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I'd kid him, "Hey, John, why don't you fly over here for the weekend? I know this cool little town called Scottsdale."
"Don't think so," he'd reply.
Diana Carpenter called me at home late Thursday night to report her husband's death at the age of 70. Earlier that day, she told me, John Carpenter had dropped dead of a heart attack at their home in Torrance, California.
She'd found him on the floor, less than a half-hour after they'd spoken by phone. To be kind, Carpenter had been a lot of things most folks don't look for in spouses. But Diana loved him--they somehow stayed married for 42 years, including a 13-year separation--even though she was well-aware of his dark side.
"He did some really stupid things in his life," Diana told me on the phone, "but I don't think killing Bob Crane was one of them. He was a nice guy, despite what everyone who never got to know him probably thinks."
I told Diana about the many pleasant conversations I'd had with Carpenter, times when we weren't talking about the case. She said she knew that, and that's why she'd called me.
"He always got a kick out of you because you wouldn't tell him that you thought he was innocent," Diana told me. "Do you still think he could have done it?"
I didn't have a glass of wine to use as a crutch, so I answered directly.
"But they didn't prove it."
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