Chapter Twenty-One

"I wouldn't take him," Lucien said. "If he's from up North, he doesn't think like we do. Probably in favor of gun control and all that crap. Yankees always scare me in criminal cases. I've always thought we should have a law in Mississippi that no certified yankee could sit on a jury down here regardless of how long he's lived here."

"Thank you so much," said Jake.

"I'd take him," said Harry Rex.


"He's got kids, probably a daughter. If he's from the North he's probably not as prejudiced. Sounds good to me."

"John Tate Aston."

"He's dead," said Lucien.


"I said he's dead. Been dead for three years."

"Why's he on the list?" asked Atcavage, the non-lawyer.

"They don't purge the voter registration list," explained Harry Rex, between drinks. "Some die and some move away, and it's impossible to keep the list up to date. They've issued a hundred and fifty summons, and you can expect a hundred to a hundred and twenty to show up. The rest have died or moved away."

"Caroline Baxter. Ozzie says she's black," Jake said flipping through his notes. "Works at the carburetor plant in Karaway."

"Take her," said Lucien.

"I wish," said Jake.

Ellen returned with the beer. She dropped it in Lucien's lap and -tore a sixteen-ounce can out of a six-pack. She popped the top and returned to the rolltop desk. Jake declined, but Atcavage decided he was thirsty. Jake remained the non-drinker.

"Jpe Kitt Shepherd."

"Sounds like a redneck," said Lucien.

"Why do you say that?" asked Harry Rex.

"The double first name," Lucien explained. "Most rednecks have double first names. Like Billy Ray, Johnny Ray, Bobby Lee, Harry Lee, Jesse Earl, Billy Wayne, Jerry Wayne, Eddie Mack. Even their women have double first names. Bobbie Sue, Betty Pearl, Mary Belle, Thelma Lou, Sally Faye."

"What about Harry Rex?" asked Harry Rex.

"Never heard of a woman named Harry Rex."

"I mean for a male redneck."

"I guess it'll do."

Jake interrupted. "Dell Perry said he used to own a bait shop down by the lake. I take it no one knows him."

"No, but I bet he's a redneck," said Lucien. "Because of .his name. I'd scratch him."

"Aren't you given their addresses, ages, occupations, basic information like that?" asked Atcavage.

"Not until the day of trial. On Monday each prospective juror fills out a questionnaire in the courtroom. But until then we have only the names."

"What kind of juror are we looking for, Jake?" Ellen asked.

"Young to middle-aged men with families. I would prefer to have no one over fifty."

"Why?" Lucien asked belligerently.

"Younger whites are more tolerant of blacks."

"Like Cobb and Willard," Lucien said.

"Most of the older folks will always dislike blacks, but

the younger generation has accepted an integrated society. Less bigotry, as a rule, with youth."

"I agree," said Harry Rex, "and I would stay away from women and rednecks."

"That's my plan."

"I think you're wrong," said Lucien. "Women are more sympathetic. Just look at Row Ark. She's sympathetic toward everyone. Right, Row Ark?"

"Right, Lucien."

"She has sympathy for criminals, child pornographers, atheists, illegal immigrants, gays. Don't you, Row Ark?"

"Right, Lucien."

"She and I hold the only two ACLU cards existing at this very moment in Ford County, Mississippi."

"That's sick," said Atcavage, the banker.

"Clyde Sisco," Jake said loudly, trying to minimize controversy.

"He can be bought," Lucien said smugly.

"What do you mean 'He can be bought'?" Jake asked.

"Just what I said. He can be bought."

"How do you know?" asked Harry Rex.

"Are you kidding? He's a Sisco. Biggest bunch of crooks in the eastern part of the county. They all live around the Mays community. They're professional thieves and insurance defrauders. They burn their houses every three years. You've never heard of them?" He was shouting at Harry Rex.

"No. How do you know he can be bought?"

"Because I bought him once. In a civil case, ten years ago. He was on the jury list, and I got word to him that I'd give him ten percent of the jury verdict. He's very persuasive."

Jake dropped the jury lists and rubbed his eyes. He knew this was probably true, but didn't want to believe it.

"And?" asked Harry Rex.

