Book Excerpt – Remembering Margo: A Triumphant Life, A Tragic Death, And Life’s Greatest Deception
Remembering Margo: A Triumphant Life, A Tragic Death, And Life’s Greatest Deception
by Donzella Michele Malone
Publication Date: Sep 01, 2006
List Price: $22.95
Format: Hardcover, 252 pages
Imprint: Vantage Press
Publisher: Vantage Press
Parent Company: Vantage Press
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Copyright © 2006 Vantage Press/Donzella Michele Malone No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.
It was a cool and rainy November morning in the modest city of Akron, Ohio. For most people living in this city the days, evenings, months and years are uneventful routines. Outside of work and family activities, daily life is business as usual.
On this November day however, a very special life would end, forever changing the lives of many living in the City of Akron and surrounding communities. The murder of 41-year-old Dr. Margo Shamberger Prade, a commoner and popular family practice physician, would put the city of Akron, Ohio on the media map as one of the most heinous, newsworthy crimes throughout the nation. Over a six year period following the murder, HBO, Hard copy, Dateline NBC, Court TV, Jet Magazine, MSNBC, the Discovery Health Channel, True Crime and local news stations across the State of Ohio were broadcasting special reports and hour-long segments of the brutal slaying.
It was a cool and rainy November morning.
Then all of a sudden'
On Wednesday November 26, 1997 the day before Thanksgiving at 8:30 a.m., after completing medical rounds at Akron General Medical Center, Dr. Margo Shamberger Prade was on the way to work at her medical office. While driving, Margo made the last three phone calls of her life from her cellular phone. The first call was to Joyce Foster, Margo's office manager and friend. Joyce briefed Margo on the upcoming events of the day, including Margo asking Joyce to pull a patient's chart that needed her documentation for family medical leave. The phone call ended with Margo and Joyce sharing a joke... and their last laugh together.
The second call was to Ms. Lillie Hendricks, Margo's mother. Ms. Hendricks was at home. Margo phones her: 'Mama, are you up? Can you go by the house and pick up a check for Thanksgiving dinner? The check is in the kitchen cabinet. Pick up a turkey and whatever else you need.' Margo instructed.
'Okay baby. I'll see you when you get home.' Ms. Lillie lovingly replied. Margo responded, 'Alright Mom.' The check was for $160.00 and Margo never made it home.
How ironic that the very person who brought Margo into this world, would be one of the last persons she would speak with moments before her abrupt and savage departure from this world.
The third and final call of Dr. Margo Prade's life was to her car salesman, Robin, at the Rolling Acres Dodge car dealership. Margo wanted to discuss details of the new Dodge Durango sport vehicle she had on order. She jubilantly ended the phone call with, 'Have a nice holiday!'
When Dr. Margo Prade pulled into the parking lot of the Professional Center West located at 1557 Wooster Avenue, she parked her winter green minivan in her favorite parking spot alongside the metal fence, where she had uneventfully parked so many mornings before. However, today would be different. For the third and final time within the past seven months of Margo's life...the devil was on his way.
As soon as Margo parked her vehicle, she never had a chance to gather up her things and exit. With deftness and stealth, her killer entered the van and was out in 90 seconds. Within those 90 seconds a relentless scuffle ensued resulting in a scratch on the intruder's chin and a vicious bite mark on Margo's upper left arm. Because Margo was left-handed, it made sense that the bite impression would be on her dominant arm. The bite mark, however, would later only reveal an impression of the intruder's lower teeth? The intruder exited the van, leaving behind six bullet wounds in Margo's lifeless body; with-according to coroner testimony- 'four of the bullets administered after death occurred', portraying a signature crime. Although evidence showed Margo fought hard trying to save her precious life; her petite, fragile body could not survive such a brutal attack. The coroner's examination revealed that Margo had approximately twelve entrance and exit bullet wounds. The killer, on the other hand, being unsure of a successful hit and being on a timeline, took careful measures to lay Margo's body down on the passenger seat before exiting the vehicle. Therefore, should anyone happen by Margo's van in the busy parking lot before the killer left and, before she succumbs, it would appear that Margo was not in the van at all... guaranteeing, a death undisturbed.
Margo did lie dead inside her van for at least an hour before her medical assistant, Lori Collins, discovered her body. Margo's eyes were open, and her pupils were dry. Her skin was slightly chilled, and her white lab jacket was drenched in blood. Joyce thought Margo had somehow hit her head and had passed out. While trying to revive her, Joyce happened to notice Margo's mouth was slightly gaped open, and there was yellow body fluid secreting from the right side corner of her mouth. Margo had already exhaled her last breath, her face had begun to turn ash blue; and in the final phase, the trauma to Dr. Margo Prade's small, 5 ft. body had caused her to urinate. When Joyce saw Margo was wet, she also knew Margo was dead.
The old folks say when you die with your eyes open... you were not yet ready to go.
Dr. Margo Shamberger Prade was a very special human being. Like many who loved her, the grief that still lingers in my heart knows no boundaries, and spares no pain. The night before Margo's funeral, I sat at my computer to write her a goodbye letter. While writing, my heart ached with a pain so profound, I thought I was dying.
The brutality of the crime...shot...six times, offered a distinct set of grief that reached far beyond my own comprehension. Nevertheless, it was time to say goodbye to my dear friend. Through the years, I had said goodbye to Margo so many times, and in so many different ways, and under many different circumstances. I had no idea how to say goodbye to her this way, but I knew I had to. Margo would expect me to say goodbye to her. A decent and wonderful person, who exuded high morals, standards, and values, was the epitome of Dr. Margo Shamberger Prade's character. Tormented by continuous psychic pain and grief, REMEMBERING MARGO is inspired from many unintended pages of goodbyes, hello's and pleas written to my dear friend after her horrendous departure. A private stock of bibliotherapy, searching for some understanding AND truth to all the madness both preceding and succeeding Margo's death; and a desperate attempt to purge the stress, pain, fear and grief this crime encompassed.
