Case Study 6: Suicidal Blond

28 Feb

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Summary: Suicidal model Jeanette Sliwinski killed three Chicago musicians after running three red lights.

Notes on the piece:  In this particular article, the people who are quoted are prosecutors, police, witnesses, lawyers and the most specific source is Dave Meis, a relative of one of the victims. The journalist needs to go back and get names so that the piece will be more credible. Anyone could say “police said.” Also, the name of the model is given really low in the story. It needs to be moved up probably to the lead. It would be appropriate in the lead because she is a model and known figure.

The piece is about a murder trial that is about to begin. How much coverage will actually be allowed so that the rights of the defendant are protected? Is it even worth covering an impending trial if the information given will be vague, and the summary of a police report?

At the end of the article, it is mentioned that during her arrest Sliwinski has been modeling which cause much fury against the defendant. People were angry with her, especially relatives of the victims. She was sentenced to reckless homicide and eight years in prison. She got out in four years and had the defense of “insanity.”  Information like this, though it is fact, can heavily influence potential jury and others who need to see her “objectively.”

The quote by Dave Meis is a harsh one, though one must see that he is brother of one of the victims. He said it would have been great if Sliwinski would have succeeded.

Technically, many say she went out to kill, and she did succeed. She just got the wrong people. Throughout the piece it is also important to, in an effort to be fair, make things that are alleged seem alleged and not label or assume, such as calling her a “suicidal woman.” Reports say that she changed her story many times and also denied trying to take her own life, so it wouldn’t be fair to label her that way.


Chicago Murder Trial Begins for Suicidal Blond

Former model killed three beloved musicians with car in bid to end her life, prosecutors say

They didn’t see her coming.

It was lunch hour in Chicago on July 14, 2005, when three local musicians, who worked day jobs together at an audio electronics company, were stopped at a traffic light in a Honda Civic in a suburb north of the city.

At a speed of 70 miles per hour, authorities estimated, former model Jeanette Sliwinski, who, according to police, was trying to kill herself, ran three red lights and hit the Honda Civic from behind in her red Mustang convertible.

Both cars flew airborne on impact, witnesses said. Each car landed crushed upside-down on the pavement.

The three young men died. The Sliwinski walked away with a broken ankle.

Today, more than two years later, her murder trial begins.

“The one thing that would have brought this thing to closure would have been had she been successful in what she set out to do that day,” said Dave Meis, older brother of victim Douglas Meis, referring to the alleged suicide attempt by Sliwinski, who was then 23 years old.

Sliwinski’s lawyers have denied that she was attempting suicide. Her current attorney did not return a call seeking comment on the case.

The accident and subsequent arrest brought Sliwinski internet infamy. Many blogs and websites have posted modeling pictures of Sliwinski since she was arrested.

Link to Dropbox where this case study can be found:

Dossier on team members: Google dossier on team members

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