"Headless body in topless bar" killer denied parole

Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:20pm EST
 
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York state authorities denied parole on Tuesday to the man convicted of the crime that generated one of the most famous headlines in U.S. journalism: the New York Post's "Headless body in topless bar."

The parole board denied early release for Charles Dingle, 53, convicted of the 1983 rampage in which he fatally shot the owner of a topless bar, took hostages, raped a woman and forced another to cut off the dead man's head in order to prevent police from linking the bullet to his gun.

Dingle, held in an upstate prison, has maintained his innocence despite numerous eyewitnesses and considerable physical evidence.

The headline, credited to Vincent Musetto, an editor and film critic who retired last year after 40 years at the Post, recalls a much more violent New York City than today's. There were nearly 2,000 murders in 1983 compared with 515 in 2011, according to police statistics.

The headline provided the title for the book "Headless Body in Topless Bar: The Best Headlines from America's Favorite Newspaper."

It also helped cement the Post's reputation as the most colorful of New York City's tabloid newspapers, which maintain an intense newsstand rivalry even in a digital world.

The Daily News went with "Queens night of horror" to chronicle Dingle's crime. Newsday, the Long Island paper that published a New York City edition at the time, titled the story "A night of terror." For The New York Times, it was, "Owner of a bar shot to death; suspect is held."

The rejection Tuesday was Dingle's third failed request for parole.   Continued...