Chapter Nine

"Fine. All motions must be filed and pretrial matters disposed of by Monday, July 8. Arraignment is set for tomorrow at nine. Any questions?"

Jake stood and shook hands with Noose and Musgrove, and left.

After lunch he visited his famous client in Ozzie's office at the jail. A copy of the indictment had been served on Carl Lee in his cell. He had some questions for his lawyer.

"What's capital murder?"

"The worst kind."

"How many kinds are there?"

"Basically three. Manslaughter, regular murder, and capital murder."

"What's manslaughter?"

"Twenty years."

"What's regular murder?"

"Twenty to life."

"What's capital murder?"

"Gas chamber."

"What's aggravated assault on an officer?"

"Life. No parole."

Carl Lee studied the indictment carefully. "You mean I got two gas chambers and a life sentence."

"Not yet. You're entitled to a trial first. Which, by the way, has been set for July 22."

"That's two months away! Why so long?"

"We need the time. It'll take that long to find a psychiatrist who'll say you were crazy. Then Buckley gets to send you to Whitfield to be examined by the State's doctors, and they'll all say you were not crazy at the time. We file motions, Buckley files motions, we have a bunch of hearings. It takes time."

"No way to have it sooner?"

"We don't want it sooner."

"What if I do?" Carl Lee snapped.

Jake studied him carefully. "What's the matter, Dig man?"

"I gotta get outta here, and fast."

"I thought you said jail wasn't so bad."

"It ain't, but I need to get home. Gwen's outta money, can't find a job. Lester's in trouble with his wife. She's callin' all the time, so he won't last much longer. I hate to ask my folk for help."

"But they will, won't they?"

"Some. They got their own problems. You gotta get me outta here, Jake."

"Look, you'll be arraigned in the morning at nine. The trial is July 22, and the date won't be changed, so forget about that. Have I explained the arraignment to you?"

Carl Lee shook his head.

"It won't last twenty minutes. We appear before Judge Noose in the big courtroom. He'll ask you some questions, then ask me some questions. He'll read the indictment to you in open court, and ask if you've received a copy. Then he'll ask you to plead guilty or not guilty. When you answer not guilty, he'll set the trial date. You'll sit down, and me and Buckley will get into a big fight over your bond. Noose will refuse to set a bond, then they'll bring you back to the jail, where you'll stay until the trial."

"What about after the trial?"

Jake smiled. "Naw, you won't be in jail after the trial."

"You promise?"

"Nope. No promises. Any questions about tomorrow?"

"No. Say, Jake, uh, how much money did I pay you?"

Jake hesitated and smelled trouble. "Why do you ask?"

"Just thinkin'."

"Nine hundred, plus a note."

Gwen had less than a hundred dollars. Bills were due and food was low. She had visited on Sunday and cried for an hour. Panic was a part of her life, her makeup, her composition. But he knew they were broke and she was scared. Her family would be of little help, maybe some vegetables from the garden and a few bucks for milk and eggs. When it came to funerals and hospital stays they were very dependable. They were generous and gave of their time freely to wail and moan and put on a show. But when real money was

needed they scattered like chickens. He had little use for her family, and his wasn't much better.

He wanted to ask Jake for a hundred dollars, but decided to wait until Gwen was completely broke. It would be easier then.

Jake flipped through his legal pad and waited for Carl Lee to ask for money. Criminal clients, especially the blacks, always asked for some of the fee back after it was paid. He doubted he would ever see more than nine hundred dollars, and he was not about to return any. Besides, the blacks always took care of their own. The families would be there and the churches would get involved. No one would starve.

He waited and placed the legal pad and file in his briefcase. "Any questions, Carl Lee?"

"Yeah. What can I say tomorrow?"

"What do you want to say?"

"I wanna tell that judge why I shot them boys. They raped my daughter. They needed shootin'."

"And you want to explain that to the judge tomorrow?"


"And you think he'll turn you loose once you explain it all?"

Carl Lee said nothing.

"Look, Carl Lee, you hired me to be your lawyer. And you hired me because you have confidence in me, right? And if I want you to say something tomorrow, I'll tell you. If I don't, you stay quiet. When you go to trial in July you'll have the chance to tell your side. But in the meantime, I'll do the talking."

"You got that right."

