It was murder!

By The Late C.J. Carnacchio (1976-2003)
Deceased Leader Editor
For once the butler didn’t do it ? it was the newspaper publisher.
‘Mystery and Mayhem? was the theme as the ‘usual suspects? gathered for the Oxford Public Library Friends? 7th Annual Storybook Gala held May 9 at Devil’s Ridge Golf Club.
An old-fashioned murder mystery ? featuring Leader Editor C.J. Carnacchio as the unfortunate victim of foul play ? was the setting for this year’s festivities honoring Don and Colette Chadwick as the OPLF’s ?2003 Friends of the Year.? It was the first time a couple received this award.
‘Don and Colette have set an example for others to follow. And they do it all with the spirit of generosity and a wonderful sense of humor,? said OPLF President and Carnacchio’s grieving widow, Connie Miller. ‘I’ve referred to the Chadwicks this evening as our honorees, but I really feel that we, our community, are the ones who are honored to have the Chadwicks here with us.?
Since 1999, the Chadwicks have donated a total of $12,645 to the library, both from their own pockets and through the Clark Fund (a private philanthropic foundation the couple oversees).
Besides being named ‘Friends of the Year,? the Chadwicks were also given the somewhat dubious distinction of being prime suspects in Carnacchio’s murder.
Leader Publisher James Sherman, Jr., Oakland County Commissioner Bill Patterson (R-Oxford) and his lovely wife, Ruth, and OPLF Vice President Michelle Tenaglia rounded out the rest of the motley crew of suspects.
Carnacchio was found dead in back of the Leader office April 6, drowned in a puddle of rainwater. It was initially believed that a fallen tree limb on top of Carnacchio’s body was the cause of death.
Gala guests delighted in examining numerous pieces of evidence and clues ? some of them red herrings ? while questioning suspects to uncover who was the guilty party. Guests were even given the opportunity to vote for who they thought committed the dreadful deed.
In the end, it was revealed that Sherman, Carnacchio’s boss, was in fact the murderer, although he continued to maintain his innocence. ‘I didn’t do it,? Sherman repeated as he was handcuffed and placed behind bars.
Sherman’s guilt was good luck for Sleuth Tom Offer, who voted for the publisher in the suspect pool and won two tickets to an upcoming Murder Mystery at Kalloway’s Restaurant and Pub.
On a special note, although they weren’t in attendance this year, Jan and John Fizel were honored by Miller with the ‘President’s Choice Award? for their ‘intense dedication? to the Friends over the past year.
‘We couldn’t do what we do without the Fizels,? Miller said. ‘They exemplify the true meaning of friends, both the word and the group.?