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Unformatted text preview: g about the parole hearing. I asked him if he planned to attend, but his day was already filled with important meetings. I would have called Judge Loopus, but he'd been dead for six years. Ernie Gaddis had retired and was fishing in the Smoky Mountains. His successor, Rufus Buckley, lived in Tyler County and his phone number was unlisted. At eight o'clock, I jumped in my car with a biscuit and a cup of cold coffee. Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html - --- An hour west of Ford County the land flattened dramatically and the Delta began. It was a region rich in farming and poor in living conditions, but I was in no mood to take in the sights and offer social commentary. I was too nervous about crashing a clandestine parole hearing. I was also nervous about setting foot inside Parchman, a legendary hellhole. After two hours, I saw fences next to fields, then razor wire. Soon there was a sign, and I turned into the main gate. I informed a guard in the booth that I was a reporter, there for a parole hearing. "Straight ahead, left at the second building," he said helpfully as he wrote down my name. There was a cluster of buildings close to the highway, and a row of white-frame houses that would fit on any Maple Street in Mississippi. I chose the Admin A building and sprinted inside, looking for the first secretary. I found her, and she sent me to the next building, second floor. It was just about ten. There were people at the end of the hallway, loitering outside a room. One was a prison guard, one was a state trooper, one wore a wrinkled suit. "I'm here for a parole hearing," I announced. "In there," the guard said, pointing. Without knocking, I yanked open the door, as any intrepid reporter would, and stepped inside. Things had just been called to order, and my presence there was certainly not anticipated. There were five members of the Parole Board, and they were seated behind a slightly elevated table with their name plates in front o...
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- Spring '10