"And he was selected for the jury, and I got the largest verdict in the history of Ford County. It's still the record."

"Stubblefield?" Jake asked in disbelief.

"That's it, my boy. Stubblefield versus North Texas Pipeline. September 1974. Eight hundred thousand dollars. Appealed and affirmed by the Supreme Court."

"Did you pay him?" asked Harry Rex.

Lucien finished a long drink and smacked his lips. "Eighty thousand cash, in one-hundred-dollar bills," he said proudly. "He built a new house, then burned it down."

"What was your cut?" asked Atcavage.

"Forty percent, minus eighty thousand."

The room was silent as everybody but Lucien made the calculation.

"Wow," Atcavage mumbled.

"You're kidding, aren't you, Lucien?" Jake asked halfheartedly.

"You know I'm serious, Jake. You know I lie compulsively, but never about things like this. I'm telling the truth, and I'm telling you this guy can be bought."

"How much?" asked Harry Rex.

"Forget it!" said Jake.

"Five thousand cash, just guessing."

"Forget it!"

There was a pause as each one looked at Jake to make sure he was not interested in Clyde Sisco, and when it was obvious he was not interested, they took a drink and waited for the next name. Around ten-thirty Jake had his first beer, and an hour later the case was gone and forty names remained. Lucien staggered to the balcony and watched the blacks carry their candles along the sidewalks next to the streets around the courthouse.

"Jake, why is this deputy sitting in his car in front of my office?" he asked.

"That's my bodyguard."

"What's his name?"


"Is he awake?"

"Probably not."

Lucien leaned dangerously over the railing. "Hey, Nesbit," he yelled.

Nesbit opened the door of his patrol car. "Yeah, what is it?".

"Jake here wants you to go to the store and get us some more beer. He's very thirsty. Here's a twenty. He'd like a case of Coors."

"I can't buy it when I'm on duty," Nesbit protested.

"Since when?" Lucien laughed at himself. .

"I can't do it."

"It's not for you, Nesbit. It's for Mr. Brigance, and he really needs it. He's already called the sheriff, and it's okay."

"Who called the sheriff?"

"Mr. Brigance," lied Lucien. "Sheriff said he didn't care what you did as long as you didn't drink any."

Nesbit shrugged and appeared satisfied. Lucien dropped a twenty from the balcony. Within minutes Nesbit was back with a case minus one which had been opened and was sitting on his radar gun. Lucien ordered Atcavage to fetch the beer from below and distribute the first six-pack.

An hour later the list was finished and the party was over. Nesbit loaded Harry Rex, Lucien, and Atcavage into his patrol car and took them home. Jake and'his clerk sat on the balcony, sipping and watching the candles flicker and move slowly around the courthouse. Several cars were parked on the west side of the square, and a small group of blacks sat nearby in lawn chairs waiting to take their turns with the candles.

"We didn't do bad," Jake said quietly, staring at the vigil. "We made notes on all but twenty of the hundred and fifty."

"What's next?"

"I'll try to find something on the other twenty, then we'll make an index card for each juror. We'll know them like family by Monday."

Nesbit returned to the square and circled twice, watching the blacks. He parked between the Saab and the BMW.

"The M'Naghten brief is a masterpiece. Our psychiatrist, Dr. Bass, will be here tomorrow, and I want you to review M'Naghten with him. You need to outline in detail the necessary questions to ask him at trial, and cover these with him. He worries me. I don't know him, and I'm relying on Lucien. Get his resume and investigate his background. Make whatever phone calls are necessary. Check with the state medical association to make sure he has no history of disciplinary problems. He is very important to our case, and I don't want any surprises."

"Okay, boss."

Jake finished his last beer. "Look, Row Ark, this is a

very small town. My wife left five days ago, and I'm sure people will know it soon. You look suspicious. People love to talk, so be discreet. Stay in the office and do your research and tell anyone who asks that you're Ethel's replacement."

"That's a big bra to fill."

"You could do it if you wanted to."

"I hope you know that I'm not nearly as sweet as I'm being forced to act."

"I know that."

They watched the blacks change shifts and a new crew take up the candles. Nesbit threw an empty beer can onto the sidewalk.

