Roger Coleman: You Don't Always Get Perry Mason

As Coleman goes to the chair, questions remain about his case -- and the quality of court-appointed legal defenders

WITH TWO POWERFUL JOLTS OF ELECTRICity, Roger Keith Coleman was executed last week in Virginia. But the questions about his guilt could not so easily be disposed of -- in part because his court-appointed lawyers failed to put them to rest at his trial. On the night that Wanda Fay McCoy was murdered, Coleman claimed to have been at several points around the coal-mining town of Grundy. Shouldn't his lawyers have tried to retrace his steps on that night and search out witnesses? Shouldn't they have ventured into McCoy's or Coleman's home? At the very least, shouldn't they have presented to...

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