The Cheaters is a true-crime story about Walter Scott, the singer of the 1966 national hit song, "The Cheater." The Cheaters is a riveting psychological account focusing on the motivation factors which led Scott to being hog-tied, shot in the back, and dumped in a cistern for over three years before his body was discovered.
Touring as the lead singer for a St. Louis band, Scott started an affair with JoAnn Calcaterra. He got a divorce and tied the knot with JoAnn, had two kids with his new bride and settled down in St. Louis.
Then, after more than a decade of marriage, JoAnn started having an affair with an electrician named, "Big Jim." who worked on her house. Big Jim was married too, but his wife Sharon, died mysteriously when her car plummeted down an embankment.
Two months later, Scott returned home from a 1983 Christmas tour. And two days later, the entertainer vanished.
Nine months later, JoAnn divorced Scott in absence and wed Big Jim.
The Cheaters also takes the reader from the "innocent" 50s to a highly charged trial scene in the early 1990s. Priesmeyer's research has revealed real-life personalities behind the newspaper accounts. Scott's passion for singing dominated his life and he allowed no one to override this goal. People who knew the ultimately convicted murder, Jim Williams, described him as a congenial, generous person. Then what led Williams to be convicted of two murders (both of which he still denies committing), JoAnn, also faced capital murder charges, yet served only eighteen months in a Missouri correctional facility for "hindering the prosecution." Despite his denials, Big Jim was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Throughout The Cheaters, the reader finds that it is the unfaltering persistence of Walter Scott's elderly parents that finally brought the case to trial. Not only do strong psychological profiles penetrate each page, but also themes of greed, lust, and cheating unveil the motivating factors which sparked two grisly murders. The Cheaters holds within its pages a gripping true-life mystery that is easy to pick up, and hard to put down.
Police also discovered after reopening the case of Big Jim's late wife, that she suffered two serious blows to the back of her head and the driver's door was open and the seat pushed back as far as it could go although Sharon wasn't very tall before her car plunged over the embankment.
Meanwhile, friends wonder if Walter Scott could have become another Kenny Rogers or Neil Diamond if he would have lived.