"You're not driving home are you?" Jake asked.

"It would not be a good idea. I'd register at least .20."

"You can sleep on the couch in my office."

"Thanks. I will."

Jake said good night, locked the office, and spoke briefly to Nesbit. Then he placed himself carefully behind the wheel of the Saab.. Nesbit followed him to his home on Adams. He parked under the carport, next to Carla's car, and Nesbit parked in the driveway. It was 1:00 A.M., Thursday, July 18.

They arrived in groups of two and three and came from all over the state. They parked along the gravel road by the cabin deep in the woods. They entered the cabin dressed as normal working men, but once inside they slowly and meticulously changed into their neatly pressed and neatly folded robes and headdresses. They admired one another's uniforms and helped each other into the bulky outfits. Most of them knew each other, but a few introductions were necessary. They were forty in number; a good turnout.

Stump Sisson was pleased. He sipped whiskey and moved around the room like a head coach reassuring his team before the kickoff. He inspected the uniforms and made adjustments. He was proud of his men, and told them so. It was the biggest meeting of its kind in years, he said. He admired them and their sacrifices in being there. He knew they had jobs and families, but this was important. He talked about the glory days when they were feared in Mississippi and had clout. Those days must return, and it was up to this very group of dedicated men to take a stand for white people. The march could be dangerous, he explained. Niggers could march and demonstrate all day long and no one cared. But let white folks try and march and it was dangerous. The city had issued a permit, and the nigger sheriff promised order, but most Klan marches nowadays were disrupted by roving bands of young wild nigger punks. So be careful, and keep ranks. He, Stump, would do the talking.

They listened intently to Stump'srep talk, and when he finished they loaded into a dozen cars and followed him to town.

Few if any people in Clanton had ever seen the Klan march, and as 2:00 P.M. approached a great wave of excitement rippled around the square. The merchants and their customers found excuses to inspect the sidewalks. They milled about importantly and watched the side streets. The vultures were out in full force and had congregated near the gazebo on the front lawn. A group of young blacks gathered

nearby under a massive oak. Ozzie smelled trouble. They assured him they had only come to watch and listen. He threatened them with jail if trouble started. He stationed his men at various points around the courthouse.

"Here they come!" someone yelled, and the spectators strained to get a glimpse of the marching Klansmen as they strutted importantly from a small street onto Washington Avenue, the north border of the square. They walked cautiously, but arrogantly, their faces hidden by the sinister red and white masks hanging from the royal headdresses. The spectators gawked at the faceless figures as the procession moved slowly along Washington, then south along Caffey Street, then east along Jackson Street. Stump waddled proudly in front of his men. When he neared the front of the courthouse, he made a sharp left turn and led his troops down the long sidewalk in the center of the front lawn. They closed ranks in a loose semicircle around the podium on the courthouse steps.

The vultures had scrambled and fallen over themselves following the march, and when Stump stopped his men the podium was quickly adorned with a dozen microphones trailing wires in all directions to the cameras and recorders. Under the tree the group of blacks had grown larger, much larger, and some of them walked to within a few feet of the semicircle. The sidewalks emptied as the merchants and shopkeepers, their customers, and the other curious streamed across the streets onto the lawn to hear what the leader, the short fat one, was about to say. The deputies walked slowly through the crowd, paying particular attention to the group of blacks. Ozzie placed himself under the oak, in the midst of his people.

Jake watched intently from the window in Jean Gilles-pie's second floor office. The sight of the Klansmen, in full regalia, their cowardly faces hidden behind the ominous masks, gave him a sick feeling. The white hood, for decades a symbol of hatred and violence in the South, was back. Which one of those men had burned the cross in his yard? Were they all active in planning the bombing of his home? Which one would try something next? From the second floor, he could see the blacks inch closer.

"You niggers were not invited to this rally!" Stump

screamed into the microphone, pointing at the blacks. "This is a Klan meetin', not a meetin' for a buncha niggers!"

From the side streets and small alleys behind the rows of red brick buildings, a steady stream of blacks moved toward the courthouse. They joined the others, and in seconds Stump and.his boys were outnumbered ten to one. Ozzie radioed for backup.

