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My Ghost Has a Name
Memoir of a Murder

Rosalyn Rossignol

A family friend becomes the detective and seeks the truth when a young woman is jailed for her mother’s violent murder

On October 20, 1999, thirty-eight-year-old Nell Crowley Davis was bludgeoned, strangled, and stabbed to death in the backyard of her home in Bluffton, South Carolina, near Hilton Head Island. In My Ghost Has a Name: Memoir of a Murder, Rosalyn Rossignol tells the story of how Davis’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Sarah Nickel, along with the two teenage boys, came to be charged with the murder. Despite no physical evidence tying Nickel to the murder, she was convicted along with the boys. In the months that followed, Nickel vehemently insisted that she was innocent.

Torn by Nickel’s pleas, Rossignol, a childhood friend of the murder victim, committed herself to answering the question that perhaps the police detectives, the press, and the courts had not: whether Sarah Nickel was indeed guilty of this crime.

During five years of research, Rossignol read case files and transcripts, examined evidence from the crime scene, listened to the 9-1-1 call, and watched videotaped statements made by the accused in the hours following their arrest. She also interviewed family members, detectives, the solicitor who prosecuted the case, the lawyers who represented the defendants, and the judge who tried the case, as well as Nickel.

What Rossignol uncovers is a fascinating maze of twists and turns, replete with a memorable cast of characters including a shotgun-toting grandma, a self-avowed nihilist and Satan-worshipper, and a former Azalea Queen of Savannah, Georgia. Unlike all previous investigators, Rossignol has uncovered the truth about what happened, and the reasons why, on that fateful October day.

Rosalyn Rossignol is an associate professor of English at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, where she teaches writing and literature. She is the author of two books on the fourteenth-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, as well as short stories, poetry, articles, and nonfiction essays. My Ghost Has a Name is her first work of creative nonfiction.
 
 

 


 

TRUE CRIME / MEMOIR

November 2017
6 x 9, 288 pages, 4 b&w illus.
ISBN 978-1-61117-826-5
Paperback, $21.99t
ISBN 978-1-61117-827-2
Ebook, $21.99t
 
 

 
 
    Copyright ©2012 The University of South Carolina Press