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Elmo Blatch is a major antagonist from the 1982 Stephen King book Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and its 1994 film adaptation The Shawshank Redemption. Despite appearing only briefly, he plays an extremely important role in the story. He is the real killer of Andy Dufresne's wife and lover, which is the crime Andy was imprisoned for.
He was portrayed by Bill Bolender in the 1994 film adaptation.
Elmo would often bragg to his cellmates about all the people he killed as well as the women he slept with. At one point, he got a job got a job bussing tables at a country club. He would look at the regulars who came to the country club to see which one he could rob.
He decided on golf pro Glenn Quinton, following him to his house one night. He entered the house and Glenn yelled at him. Elmo flew into a rage and drew his .38 special revolver, the muzzle of which he wrapped towels around to muffle the gunshots he used to murder Quinton and Andy's wife. Because Andy also owned a .38 caliber revolver, he was framed for the crime.
Once he was arrested for robbery, he had bragged about this particular crime to his cellmate Tommy Williams, who later told Andy about his crime once he was taken to Shawshank State Prison. Andy had attempted to convince Warden Norton of his innocence, but due to the Warden wanting to keep Andy from telling others about him laundering money, he refused to accept his "story". Later on, aided by Captain Byron Hadley, Norton gets Tommy killed to avoid him from testifying.
Due to the fact that Andy does not bother to clear his name after his escape from Shawshank Prison, and Norton kept Tommy quiet about him innocent, Blatch presumably got away with the crime, and given that his sentence for robbery was short, it's likely that he went back on the streets before Tommy's incarceration on Shawshank.
- While the film leaves it ambiguous, one interpretation of the movie indicates that Andy really killed his wife and her lover and the fact that he was much too drunk, coupled with his own guilt, blacked out the murder from his mind to the point of actually believing that he is innocent, assuming that Tommy just made up the story of Blatch believing that getting Andy out of prison would win to earn the respect of his fellow teammates. However, it is likely that Elmo was truly the culprit, because if such interpretation is true, then Tommy's subplot would have been useless for the film's story.