TRIALS: Joan Little's Story

In the dark-paneled courtroom in Raleigh, N.C., the 21-year-old black defendant testified in a voice that was so low that jurors often had to cup their ears to catch her words. She clutched a tissue but broke down in tears only once. Otherwise, Joan Little remained remarkably self-possessed through two days of painful testimony and crossexamination, sticking stoutly to her story that she had been defending herself from rape when she stabbed white Jailer Clarence Alligood to death with an ice pick in the Beaufort County Jail in Washington, N.C., on Aug....

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