This former cop will release a book about the Michael Vick case, and the details are graphic

“By now we have all heard about the 1997 drug-related murder of high school basketball player, Michael Vick — and, in our book, we have fully devoted a chapter to this tragedy,” reads a description of Michael de la Rionda’s forthcoming Confessional, a memoir that will include, among other details, graphic descriptions of the victim’s “extraordinary” final minutes.

“I stand here proud of my book,” de la Rionda, a Philadelphia-based executive for athletic apparel company Nike, tells The Washington Post. “I’ve done nothing but provide a true story of true football. … It gets my name in the news and put me on the map. And, to do that, I have to kill.”

The story of how De la Rionda, at the time still a 30-year-old college player, came to kill Allen Huddleston, a 19-year-old football player at Potomac High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is one of pain and redemption. De la Rionda, then an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office of Prince George’s County, went to Huddleston’s house in April 1997 to find someone else. What he did not know was that Huddleston, while laying in his bed, was already dead and that he had killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. The killing had been a botched robbery attempt.

Vick’s name did not appear in the book until a year after his death. It was the first time they had spoken. De la Rionda talked to the quarterback about his attempts to save Huddleston. They also spoke on the phone, but not until Vick was out of prison, and the two knew they could be called “friends.” De la Rionda’s own story, and his desperate need to tell it, captured the attention of the media as well as other, mainstream publications.

On February 25, 2007, an excerpt of the book appeared in Vanity Fair. More excerpts were published in People, National Enquirer, Rolling Stone, Newsday, USA Today, Allure, Complex, Newsweek, Fortune, GQ, Men’s Journal, ESPN The Magazine, Yahoo, and USA Today. De la Rionda was eventually subpoenaed by various judges. The release of his book on October 27 this year marks the first time that details of Huddleston’s death, and the role he played in it, have been published in a text since.

The attention and scrutiny De la Rionda drew was astounding. “My reaction was ‘My God, it’s unbelievable,'” he tells The Post. “For the first time, my name was being written about and no one knew who I was.”

De la Rionda, a product of Pontifical College Josephinum, read the reactions to the book to people and he was shocked by their number. Many people, he says, had said to him “Thank you for having the courage to tell the story.”

“I was amazed,” he says. “Because I didn’t want people to know who I was. I wanted to be left alone. I was a nice guy. I was supposed to be a nice guy. I never expected anyone to be following me.”

But it was not what the public saw. It was not what they saw when they saw photos of him with an open, wide smile as he recounted the story to reporters. “I was always smiling and laughing,” he said. “My face was just so very laid back. I guess my friends said, ‘Oh, he’s so laid back!'”

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