and the two guards.
With painstaking detail and an engaging writing style, LaRue traces Katy Hawelka’s life growing up, her blend of intellect and friendly charm as a high school student in Syracuse, New York, and her fateful decision to enroll at Clarkson. A Stranger Killed Katy draws on in-depth interviews with her mother, Terry Taber; three siblings, Betsy McInerney, Carey Patton and Joseph Hawelka Jr.; and many of Katy’s closest friends in high school and college. LaRue also spoke with several former Potsdam police officers who investigated the murder; the district attorney who prosecuted the case; the chief of the ambulance crew that treated Katy when she “coded” at the scene; the man who was president of Clarkson University in 1986; the family attorney who joined the fight to achieve justice for Katy; and numerous others.
LaRue brings the story up to date by drawing on parole board transcripts, which reveal how McCarthy, during his hearings since 2009, has referred to Katy as “Kathy Walker”; has suggested that he was also a victim; has claimed that Katy asked to have sex with him on the morning of the attack and that she attacked him because he could not perform sexually; and has stated erroneously that Katy died because she fell and pinched her neck after he struck her once. Additionally, he has insisted to parole commissioners that he had stayed out of trouble in prison in recent years, although records show otherwise.
A Stranger Killed Katy raises broader questions, too, about the role and quality of campus security, about the rights of victims in the criminal justice system, and whether victims and their families should be forced to endure the cycle of parole hearings every two years, as is the law now in New York state.
WILLIAM D. LARUE is an award-winning journalist and former reporter for The Post-Standard in Syracuse, New York, and recently retired as an online producer for newspaper websites owned by Advance Local. A native of Potsdam, New York, he received a bachelor’s degree in English from State University College at Potsdam and a master’s degree in communications from Syracuse University. His previous books include 2015’s CANDY: True Tales of a 1st Cavalry Soldier in the Korean War and Occupied Japan, co-written with his father, Kenneth J. LaRue; and 2018’s Captain Puckett: Sea Stories of a Former Panama Canal Pilot, co-written with Kenneth P. Puckett. William LaRue, a father of two, lives in a suburb of Syracuse with his wife, Kathleen.
A STRANGER KILLED KATY: THE TRUE STORY OF KATHERINE HAWELKA, HER MURDER ON A NEW YORK CAMPUS, AND HOW HER FAMILY FOUGHT BACK
By William D. LaRue
5.98 x 0.69 x 9.02 inches, 295 pages, with more than two-dozen black and white photographs
$21.95 hardcover, $9.94 eBook. ISBN 978-1-7322416-4-0 (hardcover), ISBN 978-1-7322416-3-3 (eBook)
Publication date: January 18, 2021
THE BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE AT NUMEROUS STORES, INCLUDING AMAZON.COM, IN BOTH HARDCOVER AND EBOOK VERSIONS.