The Jock and the Madman
Red Colt didn’t resist arrest, but he did tell Mangold, “It was prudent of you, sir, to call for backup. Because this was a physical confrontation you would not have wanted. I would have given you a battle.” Back at the police station, Mangold told Red Colt to remove his shirt, to check for scars from the fight with Angie. “He pulls it off, and we couldn’t believe it,” Mangold said. “He had the body of a 24-year-old. It was incredible.”
Angie, it turned out, had a stash of $300,000. She was rich. There’s little consensus where the money came from, but Bruckner suspects Angie collected it somehow when her mother died.
Detective Mangold found $50,000 in Red Colt’s cart, stuffed into a graham cracker box. He knew it belonged to Angie because when he opened the box, a wave of herbal aroma rolled out. Red Colt also had a brand-new but dirt-covered shovel, and a note. After all, he wrote everything down. The note described how he had buried the remainder of Angie’s fortune somewhere in Fairmount Park. A quarter million, waiting for its finder.
Eventually a jury sentenced Red Colt to life in prison for killing Angie. He never hinted at his motivation. But he and Bruckner still talk. They exchange letters. Curlicue capitals and spiraling commas.
They’re connected. Drawn together by their common obsessive behavior, one light and one dark. Reciprocal men. Red Colt’s obsession, his compulsion to kill and then write it all down, led to his downfall. But Bruckner harnessed his obsession. So he wasn’t completely right, that night he looked across the street at the lamppost, when his mind found clarity.
He was wrong in one regard: He could change something in the universe. Something for good.
Originally published in the July 2005 issue of Philadelphia magazine.