MISSISSIPPI: Detective Story

Somewhat shamefaced, Mississippi Sheriff George Smith Marshall admitted that his boys had made a slight mistake: four Negroes who had been held in Sunflower County jail were just not guilty of the murder to which three of them had confessed. They confessed, the sheriff reckoned, after "a small amount of heat." What kind of heat? "I imagine they probably used a leather strap," the sheriff said.

That was not the half of it. It all started a couple of weeks ago, when a Negro woman reported that her 17-year-old boy, Robert McKinney, had disappeared and had probably...

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