The prestigious Chicago-based public relations firm of Lawler, Schneider & Epps, whose impressive client roster includes such giants as RJR/Nabisco, PepsiCo and Bristol-Myers/Squibb, killed an innocent child yesterday, beating 7-year-old Chicago resident Jamie Wood to death in a secluded section of Grant Park.
“‘Kills’ is a harsh word,” said Lawler, Schneider & Epps spokesperson Elaine Scott of the murder. “We prefer to think that a young boy sadly passed away in a manner that was sudden, unfortunate, and perhaps even avoidable. We are taking significant steps to ensure that such a thing never happens again.”
According to police reports, late Monday night, several top executives from Lawler, Schneider & Epps cornered Wood and began taunting him and asking him where his mommy was. When the frightened Wood began to run, the executives chased the boy down and repeatedly hit him about the face and neck with a metal pipe. Cook County coroners pronounced the boy dead at the scene.
“This incident was largely the result of miscommunication among senior firm executives,” said John Smalley, Senior Account Supervisor in charge of the firm’s food and beverage accounts. “Somewhere along the way, signals got crossed and the go-ahead was given to begin smashing Jamie’s skull with a pipe. Once that happened, everyone was under the impression that the plan was to batter the boy mercilessly.”
In a damage control effort, the firm has undertaken a major PR campaign playing up the fact that it has never taken a child’s life before. In addition to television and magazine ads, billboards will be put up all over Chicago reading, “Thanks to Lawler, Schneider & Epps, Over Two Million Children Are Still Alive in Chicago Today.” Says another one: “Lawler, Schneider & Epps: Chicago’s Only ‘Kids First’ PR Firm. Why Else Would We Have Never Killed One Before?”
One magazine ad favorably compares the firm to a farm thresher, a piece of equipment that, on average, results in the accidental death of 15 children each year.
“Who would you trust your children to?” the ad reads. “The creative minds at Lawler, Schneider & Epps? Or a deadly farm thresher?”
According to Cook County D.A. Laurence Kirby, the PR executives involved in the killing will likely have to stand trial, a possibility that excites them.
“We’re all very excited to see how the American justice system works,” said David Walsh, a Senior Copywriter implicated in the murder. “Being put on trial gives us the rare chance to see it all from the inside. We couldn’t be happier with this turn of events.”
If found guilty, Walsh and the others face life imprisonment, and possibly execution.
“Being put to death would be an exciting new experience,” Walsh said. “I’m sure it’s something I’d never forget. Nothing could really be better than that.”
According to Senior Partner Matthew Epps, despite the tragic loss of young life, much good has come out of the fatal beating. “The Wood family is far better off without Jamie,” he said. “This will save thousands of dollars a year on food and clothes for an extra child, and free up nearly $80,000 that would have gone to his college education. Plus, Jamie’s parents can now focus all of their energy, attention and love on their remaining child, 9-year-old Nikki, and never again have to worry about dividing it between the two.”
To ensure that Lawler, Schneider & Epps does not lose any valuable corporate clients due to the potentially damaging murder, the firm has invested $3 million in a damage control campaign.
“There is always that danger that someone like Beatrice or Frito-Lay would jump to conclusions about our ability to conduct a PR campaign because we killed a young boy,” Epps said. “We want to make it clear that we are still fully capable of providing them with the best PR imaginable. And we have the color slides and 3-D pie charts to prove it.”