Evil Among Us
The Texas Mormon Missionary Murders
by Ken Driggs
Paperback / 300 pages / 1-56085-138-4 / $19.95
The first hint Irene had about her new husband, Robert E. Kleasen, was when she found him in the bathtub smearing his naked body with the entrails of a freshly gutted deer. She bolted—as the two young missionaries who had dinner at his trailer in Austin, Texas, in 1974 should have done.
In recounting the events of that autumn night, author Ken Driggs contemplates the human cost: innocent lives and the collective pain of their families and extended communities, as well as the tragedy of Kleasen’s own troubled life. Released from death row on a technicality after serving two years, Kleasen was sentenced in June 2000 to three years in Britain on separate charges and was facing extradition to Texas. For Driggs, this raises legal and moral issues about what should be done with such individuals, and what the rest of us should do to protect ourselves from them.
Ken Driggs is an attorney specializing in death penalty cases, currently in Georgia. He holds degrees in journalism (University of Florida), law (Mercer University), and legal history (University of Wisconsin). He has worked on two U.S. presidential campaigns and as press secretary to a Florida speaker of the house and speech writer for a Florida governor. He has published in the Journal of Church and State, Georgia Historical Quarterly, Stetson Law Review, St. Thomas Law Review, and the Utah Historical Quarterly. His professional affiliations include the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Mormon History Association.