Here’s how Chi Trib told about three witnesses telling Cicero cops about the Valentine’s Day fire-setters, boldface added:
Two days after the fire, three people reported to Cicero police that they had heard Myers and Comier discuss burning down the building, authorities said. One of the witnesses agreed to wear a wire and record conversations between the two men, according to court documents.
Same thing, Sun-Times:
Two days after the blaze, three people told Cicero police they overheard Myers and Comier talking about their part in the fire. Investigators wired one person up, and that person recorded a series of conversations with the two defendants over five days, . . . .
Me, I read the Trib story first and wondered when they had overheard (more precise than heard, hence better communication) M. & C. They reported two days after the fire, but they had heard? When?
Then I read S-T, its overheard and talking about their part in the fire, vs. discuss burning down the building, as if they had yet to do it, and “of course,” I said: They heard it after the fire. And I continued with the story, which I found satisfactory if gruesome.
Another difference. Trib on the perpetrators’ vulgarities:
“Where the (expletive) did you get that I’m going to get you $15,000?” Lacy quoted Myers saying. “At the best you get $5,000.”
In one taped conversation, [Comier] explained how he ignited the blaze with a mixture of gas and oil that would mask the accelerant’s smell, according to documents.
“I dumped it on there, threw a match and that was it,” he is accused of saying. “I thought this (expletive) out for too long.”
S-T, offering better detail:
Comier was recorded saying he set the fire “in a different way,” blending oil and gasoline, which he believed would hide the gas smell.
“I thought this s— out for too long, man,” Comier said, according to Lacy.
Myers and Comier apparently had different ideas about Comier’s compensation from the insurance money, according to the transcript Lacy read.
“Where the f— did you get that I’m going to get you $15,000?” Myers is caught on tape telling Comier, Lacy said. “At the best you get $5,000. At the least you get $3,000.”
Now. Why make the reader supply the (fucking) expletive? It’s a matter of smooth, rapid comprehension, which S-T facilitates.
Yet another thing, same exchanges. S-T account is richer in detail and directness, which if you don’t see, I’m not going to bother to explain. Composition by committee at Trib? Could be. Three bylines there are, plus two more acknowledgments at the end:
Stacy St. Clair and Gerry Smith are Tribune reporters. Victoria Pierce is a freelance reporter. Tribune reporter Ray Gibson and freelancer Joseph Ruzich also contributed to this report.
S-T? Either somebody on rewrite is being overlooked or “KARA SPAK Staff Reporter” is Da Woman on this one, all alone, tapping out something readable.