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Unformatted text preview: and I couldn't begin to comprehend what they were thinking. There were no Padgitts present; they had enough sense to stay clear of the courtroom. The sight of one of them would've touched off a riot. Harry Rex whispered that they were huddled together upstairs in the jury room, with the door locked. We never saw them. Rufus Buckley arrived with his entourage to represent the State of Mississippi. One advantage in selling theTimes was that I would never be forced to spend time with him. He was arrogant and pompous, and everything he did was designed to get him to the Governor's office. As I waited and watched the courtroom fill up, I realized it was the last time I would cover such a proceeding for theTimes. I found no sadness in that. I had mentally checked out, mentally spent some of the money. And now that Danny was in custody, I was even more anxious to escape Clanton and go see the world. There would be a trial in a few months. Another Danny Padgitt circus, but I doubted seriously if it would be held in Ford County. I didn't care. It would be a story for someone else. At 10 A.M., all seats were filled and a thick row of spectators lined the walls. Fifteen minutes later, there was a shuffle behind the bench, a door opened, and Lucien Wilbanks emerged. It had the feel of a sporting event; he was a player; we all wanted to boo. Two bailiffs quickly followed him, and one announced, "All rise for the Court!" Judge Noose ambled forth in his black robe and sat on his throne. "Please be seated," he said into the microphone. He surveyed the crowd and seemed astonished at the number of us out there. He nodded, a side door opened, and Danny Padgitt, handcuffed, shackled at the ankles, and sporting the orange jail jumpsuit he'd worn before, was led in by three deputies. It took a few minutes to unlock him from his various restraints, and when he was finally free he leaned over and whispered something to Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,
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