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after two hours of waiting in vain for the ground to

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Unformatted text preview: company couldn't prove it." Down below Sheriff Coley had found his bullhorn. He was asking the people to please stay off the street in front of our office. His shrieking voice added urgency to the situation. "So the insurance company won?" I said, anxious to get to the end. "Helluva trial. Went on for three days. Wilbanks can usually cut a deal with one or two people on the jury. Been doin' it for years and never gets caught. Plus he knows ever'body in the county. The insurance boys were up from Jackson, and they didn't have a clue. The jury stayed out for two hours, came back with a verdict for the claim, a hundred grand, and for good measure, tacked on a million in punitive damages." "One point one million!" I said. "You got it. The first million-dollar verdict in Ford County. Lasted about a year until the Supreme Court took an ax to it and cut out the punitive." The notion of Lucien Wilbanks having such sway over jurors was not comforting. Baggy neglected his bourbon for a moment and gazed at something below. "This is a bad sign, son," he finally said. "Really bad." I was his boss and didn't like to be referred to as "son," but I let it slide. I had more pressing matters at hand. "The intimidation?" I said. "Yep. The Padgitts rarely leave the island. The fact that they've brought their little show on the road means they're ready for war. If they can intimidate the newspaper, then they'll try it with the jury. They already own the Sheriff." "But Wilbanks said he wants a change of venue." He snorted and rediscovered his drink. "Don't bet on it, son." Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html "Please call me Willie." Odd how I was now clinging to that name. "Don't bet on it, Willie. The boy's guilty; his only chance is to have a jury that can be bought or scared. Ten to one odds the trial takes place right here, in this building."...
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