Diane Whitmore grew up in the Midwest. She was a smart girl and, as she matured, she was looking forward to an exciting life as an independent, sophisticated woman. But when it came to men, Diane had a bad picker. Diane married Joe Pikul after meeting him at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. He was exciting to her: wealthy and outgoing but emotionally unstable with a terrible temper. By the time the couple had children, they were fighting regularly. Joe’s behavior had progressed from emotionally to physically abusive.
Join us at the quiet end for One Last Family Weekend. Diane’s friends feared for her safety, so they were all relieved when she finally decided to leave Joe. But, at the same time, they worried about Diane taking unnecessary risks. Her brave exterior could no longer cover up how frightened she had become of her husband. Joe asked Diane to meet him at their vacation home in the Hamptons for one last family weekend. She knew this was a bad idea, but she felt obligated to go for the sake of her children. This was a decision she wouldn’t live long enough to regret.
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4 Years After His Death, Pikul Poses Problems for Offspring, New York Times, Joan Ullman, 9/19/1993
Marrying the Hangman by Sheila Weller
Matter of Pikul, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, 8/5/1993
Mystery in the Hamptons, Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege, & Justice, S1 E6
Wife Killer Dies While He Waits for Prison Term, New York Times, James Feron, 6/23/1989