- Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard (University Press of Mississippi ,
Born in 1950 in Grenada County, Mississippi, Lovejoy Boteler grew up on Riverdale Farms.
In the summer of 1968, two escaped convicts from Parchman Penitentiary in nearby Sunflower County arrived on the farm and kidnapped Boteler. This event inspired him to write the book Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard, published by University Press of Mississippi, March 2019, about the experience.
Boteler graduated from Delta State University in 1973 with a music degree. His career has spanned a variety of fields; he worked for the Mississippi legislature, on the Mississippi River as a deck hand, in a Colorado rodeo, taught construction skills to disadvantaged youth, and taught music education in public schools. In addition to writing, he also builds custom furniture.
Boteler has served on panels at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, Mississippi, and at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee.
THE TRUE STORY OF A KIDNAPPER’S CALAMITOUS CRIMINAL LIFE TOLD BY THE MAN HE ABDUCTED
“Growing up in Beat 4, Grenada County, the Boteler family of the Riverdale community were some of my closest neighbors. I remember well that steamy Mississippi summer day in 1968 when we learned of the kidnapping (and subsequent release) of eighteen-year-old Lovejoy Boteler, by escaped Parchman penitentiary convicts. In poignant yet captivating style, Lovejoy chronicles his harrowing ordeal on that sweltering afternoon with exquisite detail. Crooked Snake—this gripping account of Lovejoy Boteler’s kidnapping and his years-long quest to learn more about his captors—is absolutely riveting. This is a long-awaited publication by this skillful writer and longtime friend.” —William F. Winter, former governor of Mississippi
In 1968, during Albert Lepard’s fifth escape from a life sentence at Parchman Penitentiary, he kidnapped Lovejoy Boteler, then eighteen years old, from his family’s farm in Grenada, Mississippi. Three decades later, still beset by half-buried memories of that time, Boteler began researching his kidnapper’s nefarious, sordid life to discover how and why this terrifying abduction occurred.
In Crooked Snake, Boteler pieces together the story of this cold-blooded murderer’s life using both historical records and personal interviews—over seventy in all—with ex-convicts who gravitated to and ran with Lepard, the family members who fed and sheltered the fugitive during his escapes, the law officers who hunted him, and the regular folks who were victimized in his terrible wake.
Throughout Crooked Snake, Boteler reveals his kidnapper’s hardscrabble childhood and tracks his whereabouts before his incarceration and during his jailbreaks. Lepard’s escapes take him to Florida, Michigan, Kansas, California, and Mexico. Crooked Snake captures a slice of history and a landscape that is fast disappearing. These vignettes describe Mississippi’s countryside and spirit, ranging from sharecropper family gatherings in Attala County’s Seneasha Valley to the twenty-thousand-acre Parchman farm and its borderlands teeming with alligator, panther, bear, and wild boar.