The Other Side of Paradise

The Bahamas. Sun, fun, and upscale resorts, right? Add murder to the mix, and throw in a Third World-style underclass.

And the month before, when Lori Fogleman vanished? "We weren't even on New Providence," says Carolyn. On July 10 they had traveled by mail boat to Andros, a large, sparsely populated island south of New Providence, where they played volleyball and swam and watched the boats go by in the annual regatta. Uris McIntosh says that on July 26, five days after Fogleman was last heard from, she had retrieved Anton and his mother from the dock at Potter's Cay, just outside Nassau. Two months later Anton was charged with murdering both Fogleman and Clarke.

After his arrest Anton's family reached out to a number of pricey criminal attorneys, hoping one might volunteer services free of charge. Michael Kemp, a lawyer well known for representing drug dealers and armed robbers, turned down the case. "I don't need that kind of notoriety," he explains. "These murders are a real embarrassment for the Bahamas. I can't defend anyone who kills women in that way." Jenny Thompson, another lawyer, says she'd be glad to consider representing Anton, if the government offers to pick up the tab when it appoints a lawyer sometime after the preliminary hearing in the case, scheduled for November 23.

Whoever is chosen to represent Anton, it is unlikely he or she will be able to mount much of a defense. The alibis are flimsy -- there are no ticket stubs to corroborate the trip to Andros, and no eyewitness has come forward to place Anton in his mother's company on the afternoon of August 21 -- and then there's the government's magic bullet, DNA.

Although Bahamian law prohibits the press from publishing the details of a pending criminal case, news of the government's DNA evidence was widely circulated immediately following Anton's arrest. People who believed he was innocent found themselves having second thoughts. "It just doesn't seem like he could have done these things," one neighbor was overheard saying. "But DNA don't lie."

In the court of public opinion, Anton McIntosh has already been found guilty. Without a good lawyer, he will in all likelihood hang. Death by a hangman's noose is still the penalty for murder in the former British colony, which recently stepped up its execution schedule in response to a ruling from the Privy Council, the court of the British Commonwealth. In 1993 the court declared that inmates spending more than five years on death row were being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and should have their sentences commuted to life. (Amnesty International estimates there are 40 prisoners on death row in the Bahamas.) On October 15, after a two-and-one-half-year hiatus, two men were hanged, plucked from the same prison wing where Anton has spent the last two months confined to a dank, urine-scented cell where, his grandmother says, he has only an old mattress and a plastic bucket.

Uris McIntosh says the police started treating Anton better after he agreed to sign a piece of paper, some sort of confession. Questioned about the statement, police were cagey and vague. "It will all come out in court," was all they would say. Anton told his grandmother police officers had beat him, taking turns tightening their grip around his throat in much the same way they claimed he'd choked the life from Joanne Clarke and Lori Fogleman. Every Wednesday his grandmother visits, bringing enough food for him to share with the other inmates. Mostly, though, she just prays. "I trust God," she says. "I know the truth will stand, and God will deliver him from where he is."

Among the trees along the dirt path leading to Cabbage Beach, at the very spot where Lori Fogleman died, there dangles a delicate memorial, a vibrant clump of red and white silk flowers wrapped around a blue ribbon. Beyond the flowers a tree's branches hang low, and on the ground, amid large stones once used as burial slabs, there are dead leaves, pine needles, and snail shells.

Further down the path, the overgrowth gives way to a wide tract of rocks, roots, and tree stumps, a once forested clump that now stretches toward the water like a crater left by a blast of napalm. In September, shortly after the bodies were discovered, Sun International acquired all of the land abutting Cabbage Beach and flattened the dense thicket that once gave the place a wild and rugged feel. The company has big plans for the land. It intends to close down the airport and build upscale houses on a refurbished golf course, in the long run doing more to close off Cabbage Beach to locals than any serial killer ever could.

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