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Unformatted text preview: ded. The street in front of her house was packed with cars and barely passable. Groups of men sat on the cars, some smoking, some holding rifles. Next door and across the street the porches and yards were filled with people. Half of Lowtown had gathered there to make sure she felt secure. There was a festival atmosphere, the feeling of a unique event. With white faces, Harry Rex and I received closer scrutiny. We didn't stop until he could speak with the deputies, and once they approved our presence the pack relaxed. We parked and I walked to the house where Sam met me at the front steps. Harry Rex stayed behind, chatting with the deputies. She was inside, in her bedroom, reading her Bible with a friend from church. Several deacons were on the porch with Sam and Esau, and they were anxious for details of the Teale murder. I filled them in with as much as I could tell, which wasn't much at all. Around midnight, the crowd began to slowly break up. Sam and the deputies had organized a rotation of all-night sentries, armed guards on both the front and back porches. There was no shortage of volunteers. Miss Callie never dreamed her pleasant and God-fearing little home would become such an armed fortress, but under the circumstances she could not be disappointed. We drove the anxious streets to the Hocutt House, where we found Buster asleep in his car in the driveway. We found some bourbon and sat on a front porch, swatting an occasional mosquito and trying to appreciate the situation. "He's very patient," Harry Rex said. "Wait a few days when all these neighbors get tired of porch sittin', when everybody relaxes a little. The jurors can't live long locked inside their homes. He'll wait." One chilling little fact that had not been released was a service call received by the tractor dealership a week earlier. At the Anderson farm south of town a tractor had been disabled under similar circumstances. Mo Teale, who was one of four chief mechanics, had not been sent to repair it. Someone else's yellow shirt ha...
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- Spring '10