Alot to digest, but good. So it starts off with a bang, getting right to the victim and the scene of the crime. Gotta say, I really liked that Mr. Grisham did that.
I, myself, have to say that I found it strange the way the family and friend of the victim handled the discovery of Debbie Carter. I mean, I understand the friend that found her acting strange and leaving and going to someone other than the police, but the family has me baffled. I just believe that someone should have thought to call the police before trapsing through the apt. I guess the father was in shock, because I am just thinking that his attitude was so...I don't know...blase. Just his way of dealing, I just don't like the way it was described I guess.
Ada is depicted as a small sort of town. But is central to a lot of tourists coming and going. This may play a part in the murder of Debbie Carter, what with drifters and such easily coming and going, as a common and daily part of Ada life. Ada, being part of the bible belt, may also play a part in so much that they would never suspect one of their own? Well, we'll see. Just some idea I flipflopped around in my head as I was reading. Sometimes, I think that Ada, being a small town, may hinder the investigation. Other times, I think that a small town atmosphere may help because people tend to know each other.
Ron Williamson was brought up in a good home with plenty of strong values instilled in him. He was catered to a bit by some of the family, but I think that is normal with the only boy. Being an up and coming athlete also lent a lot to this, or so I believe. I think Mr. Grisham points out in a very subtle way, just how much of a wandering mind and addictive personality Ron may have. I believe he did this in a good way and showed respect in doing it. I believe he showed this trait with the way Ron took money and gave it to the tent revival. Ron did this not just once, but over and over until there was nothing to give anymore and the revival had moved on. I believe that Ron would have found a way to give more money if the tent revival had stayed. I think that this in hindsight, showed a trait of his. I think that as a parent, it would have raised a red flag. I think this carried on into his adult life, with the drinking and spontaneous behaviors. However, drinking is often times a way of people with bi-polar disorder to cope. I feel so sorryfor this young man. He could havebeen helped so much and the medical system seems to have failed him. They throw out so many disorders for this guy and medications but never really get to the root of the problem.
The victim's family has not been told about very much and I can just imagine how they are feeling this many years without any leads or progress in Debbie Carter's murder. The way the two detectives handled this case is appalling to me. There are several people that see Glen Gore with Debbie Carter, in a not so amicable way, but the two detectives totally dismiss it. Then at a later date, Glen Gore is then questioned again, and this time he brings Ron Williamson into the picture very casually. This isn't even looked into, even thought he never mentioned it the first time.
The way the one young man, Tommy Ward is interrogated, is just awful. He breaks after hours and just gives them what they want.
There hasn't, in my opinion, been a real investigation until the ending in chapter six. Up until this point, it has just seemed to be one shake down and sloppy haphazard investigation into a poor girls murder. What a shame. After four years, so much memory and evidence is shifted and lost. I am hoping that aswe get further into the chapters that we begin to see some real headway into the murder and some justice in some small way for those that, in my opinion, have been wronged. Maybe those that I am feeling sorry for are ones that I might just hate at the end of the book and are the real guilty parties. But for now, I feel sorry for some of these young men that seem to have been shafted and misguided by the system that is meant to help ( medical) and protect (police) them.
So, what do you think about the handling of the investigation so far? How about Ada and the atmosphere there, do you think it will help or hinder the investigation? What about the evidence collected, not much has been written yet about that until the ending of chapter six. Do you have any opinions about it? How do you feel about Ron Williamson and Tommy Ward? Right at this point, I am so so angry. . What a sad sad story so far.
Well, I hope this gets us going on a good discussion so far. I will have to get back to some of this after I have thought about it more.
Post by Blossom/Jackie W. on Feb 9, 2010 7:52:13 GMT -5
Wow Antoinette.... you're thorough! Excellent summation and questions.
I'm finding it a little difficult at times to keep everyone "straight" in my head.... you know; who's who and who did what and then they throw in a couple more characters. It's a good read but not the easiest!
I keep thinking of the title. An Innocent Man. Who's the innocent party? It sounds like there might be a few. I think small towns can be notorius for railroading and injustices. Not all but.... Ada strikes me as the type of place that if they could get away with lynchings in modern times, they would.
As for the handling of the investigation; boy I'd love to be Smith and Rodgers (or whatever their names are) boss.
Ron has some SERIOUS mental problems and I can't believe after all this time he's still not getting the treatment he needs. It's the same judge who originally sent him for evaluation I believe.
As we have discovered this is quite the story, there's a lot going on and keeping track of it all is a challenge.
I am discusted with the way Ron was treated, both by the police and the Dr.s . Even when he is evaluated and given medication, but given no follow up. Then when he's arrested at different times he's given no med.s at all.
I feel that both Ron and Tommy were railroaded by an inept possibly corrupt police. I agree that they would be the kind to lead a lynch mob.
As for the initial discovery of Debbie's body, what kind of people are these that they call everyone and their neighbour to come and see, before calling the police?? Weird. Then when the police did get called, there was no real collection of evidence. I think Glen Gore is the one who killed her, but for some reason he is not investigated fully. Perhaps it's the small town thing where people have preset ideas about what someone might or might not do.
I would like to subject those cops to some of their own treatment. Nothing like picking a person and saying you're it, now I'm going to make the facts fit you, and we're not going to give you any rest or peace until you 'confess'.
As you both said there is a lot going on and WOW is all I can say, so many threads to spin together.
Wow! This is a very good read so far isn't it? Initially I thought it could very well be Ron Williamson who was responsible for Debbie Carter's murder given his somewhat "spoiled" upbringing, typical sometimes of "star" athletes in small towns, as well as his addictive personality with regards to drugs and alcohol - but the further Grisham delves into his personality disorders and mental illness(not to mention the under-handed, highly questionable police practices he describes), the more it becomes apparent that people are being rail-roaded here. Sad that there never seems to be any follow-up on Ron any time he sees a new health professional and that he is probably his own worst enemy as far as continuing drug treatments he is prescribed. I understand this is the case with many people who suffer with mental illness - as soon as they start to feel a little better they think they are cured and stop taking their meds. Frightening to see what misplaced power and no need for accountability in a police force can result in. I know police have to be given some leeway in dealing with criminals in order to keep us all as safe as possible, but where is the integrity and conscience of these two particular investigators? Very scary! I'm not sure yet if Glen Gore is the real guilty party here, but why is he being ignored as a suspect and used as a credible witness at trial? Maybe I missed something. And what about those poor young guys who naively had faith in the police and were badgered into confessions - wow! can't wait to read the rest .