Lester and Gwen piled the boys and Tonya in the red Cadillac and drove to the doctor's building next to the hospital. The rape was two weeks in the past. Tbnya walked with a slight limp and wanted to run and climb steps with her brothers. But her mother held her hand. The soreness in her legs and buttocks was almost gone, the bandages on her wrists and ankles had been removed by the doctor last week, and the cuts were healing nicely. The gauze and cotton between her legs remained.

In a small room she unaressea anu sat HCAI mother on a padded table. Her mother hugged her and helped her stay warm. The doctor poked in her mouth and rubbed her jaw. He held her wrists and ankles and inspected them. He laid her on the table and touched between her legs. She cried and clutched her mother, who leaned over her.

She was hurting again.

At five Wednesday morning, Jake sipped coffee in his office and stared through the French doors across the dark courtyard square. He had slept fitfully, and several hours earlier had given up and left his warm bed in a desperate effort to find a nameless Georgia case that, as he thought he remembered from law school, required the judge to allow bail in a capital murder case if the defendant had no prior criminal record, owned property in the county, had a stable job, and had plenty of relatives nearby. It had not been found. He did find a battery of recent, well-reasoned, clear, and unambiguous Mississippi cases allowing the judge complete discretion in denying bail to such defendants. That was the law and Jake now knew it well, but he needed something to argue to Ichabod. He dreaded asking bail for Carl Lee. Buckley would scream and preach and cite those wonderful cases, and Noose would smile and listen, then deny bail. Jake would get his tail kicked in the first skirmish.

"You're here early this morning, sweetheart," Dell said to her favorite customer as she poured his coffee.

"At least I'm here." He had missed a few mornings since the amputation. Looney was popular, and there was resentment at the Coffee Shop and around town for Hailey's lawyer. He was aware of it and tried to ignore it.

There was resentment among many for any lawyer who would defend a nigger for killing two white men.

"You got a minute?" Jake asked.

"Sure," Dell said, looking around. At five-fifteen, the cafe was not yet full. She sat across from Jake in a small booth and poured coffee.

"What's the talk in here?" he asked.

"The usual. Politics, fishing, farming. It never changes. I've been here for twenty-one years, serving the same food to the same people, and they're still talking about the same things."

"Nothing new?"

"Hailey. We get a lotta talk about tnat. except wiicn me strangers are here, then it goes back to the usual."


"Because if you act like you know anything about the case, some reporter will follow you outside with a bunch of questions."

"That bad, huh?"

"No. It's great. Business has never been better."

Jake smiled and buttered his grits, then added Tabasco.

"How do you feel about the case?"

Dell scratched her nose with long, red, fake fingernails and blew into her coffee. She was famous for her bluntness, and he was hoping for a straight answer.

"He's guilty. He killed them. It's cut and dried. But he had the best damned excuse I've ever seen. There's some sympathy for him."

"Let's say you're on the jury. Guilty or innocent?"

She watched the front door and waved at a regular. "Well, my instinct is to forgive anyone who kills a rapist. Especially a father. But, on the other hand, we can't allow people to grab guns and hand out their own justice. Can you prove he was crazy when he did it?"

"Let's assume I can."

"Then I would vote not guilty, even though I don't think he was crazy."

He smeared strawberry preserves on dry toast and nodded his approval.

"But what about Looney?" she asked. "He's a friend of mine."

"It was an accident."

"Is that good enough?"

"No. No, it's not. The gun did not go off by accident. Looney was accidentally shot, but I doubt if that's a valid defense. Would you convict him for shooting Looney?",

"Maybe," she answered slowly. "He lost a leg."

How could he be insane when he shot Cobb and Wil-lard, and not when he shot Looney, Jake thought, but didn't ask. He changed the subject.

"What's the gossip on me?"

"About the same. Someone was asking where you were the other day, and said you don't have time for us now that

you're a celebrity. I've heard some mumbling, about you and the nigger, but it's pretty quiet. They don't criticize you loudly. I won't let them."

"You're a sweetheart."

"I'm a mean bitch and you know it."

"No. You just try to be."

"Yeah, watch this." She jumped from the booth and shouted abuse at a table of farmers who had motioned for more coffee. Jake finished alone, and returned to the office.

