An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, by Margaret Edds

By Margaret Edds

How is it attainable for an blameless guy to return inside of 9 days of execution? An Expendable guy solutions that query via designated research of the case of Earl Washington Jr., a mentally retarded, black farm hand who was once convicted of the 1983 rape and homicide of a 19-year-old mom of 3 in Culpeper, Virginia. He spent nearly 18 years in Virginia prisons—9 half of them on dying row—for a homicide he didn't commit.This ebook finds the relative ease with which people who dwell at society's margins will be wrongfully convicted, and the extreme hassle of correcting any such flawed as soon as it occurs.Washington was once ultimately freed in February 2001 no longer due to the felony and judicial platforms, yet even with them. whereas DNA checking out was once vital to his eventual pardon, such assessments could by no means have happened with out an surprisingly gifted and dedicated criminal workforce and with no sequence of incidents which are most sensible defined as natural luck.Margaret Edds makes the chilling argument that another “expendable males” potentially were much less lucky than Washington. This, she writes, is “the mystery, shameful underbelly” of America's retention of capital punishment. Such wrongful executions would possibly not occur usually, yet an individual who doubts that blameless humans were completed within the usa may still bear in mind the awesome sequence of occasions essential to retailer Earl Washington Jr. from one of these destiny.

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Forging a nation. Back home, African American slaves labored to keep the planters’ fortunes afloat, freeing them and their compatriots for more cerebral pursuits. ’s family run deep in Fauquier County, extending to before the Civil War. 3 Presumably, all were slaves. George Washington, Earl’s paternal great-grandfather, was a twenty-threeyear-old laborer when he married another county native, Lizzie Haley, in 1872. Over the next decades they produced several children and watched a daughter die from typhoid fever in 1892 and a son of consumption in 1896.

He said. ” Driving up behind, Officer Schrum saw Washington drop his head, then lift it. It was the same gesture the prisoner had made each time he confessed to a crime back in Warrenton. “I told Cubby, this is where it happened at,” Schrum recalled. Were there subtle, even unintentional suggestions to Washington that he had arrived at the correct destination? Jonathan Lynn, who was Washington’s attorney in the Hazel Weeks case and later became Fauquier County’s chief prosecutor, recalled his own trepidation in trusting Washington’s answers during interviews.

Brave, gallant A PIEDMONT SON 19 men, so we hear, anxious to have a fight. Virginia has volunteered 80,000. Welcome, most gallant soldiers, to our soil. ”12 P. A. L. Smith was equally rapturous when he wrote about his life in Fauquier County after the Civil War: “There never was but one real war, and that was from 1861 to 1865. ”13 A century later the northward migration of blacks and a dwindling agricultural base had brought subtle changes to the Piedmont, though among whites reverence remained for the Confederate past.

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