I don't know what they did to his body,
but he looked like he was a cooked rabbit.
His ginger hair was all dishevelled. His
face looked like the inside of a fried spud.
His ears like sprouting kale or kail. His
eyes looked like dull bullbearings as I
pulled back his closed eyelids.
His mouth was open and he'd
swallowed his own tongue.
Half-striped naked, his unstitched stab
wounds showed gobs of coagulated blood
on his chest and on his belly. His skin
colour had now turned to that of dried
white coconut and his thin lips now
sealed for time immortal.
Young was he at just age 17 as I forensically
photographed him the day after Richard
His name was Robbie Adams. My task then as a
forensic photographer (and of which I became a
news photographer just weeks later) was to docu-
ment the lad's grim body on a mortuary slab and
to detail everything about Robbie's street death
from the visual evidence I could photograph
such as the stab wounds, the condition of the body,
the outer injuries so sustained by the knife attack
and whatever could tell the jury, if one was called,
about the impact of what had happened to Robbie,
who was a young wiry lad when he got in a street fight
at Carson City, Nevada, over his new girlfriend with
an ex-convict and parolee twice his age and size.
The parolee had previously been convicted in
Vermont of murder by stabbing. Robbie had no
idea of what he was getting himself into, that I
am sure. For that, he was to lose his life against
a vicious character who should never have
been let out on the streets ever again to
commit yet another dastardly murder.
As a forensic photographer, you "look" but you don't
"see." That may sound odd, but that's what I found
as I photographed and recorded homicide scenes,
suicide acts, fatal car accidents, and cases of sheer
butality and ugly abuse on children and the elderly
and what have you. One's mind learns to block out
the horror of what one is photographing in order to
produce the required images for legal purposes and
for police and coroner documentation of the crimes
of murder and/or severely injured and/or battery
by violent confrontations among other matters.
After I photographed Robbie Adams' dead body,
that took at least 90 minutes to complete accord-
ing to forensic standards, they then took his body
and drained all his blood from his body and then
embalmed him. He was then dressed and placed
in his casket of blue silk bedding and white satin
pillows for his upcoming family wake at the local
funeral director's parlor. There he was shown to
family and friends in an open casket until it was
time to be sealed for his graveside service,
and finally, his actual cemetery burial.
All bottoned-up was he in his Sunday best is
what I last saw of Robbie Adams as he was laid
to rest two days after I'd produced such death
images of him and ten days after his vile
murder on the streets of America.
Truly, Uncle Monty. +St. Leander, 2oo8.