An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, Jr.

An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, Jr.

by Margaret Edds
     
 

How is it possible for an innocent man to come within nine days of execution? An Expendable Man answers that question through detailed analysis of the case of Earl Washington Jr., a mentally retarded, black farm hand who spent almost 18 years in Virginia prisons -- 9 1/2 of them on death row -- for a murder he did not commit. The book reveals the relative ease with… See more details below

Overview

How is it possible for an innocent man to come within nine days of execution? An Expendable Man answers that question through detailed analysis of the case of Earl Washington Jr., a mentally retarded, black farm hand who spent almost 18 years in Virginia prisons -- 9 1/2 of them on death row -- for a murder he did not commit. The book reveals the relative ease with which individuals who live at society's margins can be wrongfully convicted and the extraordinary difficulty of correcting such a wrong once it occurs. Washington was freed in February 2001, not because of the legal and judicial systems, but in spite of them. While DNA testing was central to his eventual pardon, such tests would never have occurred without an unusually talented and committed legal team and a series of incidents that are best described as pure luck. An Expendable Man makes the chilling argument that some other "expendable men" almost certainly have been less fortunate than Washington. That is "the secret, shameful underbelly" of America's retention of capital punishment, the author writes. Such wrongful executions perhaps do not happen often, and perhaps less often in 2003 than 1983, the year Washington was arrested for the rape and murder of Rebecca Williams, a 19-year-old mother of three girls. But anyone who doubts that innocent men have been executed in America should remember the remarkable series of events necessary to save Earl Washington from such a fate.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814722398
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
243
Sales rank:
1,200,981
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Timelinexi
1Countdown1
2Death in Culpeper10
3A Piedmont Son16
4Arrest27
5Confessions35
6The Trial45
7Prisoner69
8Deadline83
9A Discovery96
10Appeals113
11Strategies130
12An Ending152
13Revival166
14Freedom Delayed184
15The Aftermath196
Notes213
Recommended Reading231
Index235
About the Author243

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >