Death Trap by M. William Phelps (March 2010)

Publication Date:
March 2012
Pinnacle True Crime

Reviewed by:
5 Stars
On April 2, 2012
Last modified:June 27, 2012


A bitter divorce, a woman scorned, a heated child custody dispute - how could it not be the recipe for one heck of a book?!

Jessica McCord had trouble understanding the word “no” when it applied to her.

And this was never so true as when her husband Alan Bates decided after two children and four years of marriage that things were simply not working. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back was Jessica’s affair which gave Alan the courage to say the word he had been thinking for quite some time:  divorce.

Death Trap by M. William Phelps

From that point on, Alan’s life became a living hell.   When Jessica wasn’t out sleeping with every man who crossed her path, she was driving a wedge between Alan and his children.

Despite numerous efforts on Alan’s part personally and by way of the Court room, Jessica repeatedly denied Alan his parenting time. When Alan decided enough was enough, having given Jessica too many chances to adhere to the Court Orders, he filed for custody.

Jessica knew she would lose.  Between her lies and the obvious disdain for authority, she saw her future:  Alan would have custody and she would receive no child support. He had to be stopped.  And she knew just the person to do it:  Jeff McCord, her new husband – and a cop trained to kill.

M. William Phelps‘ 2010 true crime Death Trap is an extremely in-depth look into the Alabama case that is every divorced fathers’ nightmare.

I particularly enjoy Phelps’ ability to relate the details of a case without the mundanity of an arrest warrant.  From the history of those involved to the conviction, Phelps keeps a reader glued to the pages.  With feelings of rage and sympathy and sadness, it is a complete emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end.

Really, just how good is it?  I completed this 432 page book in less than 24 hours.

While I’ve loved almost all of Phelps’ books, this one, by far, is the best.   Why?  Because, sadly, we all know someone like Jessica McCord.   This will hit close to home for everyone who reads it.

Death Trap should be at the TOP of your true crime list.   You don’t want to miss this book sure to be one of the top 10 true crime for 2010!


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>> WARNING! The Following Could Contain Spoilers <<

While Fathers’ rights are making headway in Courtrooms across this great nation, too many places still hold true to the old myth that Mother is always best.

Alan Bates believed it, too.  Hence why it took him many, many Court appearances to file for custody.

Even when Jessica was jailed for contempt and Alan was awarded temporary custody; at their next Court hearing custody was returned to Jessica pending the final hearing.

Seriously?  What more does a Court need as evidence to prove that Mom, in this case, is not the right choice?  That she does NOT have the best interest of the children at heart – which is a common factor found in each state used to determine custody.

Face it, when a WOMAN, a MOTHER, gets tossed in the clinker for contempt in a domestic case, it’s because the Court has tried everything else.  Jail time for contempt is a LAST RESORT.

There will be some who read this story and think that Jessica had her reasons for doing what she did.  Of course, even I realize that there is three sides to every divorce story:  his, hers, and the truth.

But Court records and Jessica’s complete disregard for the Orders of the Court speak volumes.

Jessica McCord is the very reason that Fathers’ rights groups were created.

Unfortunately, the strides they have made in child custody came too late for Alan Bates and his children.   But I hope they refer frequently to this case and do not let his death be in vain.

And my final thoughts….

Why is that so many women, when convicted of a vicious crime such as this (and the evidence is so obvious she did it), get on a witness stand and play the “mother” card?

Alan Bates was a father.  A good father.  But he didn’t have a “Daddy” card to play.

And juries have difficulty sentencing women and, especially mothers, to death.

We burned our bras, demanded equal rights.  So that means equality EVERYWHERE.  Even in the Court rooms.  And when MOMMY kills DADDY out of spite, even more so.

No, I am not a woman hater.  I AM a woman.  I am even a divorced woman, who has had a few tiffs with my ex.

But I am also the wife of a man whose ex wife has alienated the child right out of his life.   From the day they separated, she made it her mission to punish him.

Truth is, the child is the one who has paid the price.

Someday there will be a reconcilation for her and others like her.  And chances are we will be completely unaware of it because karma seems to work in the most underhanded ways, without a great deal of fanfare.

Yet, that is not what my husband seeks.  Instead it is to reunite himself with his child.

We hold out hope that someday he will have the opportunity that Alan Bates was denied.

Sadly, we are not alone.  Just read a few divorce forums to see how frequently this happens; how many parents (men and women) use their children as pawns in their games of revenge and one upmanship.

I, personally, however, will continue to live by the adage that I must love my child more than I hate my ex.

And I urge you, if you are or find yourself involved in a nasty divorce, to do the same.  Please.  For the sake of the children.

For more information on how you can make the best for your children out of a bad divorce situation, please read Divorce Poison: How To Protect Your Family from Bad-Mouthing and Brainwashing.

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5 Responses to “Death Trap by M. William Phelps (March 2010)”

  1. BBB says:

    Jessica MCCord was clearly mentally ill. She is an extreme case.

  2. Nanette Valencia says:

    How did someone as ugly as Jessica marry a good looking man like Alan anyway?

  3. Norine Marquette says:

    I wondered too, how she got her (then) current husband, Jeff McCord, a cop, to risk everything to help her murder Alan & his new wife. She did seem unattractive and unpleasant, certainly no femme fatale. So, why?

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