An Hour To Kill

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Dale Hudson and Billy Hills novel, An Hour To Kill, is a story of love, deception, and betrayal. It is the betrayal of a town, a community, and a friend. An Hour To Kill is a true story about the brutal rape and murder of seventeen-year-old Crystal Faye Todd.

Hudson and Hill made this book by piecing together information from numerous testimonies, memos, detective notes, articles and transcripts from the murder trial. The dialogue in the book was made as close to what was exactly said as they possibly could. Although the book was centered on the murder of Crystal Todd, there were many people who played important roles in the investigation and story itself. One of the most important persons in the story was Jonnie Kenneth Register. Ken Register was the ideal All-American boy; everybody loved him. He was a good, churchgoing Christian, very polite, respectful and one of Crystals best friends.

Bill Knowels was the lead detective, along with Wade Petty, in this murder case. Bill not only spent long hours working to solve the case, but he also tried to help console Bonnie Faye Todd, Crystals grieving mother. In the story there are also other characters such as Kens parents, Shirley and Kenny Register, who till this day still plead their son's innocence, and the Allen brothers who found Crystals body.

The story begins in the small, rural town of Conway, South Carolina. Bonnie Faye Todd called the police early in the morning in a panic when her daughter Crystal did not come home that night. Crystal had gone to a party after work and after leaving, she was not seen again. Bonnie Faye filled out a missing persons report in hopes that she would soon see her daughter again. However, she did not expect that the next time she saw her daughter that Crystal would be dead.

It was early the next day when Lloyd and Willis Allen went out, down Collins Jollie Road to go deer hunting. They had seen some tracks there before and were returning to see what all was out there; but their trip was cut short when they found the mutilated body of a young woman. After reporting it to the police, it was later confirmed that the body was that of missing seventeen-year-old Crystal Faye Todd. This was the beginning of the "largest undertaking in the history of the Horry County Police Department", and also one that would change the US legal system forever.

Bill Knowels was one of the lead investigators in the case and when he saw Crystals body he said that it was worse than murder, it was "over kill". Over the next three and a half months the police found nothing but dead ends, yet they were still determined to solve the case. Police then began to collect blood samples from numerous people in the community for DNA testing. It was not until the tests came back that they realized that Crystal's murderer was one of her best friends, Ken Register.

Ken defended himself and denied his guiltiness throughout many interviews and was consistent in his testimony that he had not killed Crystal for weeks. Then one day during a grueling interview Ken finally confessed to the murder of Crystal Faye Todd. In his confession Ken said that he had met Crystal one night after she had left a party. They pulled into the Conway Middle School parking lot and she got in his car to go for a ride. They drove out to a dirt road where things began to get heated. Afterwards Crystal said that if she got pregnant she would tell everyone that he had raped her. Ken got scared and he could not get her to stop screaming. He then proceeded to pull out his knife from between the seats of his car and stab her, leaving thirty-five separate cuts and stab wounds, seven bruises, and three abrasions.

The arrest of Ken Register shocked the whole community. They were already confused as to how someone could possibly kill such a kind, sweet, loved person like Crystal, but how an upstanding citizen like Ken that everyone liked and trusted could possibly do such a thing left them in disbelief. It forever changed the small town of Conway.

In my opinion, I thought that the book was outstanding. I really liked reading it because it was very interesting. I would recommend this book to everyone because it is a book that everyone would find interesting to read. Even if you do not like reading you would enjoy this book.