Sunday, September 6, 2009


New York’s Coldest Case: A Murder 400 Years Old

The victim: John Colman.

Not much is known about him, much less about his murder. His body was hastily buried and has never been found. A weapon was recovered, but it vanished. The only account of the crime is secondhand, pieced together from a few witnesses, some of whom might have harbored a grudge. The chief suspects were singled out because of racial profiling but were never questioned. No one was ever prosecuted.

It was on Sept. 6, 1609 — 400 years ago Sunday — when this, the first recorded murder in what became metropolitan New York, was committed. Colman was killed only four days after the first Dutch and English sailors arrived.

“There’s a reason it’s still a cold case,” said Detective Michael J. Palladino, president of the city detectives’ union, mulling the scant evidence that remains today.

“He was English, the crew was Dutch,” said Detective [William] McNeely. “You couldn’t rule anybody out. We’d detain everybody, including the injured sailors. You couldn’t just take the word of somebody else. They could say he was attacked by Indians; it would be easy to make that up. I don’t know if that’s racial profiling, but it’s definitely scapegoating.”

You can read the full NY Times story here.

There are so many ways this little-known story could be played out in Toobworld - and Toobworld is always craving new stories! It could be a straight account of the events leading up to the murder, with several possible outcomes portrayed. It could be a modern-day ghost story, even with Colman's ghost as a supporting member of the regular cast in some show. (He could have made a guest appearance on 'New Amsterdam' had it lasted this long.) Or it could be one of those Syfy Saturday night movies in which time travel is used to go back and solve the crime.

Or the 'CSI: NY' team could have a light-hearted episode in which they use some downtime to try and solve it themselves...... Too bad 'NCIS' wasn't around back then!

Just throwing out some ideas......

[My thanks to Bill Crider for pointing this out....]


1 comment:

Bill Crider said...

I like that idea of the CSI team solving it in their spare time. You should pitch it to the network.