Peter Braunstein, WWD Writer Turned Tabloid Monster, Still Has Issues

In an exclusive excerpt from the ebook <em>Speak of the Devil,</em> Braunstein's former colleague sits down with the 'Fire Fiend.'

Peter’s lengthy prison sentence, 41 years to life, was based to some extent on a legal technicality. The most serious charge against him, kidnapping, applies in New York State only after a victim is held forcibly for 12 hours. Peter remained in the woman’s apartment for 13, though he spent a good deal of that time watching TV and eating snacks.

He has no plans to appeal his sentence, he said, nor the slightest desire ever to leave prison. In fact, he may have assured that he would die behind bars when he stood trial in Cincinnati for his armed robbery of a psychiatrist while on the run. Prosecutors negotiated a plea bargain that would have meant the terms would have been served concurrently, but the deal fell apart when Peter gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which he described the local authorities as “so Dukes of Hazzard” and insisted that if ever released he would “go on a homicidal rampage.” The judge sentenced him to 23 years, to be served after his time in New York is over.

I asked him why he wanted to spend his life in prison. “Like I really want to hit the streets again when I’m 65? Yeah, that’s a good life,” he said. “In this economy. Fast forward to then, where you got like 27 percent unemployment and people are going to be hunting squirrels for food.”

This story is excerpted from Speak of the Devil, an e-book available at the Kindle Singles store for Kindle and iPad, and at for Nook.