When Ethel arrived at eight-thirty, two reporters were loitering on the sidewalk outside the locked door. They followed Ethel inside and demanded to see Mr. Brigance. She refused, and asked them to leave. They refused, and repeated their demand. Jake heard the commotion downstairs and locked his door. Let Ethel fight with them.

From his office he watched a camera crew set up by the rear door of the courthouse. He smiled and felt a wonderful surge of adrenaline. He could see himself on the evening news walking briskly, stern, businesslike, across the street followed by reporters begging for dialogue but getting no comments. And this was just the arraignment. Imagine the trial! Cameras everywhere, reporters yelling questions, front page stories, perhaps magazine covers. An Atlanta paper had called it the most sensational murder in the South in twenty years. He would have taken the case for free, almost.

Moments later he interrupted the argument downstairs, and warmly greeted the reporters. Ethel disappeared into the conference room.

"Could you answer some questions?" one of them asked.

"No," Jake answered politely. "I have to meet with Judge Noose."

"Just a couple of questions?"

"No. But there will be a press conference at three P.M." Jake opened the door, and the reporters followed him onto the sidewalk.

"Where's the press conference?"

"In my office."

"What's the purpose?"

"To discuss the case."

Jake walked slowly across the street and up the short

driveway to the courthouse answering questions along me way.

"Will Mr. Hailey be at the press conference?"

"Yes, along with his family."

"The girl, too?"

"Yes, she will be there."

"Will Mr. Hailey -answer questions?"

"Maybe. I haven't decided."

Jake said good day, and disappeared into the courthouse, leaving the reporters to chat and gossip about the press conference.

Buckley entered the courthouse through the huge wooden front doors, amid no fanfare. He had hoped for a camera or two, but was dismayed to learn they were gathering at the rear door to catch a glimpse of the defendant. He would use the rear door in the future.

Judge Noose parked by a fire hydrant in front of the post office and loped along the east sidewalk across the courtyard square and into the courthouse. He, too, attracted no attention, except for a few curious stares.

Ozzie peered through the front windows of the jail and watched the mob waiting for Carl Lee in the parking lot. The ploy of another end run crossed his mind, but he dismissed it. His office had received two dozen death threats on Carl Lee, and Ozzie took a few seriously. They were specific, with dates and places. But most were just general, everyday death threats. And this was just the arraignment. He thought of the trial, and mumbled something to Moss Junior. They surrounded Carl Lee with uniformed bodies and marched him down the sidewalk, past the press and into a rented step van. Six deputies and a driver piled in. Escorted by Ozzie's three newest patrol cars, the van drove quickly to the courthouse.

Noose had scheduled a dozen arraignments for 9:00 A.M., and when he settled into the chair on the bench he shifted through the files until he found Hailey's. He looked to the front row in the courtroom and saw a somber group of suspicious-looking men, all newly indicted. At the far end of the front row, two deputies sat next to a handcuffed defendant, and Brigance was whispering to him. Must be Hailey.

Noose picked up a red court file and adjusted his read-

ing glasses so they would not hinder his reading. "State versus Carl Lee Hailey, case number 3889. Will Mr. Hailey come forward?"

The handcuffs were removed, and Carl Lee followed his attorney to the bench, where they stood looking up to His Honor, who quietly and nervously scanned the indictment in the file. The courtroom grew silent. Buckley rose and strutted slowly to within a few feet of the defendant. The artists near the railing busily sketched the scene.

Jake glared at Buckley, who had no reason to stand before the bench during the arraignment. The D.A. was dressed in his finest black three-piece polyester suit. Every hair on his huge head had been meticulously combed and plastered in place. He had the appearance of a television evangelist.

Jake walked to Buckley and whispered, "That's a nice suit, Rufus."

"Thanks," he replied, somewhat off-guard.

"Does it glow in the dark?" Jake asked, then returned to the side of his client.

"Are you Carl Lee Hailey?" asked the judge.


"Mr. Brigance your attorney?"


"I'm holding here a copy of an indictment returned against you by the grand jury. Have you been served a copy of this?"


"Have you read it?"


"Have you discussed it with your attorney?"


"Do you understand it?"


