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Law & Murder: Tulane Law School Follow-Up and Poll

From what we hear, it’s been a wild couple of days at Tulane Law School, ever since we outed the convicted murderer in their midst. Well, we didn’t out him; Bruce Reilly outed himself, on his blog (in a post that he has since taken down). But being profiled on Above the Law can sometimes stir up the pot.

Or not. As one tipster put it:

Your article on Bruce Reilly has stirred quite the tempest down here at Tulane: A small, mossy cluster of students typically found speed-typing, whispering and tittering in a darkened corner of the library began typing, whispering and tittering even faster! Meanwhile, everyone else went to class.

Yes, we’ve been getting all kinds of reactions from the Tulane community since our original post went up. The story has even gone mainstream. Reilly was profiled in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and his story was picked up by USA Today and ABC News.

But the mainstream media won’t tell you the details of the actual crime at hand. Our Tulane readers have been asking to know more about the actual murder Reilly served time for. We’ve dug up some of the old reports….

For what it’s worth, I’m not entirely persuaded that the details, some of which are particularly gory, are really germane to the story of Bruce S. Reilly. What I see is a person who has been through some trouble, but has made every effort to repent and turn his life around. I think he should be allowed to continue on his journey of redemption.

It seems to me that if you think that the convicted murderer should be allowed to go to law school, the circumstances around the murder shouldn’t matter much.

I explained all that to many tipsters who asked us to publish more information about the underlying crime. One of them responded, “I’m glad that you think that way. I just wonder if I get an opportunity to think the way I think? Yes? Good. PUBLISH THE GODDAMN INFO [inappropriate reference to my mother], FAT, [inappropriate comparison to a semi-aquatic mammal].”

Fair enough. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Boston Globe reporting in 1993 about the murder of Charles Russell by Bruce Reilly. This one is from September 21, 1993:

An Emerson College student allegedly stabbed and bludgeoned a Rhode Island professor to death last year after the educator picked him up while hitchhiking, brought him to his home to watch pornography and forced him into sex, according to a law enforcement source.

Bruce S. Reilly, 20, of Boston was arrested Saturday night on Newbury Street as he walked to work at Charley’s Eating & Drinking Saloon, said Kimberly Hinden, spokeswoman for state Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger. Authorities took Reilly to Rhode Island yesterday to face a murder charge in connection with the September 1992 slaying of Charles A. Russell, 58.

The source said the professor – who police said knew Reilly for about a week – picked him up while hitchhiking on Interstate 95 and invited him to his home. The pair smoked marijuana, watched child pornography and then Russell performed oral sex on Reilly, the source said.

Afterward, the bloody rampage erupted inside the home.

“It appears (Reilly) just flipped out,” the source said.

The report says Russell was stabbed 24 times.

This excerpt is from September 22, 1993:

The Emerson College freshman who allegedly bludgeoned a Rhode Island professor to death last year eluded police by covering his tracks and dodging store security cameras when buying items with the dead man’s credit cards, police said.

“The kid was no dummy,” said Rhode Island State Police Detective Kevin Hopkins. “He concealed himself pretty good.”

Bruce S. Reilly, 20, of Boston was arraigned yesterday in Kent County District Court and charged with first-degree murder after being arrested on Newbury Street Saturday.

He was ordered held without bail.

Police said bloody fingerprints and footprints found at the scene and an informant helped them track Reilly down.

Police said Reilly was hitchhiking on Interstate 95 last September when he was picked up by Community College of Rhode Island Professor Charles A. Russell.

Police are still searching for a motive in the brutal slaying of the West Greenwich English professor, Hopkins said. Russell had been with the school more than 20 years.

Russell – who knew Reilly – took him back to his home and the two engaged in oral sex, a law enforcement source said.

But Hopkins denied earlier published reports that the two watched pornography at Russell’s home.

Police allege that sometime later, Reilly repeatedly stabbed Russell, 58, and struck him on the head with a blunt object.

So there you have it. But let’s remember what the defense attorneys out there already know. These are police reports. There’s another side to this story.

Reilly declined to comment for this story. One can understand why. Why should he re-litigate his past? He committed a crime, served his time, and gained release. In our society, we don’t require convicts to continually explain themselves, even though we often ask them to. We don’t make them walk around with letters emblazoned on their chests, even though nobody told that to Google. The entire concept of letting someone out of jail presupposes that people can change, grow, and learn from their mistakes.

Again, that’s just me talking. What do you guys think? Take our poll below to share your opinions about how Tulane should be handling this situation.

Should Bruce Reilly be allowed to attend law school at Tulane?

  • Yes. Even Murderers deserve a second chance. (49%, 1,003 Votes)
  • No. It sullies the reputation of the school and/or it's too big of a safety risk. (37%, 751 Votes)
  • I thought he should be allowed until I heard the details of the murder he committed. (14%, 284 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,035

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Convicted murderer in Tulane law school welcomes scrutiny [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Murderer’s enrollment at Tulane law school stirs debate on redemption [USA Today]
Tulane Law Student Exposed as Convicted Murderer [ABC News]

Earlier: New Tulane 1L Is An Advocate, A Writer, And A Murderer

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