Blood on the Leaves
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In the 1960s, racism was rampant in Jackson, Mississippi, and it was common for white men caught in the act of killing blacks to be acquitted by all-white juries. But 40 years later, someone is seeking justice; those same men are turning up dead - in the identical manner in which they killed their victims. Now, James Reynolds, who has overcome the odds - and his own personal demons - to become the only black prosecutor in Jackson, will face the toughest case of his life: He'll have to prosecute prime suspect Martin Matheson, a brilliant professor, the son of a venerated Civil Rights leader, and the newly appointed folk hero for thousands of African Americans hungry for retribution.
father he’d cried twice for him. Now he’d do it once more, but this time it would be for himself. CHAPTER 59 IN AN EFFORT to give Miller sufficient time to handle his family matter, Tanner scheduled the hearing for three o’clock. Miller arrived two hours early and sat in the courtroom alone. He paced back and forth in front of the empty jury box, envisioning where each person sat. He moved to the podium and measured the distance between himself and the judge’s bench, then crossed to the
further. The second officer chose to be more conspicuous. He paced the area with his short, stocky arms folded across his police shield. Heavy footsteps beat rhythmically against the shining parquet floor, announcing his impatience. Matheson, ignoring the officers, picked up the stack of papers, and handed it to Regina Davis, seated in the front, center row. She’d been voted the first black homecoming queen in the university’s 168-year history. But to her the only honor that mattered was the
craftsmanship. People used to care about their work back then. They knew they were creating a legacy and wanted to feel proud about it. He slashed his left wrist, then submerged the gnarled hand beneath the oiled surface. His eyes darted toward the ceiling, disinclined for the moment to see the water changing color. The sight of blood had often sickened him. It reminded him of the day he’d become a savage, egged on by a crowd and intoxicated by too much to drink and his own overwhelming fear.
hidden. For that, he’d remained grateful. He pulled back the curtain and opened the window that had once promised him a quick escape from any unwelcome visitations disrupting his sleep. On more than one occasion, he also used it to avoid a well-deserved whipping. In the end, his father or mother would find him outside, peeking from behind the large oak tree, and they’d make him endure twice the ordinary punishment for the additional trouble he caused. He’d learned to dread “seek and destroy
of that?” “I attended an interview Professor Matheson had at police headquarters in late September. He used the pen to sign some paperwork. One of the detectives commented on how attractive and unique it was and asked if it was very expensive.” “How did he respond, if at all?” “He said it was custom-made and, to his knowledge, one of a kind, but its real value was based on it bein’ a gift from the first class of students he ever taught.” Reynolds glanced over Matheson’s shoulder at a row