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Unformatted text preview: ossibly throttle him, he launched into a fictional recounting of the facts of the crimes, and in particular the testimony of an "airtight" alibi witness, Lydia Vince. His reconstructed version of the trial had the jury wavering on a verdict of not guilty. I was tempted to throw something at him and start screaming. Maybe that would at least keep him somewhat honest. I wanted to shout, "How can he be remorseful if he's so innocent?" Lucien carped on about the trial and how unfair it had been. He nobly took the blame for not pushing hard for a change of venue, to another part of the state where folks were unbiased and more enlightened. When he finally shut up two of the board members appeared to be asleep. Mrs. Padgitt testified next and talked about the letters she and her son had exchanged these past eight, very long years. Through his letters, she had seen him mature, seen his faith strengthen, seen him long for his freedom so he could serve his fellow man. Serve them a stronger blend of pot? Or perhaps a cleaner corn whiskey? Since tears were expected she gave us some tears. It was part of the show and appeared to have little sway over the Board. In fact, as I watched their faces I got the impression that their decision had been made a long time ago. Danny went last and did a good job of walking the fine line between denying his crimes and showing remorse for them. "I have learned from my mistakes," he said, as if rape and murder were simple indiscretions where no one really got hurt. "I have grown from them." In prison he had been a veritable whirlwind of positive energy—volunteering in the library, singing in the choral group, helping with the Parchman rodeo, organizing teams to go into schools and scare kids away from crime. Two Board members were listening. One was still asleep. The other two sat in trancelike meditation, apparently brain dead. Danny shed no tears, but closed with an impassioned plea for his release. "How many witnesses in opposition?" Jeter announced. I stood, looked around me, saw no one else from Ford County,...
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