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Issue 01 – Easter 2020

The Jungle


On prison and grace.


It’s the first time Jeffrey Cristina has walked down Dresden Way in more than forty years. He walks past empty lots where his family’s homes once stood, past St. Kieran, the Victorian red-brick parish church—now, like so many other Rust Belt churches, condos—where he and his siblings went to Mass. He walks past the spot on the asphalt, long since paved over, where he and his girlfriend carved their declaration of love, to the retaining wall where, on December 10, 1975, the neighborhood tough asked him to help collect a debt.

He continues on, going half a block to Butler Street, the main drag in Lawrenceville, to the road he would walk down to swim in the Allegheny River. He goes past the bar, a time capsule from the seventies, wrapped in weathered dark brown paneling and ornamented with CONLEY’S in green neon and a St. Patrick’s Day Pabst Blue Ribbon sign in the window. He stops at 5222 Butler where, according to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on December 10, 1975, he was responsible for the murder of eighty-two-year-old Frank Slazinski.

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About the author

Brandon McGinley

Brandon McGinley is the author of The Prodigal Church: Restoring Catholic Tradition in an Age of Deception.

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