The University of Wisconsin Press

Biography / Criminal Studies / Race


Conversations with the Capeman
The Untold Story of Salvador Agron
Richard Jacoby
Introduction by Hubert Selby Jr.
With a new preface

“A very New York story. . . . Salvador Agron looked like a rock ‘n’ roll hoodlum. He looked like the 1950s.”
—Paul Simon, from his album Songs from the Capeman

In Hell’s Kitchen, 1959, a playground confrontation leaves two white youths bludgeoned to death by a gang of Puerto Rican kids. Sixteen-year-old Salvador Agron, who wore a red-lined satin cape, was charged with the murders, though no traces of blood were found on his dagger. At seventeen, Agron was the youngest person ever to be sentenced to death in the electric chair. After nearly two years in the Death House at Sing Sing Prison, a group of prominent citizens, including Eleanor Roosevelt and the governor of Puerto Rico, convinced Governor Rockefeller to commute Agron’s sentence to one of life imprisonment.

“Humanizing instead of demonizing.”
—Tom Hayden, former senator from California, author, and activist

Richard Jacoby, who grew up in the Bronx and Brooklyn, now lives in Santa Monica, California, where he has worked for more than twenty years as a special education teacher for profoundly disabled children.

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the cover of Jacoby's book is dominated by a black and white photo of the young Salvador Agron.

July 2004
LC: 2003062164 HV
528 pp.  6 x 9
ISBN 978-0-299-19744-5 Paper

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