|PCV Accused of Murdering His Wife
by John Coyne (Ethiopia 196264)
||OVER THE FORTY YEARS OF THE PEACE CORPS more than one PCV has slipped a thick blank-paged journal into their luggage, ready to record their experience while on this great new adventure. Many, of course, think that perhaps someday theyll turn all the notes into a novel or a memoir.
Paul Theroux, for example, used his journals to write his 1989 novel, My Secret History, which is set partly in Malawi and Uganda. Mike Tidwell turned to his journals when he wrote The Ponds of Kalamabayi about his time in Zaire. And Kathleen Coskran used the journals she kept in Ethiopia for several of her stories in her prize-winning collection, The High Prize of Everythng.
But it was the journal of another PCV, William Kinsey, which first brought Peace Corps writers into international headlines.
In 1966, five years after the founding of the Peace Corps, PCV William Kinsey was accused of murdering his wife in up-country Tanzania. His Peace Corps journal was used as evidence against him in his court trial.
William Kinsey was just out of college in the summer of 1964 when he went off to training at Syracuse University for a Peace Corps assignment to Malawi. At Syracuse, Bill met Peverley Dennett, a trainee assigned to teach in Tanzania. Bill had his county of assignment changed to Tanzania by PC/W and ninety-four days later he married the beautiful auburn-haired Peverley. The couple spent their honeymoon in transit to Africa and started their Peace Corps service as secondary school teachers in up-country Maswa, Tanzania.
A year and a half later, in March of 1966, Bill was arrested for killing Peverley while they were picnicking near their school. He became the first Peace Corps Volunteer ever to be charged with murder.