I could not imagine our paths ever crossing again and

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Unformatted text preview: e would offer mitigating proof. He did not expect it to take long. It was Friday; the trial had already lasted forever; the jurors and everybody else in Clanton wanted Padgitt shipped off so life could return to normal. Ernie Gaddis correctly gauged the mood in the courtroom. He thanked the jurors for their proper verdict of guilty and confessed that he felt no further testimony was necessary. The crime was so heinous that nothing more aggravating could be added to it. He asked the jurors to remember the graphic photos of Rhoda in the swing on Mr. Deece's front porch, and the pathologist's testimony about her vicious wounds and how she died. And her children, please don't forget her children. As if anybody could. He delivered an impassioned plea for the death penalty. He gave a brief history of why we, as good solid Americans, believed so strongly in it. He explained why it was a deterrent and a punishment. He quoted Scripture. In almost thirty years of prosecuting crimes in six counties, he had never seen a case that so mightily begged for the death penalty. Watching the faces of the jurors, I was convinced he was about to get what he asked for. He wrapped it up by reminding the jurors that each had been selected on Monday after promising that they could follow the law. He read them the law enacting the death penalty. "The State of Mississippi has proven its case," he said, closing the thick green law book. "You have found Danny Padgitt guilty of rape and murder. The law now calls for the death penalty. You are duty bound to deliver it." Ernie's spellbinding performance lasted for fifty-one minutes—I was trying to record everything—and when he finished I knew the jury would hang Padgitt not once but twice. According to Baggy, in a capital case the defendant, after protesting his innocence throughout the trial Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html and being nailed by the jury, usually took the stand and said he was very sorry for whatever crime he'd been denying all week. "They beg and cry," Baggy had said. "It's qu...
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