Do you believe that…



Sometimes I want to reach out to all of you and tell you more about where we are in this case and what it is that we have collectively accomplished and then… I look at Charley’s photo on my desk and know that soon enough, soon enough you will all know what has transpired.

Take care my dear Valdosta in these quiet hours before the ensuing storm that you do not fall into a false sense of security that suggests you walk among only saints. The villains are still out there. Albeit older and now very much whiskered and gray, but they are still there. Do you think that murder is a thing committed only by the young? That age somehow negates the willful abuse and violence of arrogant youth? Would that I could tell you that the shelf life of anger and mental deficiency serves only those without silvered hair or yellowed teeth- yet I cannot. Those who were there that night still go to church, to the grocery stores and the local pubs to celebrate the anniversaries and monumental benchmarks of their lives. Foolish they are to think that fate will ignore them forever.

Perhaps it is fitting in a way… this distant resolution. Perhaps the universe in its infinite wisdom understands the ego of these men and women. Perhaps it knows that the true punishment for them will be to live long lives, only to have their legacies shattered in their final days. Perhaps it is fitting that they be seen for the false prophets of greed and debauchery they are in their later years and not in the glory of their testosteroned days.

Remember…no matter what they have said or what you have heard, Charley’s murder was not over unrequited love, nor moonshine and its bucolic mayhem. It was over something far baser than either of those. Last night my husband and I watched the movie, “The Paperboy” and I was reminded of why my dear friend was slain. FYI- this is not a movie for children or the faint of heart; nor should it be used as guideline or format for what happened to and with Charley. Let’s just say that certain aspects of it encapsulated a time where violence and sexual depravity were prevalent in all walks of life; both law and citizenry. A time line in our recent history when all things became negotiable; a man’s reputation, a woman’s body, the letter of the law, the venues for profit and the sanctity of human life. Though it has always been this way- the 60’s seemed engulfed in such. Did I create such a time line? No- I was but 8 when such nonsense gripped this country and so try as I might… much of what I discover and write feels foreign to me.

Last week I read something in my Victimology text that revisited the histrionic label of “regional and cultural violence…Southerness” and it was so fitting to what we are dealing with here. That being said; I wanted also to remind you that it is not me who has done or will do disgrace to your territorial namesake. In the annals of history, this perverse notoriety will come from those who sought to make all believe that your hometown was one of innocence and joy. And for most of you it has been and will continue to be and rightly so. Yours was not the contribution of crime or injustice. Yours was of manicured lawns and stately oaks- churches and children, sunshine and moral infrastructure. But for those of you who have come to recognize the veiled villains of your past- you know that back then the city was rotting from the inside out with crooked law and greedy governing.

Those who bally-hoo the honor of their Southern Justice, claim Charley’s death had nothing to do with the law; with his job as a Federal Treasury Agent. They will claim that it had to do with his failing marriage and a desperate need to reconcile with his alleged estranged mistress. Do you buy this? Do you buy that a force of more than 20 officers and agents of local, state and federal agencies could come up with nothing more than scandalous hearsay of the coffee clutch crowd to classify this man’s death as suicide? Do you believe that this case was investigated and closed in 18 days? Do you believe that higher-ups with more on the ball reviewed the facts of the case and saw the same thing? Did they see the same thing? Only 18 days for justice. Hmmmm….I can’t get cable television to schedule a trip and commit to such a time table…do we really believe that the boy scouts left in charge had the ability and/or the altruistic intentions to turn over every stone to get to the bottom of the truth they prescribed? How is it that in a case full of evidence, no evidence could be found?

This is the one of the many questions I ask…this is just one of the many questions the book will answer. Hang in there Valdosta. I have not forgotten you. Sometimes silence is golden. Sometimes it is just plain necessary.


Do not trade in your loyalties for impatience, Valdosta…real justice takes time. Sometimes 46 years!

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