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|JOURNAL OF THE
A Story of Friendship and
Murder in the New Mexico Desert
In the summer of 1999, best friends Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin set off from Boston on an American rite of passage—a road trip across the United States. Their journey would take a fatal turn when, after camping out for the night in New Mexico’s desert, they failed to find their way back to their car. With no water left, the pair battled to save themselves, but when help arrived four days later, only Kodikian was left alive. In what he alleged was a mercy killing, he had stabbed Coughlin in the heart, twice.
Authorities would charge Kodikian with murder, setting off an unprecedented criminal case that would raise profound questions about the facts, morality, and friendship. Had there been a darker motive than mercy? Was Kodikian’s act justifiable? Would you, under similar circumstances, do the same thing?
Journal of the Dead, a New York Times Notable Book, is the true story of that case. A riveting work of investigative journalism, it places readers into the heart of the canyon and the courtroom and allows them to answer the questions for themselves.