Murder will out itself
September 6, 2007 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Krystian Bala has been convicted of murder in Wroclaw. Bala, the author of the grisly 2000 crime novel Amok, claimed to have taken his book's plot from news reports about the killing of a local businessman. Police were skeptical after learning that the novel contained details known only to the investigators and the killer himself. Bala was arrested in 2005, interrogated, and eventually released for lack of convincing evidence; he finally went on trial this past summer. His lawyer claims the case against him was circumstantial, but e-mail sent from Indonesia and South Korea gave Bala away.
posted by GrammarMoses (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Am hoping some of our Polish MeFites can elaborate, especially on the secret details of the crime.
posted by GrammarMoses at 2:31 PM on September 6, 2007

I was in Wroclaw last spring and I cannot believe that such a crime occured there. It was so boring!
posted by k8t at 2:35 PM on September 6, 2007

How did the emails give him away?

"Yeah, I wrote those emails when I heard about this case. I thought it was a darn perfect murder. I got interested in the case and collected lots of material about it. And then I decided to write a book based on it."
posted by sour cream at 2:41 PM on September 6, 2007

I wonder if OJ is jealous that Bala got his book published and if Bala is jealous that OJ got off scott free.
posted by spec80 at 2:45 PM on September 6, 2007 [3 favorites]

So the lessons here are 1) when you write a novel based on the murder you committed don't include all the actual gory details, 2) figure we've all heard about this movie, and 3) follow scarabic's body-disposal advice.

In this case I think just changing a few details for the novel might have worked though. Why not have your fictional crominal encase the body in cement under a stadium like the Mob did with Hoffa? I've never seen that in a novel before.
posted by davy at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2007

Is "Bala" Polish for "hubris"?
posted by WPW at 3:01 PM on September 6, 2007

I'm guessing he didn't send them as himself (or sign them) in the straightforward way you suggest.
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:07 PM on September 6, 2007

I read in a newspaper today that he sold the victim's mobile phone on eBay using his own account. If that's true, then boy is he dumb.
posted by afx237vi at 3:13 PM on September 6, 2007

I must have read something similar afx237vi, because I was thinking the same thing.

Hmm, take a consumer electronic which, by definition of the way it works, is required to have a trackable identification system, and sell it using your password protected, IP logged, pay-pal bank account tied account.

If the news reports are completely accurate, and he's not claiming that he's been set up, then he's done.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on September 6, 2007

1) Commit murder
2) Write a fiction paperback about it.
3) Profit! Lose your publishing deal after public outcry. Go to jail.

Getting Better....
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:00 PM on September 6, 2007

*takes notes for novel based on life of author who commits the perfect murder and publishes novel about it, but is caught and gets sent to jail*
posted by jokeefe at 4:47 PM on September 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Police were skeptical after learning that the novel contained details known only to the investigators and the killer himself."

This is the second time today I'm writing this, but...I don't think that phrase means what you think it means. I'd guess that the police were a lot less skeptical after they learned the novel contained details known only to they and the killer.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:59 PM on September 6, 2007

That's what I get for eliding. I meant they were skeptical that he had derived his information solely from news reports.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2007

I can only suppose that our author Mr. Bala will have an even more lucrative book deal, with guaranteed translations into other languages no less, if he is cleared of the charges. Hell, even if he isn't.
posted by msali at 5:11 PM on September 6, 2007

Skeptical that it was fictional, was the way I read it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:18 PM on September 6, 2007

"Krystian Bala"? This story is going to get better when they discover he's been making a splash in Hollywood under a similar name.
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on September 6, 2007

Wroclaw? Wrocklaw? Reklaw? Hmm...
posted by klangklangston at 8:00 PM on September 6, 2007

More like VROTswav.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:56 PM on September 6, 2007

... but with a sort of soft 'T' sound.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:57 PM on September 6, 2007

Seems like he may have wanted to be caught?
posted by stinkycheese at 10:32 PM on September 6, 2007

Well now he's got the plot for his second novel, right?
posted by The Monkey at 1:24 AM on September 7, 2007

How did the emails give him away?

Some person with great interest in the story (enough to be tracking it closely and commenting on it) happened to be in certain faraway countries when Bala was. That wouldn't put him away, but it was part of the pile of circumstantial evidence that put cops on to him and eventually put him in jail for at least planning the murder -- they can't prove he actually did it, but he can't say he didn't know about it.

He claimed he didn't know or meet the victim, but police showed that he called the victim before the murder and he sold a phone just after the murder that appears to have been the victim's missing phone. In his book, he described the torture and murder in sufficient detail (I don't think the cops have said exactly how, luckily, but something involving starvation and distended limbs) that they believe the author must have read the police files or been involved in the murder. And he even confessed under interrogation, though he then retracted his statement and claimed the police tortured him.
posted by pracowity at 1:35 AM on September 7, 2007

He rout himself out.
posted by phoque at 11:21 AM on September 7, 2007

He wrote himself off.
posted by phoque at 11:24 AM on September 7, 2007

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