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The Big Eddy Club: The Stocking Stranglings and Southern Justice 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
This ineptly titled tome is an engrossing blend of true crime, legal drama and acute exposé of racial antagonism. Vanity Fair contributing editor Rose (Guantánamo: The War on Human Rights) examines the brutal rape-murders of seven older white women in Columbus, Ga., in 1977–1978. In the mid-'80s, the police charged Carlton Gary, a charismatic black ladies' man with a long rap sheet; Gary was convicted and sentenced to die. Rose (who, controversially, agreed to turn over new findings to the defense in exchange for their cooperation) presents a riveting case that Gary, still on death row, may be innocent. Police and prosecutors, he contends, may have lied to the jury and withheld possibly exculpatory evidence from Gary's attorneys, whose defense of their indigent client was hamstrung by the judge's refusal to give them funds. Later, Gary's appeals were hobbled by procedural rules; the legal "technicalities" decried on cop shows, the author argues, more often railroad than protect defendants. Rose sets the story against Columbus's history of racial oppression and biased justice, comparing Gary's prosecution to the lynchings of yesteryear. The author harps unconvincingly on the "Southern rape complex" and insinuates more than he demonstrates about the role of Columbus's Big Eddy Club of white movers and shakers. Still, Rose presents a compelling indictment of justice gone awry. Photos. (May)
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Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
"Just as it has been for nearly twenty years, this case is provoking question and controversy. And so will this book."
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
"[D]eeply fascinating a damning, shameful saga."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A compelling legal drama and exposé of racism in the justice system."
"About as good a piece of investigative reporting as you’re ever likely to get."
Sunday Times (UK)
"[An] engrossing blend of true crime, legal drama and acute exposé of racial antagonism."
"I have never heard a book talked about this much in all my years with the company."
Donna Sommer, Books-A-Million, Columbus, Georgia
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Top customer reviews
Marcel's job at the Big Eddy required a hostile attitude toward black people. The judges are elected. If seven affluent women with large families are killed, someone has to "fry" or the judges no longer have a job. So they do what needs to be done (or have it done).
I used to be homesick for Columbus and the people I thought I knew, I now know they will destroy you to save themselves. Poor Carlton Gary, a lot of careers hinged on his conviction.
If the information in this book is accurate, than I am dismayed at the level of police mishandling of the case and I do hope that they have come a long way since then. Therefore, I think Mr. Gary deserves another day in court. (I wonder if the Columbus police have made any attempt to match the semen (DNA) found on Mrs. Thurmond to the dna's on file in the national database?)
Please keep in mind that Gary was a career criminal and not the sympathetic figure that Rose portrayed. Rose is against the death penalty and also has been hired to work on Gary's case.