Letters: Coerced Confession; Emlen Tunnell; Beets

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read letters from listeners.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block.

It's time now for your letters. Yesterday, we aired the story of a Massachusetts teen mother named Nga Truong. Her infant son died suddenly three years ago, and police were convinced that Truong was guilty of murder.

Somebody hurt that baby, and we need to know who it was, and we're going to find out who it was.

NGA TRUONG: I'm telling you everything.

SERGEANT KEVIN PAGEAU: No, you're not. Stop. Don't lie to me. Because that baby is dead, and there's no reason for him to be dead.

BLOCK: After two hours of rough interrogation, the 16-year-old Truong confessed to killing her son. She spent nearly three years in jail as she awaited trial. But a judge eventually found that detectives had coerced her confession, and she was set free.

SIEGEL: Truong's story angered plenty of you. JoAnn Lee Frank of Clearwater, Florida, writes this: After listening to this segment, I couldn't help but wonder how many others have been coerced into confessing a crime they had never committed? America should hang its head in shame.

BLOCK: On Friday, we brought you the story of a largely forgotten football great: Emlen Tunnell. The former defensive back played for the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers more than half a century ago. Tunnell was the first black player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also the first defensive specialist to receive that honor and the first African-American to be on the permanent coaching staff of an NFL team.

SIEGEL: Emlen Tunnell is now revered by the Giants organization, but he had to hitchhike to his first tryout back in 1948. Shannon Wise of Fresno, California, writes that the story brought her to tears. My grandfather, she says, went to a small college in Wisconsin. He was invited by George Halas, founder and owner of the Bears, to try out for the team. My grandfather borrowed a teammate's cleats and hitchhiked to Chicago to try out for the Bears. Your story brought back fond memories of hearing my grandfather tell stories of his playing days.

Though I do not ever remember him mentioning Mr. Tunnell, he is the exact kind of player my grandfather would have liked to know and play with. Thank you for bringing back such great memories.

BLOCK: And finally, beets are back. Many people hate them, but the vegetable is enjoying a popularity surge, both at chain restaurants and fancy bistros. Our story on the indomitable beet inspired listeners to send in their favorite recipes and a defense of the maligned root. Mark Betchkal of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, writes this: Who does not like beets? You're nuts. Beets are great, even if you only have canned beets. Put some mesclun on a plate, display a wheel of overlapping beet slices over the lettuce, sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and warm hazel nuts, serve with a fine vinaigrette. Elegant and easy.

SIEGEL: Well, whether we've left you satisfied or hungry for more or thinking about borscht, we want to hear from you.


SIEGEL: You can write to us at npr.org, just click on Contact Us.

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