From Pulitzer Prize-winner Raymond Bonner, the gripping story of a grievously mishandled murder case that put a twenty-three-year-old man on death row. In January 1982, an elderly white widow was found brutally murdered in the small town of Greenwood, South Carolina. Police immediately arrested Edward Lee Elmore, a semiliterate, mentally retarded black man with no previous felony record. His only connection to the victim was having cleaned her gutters and windows, but barely ninety days after the victim's body was found, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Elmore had been on death row for eleven years when a young attorney named Diana Holt first learned of his case. After attending the University of Texas School of Law, Holt was eager to help the disenfranchised and voiceless; she herself had been a childhood victim of abuse. It required little scrutiny for Holt to discern that Elmore's case-plagued by incompetent court-appointed defense attorneys, a virulent prosecution, and both misplaced and contaminated evidence-reeked of injustice.
This is a lucid, page-turning account of the trials and death row appeals of Edward Lee Elmore, a quiet and mentally challenged African-American man accused of the brutal murder of an elderly white woman in South Carolina in 1982, and the remarkably dedicated legal team that fought for him to have fair representation in court after three separate, grossly mismanaged jury trials. Led by Diana Holt, a lawyer whose own turbulent youth contributed to a fierce commitment to her client, Elmore's defense winds through nearly three decades of legal maneuverings as suspenseful as the investigation of the mysterious crime itself. Painstakingly researched by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bonner (Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador), the case illustrates in fascinating and wrenching specificity the widely acknowledged inequality and moral failings of the death penalty, while illuminating the less understood details of a criminal justice system deeply compromised by race and class. Indeed, Bonner's ability to succinctly and vividly incorporate the relevant case history and explain the operative legal procedures and principles at work-including the bizarre way in which court-acknowledged innocence is not necessarily enough to spare a life on death row-makes this not only a gripping human story but a first-rate introduction to the more problematic aspects of American criminal law. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
February 21, 2012
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.