Last it was reported that actress, director, and Hal Hartley muse Adrienne Shelly had committed suicide in her Greenwich Village apartment. The news was baffling: Shelly’s indie film career was steaming along. She had a 3-year-old daughter. Her husband said he’d seen no hint of depression and contended that the woman he knew would never have killed herself.
Apparently, she didn’t. A 19-year-old construction worker was arrested and charged yesterday with Shelly’s murder, after what police say was an altercation over noise — or what New Yorkers call “a normal morning.” Shelly complained about the construction next door, and, according to police, the worker snapped and struck her in the face — then made it look like she’d hanged herself. (Though inquiries continue, several investigators told the New York Times that the worker has admitted to the crime.)
Who is the suspect? You’ve heard it before: A kid, quiet, considerate, sent money home to his parents in Ecuador. It would appear he just suddenly, inexplicably exploded, his humanity vanishing in a flash of rage. No sex, no drama, and no titillating third-act Law & Order twist – apparently, just two strangers colliding, with fatal and meaningless results. It’s the sort of horror we have the most trouble processing: the random and banal.