Do you remember the film starring Diane Keaton & Richard Gere, about the film with the teacher who led a double life? It was based on a real case from a couple of years before, that of Roseann Quinn. The case inspired the novel by Judith Rossner - "Looking for Mr Goodbar." What happened? Roseann Quinn was born November 17th 1944 in the Bronx to John & Roseann Quinn, who also had two sons and another daughter. At the age of 11, her family moved to Mine Hill Township in New Jersey, where her father worked as an executive for Bell Laboratories. Roseann contracted Polio at the age of 13, requiring her to spend a year in hospital, which left her with a slight limp. She attended Morris Catholic High School in Denville, NJ and graduated from there in 1962. She then enrolled in the Newark State Teachers School and graduated from there in 1966.
She found work in 1969 at St Joseph's School for the Deaf, in the Bronx, teaching a small group of eight year olds. In May 1972, she moved into an apartment at 253 West 72nd Street. She kept herself to herself when she went out but struck up a conversation with a man after lip reading what he was saying. Then it became known that she took men back to her apartment, regardless of their temperament. Neighbours became used to hearing shouting, scuffles and her sporting bruises. She had enrolled at Hunter College and was halfway through her course to getting her degree in teaching deaf children. On New Year`s Day 1973, she went to a bar W.M.Tweeds, where she met John Wilson. He had been drinking with a friend, Gary Guest, who left the bar before Roseann entered. They went back to her apartment and shared some marijuana and then tried to have sex with Roseann. He later claimed that he was unable to get it up and so Roseann taunted and insulted him. She then told him to get out and a struggle broke out. He picked up a knife and stabbed her eighteen times. He also claimed that Roseann pleaded with him to kill her!
Wilson then said that he showered, covered her body, wiped around the apartment to remove fingerprints and then left. (Effectively destroying any claim of insanity) He returned to he was staying with Guest and told him of the murder. Guest believed he was making it up in order to get money for a plane ticket. Guest gave him money and so he flew to Miami to meet his wife and then flew home to Indiana. Roseann was discovered on January 3rd, when she had not appeared at school, and had sent somebody to check her apartment. The building superintendent let them in and Roseann was found. Her body was identified by her brother John. She was buried at St Mary`s Cemetery in Mine Hill.
The Police had nothing to go on. Nobody could remember the man she left with but a sketch was done of a man; Gary Guest. He saw the newspaper article on the case with the sketch. He contacted two friends, Ebb & Greenwood but would not discuss details over the phone. He travelled to Los Angeles and told Ebb the full story. He in turn contacted a therapist who recommended a lawyer. The Lawyer advised Guest to return to New York and the friends to say nothing. After going back to New York, it still took a fortnight for him to be persuaded to talk to the Police. Detectives travelled to Indianapolis, and with a local cop, arrested Wilson at his mother`s home. Wilson was detained at Manhattan Detention Center, otherwise known as "The Tombs" then transferred to Bellevue Hospital for tests. Then he was taken back to the Tombs and put on suicide watch, but had a dispute with a guard and threatened suicide. The guard taunted him and offered him sheets so he could hang himself, and indeed, later threw sheets into the cell. He hung himself. It was May 5th 1973. Gary Guest was guilt ridden over his friend and had moved to Arizona and checked himself into a mental hospital as a John Doe.
What drives people into living a double life? Is it a desire to leave their respectable world behind them at night? Usually, the person is not bothered what kind of people they mingle with. But it can lead to tragic consequences, as Roseann was to discover.