Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don’t Be A Poor Reporter

And Don't Censor the Facts

As genealogists we are researchers, detectives, and reporters of the facts. We should let the readers have the facts and fill them in as we can.  It is also our duty to update the readers with relevant information. It’s no different than what we want from a news report.
Michael Tutera (victim
Matthew T. Hendrix
Here in Kansas City this past week a prominent father, Michael Tutera, 49 years old, married to Sonya, was murdered inside his gated community.  The Kansas City Star wrote at least four articles on the murder, to which a seventeen year old primary suspect, Matthew T. Hendrix, (identified earlier that day by the victim), is said to have confessed the motive was robbery.

Troy Davis
Hendrix, the young 17 year old white college student, claims he was waiting for the gunmen outside the home at the time of the murder.  Hendrix was arrested along with one of the alleged shooters, Troy Davis, a 22 year old African American male.[1]  There is no evidence that Troy was a college student.

This Is Not A Murder Blog
But Let’s s Analyze The Facts, Shall We? 

Like news reporters we are responsible of getting accurate data to our readers within a time frame.  So, I imposed a 30 minute time frame to find more information. Beginning with a yearning to make sense of this murder, I began with a few questions:
  • How did these suspects enter the gated community? 
  • Why would this 49 year old wealthy man be able to identify a 17 year old kid? 
  • Why would the 17 year old UMKC college student know the 22 year old alleged shooter?
  • At 1:00am, the time of the murder, why was Tutera the only one in the home?
Even though the KC Star failed to mention these tidbits in their reports, I found that the answers were readily available.
  • Michael Tutera’s estranged wife (no mention of estranged in any article) had previously been arrested for assaulting him and was given a 90 day suspended sentence.  She was not living in the home.
  • In 2009, Tutera and wife Sonya, who had purchased Richard Bloch’s (of H & R Block) mansion defaulted on the mortgage, which led to a bank foreclosure and demolition. The home's destruction angered historic preservationists.  In addition the bank is suing for about $270,000 still owed from the transactions.
  • In 2009, Michael Tutera sold his 17.62% ownership interest in the parent company of Central Bank of Kansas City, which has $177.5 million in assets, for about $3 million.[2]  This led to a family division where in the end Tutera sued his mother, sister and brother for “fraud”. A motion hearing had been set for this upcoming July.
  • Although Hendrix did not live in the gated community, he was son of one of Sonya’s best friend. [3]
  • Tutera was being sued by his homeowners association for almost a year's worth of dues.[4] This has resulted in an action filed Wednesday in Jackson County seeking eviction from his home.[5]
Murder Conclusion
Q. Now why did I have to read through a dozen articles, reports, documents, etc., to find this information? 
A. One source did not provide me with a full picture.

I am not qualified to come to conclusions (even though I have my ideas.)  My job is not to skew evidence, but as a reporter I should provide the facts, and give the reader accurate and complete data, and provide them with the “social history” or “climate” of the event.   

News or Headlines?
As genealogists we should be giving our readers “news.” Headlines are just not enough for our readers.  Headliners are teasers, but the meat is in the news.  News should include social history or at least background information. And, never leave out relevant information. 

Accurate, Accessible Answers

[5] http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/27/1976097/kc-businessman-found-dead-in-his.html

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating read. Great points to ponder, again you made me think, thank you!