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A five-decade old murder mystery

Mother Jones magazine has unearthed a fascinating story about a 50-year-old murder case. According to the magazine:

In 1963, a 17-year-old soldier home on leave was arrested and charged with shooting a woman to death in her South Bend home.

Police said the teen admitted killing the woman, who was the mother of his girlfriend, and also admitted shooting and wounding a pawnshop owner during a holdup the same night as the murder.

He even took police to a local cemetery and dug up the .45-caliber revolver that he said he used.

The young man, who protested his innocence at his trial, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.

But there was evidence the police subjected the young soldier, who had been born in a concentration camp after World War II, to a long, improper interrogation. In 1968, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the conviction, ruling that police had improperly coerced the suspect into confessing and leading them to the gun.

He was released from prison and never brought to trial again. The charges were eventually dropped and the murder of Anna Marie Yocum remained an open case. The soldier returned to Army service and eventually earned a law degree.

Why would a left-leaning national magazine be interested in this 50-year-old South Bend case?

Because, according to Mother Jones, the young man was Robert J. Dowlut, today the general counsel for the National Rifle Association, and one of the architects of the NRA's aggressive campaign against gun restrictions.