• U.S.

No Escape: A murderous echo of the past

3 minute read

As a young man, Charles Goldmark saw his father’s political career blighted by accusations that he was a Communist. The father, John, a Washington State Democratic representative, won vindication in a notable 1963 libel suit. But he had already lost his seat in the Washington legislature, and he retired permanently from public life. His son Charles grew up to be a prominent Seattle lawyer and, along with his wife Annie, a respected community activist. They enjoyed a happy family life and an untarnished reputation. They had every reason to believe that the old accusations were at last behind them.

Apparently they were wrong. On Christmas Eve, a tall, thin, bearded man came to the door of the house in the affluent Madrona neighborhood where the Goldmarks lived with their two sons, Derek, 12, and Colin, 10. The stranger forced his way in, waving what later turned out to be a toy gun at the shocked family. According to police, he chloroformed the Goldmarks, handcuffed them, stabbed them repeatedly and bludgeoned them with a steam iron. The assailant left Annie Goldmark, 43, dead and her husband and two sons critically injured. Colin died several days later. Late last week, Derek and Charles, 41, were still in critical condition.

Two days after the attack, the police arrested David Rice, 27, who was located on a tip. He was also photographed using Charles Goldmark’s bank card by a bank-teller camera. Rice, an unemployed steelworker with a history of mental troubles and a record of two arrests for indecent exposure, had reportedly become fascinated with anti-Communism and anti-Semitism. Police found stacks of material on Communism and Judaism, as well as information on the Goldmark family, in the apartment where he was staying. Prosecutor William Downing said Rice seems to have attacked the Goldmarks in the belief that they were leaders in the American Communist Party. “That,” said Downing, “is clearly a mistaken belief.” Last week Rice entered a plea of innocent.

Rice’s brother Randy said David had been influenced by right-wing pamphlets handed out on the street in downtown Seattle. In fact, the lush and rainy metropolis has recently seen more than its share of the most virulent sort of hatemongering: while charges were being prepared against Rice, a Seattle jury found ten members of the vicious neo-Nazi group known as the Order guilty of racketeering after a trial in which they were accused of murder and 60 other crimes.

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