Acworth Teen Stabbing

Lurid story of the day here in Atlanta: cute white teen stabbed to death:

A 17-year-old Cobb County girl was stabbed to death Saturday morning by a fellow teenager, police said.

Cobb County police Officer Alicia Chilton said officers responded to a home on the 3100 block of Blowing Wind Court near Acworth at about 8:50 a.m. They found the victim, identified as Abbey Hebert, dead in the front yard.

The suspect in Hebert’s death, 18-year-old Olivia Smith, was taken into custody at the scene and has been charged with felony murder, Chilton said. Smith is being held at the Cobb County jail without bond.

Acworth is exurban white flight Atlanta. Smith is Hebert’s cousin, and the two girls were reportedly close. Very sad.

Let’s imagine a crime story with a similar structure. The trite way to do it would have the girls be good girl and mirror image: a somewhat more creative approach would be to have the good one be the killer. What does victim do in all innocence that triggers killer’s murderous rage—or, more plausibly, incipient mental illness? Trite would make it a sexual thing: it’s the exurbs and everyone goes to megachurches, so have them put on promise rings way back when and when one becomes sexually active, the other can’t believe how her friend has changed. Or the active one kills the other to hide her transgressions.

But that kind of sexual jealousy, while powerful, is an awfully stereotypical way to externalize the rage. Better still, make it an accident. Some absolutely Rube Goldberg chain of events that leaves one with a knife in her chest and the other unable to adequately explain how it happened. Or a suicide: what if victim throws themself on the knife as a way of holding the killer accountable for something else?

It’s too lurid to be that great of a structure: it needs to have a parallel or intersection with a different narrative. There are two other people involved, but the killer only knows about one of them. So the detectives ultimately have to infer the existence of the fourth person. Put it together with what had been thought to be an accidental killing the previous year: something that has to be revisited once the fourth person is inferred.

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