Ripped From Which Headline? "Steel-Eyed Death" and "Boy on Fire"

Slate's Culture Blog
March 2 2010 10:11 AM

Ripped From Which Headline? "Steel-Eyed Death" and "Boy on Fire"

We all know that Law& Order rips its stories from the headlines—but which headlines? Everyweek, Brow Beat matches L&O 'splot points to the events that inspired them.

March 1, 2010, "Steel-Eyed Death"

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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These Are TheirStories
Four members of the Morgan family are found stabbed to deathin their apartment—the father with a knife in his neck. After some doggedgumshoe work, Detectives Lupo and Bernard track down a horror-core band thatuses a knife in the neck as its logo. They also find a Web site for horror-corefans, or "Juggalos," with photos of the Morgan crime scene taken before thepolice arrived. Justin Sachs, a Juggalo who always carries a hatchet in hisbackpack and sometimes wears clown makeup, is convicted of the murders.

This Is the RealStory
As a story in the Phoenix New Times explained in November 2008, "Juggalos are fans of [Insane Clown Posse], a Detroit-bredrap duo with KISS-like face-paint and ludicrously profane lyrics. The band hasa massive underground following, particularly in their native Midwest, as wellas Colorado, Utah,and Arizona."The logo of Psychopathic Records ,ICP's label, features a man carrying a hatchet.

March 1, 2010 "Boy on Fire"

These Are TheirStories
Cesar Ramirez, a charter-school student, is set on fire andkilled on his way home from school. Several students at a nearby public schoolare found to have footage of the murder on their cell phones. It turns out thatthe killers, also students at the public school, had stolen Cesar's phone beforelighting him on fire to record the attack.

This Is the RealStory
In September 2009, 16-year-old Chicago honor student Derrion Albert wasbeaten to death on his way home from school. A passer-by made a cell-phonevideo of the beating, which was later distributedby police and made available by broadcast and online media outlets.

Readers, did I miss anyheadlines? Share your thoughts in the comments.