Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Dominick Dunne
Claus von Bulow
Claus von Bulow
In a book of essays Dunne published in 1987 entitled Fatal Charms, he discussed the social milieu of Claus von Bulow, the genteelly impoverished Danish aristocrat who married wealthy American heiress Martha "Sunny" Sharp Crawford, and his controversial trials for her attempted murder. The first trial resulted in von Bulow's conviction for attempting to murder her with an insulin injection. But enter Alan Dershowitz, legendary appeals attorney, who in von Bulow's second trial painted Sunny as "a self-destructive, deeply depressed, and addictive woman who experimented with drugs not prescribed for her, and who continued to engage in life-threatening behavior after experiencing life-threatening emergencies and after being warned by doctors to desist." Von Bulow was acquitted in the second trial and freed. Sunny's children were divided in their belief in von Bulow's guilt or innocence and by their grief over their mother, who lingered in a coma for 28 years. Claus eventually dropped any claim to Sunny's estate, but their daughter Cosima was reinstated as an heir.

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