Unformatted text preview: ml Mr. Kohn fired Sam an hour later. Harry Rex filed the divorce that afternoon. Iris was later admitted to the hospital with cuts, abrasions, and a broken nose. Her husband beat her with his fists until she was unconscious. After dark, three uniformed state troopers knocked on the door of Sam's home in Lowtown. They explained to his parents that he was wanted by the police in connection with some vague embezzling charge at Kohn's. If convicted he could be sentenced to twenty years in prison. They also told them, off the record of course, that Sam had been caught having sex with a white lady, another man's wife, and there was a contract on his head. Five thousand bucks. Iris left town disgraced, divorced, without her children, and afraid to return. I had heard different versions of Sam's story. It was old gossip by the time I arrived in Clanton, but it was still sensational enough to find its way into many conversations. In the South, it was not unusual for white men to keep black mistresses, but Sam's was the first documented case of a white woman crossing the color line in Clanton. Baggy had been the one to tell me the story. Harry Rex had confirmed much of it. Miss Callie refused to talk about it. Sam was her youngest, and he couldn't come home. He had fled, dropped out of high school, and spent the past two years living off his brothers and sisters. Now he was calling me. I went to the courthouse and dug through drawers of old files. I found no record of an indictment against Sam Ruffin. I asked Sheriff Coley if he had an outstanding warrant. He dodged the question and wanted to know why I was poking around in such an old case. I asked him if Sam would be arrested if he came home. Again, no direct answer. "Be careful, Mr. Traynor," he warned, but would not elaborate. I went to Harry Rex and asked about the now legendary contract on Sam's head. He described his client, Sergeant Durant, as a former Marine, an expert marksman with any number of weapons, a career cop, a hothead w...
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