Story That Made Stephen King Horror Writer Now A Book Of Its Own

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Bandwagon Books - Jeff McArthur, grandson of Lawyer to Starkweather’s Ex-Girlfriend Releases Insider Book About the 1950s Murder Spree That Shocked the World

The 1958 killing spree of Charles Starkweather inspired the career of Stephen King, and also formed the basis of Peter Jackson’s first Hollywood movie The Frighteners, Bruce Springsteen’s album Nebraska and other noted books, movies, and songs. The original story now comes to life in the book Pro Bono - The 18-Year Defense of Caril Ann Fugate, by Jeff McArthur. McArthur is the grandson of the attorney who represented Starkweather’s 14-year-old ex-girlfriend who was with him during the murder spree.

The mass murders shocked the nation, and garnered international attention, generating terror people were not used to at that time. After Starkweather was captured, the question soon became whether Caril Fugate was his accomplice, or if she had been kidnapped and forced to go with him. This question has been debated for nearly 60 years.

Pro Bono explores this debate, revealing inside information using court documents, original evidence, personal testimonials, and facts never known by the public until now. It follows the journey of the defense team who, despite no pay, continued to defend Fugate for 18 years until they got her released from prison.

The book also explores the influences this story has had throughout the decades on the American culture. As a child, Stephen King was haunted by images of Starkweather, kept a scrap book of headlines about him, and has stated that he became a horror writer as a result of the fear he felt. From far off New Zealand, Peter Jackson became fascinated by the case and wrote The Frighteners based on the Starkweather-Fugate relationship. Obsessed with the book Caril, by Ninette Beaver, Bruce Springsteen wrote the album Nebraska about Starkweather. He held a concert in Nebraska specifically so Ms. Beaver would come, a story which is recounted in Pro Bono.

Pro Bono - The 18-Year Defense of Caril Ann Fugate is available on all major e-readers, including the Kindle and the Nook, as well as on paperback on Amazon and at select bookstores. You can see more about the book and the case at:


If you’d like more information about this, or to schedule an interview with Jeff McArthur, please call 818-631-3185 or email him at

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