"My name's Stump Sisson," he said as he removed his mask. "And I'm proud to say I'm the Mississippi Imperial Wizard for the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan. I'm here to say that the law-abidin' white folks of Mississippi are sick and tired of niggers stealin', rapin', killin', and gettin' by with it. We demand justice, and we demand that this Hailey nigger be convicted and his black ass sent to the gas chamber!"

"Free Carl Lee!" screamed one of the blacks.

"Free Carl Lee!" they repeated in unison.

"Free Carl Lee!"

"Shut up, you wild niggers!" Stump shrieked back. "Shut up, you animals!" His troops stood facing him, frozen, with their backs to the screaming crowd. Ozzie and six deputies moved between the groups.

"Free Carl Lee!"

"Free Carl Lee!"

Stump's naturally colorful face had turned an even deeper red. His teeth nearly touched the microphones. "Shut up, you wild niggers! You had your rally yesterday and we didn't disturb you. We have a right to assemble in peace, just like you do! Now, shut up!"

The chanting intensified. "Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!"

"Where's the sheriff? He's supposed to keep law and order. Sheriff, do your job. Shut those niggers up so we can assemble in peace. Can't you do your job, Sheriff? Can't you control your own people? See, folks, that's what you get when you elect niggers to public office."

The shouting continued and Stump stepped back from the microphones and watched the blacks. The photographers and TV crews spun in circles trying to record it all. No one noticed a small window on the third floor of the courthouse. It opened slowly, and from the darkness within a

wuuc mcuumo was tnrown onto the podium below. It landed perfectly at Stump's feet and exploded, engulfing the wizard in dames.

The riot was on. Stump screamed and rolled wildly down the front steps. Three of his men shed their heavy robes and masks and attempted to cover him and smother the flames. The wooden podium and platform burned with the thick, unmistakable smell of gasoline. The blacks charged, wielding sticks and knives and hacking at anything with a white face or white robe. Under each white robe was a short black nightstick, and the Klansmen proved ready for the assault. Within seconds of the explosion, the front lawn of the Ford County Courthouse was a battlefield as men screamed and cursed and howled in pain through thick, heavy smoke. The air was filled with rocks and stones and nightsticks as the two groups brawled in hand-to-hand combat.

Bodies began falling on the lush, green grass. Ozzie fell first; the victim of a wicked smash to the base of his skull with a wrecking bar. Nesbit, Prather, Hastings, Pirtle, Tatum, and other deputies ran here and there attempting unsuccessfully to separate various combatants before they killed each other. Instead of running for cover, the vultures darted cra-zily through the midst of the smoke and violence valiantly trying to capture yet a better shot of the blood and gore. They were sitting ducks. One cameraman, his right eye buried deep in his camera, caught a jagged piece of brick with his left eye. He and his camera dropped quickly to the sidewalk, where, after a few seconds, another cameraman appeared and filmed his fallen comrade. A fearless, busy female reporter from a Memphis station charged into the melee with her microphone in hand and her cameraman at her heels. She dodged a brick, then maneuvered too close to a large Klansman who was just finishing off a couple of black teenagers, when, with a loud piercing scream, he slapped her pretty head with his nightstick, kicked her as she fell, then brutally attacked her cameraman.

Fresh troops from the Clanton City Police arrived. In the center of the battle, Nesbit, Prather, and Hastings came together, stood with their backs to each other, and began firing their Smith & Wesson .357 magnum service revolvers

into the air. The sound of the gunfire quelled the riot. The warriors froze and searched for the gunfire, then quickly separated and glared at each other. They retreated slowly to their own groups. The officers formed a dividing line between the blacks and the Klansmen, all of whom were thankful for the truce.

A dozen wounded bodies were unable to retreat. Ozzie sat dazed, rubbing his neck. The lady from Memphis was unconscious and bleeding profusely from the head. Several Klansmen, their white robes soiled and bloody, lay sprawled near the sidewalk. The fire continued to burn.

The sirens drew closer and finally the fire trucks and ambulances arrived and drove onto the battlefield. Firemen and medics attended the wounded. None were dead. Stump Sisson was taken away first. Ozzie was half dragged and half carried to a patrol car. More police arrived and broke up the crowd.

