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He was examining the broken glass twice i said nodding

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Unformatted text preview: ad, Brunswick stew, and even collard greens. These discussions often turned serious, with the men offering opinions and observations, and more than one argument erupted. After a three hour lunch, Leon (Leonardo), who taught biology at Purdue, asked me to go for a ride. He was the second oldest, and carried a slight academic air that the others had managed to avoid. He had a beard, smoked a pipe, wore a tweed blazer with worn arm patches, and used a vocabulary that he must've spent hours practicing. We roamed the streets of Clanton in his car. He wanted to know about Sam, and I told him everything. In my opinion, whatever that was worth, it was too dangerous for him to enter Ford County. And he wanted to know about the trial of Danny Padgitt. I had sent copies of theTimes to all of the Ruffins. One of Baggy's reports had emphasized the threat made by Danny to the jurors. The exact quote had been highlighted, "You convict me, and I'll get every damned one of you." "Will he ever be released from prison?" Leon asked. "Yes," I said, reluctantly. "When?" "No one knows. He got life for murder, life for rape. Ten years is the minimum for each, but I'm told weird things happen in the Mississippi parole system." "So it's twenty years minimum?" I'm sure he was thinking about his mother's age. She was fifty-nine. "No one's sure. There is the possibility of good time, which reduces the minimum." He seemed as confused by this as I had been. Truth was, no one connected to either the judicial system or the penal system had been able to answer my questions about Danny's sentence. Parole in Mississippi was a vast dark pit, and I was afraid to get too close. Leon told me that he had quizzed his mother at length about the verdict. Specifically, did she vote for the life sentence, or did she want death? Her response had been that the jury vowed to keep its deliberations a secret. "What do you know?" he asked me. Not much. She had strongly implied to me tha...
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