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Akre and Wilson had met ten years earlier at a conference of investigative reporters, while she was working in St. Louis. Their acquaintance blossomed into a friendship, then into a romance. And then they found themselves working in the same market: Wilson had taken a job with KGO-TV in San Francisco, an ABC affiliate and a Bay Area powerhouse. They made the most of their proximity by buying a home together in Fremont, a suburb midway between San Jose and Oakland. But complications were inevitable: Wilson was going through a bitter divorce and child-custody battle.
In December of 1988, Akre landed a reporter/anchor position with Miami's Channel 7. The next month Wilson was hired by Inside Edition. Together they bought a home in Weston.
Steve Wilson was not the only man attracted to Jane Akre. She had also caught the attention of George Martin-Trigona.
The obsession was born at three o'clock in the morning on January 10, 1985, when Akre appeared on Martin-Trigona's television set. At the time, he was preoccupied with subjects other than late-night TV; he had been studying and writing about the World War II Battle of Kursk. But the moment was, as Martin-Trigona likes to say, "the hand of fate intervening in my life once again." Something clicked, and in an instant he knew he was looking at a "very tightly put together person. She had no outward visible faults."
Martin-Trigona immediately picked up the phone and traced the image on his screen to CNN's studios in Atlanta. Before she had left the air at 7:00 a.m., he had tried to call her five times. He left messages, but she did not respond. Most people would have given up right there.
"Akre is a very extraordinary, unique woman. There is no one else on the planet like her. I think I am right about this," Martin-Trigona says confidently. "She has more fire in her than any woman I have ever met. The nursing homes are full of old-age versions of Jane Akre. They are women so full of fire they incinerate any man who comes near them, and they are left alone with no one to care for them. I know you might think this is strange, but I am fully certain that if Jane Akre and I ever got together, I would be facing 50 years of pure hell. But I can take it. I would just let it bounce off me."
Sex? Martin-Trigona says it's not really part of his thing. Kathy Willets, for example, "does nothing for me. When I see her I see a s-l-u-t." He reports his last serious affair was a former Miss New Orleans he quit sleeping with in 1986. A childhood sweetheart was his main squeeze for seventeen years, "until she got married, divorced, and fat." Still, he keeps a copy of the woman's high school yearbook picture framed on his desk. "I have a weakness," he notes, "of falling for a woman and sticking with it through hell or high water."
He likens his pursuit of Jane Akre to the intense "searches" he often conducts in the Library of Congress, and says he has not dared allow himself to imagine anything further than "Round 1" -- meeting and talking, "reaching" her. But even this, he concedes, has been a frustrating endeavor: "Sometimes, the way she looks at me, well, it's like I raped her just by trying to give her a gift."
George M-T, as he signs his love letters to Akre, was born and reared in a well-to-do section of Middletown, Connecticut. His father was a successful businessman, his mother a university professor. His sister is a linguist and interpreter who is fluent in five languages. His brother, Anthony Martin, is a well-known maverick Republican politician from the Tampa area who ran for governor of Florida in the last election. His cousin is the ex-prime minister of Malta.
He admits his family is uncomfortable with his longstanding interest in Akre, but what can they do? "My brother told me not to talk to any reporters about Jane Akre," he laughs. "But I don't always listen to him. We've always gone our separate ways. When my mother asked me why I won't give up, I tell her the same thing I told her when she couldn't understand why I wanted to enlist in the Marines and go to Vietnam: There have to be some people willing to fight for this country against the Communists. And there has to be somebody to love the [Jane Akres] of the world."
As a teen-ager, baseball was Martin-Trigona's passion. He flew to St. Petersburg in 1965, walked up to Casey Stengel, and asked if he could pitch for the New York Mets. The Old Professor put him on the mound, clocked his fastball at 78 mph, and told him to find another line of work. Classic photos of Martin-Trigona standing next to Stengel and pitching great Warren Spahn adorn the walls of his bedroom. From a drawer he pulls out an odd collection of snapshots that show him perched atop a light tower at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., on the day the old Senators ballpark was demolished.