Jake, Harry Rex, and Ellen ate a lukewarm pizza and watched intently as the small television in the conference room broadcasted the day's events in Clanton, Mississippi. CBS ran the story halfway through the news. The reporter had apparently escaped the riot unscathed, and he narrated the video with a play by play of the march, the shouting, the firebomb, and the melee. "As of late this afternoon," he reported, "the exact number of casualties is unknown. The most serious injuries are believed to be the extensive burns suffered by a Mr. Sisson, who identified himself as an imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He is listed in serious condition at the Mid South Burn Hospital in Memphis."

The video showed a closeup of Stump burning while all hell broke loose. He continued: "The trial of Carl Lee Hai-ley is scheduled to start Monday here in Clanton. It is unknown at this time what effect, if any, today's riot will have on this trial. There is some speculation the trial will be postponed and/or moved to another county."

"That's news to me," said Jake.

"You haven't heard anything?" asked Harry Rex.

"Not a word. And I presume I would be notified before CBS."

The reporter disappeared and Dan Rather said he would return in a moment.

"What does this mean?" asked Ellen.

"It means Noose is stupid for not changing venue."

"Be glad he didn't," said Harry Rex. "It'll give you something to argue on appeal."

"Thanks, Harry Rex. I appreciate your confidence in my ability as a trial lawyer."

The phone rang. Harry Rex grabbed it and said hello to Carla. He handed it to Jake. "It's your wife. Can we listen?"

"No! Go get another pizza. Hello dear."

"Jake, are you all right?"

"Of course I'm all right."

"I just saw it on the news. It's awful. Where were you?"

"I was wearing one of those white robes."

"Jake, please. This is not funny."

"I was in Jean Gillespie's office on the second floor. We had wonderful seats. Saw the whole thing. It was very exciting."

"Who are those people?"

"Same ones who burned the cross in our front yard and tried to blow up the house."

"Where are they from?"

"Everywhere. Five are in the hospital and their addresses are scattered all over the state. One is a local boy. How's Hanna?"

"She's fine. She wants to come home. Will the trial be postponed?"

"I doubt it."

"Are you safe?"

"Sure. I've got a full-time bodyguard and I carry a .38 in my briefcase. Don't worry."

"But I'm worried, Jake. I need to be home with you."


"Hanna can stay here until it's over, but I want to come home."

"No, Carla. I know you're safe out there. You won't be safe if you're here."

"Then you're not safe either."

"I'm as safe as I can get. But I'm not taking chances

with you and Hanna. It's out of the question. That's final. How are your parents?"

"I didn't call to talk about my parents. I called because I'm scared and I want to be with you."

"And I want to be with you, but not now. Please understand."

She hesitated. "Where are you staying?"

"At Lucien's most of the time. Occasionally at home, with my bodyguard in the driveway."

"How's my house?"

"It's still there. Dirty, but still there."

"I miss it."

"Believe me, it misses you."

"I love you, Jake, and I'm scared."

"I love you, and I'm not scared. Just relax and take care of Hanna."



Jake handed the receiver to Ellen. "Where is she?"

"Wilmington, North Carolina. Her parents spend the summers there."

Harry Rex had left for another pizza.

"You miss her, don't you?" asked Elleri.

"In more ways than you can imagine."

"Oh, I can imagine."

At midnight they were in the cabin drinking whiskey, cussing niggers, and comparing wounds. Several had returned from the hospital in Memphis where they had visited briefly with Stump Sisson. He told them to proceed as planned. Eleven had been released from the Ford County Hospital with various cuts and bruises, and the others admired their wounds as each took his turn describing to the last detail how he had gallantly battled multiple niggers before being wounded, usually from the rear or blind side. They were the heroes, the ones with the bandages. Then the others told their stories and the whiskey flowed. They heaped praise upon the largest one when he told of his attack on the pretty television reporter and her nigger cameraman.

After a couple of hours of drinking and storytelling the

talk turned to the task at hand. A map of the county was produced, and one of the locals pinpointed the targets. There were twenty homes this night-twenty names taken from the list of prospective jurors someone had furnished.

