John Grisham chose a story about the death penalty for his first non-fiction novel, and it’s well worth the read. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, has been out for awhile — so long in fact, that you can buy a used copy on Amazon for a buck ninety-nine ($1.99). It’s particularly compelling in light of the case of Cameron Todd Willingham — an innocent man executed by the State of Texas with scientific evidence recently proving his innocence.
What’s Grisham’s book about?
It’s a true story, which began over 25 years ago when a young cocktail waitress was raped and murdered, and the crime remained unsolved for 5 years. All this time, the authorities believed that two specific men were responsible, and after these five years had passed, they ended up arresting the two guys, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, for murder.
They had no physical evidence. The case went to a jury based solely on junk science and the testimony of a convict or two. Ron Williamson was sent to death row; his pal got life in prison.
Eerie to read, as you ponder the Willingham case….