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Unformatted text preview: ost lawyers in Clanton, he'd spent the entire week in the courtroom watching a case that meant nothing to him financially. "Is your gal gonna stick?" he asked with a mouth full of turkey and Swiss. "Miss Callie?" I asked. "Yeah. She okay with the gas chamber?" "I have no idea. We haven't discussed it." "She's got us worried, along with that damned crippled boy." Harry Rex had quietly involved himself in the case in such a way that one would think he was working for Ernie Gaddis and the State. But he wasn't the only lawyer in town secretly abetting the prosecution. Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter, "It took them less than sixty minutes to find him guilty," I said. "Isn't that a good sign?" "Maybe, but jurors do strange things when it's time to sign a death warrant." "So? Then he'll get life. From what I hear about Parchman, life there would be worse than the gas chamber." "Life ain't life, Willie," he said, wiping his face with a paper towel. I put my sandwich down while he took another bite. "What is life?" I asked. "Ten years, maybe less." I tried to understand this. "You mean a life sentence in Mississippi is ten years?" "You got it. After ten years, less with good time, a murderer sent to prison for life is eligible for parole. Insane, don't you think?" "But why—" "Don't try and understand it, Willie, it's just the law. Been on the books for fifty years. And what's worse is the jury doesn't know it. Can't tell 'em. Want some coleslaw?" I shook my head. "Our distinguished Supreme Court has said that the jury, if it knows how light a life sentence really is, might be more inclined to give the death penalty. Thus, it's unfair to the defendant." "Life is ten years," I mumbled to myself. In Mississippi, the liquor stores are locked up on Election Day, as if...
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