Five teams of four each left the cabin in pickups and headed into the darkness to further their mischief. In each pickup were four wooden crosses, the smaller models, nine feet by four feet, each soaked with kerosene. They avoided Clanton and the small towns in the county and instead kept to the dark countryside. The targets were in isolated areas, away from traffic and neighbors, out in the country where things go unnoticed and people go to bed early and sleep soundly.

The plan of attack was simple: a truck would stop a few hundred feet down the road, out of sight, no headlights, and the driver remained with engine running while the other three carried the cross to the front yard, stuck it in the ground, and threw a torch on it. The pickup then met them in front of the house for a quiet getaway and joyride to the next target.

The plan worked simply and with no complications at nineteen of the twenty targets. But at Luther Pickett's residence a strange noise earlier in the night had aroused Luther, and he sat in the darkness of his front porch waiting for nothing in particular when he saw a strange pickup move suspiciously along the gravel road out beyond his pecan tree. He grabbed his shotgun and listened as the truck turned around and stopped down the road. He heard voices, and then saw three figures carrying a pole or something into his front yard, next to the gravel road. Luther crouched behind a shrub next to the porch, and aimed.

The driver took a slug of cold beer and watched to see the cross go up in flames. He heard a shotgun instead. His buddies abandoned the cross and the torch and the front yard, and jumped into a small ditch next to the road. Another shotgun blast. The driver could hear the screams and obscenities. They had to be rescued! He threw down his beer and stepped on the gas,

Old Luther fired again as he came off the porch, and again as the truck appeared and stopped by the shallow ditch. The three scrambled desperately from the mud, stum-

bling and sliding, cussing and yelling as they attacked the truck and furiously fought to jump into the bed.

"Hang on!" yelled the driver just as old Luther fired again, this time spraying the pickup. He watched with a smile as the truck sped away, spinning gravel and fishtailing from ditch to ditch. Just a bunch of drunk kids, he thought.

From a pay phone, a Kluxer held the list of twenty names and twenty phone numbers. He called them all, simply to ask them to take a look in their front yards.

Friday morning Jake phoned the Noose home and was informed by Mrs. Ichabod that His Honor was presiding over a civil trial in Polk County. Jake gave instructions to Ellen and left for Smithfield, an hour away. He nodded at His Honor as he entered the empty courtroom and sat on the front row. Except for the jurors, there were no other spectators. Noose was bored, the jurors were bored, the lawyers were bored, and after two minutes Jake was bored. After the witness finished Noose called for a short recess, and Jake went to his chambers.

"Hello, Jake. Why're you here?"

"You heard what happened yesterday."

"I saw it on the news last night."

"Have you heard what happened this morning?"


"Evidently someone gave the Klan a list of the prospective jurors. Last night they burned crosses in the yards of twenty of the jurors."

Noose was shocked. "Our jurors!"

"Yes, sir."

"Did they catch anybody?"

"Of course not. They were too busy putting out fires. Besides, you don't catch these people."

"Twenty of our jurors," Noose repeated.

"Yes, sir."

Noose pawed at his mangled mass of brilliant gray hair and walked slowly around the small room, shaking his head and occasionally scratching his crotch.

"Sounds like intimidation to me," he muttered.

What a mind, thought Jake. A real genius. "I would say so."

"So what am I supposed to do?" he asked with a touch of frustration.

"Change venue."

"To where?"

"Southern part of the state."

"I see. Perhaps Carey County. I believe it's sixty percent

black. That would generate at least a hung jury, wouldn't it? Or maybe you would like Brower County. I think it's even blacker. You'd probably get an acquittal there, wouldn't you?"

"I don't care where you move it. It's not fair to try him in Ford County. Things were bad enough before the war yesterday. Now the white folks are really in a lynching mood, and my man's got the nearest available neck. The situation was terrible before the Klan started decorating the county with Christmas trees. Who knows what else they'll try before Monday. There's no way to pick a fair and impartial jury in Ford County."

"You mean black jury?"

"No, sir! I mean a jury that hasn't prejudged this case. Carl Lee Hailey is entitled to twelve people who haven't already decided his guilt or innocence."

Noose lumbered toward his chair and fell into it. He removed those glasses from that nose and picked at the end of it.

