As I gaze across the flat desolation of Hammond’s Summit, a large billow of dust heads towards town. In the distance, the cloud rolls on the horizon like a sand spout stretching to the sky.
The world sure looks different from behind these bars. They tend to frame everything in an all too real certainty—like the animals at the Bronx Zoo, or stuffed heads on a hunter’s wall.
Fueled by local emotions, the trial lasted one day and one half hour. There was half a day for the Prosecution, a bit less for the Defense and a half hour the next day for the jury to decide my fate.
My court appointed lawyer, Joshua Feathers, complained throughout the proceedings. “I object. I object!” He sounded like a whining child. The Judge, Sheriff Richardson’s cousin, rebutted every objection.
Mine was a textbook case—open and shut. Bob Roberts might have been a fair judge, if not for his cousins, uncles and aunts prodding, poking, egging him on in their misguided sense of justice.
The town had already decided I was guilty. Everyone adored Angela Claypool. She could do no wrong in their eyes. And wasn’t I the one who caused her father-in-law’s death? And didn’t I spend an awful lot of time at Bud Claypool’s? Maybe I had something going on with Angela and just wanted to shut her up now that I was married. Sure. And didn’t I see you in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
All they had to go on was hearsay and suspicion. But they had corroboration, and that included each and every one of the Claypool family.