"A harrowing tale of one woman's struggle . . . A must read."
-- Author and former FBI agent Joseph A. Pistone, aka Donnie Brasco
"Rother has produced a superior study of a serial killer and his lost and lonely victims." -- Author Carol Anne Davis
TWISTED TRIANGLE (paperback)
A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair, and the FBI Husband's Violent Revenge
This is the crazy but factual account of a kidnapping, an attempted murder, and a love triangle involving two married FBI agents, Margo and Gene Bennett, and crime novelist Patricia Cornwell. The story made national headlines when it broke in 1996, but Caitlin is the first writer to tell Margo's exclusive story. Gene kidnapped and threatened to kill Margo twice. He caught her unawares the first time, but he went to federal prison on fraud charges. She was ready for him the second time, and again helped prosecutors send him to prison, this time for attempted murder and weapons charges.
This book was originally published in hardcover by Wiley/Jossey Bass in 2008, and also was translated into French and sold in Canada (see below.) It is currently out of print, but Caitlin has a limited number of copies of all editions available for collectors.
It was Margo's dream come true to work for the FBI, which, after serving as a campus police officer, she saw as the nation's elite law enforcement agency. On her very first day on the job, she met Gene Bennett, a wonder boy undercover agent, in the Atlanta field office, and soon they fell in love. They ended up in different offices until they decided to get married, then were both moved to the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, where Gene worked for a while as a liaison to the White House, backgrounding employees. They had two daughters, and then he went bad, submitting fraudulent insurance claims and defrauding the FBI.
Margo was excited to start a job as an instructor at the FBI's Quantico Academy, where she met crime novelist Patricia "Patsy" Cornwell, who signed her books and began giving her gifts--a silk shirt, a nice pen, and even a gold ring. They had a brief affair, but they broke it off because they both sensed that Gene knew they were lovers.
By this time, Margo wanted out of the marriage. Gene was angry, but wouldn't make the divorce easy. In fact, he kidnapped Margo just before she was about to testify against him in federal court. He went to prison, and they both lost their FBI jobs. When he got out, he was still furious, so he concocted a complicated, bizarre revenge scheme to make Margo look crazy, planting dildo bombs at the campus where she worked. Then Gene coerced her minister into luring her to a Methodist church, where he threatened to blow them both up with explosives. But this time Margo was ready, and fought off Gene with pepper spray and a gun. He was later arrested for attempting to kill his estranged wife and her minister by blowing them up in a Methodist church.
She re-enacted the scene in the church office for the jury during Gene's trial, when he claimed his alter ego, Evil Ed, had actually committed the crimes. Prosecutors Paul Sanders and Jim Willett won their case and the jury found Gene guilty. They recommended 61 years in prison, but the judge reduced the sentence to only 23.
The jury recommended 61 years in prison, but the judge reduced the sentence to only 23, giving Margo some time to recover and get a new job working for the campus police department at the University of California, Berkeley, and to even do a couple of book signings with Caitlin.
Gene was released from state prison in 2016. After serving an additional year in federal prison for violating his parole, he was set free and is living in an undisclosed location. Margo was promoted and is the police chief at UC Berkeley.