"We could excuse the twenty," he wondered aloud.

"That won't help. The entire county knows about it or will know about it within a few hours. You know how fast word travels. The entire panel will feel threatened."

"Then we could disqualify the entire panel and summon a new one."

"Won't work," Jake answered sharply, frustrated by Noose's stubbornness. "All jurors must come from Ford County, and everybody in the county knows about it. And how do you keep the Klan from harassing the next panel? It won't work."

"What makes you so confident the Klan won't follow the case if I move it to another county?" The sarcasm dripped from every word.

"I think they will follow it," Jake admitted. "But we don't know that for sure. What we do know is that the Klan is already in Ford County, that it's quite active now, and that it has already intimidated some potential jurors. That's the issue. The question is, what will you do about it?"

"Nothing," Noose said bluntly.


"Nothing. I will do nothing but dismiss the twenty. I will

carefully interrogate the panel next Monday, when the trial starts in Clanton."

Jake stared in disbelief. Noose had a reason, a motive, a fear, something he was not telling. Lucien was right-someone had gotten to him. ' "May I ask why?"

"I don't think it matters where we try Carl Lee Hailey. I don't think it matters who we put in the jury box. I don't think it matters what color they are. Their minds are made up. All of them, wherever and whoever they are. They've already made up their minds, Jake, and it's your job to pick those who think your man is a hero."

That's probably true, thought Jake, but he wouldn't admit it. He continued staring at the trees outside. "Why are you afraid to move it?"

Ichabod's eyes narrowed, and he glared at Jake. "Afraid? I'm not afraid of any ruling I make. Why are you afraid to try it in Ford County?"

"I thought I just explained it."

"Mr. Hailey will be tried in Ford County starting Monday. That's three days from today. And he will be tried there not because I'm afraid to move it, but because it wouldn't do any good to move it. I've considered all this very carefully, Mr. Brigance, many times, and I feel comfortable with the trial in Clanton. It will not be moved. Anything further?"

"No, sir."

"Good. See you Monday."

Jake entered his office through the rear door. The front door had been locked for a week now, and there was always someone banging on it and yelling at it. Most of them were reporters, but many were friends just stopping by to gossip and find out what they could about the big trial. Clients were a thing of the past. The phone rang constantly. Jake never touched it and Ellen grabbed it if she was nearby.

He found her in the conference room up to her elbows in law books. The M'Naghten brief was a masterpiece. He had requested no more than twenty pages. She gave him seventy-five perfectly typed and plainly worded pages, and explained there was no way to cover the Mississippi version

of M'Naghten in fewer words. Her research was painstaking and detailed. She had started with the original M'Naghten case in England in the 1800's and worked through a hundred and fifty years of insanity law in Mississippi. She discarded insignificant or confusing cases, and explained in wonderful simplicity the complicated, major cases. The brief concluded with a summary of current law, and applied it to the trial of Carl Lee Hailey.

In a smaller brief, only fourteen pages, she had reached the unmistakable conclusion that the jury would see the sickening pictures of Cobb and Willard with their brains splattered about the stairway. Mississippi admitted such inflammatory evidence, and she had found no way around it.

She had typed thirty-one pages of research on the defense of justifiable homicide, something Jake had considered briefly after the killings. She reached the same conclusion Jake had reached-it wouldn't work. She had found an old Mississippi case where a man had caught and killed an escaped convict who was armed. He had been acquitted, but the differences in that case and Carl Lee's case were enormous. Jake had not asked for the brief, and was irritated that so much energy had been spent on it. He said nothing, however, since she had produced everything he had asked for.

The most pleasant surprise had been her work with Dr. W.T. Bass. She had met with him twice during the week, and they had covered M'Naghten in great detail. She prepared a twenty-five-page script of the questions to be asked by Jake and the answers to be given by Bass. It was a skillfully crafted dialogue, and he marveled at her seasoning. When he was her age, he was an average student more concerned with romance than research. She, on the other hand, as a third-year law student was writing briefs that read like treatises.

"How'd it go?" she asked.

"As expected. He did not budge. The trial will start here Monday with the same panel, minus the twenty who received their subtle warnings."

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