I once heard it stated, ' It is not how long you live, but how you live your life.' REMEMBERING MARGO is about the life, love, legacy and yes, that 'infectious' laughter Margo bestowed upon all who knew her, but especially those who loved her. Dr. Margo Prade was a phenom. She was an asthmatic ball player who taught herself how to play softball right-handed, because at the time, left-handed softball mitts were an anomaly.
As a family practice physician, Dr. Margo Prade was a woman who valued human life so much that in her private practice, she would often provide free medical care to patients who were either indigent or those whose HMO insurance would refuse to pay for necessary tests, x-rays or procedures. Margo would very matter-of-factly state to her medical assistant, 'Well, she/he needs this test done so I'll pay for it! Order the test.' Margo would personally absorb the patient's medical cost.
REMEMBERING MARGO is dedicated to the contributions of a brilliant, BEAUTIFUL and young African American female who pursued her dream of becoming a physician. A woman who overcame the obstacles of an inner-city education, discrimination, racism and elementary school teachers saying, 'Oh, honey, you don't really think you can become a doctor, do you?'
Dr. Margo Prade's dedication to her profession, family, friends and community was more than admirable. As a physician, Margo once escorted a dear friend to New York City for a much needed cancer surgery. Although her schedule was extremely tight and demanding, I remember her stating, 'Don, I'm really busy. I don't have the time to go to New York...but, she asked me to go with her and she has no one else to go. She needs the support.' 'Margo, you're a wonderful person, and I know it is appreciated what you are doing.' I replied, admiring Margo's dedication to her profession, and to her friend.
Finally, REMEMBERING MARGO is a testimonial. Immediately after her death, Dr. Prade's convicted killer was given the opportunity to publicly profess their innocence quite frequently via television specials, in news programs and nontraditional magazine articles. Unfortunately, both the print and television media continue to award her killer this opportunity. Years after her death, the killer has continuously been allowed to shed doubt on the murder conviction, as well as devalue the phenomenal life this remarkable woman led.
After the conviction, the killer's family hired a man who-in his own words- professed to being, 'a spy.' This individual, named Boris de Korczak, began to develop factitious evidence and assert erroneous 'clues' about facts presented in the Prade murder investigation almost immediately after his hire, and long after the murder trial was over. In essence, Mr. deKorczak turned out to be nothing more than a bottom feeder seeking to victimize the killer's family even more, by charging 'fees for hire.' However, they were not the only persons who fell prey to deKorczak's unsubstantiated influence.
Once a respected local newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal took on the complexion of tabloid journalism. de Korczak manipulated the newspaper through spouting off insignificant theories.
The newspaper began to print de Korczak's theories without ever researching the facts or validity of his assertions through investigation records, court documents and the like. It was obvious that the Akron Beacon Journal's primary concern was to sell newspapers in sensationalizing a horrendous crime that had long been resolved. This effort by the newspaper and deKorczak, attempted to plant a suspicious seed within the community that the convicted killer may not actually be guilty.
The Akron Beacon Journal's disclosure of deKorczak's hypothetical evidence only launched an attack on the credibility of the outstanding investigation led by the FBI, the Akron Police detective bureau; and the remarkable prosecutorial talents of Michael Carroll and Alison McCarty in convicting Dr. Prade's killer.
Most disheartening of all, however, were the under girded attacks by deKorczak on both the professional and private life of Dr. Margo Prade. Those attacks were emotionally disturbing to Dr. Prade's two young daughters, her family, colleagues and friends.
Due to lingering hurt, grief and disappointment of Dr. Prade's slaying, the media's involvement with deKorczak only angered the community Margo served even more. Whenever de Korczak would surface from the bottom of the pit spewing factitious, unsubstantiated details about the Prade murder, the Akron Beacon Journal would print an article about deKorczak's theories. Thus began a noxious relationship between the Akron Beacon Journal and the 'spy' who loved them. Together, they engaged in a writing campaign of articles, which very much resembled the popular 1960's television series titled, 'The Fugitive.' The articles hinted that, ' the real killer was still out there' and that de Korczak, by his own admission, ' knew who the real killer was.' The local newspaper massaged a relationship with deKorczak even though this man did not live in the Akron community, or the State of Ohio, and had never been heard of in the Akron community until hired by the killer's family.
All along, however, the articles- sordid and factitious- would attack the pristine reputation and valued memory we all have of Dr. Margo Prade.
Despite written and verbal pleas to the Akron Beacon Journal from Dr. Prade's family, friends and community, some reporters of this newspaper continued writing the articles and turning the tables, making the killer out to be the saint, and the victim the sinner.
Except for her killer, everyone who knew Dr. Margo Prade loved her. And, as many articles that were written about Dr. Prade's murder and murder trial, those reporters knew she was well loved in this community.
Sadly, if any one of the Akron Beacon Journal's reporters who engaged in the character assassination of Dr. Prade had had the opportunity to know her personally, I truly believe the negative articles never would have been written.
Unfortunately, those articles were written, and were discrediting to Margo's legacy and emotionally disturbing to the senses of those living in this community. Essentially, the erroneous evidence from deKorczak's assertion should not have ever been printed. Perverse and unsubstantiated, the information was not worth the paper for which it was printed.
Therefore, it is my hope that those who read this publication will consider it's contents as Dr. Margo Prade's chance to speak about her triumphant life as a living person, and not just her tragic death.
Names have been omitted to protect those who are innocent, and to protect the innocent from those who are not.
Dr. Margo Shamberger Prade's killer was not interviewed for this publication. Her killer continues to have a chance to speak...she does not.