True Crime From a First Hand Account
Review by Kim Cantrell
Some said that Jerry Sternadel lived like a rat, and deservedly died like a rat.
Considering his multiple affairs, his shady business dealings, his unconscionable ways of using his children as pawns in divorce actions, and the accusations of molestation (Jerry claimed it was a consensual affair) with his stepdaughter, I can't disagree with them.
Jerry was a man who was possessive, controlling, and outright mean at times. But according to some, including his ex-wife Jeannie Walker, he was trying to make a change for the better in the last few years of his life.
But he'd never get a chance to really prove the changes before his current wife, Lou Ann, and her friend Debra Baker would murder him with arsenic poisoning.
It would take several years and a lot of investigative work before even one of the parties to his murder was brought to justice. And you'll be surprised at who became the defendant and who spent time lounging on a beach in the Bahamas.
Initially I was suspicious of Jeannie Walker's intent in telling the story about her ex-husband's murder, wondering if she was an ex-wife just looking to jump into the spotlight with her 2010 true crime book titled Fighting the Devil: A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder. Yet the more I read, the more I came to realize that Jeannie Walker was doing what she was doing because of and for her children - without them, Jerry may have just been written off as another case of karma.
Of course, it's also obvious that once Jeannie got started, it snowballed into a big mystery that demanded to be solved. And it's one heck of a story to tell!
Let me put it to you this way, there's a lot of information about the case of Jerry Sternadel's murder in Fighting the Devil. At times it gets a bit weighted down and you think, "What's that got to do with anything?" But just hold on, because it does have everything to do with it and the bigger picture.
When readers open this book, they can't go in looking for the svelte writing found in many books that's went through tons of editing, Jeannie Walker writes the story like she's talking to an old friend; very personal, a style that makes you feel as if you're a close confidant, not a voyeuristic reader.
Fighting the Devil is the only book available on the Jerry Sternadel murder committed by Debra Baker and his wife, Lou Ann (allegedly, at this point). So if your curiosity is piqued about the case, add it to your reading list today!