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 particular 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 virtually 18 years in Virginia prisons—9 0.5 of them on dying row—for a homicide he didn't commit.This booklet finds the relative ease with which people who reside at society's margins should be wrongfully convicted, and the intense trouble of correcting this sort of unsuitable as soon as it occurs.Washington used to be finally freed in February 2001 no longer as a result of criminal and judicial platforms, yet even with them. whereas DNA trying out was once principal to his eventual pardon, such checks could by no means have happened with out an surprisingly proficient and devoted criminal crew and with no sequence of incidents which are most sensible defined as natural luck.Margaret Edds makes the chilling argument that another “expendable males” possibly were much less lucky than Washington. This, she writes, is “the mystery, shameful underbelly” of America's retention of capital punishment. Such wrongful executions won't ensue usually, yet a person who doubts that blameless humans were done within the usa may still take note the striking sequence of occasions essential to shop Earl Washington Jr. from this sort of destiny.
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Extra resources for An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, Jr.
Even so, Washington’s retardation does not erase his positive traits—“he is motivated to do well, he has a kind temperament, and is cheerful and cooperative,” Luckasson stressed. Increasingly, as Earl Jr. aged, he masked his intellectual shortcomings by not showing up at school. By spring 1975 letters were going home questioning his repeated absences. And the following fall, his shaky performance was underscored by a string of minor offenses—tardiness, truancy, failure to dress for gym. On January 27, 1976, at ﬁfteen years and nine months of age, Earl Jr.
This time Washington nodded. ” Wilmore asked. “I don’t know,” Washington said. ” “I don’t know. I think I can,” he said. 40 CONFESSIONS The questioning continued for about an hour. The only written description of the episode is the transcript of Wilmore’s trial testimony. If notes were taken, they were never made public. , Wilmore took out paper and pen and sat facing Washington. Writing as quickly as he could, he recorded an ofﬁcial confession. It began: Wilmore: What is your name? Washington: Earl Junior Washington.
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. Demographically, Culpeper County contained about 22,600 citizens at the 1980 census, one-ﬁfth of them black. Next door in Fauquier, about 13 percent of the 35,889 residents were African American.
An Expendable Man: The Near-Execution of Earl Washington, Jr. by Margaret Edds