"Good. I'm required by law to read it to you in open court." Noose cleared his throat. " 'The grand jurors of the State of Mississippi, taken from the body of good and lawful citizens of Ford County thereof, duly elected, empaneled, sworn, and charged to inquire in and for said county and state aforesaid, in the name and under the authority of the State of Mississippi, upon their oaths present that Carl Lee

Hailey, late of the county and state aloresaia, wimm me jurisdiction of this court, did unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously and intentionally and with malice aforethought, kill and murder Billy Ray Cobb, a human being, and Pete Wil-lard, a human being, and did shoot and attempt to kill DeWayne Looney, a peace officer, in direct violation of the Mississippi Code, and against the peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi. A true bill. Signed, Laverne Gossett, foreman of the grand jury."

Noose caught his breath. "Do you understand the charges against you?"


"Do you understand that if convicted you could be put to death in the gas chamber at the state penitentiary at Parchman?"


"Do you wish to plead guilty or not guilty?"

"Not guilty."

Noose reviewed his calendar as the audience watched intently. The reporters took notes. The artists focused-on the principals, including Buckley, who had managed to enter the picture and stand sideways, allowing for a profile shot. He was anxious to say something. He scowled contemptuously at the rear of Carl Lee's head, as if he could not wait to fry this murderer. He swaggered to the table where Musgrove was sitting and the two whispered importantly. He marched across the courtroom and engaged in hushed conversation with one of the clerks. Then he returned to the bench where the defendant stood motionless next to his attorney, who was aware of Buckley's show and was trying desperately to ignore it.

"Mr. Hailey," Noose squeaked, "your trial is set for Monday, July 22. All pretrial motions and matters must be filed by June 24, and disposed of by July 8."

Carl Lee and Jake nodded.

"Anything further?"

"Yes, Your Honor," Buckley boomed loud enough for the reporters in the rotunda. "The State opposes any request for bail by this defendant."

Jake gripped his fists and wanted to scream. "Your Honor, the defendant has not yet asked for bail. Mr. Buck-

ley, as usual, is confused about the procedure. He cannot oppose a request until it is made. He should've learned that in law school."

Buckley was stung, but continued. "Your Honor, Mr. Brigance always requests bail, and I'm sure he'll request it today. The State will oppose any such request."

"Well, why don't you wait until he makes his request?" Noose asked the D.A. with a touch of irritation.

"Very well," Buckley said. His face had reddened and he glared at Jake.

"Do you plan to request bail?" Noose asked.

"I had planned to at the proper time, but before I got a chance Mr. Buckley intervened with his theatrics-"

"Never mind Mr. Buckley," Noose interrupted.

"I know, Judge, he's just confused."

"Bail, Mr. Brigance?"

"Yes, I had planned to request it."

"I thought so, and I've already considered whether bail should be allowed in this case. As you know, it is completely within my discretion, and I never allow bail in a capital murder case. I don't feel as though an exception is in order in this case."

"You mean you've decided to deny bail?"

"Yes." '

Jake shrugged his shoulders and laid a file on the table. "Good enough."

"Anything further?" Noose asked.

"No, Your Honor," Jake said.

Buckley shook his head in silence.

"Good. Mr. Hailey, you are hereby ordered to remain in the custody of the Ford County sheriff until trial. You are dismissed."

Carl Lee returned to the front row, where a deputy waited with the handcuffs. Jake opened his briefcase, and was stuffing it with files and papers when Buckley grabbed his arm.

"That was a cheap shot, Brigance," he said through clenched teeth.

"You asked for it," Jake replied. "Let go of my arm."

Buckley released his arm. "I don't appreciate it."

"Too bad, big man. You shouldn't talk so mucn. Big mouths get burned."

Buckley had three inches and fifty pounds on Jake, and his irritation was growing. The exchange had drawn attention, and a deputy moved between them. Jake winked at Buckley and left the courtroom.

At two the Hailey clan, led by Uncle Lester, entered Jake's office through the rear door. Jake met them in a small office next to the conference room downstairs. They talked about the press conference. Twenty minutes later, Ozzie and Carl Lee strolled nonchalantly through the rear door, and Jake led them to the office, where Carl Lee was reunited with his family. Ozzie and Jake left the room.

The press conference was carefully orchestrated by Jake, who marveled at his ability to manipulate the press and its willingness to be manipulated. On one side of the long conference table he sat with the three Hailey boys standing behind him. Gwen was seated to his left, Carl Lee to his right holding Tonya.

