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The story behind VOICES began with the murder of the sister of one of the author's closest friends. In the early morning hours of April 21, 1998, James "Jeff" Cahill viciously attacked his wife, Jill Russell Cahill, with an aluminum baseball bat during a domestic dispute. Their two children witnessed the beating. The wounds to Jill's head and skull sent her to a hospital in upstate New York where, for six months, she courageously fought for her life.

After Cahill was released on bail, he launched a fiendishly brilliant plan to finish the job. On the evening of October 27, Cahill entered Jill's hospital room disguised as a janitor and poisoned her to death with potassium cyanide. He was arrested, convicted of first-degree aggravated murder, and sentenced to death.

New York's highest court reversed this conviction and sentence on November 25, 2003. Cahill was eventually resentenced to a minimum 25 years in prison. Every death penalty case sent to the court, seven in all, resulted in the reversal of capital sentences, including one case invalidating New York's death penalty statute. The legislature ordered hearings on a new law, 147 witnesses testified, including the author, and VOICES was born.