Most of those who went away to college never came

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Unformatted text preview: ite a show." But Padgitt's disaster the day before precluded him from getting near the jury. Lucien called to the witness stand his mother, Lettie Padgitt. She was a fiftyish woman with pleasant features and short graying hair, and she wore a black dress as if she was already mourning the death of her son. Led by Lucien, she unsteadily began testimony that seemed scripted down to every pause in her cadence. There was Danny the little boy, fishing every day after school, breaking his leg falling from a tree house, and winning the spelling bee in the fourth grade. He was never any trouble in those days, none at all. In fact, Danny had caused no trouble at all growing up, a real joy. His two older brothers were always into something, but not Danny. The testimony was so silly and self serving that it bordered on ridiculous. But there were three mothers on the jury—Miss Callie, Mrs. Barbara Baldwin, and Maxine Root—and Lucien was aiming for one of them. He needed just one. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Padgitt was soon in tears. She would never believe that her son had committed such a terrible crime, but if the jury felt so, then she would try and accept it. But why take him away? Why kill her little boy? What would the world gain if he were put to death? Her pain was real. Her emotions were raw and difficult to watch, to sit through. Any human being would feel sympathy for a mother about to lose a child. She finally collapsed and Lucien left her sobbing on the witness stand. What began as a stilted performance ended in a gut-wrenching plea that forced most of the jurors to lower their eyes and study the floor. Lucien said he had no other witnesses. He and Ernie made brief final summations, and by 11 A.M. the jury once again had the case. - --- Ginger disappeared into the crowd. I went to the office and waited, and when she didn't show I walked across the square to Harry Rex's office. He sent his secretary out for sandwiches and we ate in his cluttered conference room. Like m...
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