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

By Margaret Edds

How is it attainable for an blameless guy to come back inside of 9 days of execution? An Expendable guy solutions that query via specified research of the case of Earl Washington Jr., a mentally retarded, black farm hand who used to be convicted of the 1983 rape and homicide of a 19-year-old mom of 3 in Culpeper, Virginia. He spent virtually 18 years in Virginia prisons—9 0.5 of them on dying row—for a homicide he didn't commit.This e-book finds the relative ease with which people who dwell at society's margins might be wrongfully convicted, and the extreme hassle of correcting one of these improper as soon as it occurs.Washington used to be ultimately freed in February 2001 now not as a result of criminal and judicial platforms, yet inspite of them. whereas DNA checking out used to be primary to his eventual pardon, such exams may by no means have happened with out an surprisingly gifted and devoted criminal staff and with out a sequence of incidents which are most sensible defined as natural luck.Margaret Edds makes the chilling argument that another “expendable males” probably 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 frequently, yet a person who doubts that blameless humans were achieved within the usa may still bear in mind the outstanding sequence of occasions essential to shop Earl Washington Jr. from any such destiny.

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Withdrew from the Fauquier County schools. The form noted that he had been absent for fifteen consecutive days. With school behind him, Earl Jr. settled into the only life for which he was equipped—working as a day laborer, usually staying close to home. He moved in and out of the Washington household, living at times with Alfreda who had left home by then. The face Earl Jr. presented to the larger Fauquier community was largely anonymous and benign. Jonathan Lynn, a Fauquier County prosecutor, recalled that all three Washington brothers once broke into a house and stole some food that they then ate.

A broken dining room chair lay on the floor. Items were scattered out of place. Hurrying down the hall, Weeks found his mother on the bedroom floor. Hazel Weeks was coherent, but she was unable to get up by herself because of the knee replacements. She had taken some pieces of used bedsheet that she kept for rags and was pressing them against her skull to stop the bleeding. He helped her to the bed. His wife arrived and began tending to his mother. Jimmy went out to wait for the rescue squad and the sheriff.

Two other people received scraps of information from Becky about her attacker. m. 9 “I stood directly over top of her, so she could see me,” Buraker testified. “I asked her if she knew who her attacker was. ” Clifford also drove up as Becky was lying on the doorstep. 10 “I tried to tell her that the ambulance was on the way, that she’d be all right, you know, that everything would be okay, and I asked her, you 14 DEATH IN CULPEPER know, who did it, and the only thing she replied to me was, ‘A black man,’” he said, choking back tears from the witness stand.

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