Book signing to be held for local author of book about Potato Hill killings


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A book signing will be held by the author who told the story of Bernard Hatch, the man who was a local serial killer before the term was coined.

Thomas Blanchfield, a local author and former professor, wrote the book A Killer Named Hatch: Massacre on Potato Hill and will hold a book signing on Wednesday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Elks Club on Champlin Avenue in Utica.

Blanchfield told the story of Bernard Hatch, the man who was convicted of murder in 1975 after bodies starting showing up in shallow graves on Potato Hill in the Town of Steuben.

Hatch's four-month trial was the most expensive in Oneida County history, costing taxpayers more than $1 million. Hatch still serving his 25 years to life prison sentence. He's eligible for parole in June.

On Friday, Hatch's granddaughter told her story to NEWSChannel 2's Joleen Ferris about knowing the demons of being a murderer's relative.

"Bewilderment; I just couldn't fathom the creature, the monster that my grandfather actually was and the torture he put not only his victims through but my mother and my grandmother as well," says Vanessa, who asked that her last name not be revealed.

Vanessa's grandmother, Hatch's wife, Andrea, committed suicide in 1974. Vanessa's mother and Hatch's daughter, Cassandra Hatch, died five years ago. She left behind a black briefcase. Until recently, Vanessa couldn't summon the strength to open it. When she finally did, she learned her apprehension wasn't unfounded.

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