Legal etiquette forbade revealing the identity of a child rape victim, but Tonya was different. Her name, face, and age were well known because of her daddy. She had already been exposed to the world, and Jake wanted her to be seen and photographed in her best white Sunday dress sitting on her daddy's knee. The jurors, whoever they were and wherever they lived, would be watching.

Reporters crammed into the room, which overflowed and trailed down the hall to the reception area, where Ethel rudely ordered them to sit and leave her alone. A deputy guarded the front door, and two others sat on the rear steps. Sheriff Walls and Lester stood awkwardly behind the Haileys and their lawyer. Microphones were clustered on the table in front of Jake, and the cameras clicked and flashed under the warm television lights.

"I have a few prefatory remarks," Jake began. "First, all questions will be answered by me. No questions are to be directed to Mr. Hailey or any member of his family. If he is asked a question, I will instruct him not to answer. Second, I would like to introduce his family. To my left is his wife,

Gwen Hailey. Standing behind us are his sons, Carl Lee, Jr., Jarvis, and Robert. Behind the boys is Mr. Hailey's brother, Lester Hailey."

Jake paused and smiled at Tonya. "Sitting in her daddy's lap is Tonya Hailey. Now I'll answer questions."

"What happened in court this morning?"

"Mr. Hailey was arraigned, he pled not guilty, and his trial was set for July 22."

"Was there an altercation between you and the district attorney?"

"Yes. After the arraignment, Mr. Buckley approached me, grabbed my arm, and looked as if he planned to assault me when a deputy intervened."

"What caused it?"

"Mr. Buckley has a tendency to crack under pressure."

"Are you and Mr. Buckley friends?"


"Will the trial be in Clanton?"

"A motion to change venue will be filed by the defense. The location of the trial will be determined by Judge Noose. No predictions."

"Could you describe what this has done to the Hailey family?"

Jake thought a minute while the cameras rolled. He glanced at Carl Lee and Tonya. "You're looking at a very nice family. Two weeks ago life was good and simple. There was a job at the paper mill, a little money in the bank, security, stability, church every Sunday together, a loving family. Then, for reasons known only to God, two drunk, drugged punks committed a horrible, violent act against this little ten-year-old girl. They shocked us, and made us all feel sick. They ruined her life, and the lives of her parents and family. It was too much for her father. He snapped. He broke. Now he's in jail facing trial and the prospect of the gas chamber. The job is gone. The money is gone. The innocence is gone. The children face the possibility of growing up without their father. Their mother must now find a job to support them, and she'll have to beg and borrow from friends and relatives in order to survive.

"To answer your question, sir, the family has been devastated and destroyed."

Gwen began crying quietly, and Jake handed ner a handkerchief.

"Are you hinting at a defense of insanity?"


"Will there in fact be a plea of insanity?"


"Can you prove it?"

"That will be left for the jury. We will provide them experts in the field of psychiatry."

"Have you already consulted with these experts?"

"Yes," lied Jake.

"Could you give us their names?"

"No, that would be inappropriate at this point."

"We've heard rumors of death threats against Mr. Hai-ley. Could you confirm?"

"There continue to be threats against Mr. Hailey, his family, my family, the sheriff, the judge, just about everyone involved. I don't know how serious they are."

Carl Lee patted Tonya on the leg and looked blankly at the table. He looked scared, pitiful, and in need of sympathy. His boys looked scared too, but, according to strict orders, they stood at attention, afraid to move. Carl Lee, Jr., the oldest at fifteen, stood behind Jake. Jarvis, the middle son at thirteen, stood behind his daddy. And Robert, age eleven, stood behind his mother. They wore identical navy suits with white shirts and little red bow ties. Robert's" suit was once Carl Lee, Jr.'s, then Jarvis's, and now his, and it looked a bit more worn than the other two. But it was clean, neatly pressed, and perfectly cuffed. The boys looked sharp. How could any juror vote to force these children to live without their father?

The press conference was a hit. Segments of it ran on the networks and local stations, both on the evening and late news. The Thursday papers ran front page pictures of the Haileys and their lawyer.

