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Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
A piercing, provocative true story that is also a commentary on our system of justice, centered around a wrongful murder conviction that bares the dark side of the American soul. This book highlights a case that was front page news--featured on "60 Minutes, " in The New York Times in 1993. HC: Bantam.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 5th 1996 by Bantam (first published August 1st 1995)
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In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
Best True Crime
220th out of 670 books — 1,064 voters
The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonReclaiming History by Vincent BugliosiHomicide by David SimonHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Edgar Award Winners - Fact Crime
23rd out of 54 books — 3 voters


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Fishface
Feb 24, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing
This one is worth seeking out and reading, probably over and over. I doubt you'll get the whole story the first time -- there is just too much to take it. This case happened in the same small Alabama town where Harper Lee grew up and where her fictional classic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was based (thinly disguised). That story -- a case of a false rape accusation against a black man in the Thirties, and the attempts to keep him from being prosecuted, then killed by a lynch mob -- has absolutely noth ...more
Jarome
May 01, 2008 Jarome rated it it was amazing
Peter Barley takes you into a world, I know most of us have no idea about. By the time I finished this I felt so angry and sick to my stomach at the bold stupidity that human beings can display, that it took me a while to get over it. Once again, don't read this if you don't like hard truth. Truth about the side of people that just makes you sick. I think what bothered me the most (I should say what made me feel the most ashamed as an african-american male) is the fact that there were black peop ...more
Charity
Oct 18, 2015 Charity rated it it was amazing
I ordered this book after hearing Bryan Stevenson speak in Kenosha. He's a lawyer who advocates legally for death row inmates and is featured in this book because he helps the main accused murderer fight his death row sentence because he was wrongly accused.

The story takes place in Alabama, where defendants are NOT provided legal council if they don't have a way to pay for it. I have to say, I didn't know that still went on in America. It's just so solidly classist (and by extension racist) tha
...more
Cindy
Feb 23, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend. This true story of racial injustice takes place in small hometown of Harper Lee. For years I've had an article about human rights attorney Bryan Stevenson on my bulletin board at work that discusses his views on "To Kill a Mockingbird". The article came from this book. No spoilers on his opinion or what happens to his client, Walter "Johnny" D. McMillian . I started this book and couldn't put it down. Five stars. And if you haven't seen the TED talk by Bryan please watch.
Mary Jane
Mar 03, 2014 Mary Jane rated it liked it
Good read about a real crime that occurred in the deep south. Actually, it was about several crimes - 2 murders and one man incorrectly imprisoned for one of the murders.
At times, the book was tedious. Indeed, the author had no choice as the reporting of this whole scenario took time and patience.
It is sad that this occurred in our country in 1986. And maybe still does today. Very sad, indeed.
Ann Benefiel
Sep 02, 2014 Ann Benefiel rated it it was amazing
This true story has so many twists and turns that fiction could never top it. I read it on Kindle and had no idea it was over 500 pages when I started. I stayed up all night when I was only a few hundred pages in, thinking with each chapter that I was near the end. Every time the crime(s) seemed to be about sewn up, new characters would pop up or someone new would take over the case. I've always been interested in social justice and this is one of the best examples, along with John Grisham's non ...more
Judy Libby
Nov 12, 2014 Judy Libby rated it it was amazing
The perfect follow-up to JUST MERCY. What a tangled web we weave. . . . So lucky not to have been born black, poor, and in Alabama!
Katy Reed preston
Oct 05, 2015 Katy Reed preston rated it it was amazing
Great story about pursuing justice.
Andrew
Dec 29, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it
Excellent true crime writing...This one stands out to me as an excellent insight to the legal process in the south. After reading Super Casino, I was looking forward to this, and it really delivered..
Kristin
Nov 18, 2010 Kristin rated it it was amazing
I'm actually from Monroeville. I went to church with the morrisons though I didn't know who they were at the time. I hope the murders are solved because these families deserve justice!
Lelia
Jan 01, 2014 Lelia rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
A sadly disturbing look at the legal hoops that must be jumped and the inequity of our justice system.
Monica Perez
Jan 12, 2009 Monica Perez rated it it was ok
A fine read. True crime. Interesting insight into the possible irreversible injustice of the death penalty in its application.
Kari
Aug 13, 2014 Kari rated it liked it
Frustratingly eye opening.
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Pete Earley is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including the New York Times bestseller The Hot House and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.
After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise.
His honest
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