Edward Lee Elmore was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to die for the murder of Dorothy Ely Edwards an elderly rich white widow. The only connection the police had was a check made out to Elmore and his fingerprint on a windowsill. Since Elmore had done handyman work for Edwards this was not surprising, the police and prosecuting attorney decided it was evidence of guilt.
Elmore was a poor young black man of limited education and intelligence, these circumstances combined with his attorneys’ incompetence, alcoholism, racism and belief in his guilt to ensure he did not get a fair trial.
After many years on death row his case caught the attention of the South Carolina Death Penalty Resource Center in general and attorney Diana Holt in particular. She spent more than a decade fighting for his life and freedom.
The book deals mainly with the process involved in trying to get a man off death row and getting a new trail. The pitfalls and difficulties. Because of that there is a lot of discussion of trials and testimony. Mr. Bonner references many other cases that rulings were violated during his trial or were being used to try to get him a new trial and/or off death row. While Mr. Bonner gives biographical information of the key people involved, it is not extensive just enough to help us with understanding the feeling in the community during this event.
Even with the legal talk and recitation of testimony, there is not much repetition in the book. These make the book while not easy to read not as tedious as it could be. Not all the testimony is word for word and there is much that is summarized.
I would recommend this book for true crime fans who like the courtroom side of cases as opposed to biographical data and investigation.