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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 31.0° F  Overcast
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The book on Barbara Hoffman
From the Isthmus archives, Sept. 21, 1990
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On Christmas Day in 1977, the naked body of Harry Berge was pulled from a snow bank in Middleton. Three months later, the man who led police to the scene, Jerry Davies, was also dead. Barbara Hoffman, a pretty 25-year-old Madison massage-parlor worker, was charged with killing both men. Though this was one of the most notorious and salacious murder cases in Madison history, the full tale was not told until 1990 with the publication of Madison resident Karl Harter's chilling book, Winter of Frozen Dreams, excerpts of which were reprinted by Isthmus. As Bill Lueders recounts in his accompanying article, Harter blended fact and fiction to present a riveting tale of how Hoffman persuaded both men to make her the beneficiaries of their life insurance policies before they ended up dead. Hoffman was convicted of killing Berge but acquitted by the same jury of killing Davies; she remains in prison. Winter of Frozen Dreams was made into an unriveting film last year.

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