The Swede had called several times during the two weeks her husband had been in Mississippi. She didn't trust him down there. There were old girlfriends he had confessed to. Each time she called, Lester was not around, and Gwen lied and explained that he was fishing or cutting pulpwood so they could buy groceries. Gwen was tired of lying, and Lester was tired of carousing, and they were tired of each other. When the phone rang before dawn Friday morning, Lester answered it. It was the Swede.

Two hours later the red Cadillac was parked at the jail. Moss Junior led Lester into Carl Lee's cell. The brothers whispered above the sleep of the inmates.

"Gotta go home," Lester mumbled, somewhat ashamed, somewhat timid.

"Why?" Carl Lee asked as if he had been expecting it.

"My wife called this mornin'. I gotta be at work tomorrow or I'm fired."

Carl Lee nodded approvingly.

"I'm sorry, bubba. I feel bad about goin', but I ain't got no choice."

"I understand. When you comin' back?"

"When you want me back?"

"For the trial. It'll be real hard on Gwen and the kids. Can you be back then?"

"You know I'll be here. I got some vacation time and all. I'll be here."

They sat on the edge of Carl Lee's bunk and watched each other in silence. The cell was dark and quiet. The two bunks opposite Carl Lee's were empty.

"Man, I forgot how bad this place is," Lester said.

"I just hope I ain't here much longer."

They stood and embraced, and Lester called for Moss Junior to open the cell. "I'm proud of you, bubba," he said to his older brother, then left for Chicago.

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who met him in Ozzie's office. Jake was red eyed and irritable.

"Carl Lee, I talked to two psychiatrists in Memphis yesterday. Do you know what the minimum fee is to evaluate you for trial purposes? Do you?"

"Am I supposed to know?" asked Carl Lee.

"One thousand dollars," Jake shouted. "One thousand dollars. Where can you find a thousand dollars?"

"I gave you all the money I got. I even offered-"

"I don't want the deed to your land. Why? Because nobody wants to buy it, and if you can't sell it, it's no good. We've got to have cash, Carl Lee. Not for me, but for the psychiatrists."


"Why!" Jake repeated in disbelief. "Why? Because I'd like to keep you away from the gas chamber, and it's only a hundred miles from here. It's not that far. And to do that, we've got to convince the jury that you were insane when you shot those boys. I can't tell them you were crazy. You can't tell them you were crazy. It takes a psychiatrist. An expert. A doctor. And they don't work for free. Understand?"

Carl Lee leaned on his knees and watched a spider crawl across the dusty carpet. After twelve days in jail and two court appearances, he had had enough of the criminal justice system. He thought of the hours and minutes before the killings. What was he thinking? Sure the boys had to die. He had no regrets. But did he contemplate jail, or poverty, or lawyers, or psychiatrists? Maybe, but only in passing. Those unpleasantries were only by-products to be encountered and endured temporarily before he was set free. After the deed, the system would process him, vindicate him, and send him home to his family. It would be easy, just as Les-ter's episode had been virtually painless.

But the system was not working now. It was conspiring to keep him in jail, to break him, to make orphans of his children. It seemed determined to punish him for performing an act he considered unavoidable. And now, his only ally was making demands he could not meet. His lawyer asked the impossible. His friend Jake was angry and yelling.

"Get it," Jake shouted as he headed for the door. "Get it from your brothers and sisters, from Gwen's family, get it from your friends, get it from your church. But get it. And as soon as possible."

Jake slammed the door and marched out of the jail.

Carl Lee's third visitor of the morning arrived before noon in a long black limousine with a chauffeur and Tennessee plates. It maneuvered through the small parking lot and came to rest straddling three spaces. A large black bodyguard emerged-from behind the wheel and opened the door to release his boss. They strutted up the sidewalk and into the jail.

The secretary stopped typing and smiled suspiciously. "Good mornin'."

"Mornin'," said the smaller one, the one with the patch. "My name is Cat Bruster, and I'd like to see Sheriff Walls."

"May I ask what for?"

"Yes ma'am. It's regardin' a Mr. Hailey, a resident of your fine facility."

The sheriff heard his name mentioned, and appeared from his office to greet this infamous visitor. "Mr. Bruster, I'm Ozzie Walls." They shook hands. The bodyguard did not move.

"Nice to meet you, Sheriff. I'm Cat Bruster, from Memphis."

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