Lakewood resident Marie Grossman was a successful attorney, wife and mother when her life changed forever in a fast food drive through in 1987. She was on her way to watch her son play sports. Instead, she was robbed and shot by two assailants.
Avon resident and retired attorney David Miraldi has written a book recounting Grossman’s harrowing experience. “The Edge of Malice: The Marie Grossman Story” was published this spring.
Miraldi is no stranger to the courtroom, hailing from a family of lawyers including his father, Ray, and brother, James, a judge in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.
He thoroughly enjoys writing, including compelling legal briefs that wove together facts, case law and statute on behalf of clients he represented in civil cases, occasionally poking fun at the arguments of opposing counsel.
Twenty years ago, he discovered a book called “The Weekend Novelist,” whose author promised budding writers they could produce a book in a year, if they followed his formula. “It gave me a wider appreciation for writers and their craft,” Miraldi said.
However, his busy life prevented him from taking on such a mammoth project. When helping his mom move 15 years ago, he discovered some of his father's legal files, including the case file of Casper Bennett, whom his father had defended. In the folder, he found his dad's handwritten closing argument.
It evoked vivid memories of his dad. “I could picture him saying the words he wrote.” He also remembered being the one who answered the phone the night in 1963 when Bennett phoned seeking help from his father after being arrested for allegedly drowning his wife in a bathtub of scalding water.
He believed it was a story that needed telling and had actually started researching and writing it, when his busy life overtook his desire to become an author.
When he retired in 2016, Miraldi resumed writing. In addition to his father's files, Miraldi secured the police department's investigatory files through a public records request. It contained crime scene photos as well as notes and witness interviews. He located newspaper stories about the trial, which Miraldi recalled “was big news in Lorain” when it happened.
Within months, he produced “The Edge of Innocence: The Trial of Casper Bennett.” Without revealing too much, he acknowledged the book has a surprising ending, just like the court case. It was named 2018 Book of the Year by the International Rubery Book Awards, which recognize the work of independent writers and self-published works.
Miraldi recalled when the book was released in 2017, he and his wife, Leslee, also an attorney, invited Marie Grossman and her husband to a launch party. Grossman had mentored Leslee when they worked together at a downtown Cleveland corporate office and they had maintained their friendship.
Their relationship is what gave Miraldi insight into Grossman's experience. In fact, he represented her in one of the legal matters that followed the incident.
Miraldi had begun work on a new novel when Grossman finally agreed to let him write her story. He emphasized it goes well beyond the ghastly crime during which she was shot at point-blank range. It also explores the years that followed and her struggle to heal from the trauma and the emotional damage that “continued to stalk her,” Miraldi said. “This is a story about confronting one’s fears, acting resolutely and becoming an instrument for change. For me, Marie’s life is inspirational.”
A graduate of the College of Wooster and the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Miraldi has interests beyond writing. He plays piano and composes and his photographs have been in a number of local art shows. He and his wife have three grown children.
Both books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Miraldi says he hopes to speak locally once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
Contact freelance writer Michele Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.