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Jun 18 11 12:15 PM

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In a shocking story that dates back to 1957, Burt Pugach met Linda Riss and decided he had to have her. But when Linda gets fed up from Burt's lies to her about his divorce having come through, she decides to stop seeing him. Burt did not take this well, and ended up spending some time in jail as well as a mental hospital.

Over the years, Burt's obsession with Linda became more intense. He told Linda that if he can't have her, he'll make sure no one else wants her. He became aware of Linda's engagement and hired someone to make a delivery to Linda that was to be an "engagement" gift. the package contained acid, which caused Linda to go blind. Her engagement ended once the newspapers stopped reporting the story. Linda found herself very alone, and wearing dark glasses all the time.

Eventually, Burt and Linda began talking again, right after an interview  in which he apologized for everything. Despite the fact that she was blinded by a man hired to throw acid in her face, she and Burt managed to reconcile.

There is a documentary called Crazy Love, and shows how all of this insanity turned into what appears to be a happy marriage still, 27 years later. I highly recommend it if you, like me, are really interested in this incredible tale.

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#1 [url]

Jun 18 11 5:56 PM

What an awful person (him!)  Either she decided he loved her that much, or she
capitulated out of thinking no one else would love/want her...or whatever reason
she told herself.  Happy marriage or not, I think it's appalling. Did he serve time?

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#2 [url]

Jun 19 11 9:08 AM

What an awful person (him!)  Either she decided he loved her that much, or she
capitulated out of thinking no one else would love/want her...or whatever reason
she told herself.  Happy marriage or not, I think it's appalling. Did he serve time?


He did serve time, both in a jail and a hospital for the criminally insane. While he was in jail, he was sending Linda money that he was making in the jail, defending the inmates, specifically getting three murder convictions overturned in a row.  When he came before the parole board, he was asked if he would keep sending Linda money, and he said he would if he had it. After this statement, he was out on parole.


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#3 [url]

Jun 19 11 7:10 PM

Imo he didn't serve enough time, and should still be in prison. He hasn't changed
his behaviour over the years either.

"If I can't have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you,
no one else will want you."
He got exactly what he wanted. Her fiance at the time, and a later suitor both rejected
Linda due to her disfigurement. It's likely they also couldn't deal with Burton's stalking
of her.

He was already married, with a mentally disabled child.

"1958 - November 19 - The Special Committee on Professional Conduct formally
           charged Weitz and Pugach for engaging in illegal activity relating to fee splitting.

1959 - He begins an affair with Linda, who is unaware that he's married. Once
          she finds out, she breaks it off and leaves him.

He hires 3 thugs to throw lye in Linda's face, blinds her in one eye, leaving
her bald and scarred.

1962 - Burton Pugach is sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison for the crime.

1974 - Burton Pugach is released.
         "When he was released in 1974, Pugach and Riss resumed their relationship
          and married soon thereafter. In 1976 they co-wrote a book, A Very Different
          Love Story."

1996 - Pugach is accused of threatening another woman, 42. He was having an
          affair while married to Linda.  Linda R. Pugach appears at his trial as a
          character witness.

The Smallest Minority
"Burton Pugach , a 70-year-old ex-lawyer accused of terrorizing a former
 lover has rejected a deal to serve 60 days in jail and three years probation,
 choosing  instead to become his own lawyer. Pugach would face a one-
 year sentence if convicted on charges of aggravated harassment and
 sexual abuse.

According to the Associated Press, in 1959, Pugach, who was married to
someone else, was convicted of hiring three thugs to throw lye in the face
of girlfriend Linda Riss because she threatened to leave him. He served 14
years in prison. Then, after divorcing his first wife, he married Riss.

A disbarred Pugach then allegedly began a campaign of harassment when
his 42-year-old girlfriend tried to end their five-year affair and started dating
a younger man. The woman has testified that Pugach threatened to hire
someone to kill her."

He only gets 15 days. 
Pugach, 69, of Forest Hills, allegedly threatened the woman because
she recently ended their relationship. He allegedly said, "If I can't have
you, no one else can." He also said: "Since you do not want to have
dinner with me, tonight will be your last dinner," and "I will pay for
your funeral," according to court papers.  Pugach could not be reached
for comment, but during his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court
Wednesday, he said Riss has forgiven him again.

"My wife has said, 'Don't let it happen again,' and I said I would," Pugach said.
He said his wife now needs him to help her take medication for a serious illness.
"I have an obligation to my wife," Pugach said, his voice rising and hands
waving in the air.

" She said she's also forgiven his five-year affair with the 42-year-old ex-mistress.
"I don't want anything bad to happen to him," she said softly.
She appeared to give her husband an excuse for straying, testifying that
her health deteriorated after heart surgery in 1990. "I was not able to have
sex with my husband. I was so terribly weakened I was at death's door,"
she said, adding that she lost what little vision remained in one eye.
She said she believes Pugach's accuser is trying to get even for wasting
five years on a man who would not marry her. "I'm still angry, very angry,
that he cheated," she said. "But should he go to jail for that? Come on."

Linda Riss

Now she says she's forgiven him for his affair. And she says the only
reason he's been charged in this case is because of his past.
Over the years, Mrs. Pugach credited a number of factors for her
decision to marry the man responsible for blinding her: a Christian
sense of forgiveness, the advice of a fortuneteller, her increasing
belief that the police were to blame, the fear that another woman
would scoop up Mr. Pugach. "One friend told me," she said, "that
Burt could leave his shoes under her bed any night." But mostly,
she cited her need to move forward. "If you're going to remain
bitter and obsessed,'' she said, "it will destroy you."

Linda Riss & Burt Pugach Back in the day
"The tail end of the documentary shows Linda in a piss-poor mood, one you
get the impression is constant. She alludes to the fact that she married Burt
to punish him with her rotten temperament until they die."


Most striking about their relationship is not Mrs. Pugach’s lingering
resentment, not her husband’s less-than-evident remorse, and not
even their mutual dependence, but the marriage’s frank descent into

They even argued about what precisely rekindled their relationship after Mr.
 Pugach was paroled from Attica. “When I came out, Linda was stalking me,”
 he said.  “He’s not telling you why,” Mrs. Pugach returned sharply. “It was
because he spoiled me, sending me $100 dollars a week. Then the checks
stopped coming.” Mr. Pugach shrugged. “I didn’t really have it,” he said.
 “And I forgot.”

Having reached a kind of wary truce with her past, Miss Riss eventually
agreed to marry the man who had maimed her. Why? “It’s not that
complicated,” she said dryly. “Things get boring after a while. There
was nothing terribly exciting in my life at the time.”

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