Abby Wells Mr. Rowe Honors English 11 28 October 2002 A Black Man?s Justice Going down a back road, carrying groceries for her mother, Tonya Hailey walked toward her home. All of a sudden she feels a sharp pain in the back of her head, falls to the ground unconscious, and is dragged to the back of a yellow pick-up truck. Hailey woke up with her hands tied to a tree, and two legs spread apart and tied to separate fence posts. She smelled beer and liquor on the two men who were tying her up. She cried for her daddy, but he could not be there for her. The two men take turns raping her, ignoring the fact that she is bleeding. When they have finished, they spit on her, they cuss her, and they urinate on her. Thinking they will get rid of her, they dump her in a near by river, hoping and believing she will drown.
But she does not drown; she lives, and she is found.
This is a preview to the beginning of the book I read?A Time to Kill. This book is about a black girl who was raped by two white men. The white men are found guilty, but even so, the girl?s father, Carl Lee Hailey, kills them both.
After the two white men, Billy Ray Cobb and Pete Willard, have been tried in court, they are walking out, handcuffed, and the angry father who seeks revenge runs from a janitor?s closet and shoots them both. They die almost instantly.
Obviously, Carl Lee Hailey will be taken to jail. His kids and wife are left at home to fend for themselves. His wife had no job and could not imagine how she would get along with no money and no husband to provide for her family. She is scared, and because of Tonya?s hospital bills, they are even more so in debt then ever. Carl Lee remained in jail.
Before Carl Lee killed the two white men, he consulted a lawyer friend that he knew named Jake Brigance. Jake is an average lawyer in a small town. He is white, unlike Carl Lee, and although he realized how angry Carl Lee was, he did not figure that he would do something crazy like kill the two men. However, when Carl Lee was in jail, he asked Brigance to be his lawyer, to defend him in court.
It was not very often that a white man would defend a black man who had shot two white men. After much consideration, Brigance accepts the case. This upset a lot of townspeople who are against Carl Lee. The white people feel like Brigance is ?turning? on them. Brigance knew the job was going to be a chore, but his firm needed the money.
Against the wishes of his wife, Carla, he works day and night on the case, even after being harassed by angry white folk. Jake puts himself in Carl Lee?s shoes in order to stay with the case. He kept in mind that he had a daughter the age of Tonya, whose name was Hannah, and what he would do if anything like that ever happened to her. He can see where Carl Lee is coming from, but he cannot use that as the reason to defend him. They decide it is best if Carl Lee pleads temporary insanity.
During the trial, pranksters are constantly calling Brigance?s house. They call him a ?nigger lover? and threaten him and his family. For the most part, Brigance does not take these people seriously. He just hangs up the phone and gets on with life. One night, Brigance?s house is disturbed by a late phone call, saying that the family needs to get out of the house. Searching frantically all over the house outside, the police and Brigance find a bomb. They deactivate it and the house is saved. Brigance decided to send his wife and daughter, Hannah, to stay with Carla?s parents in North Carolina until the trial was over.
After this incident, Brigance finally buckled down and realized that he needed to take things more seriously. He found a companion to help him with the case?a smart graduate from Ole? Miss named Ellen Rowark. She was anxious to help Brigance with the case and did not charge him a dime for any of the help she was going to give him.
When the county realizes that Brigance is getting help from another white girl, Rowark is also harassed. She is kidnapped from her car and taken to the deep woods. The kidnappers were the Ku Klux Klan, and they were going to kill her until an old member who did not believe in what the Klan was doing saved her. He took her back to Clanton County, where the trial was taken place. She was hospitalized and Brigance was on his own once again.
Finally, the last day of the trial took place. Brigance worked himself up for the big day and was finally able to find a way that all of the jurors, who were all white, would be able to see why Carl Lee had done what he had done.
He told them to close their eyes and imagine a girl like Tonya. He explained what the two men would do to her and what she would be like after. He basically described the situation Tonya was in. Then, rather then ending with saying it was actually Tonya he was talking about, he said for them to picture the girl as being white. He told them to picture the rapists as black men.
That worked for the jurors. Carl Lee was found innocent and he and the rest of the family were left to be together. Tonya was going to be okay, and now, because her daddy was back she would be even better.