Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Small Town

Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Small Town

by Pete Earley
     
 

On a busy Saturday morning in November 1986, in the small southern town of Monroeville, Alabama, a beautiful white teenager named Ronda Morrison was found brutally murdered in the back room of the dry cleaning store where she worked. Several months later, Walter McMillian, a black man with no criminal record, was arrested and then convicted and sentenced to die in the… See more details below

Overview

On a busy Saturday morning in November 1986, in the small southern town of Monroeville, Alabama, a beautiful white teenager named Ronda Morrison was found brutally murdered in the back room of the dry cleaning store where she worked. Several months later, Walter McMillian, a black man with no criminal record, was arrested and then convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair in a trial that lasted less than three days. His guilt was seen as unquestionable until a young, black, Harvard-educated Yankee lawyer launched his own investigation into the murder. Thanks to Bryan Stevenson's unremitting efforts, six years after Walter McMillian was consigned to a cell on Alabama's death row, he walked out a free man. The state had been forced to acknowledge that investigators had used perjured testimony and withheld evidence from the defense that would have proved him innocent.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``I wanted to show just how difficult it can be in a death penalty case to discover the truth,'' declares Earley (The Hot House), and he proves his point with an engrossing, challenging trip into the labyrinth. Monroeville, Ala., was the fictionalized setting of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird; on Nov. 1, 1986, it was the site of the shooting of an 18-year-old white female store clerk; four months later, another white teenager was murdered in Brewton, 36 miles away. A black man, Walter ``Johnny D.'' McMillian, the boyfriend of a white ne'er-do-well associated with the second teenager's family, was implicated in the murders more than three months later, despite a strong alibi and numerous inconsistencies in witnesses' statements. After McMillian was convicted and sentenced to death, the courageous efforts of Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer devoted to death penalty appeals, reopened the investigation, pried clear some obvious lies in the prosecution's case and, with the help of a 60 Minutes broadcast that laid out the appeal, got McMillian freed. The case remains open, but Earley lays out some alternate theories, as well as hints at possible suspects. A memorable tale of the many points where investigations are fallible. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553095012
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/1995
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.46(h) x 1.34(d)

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