Report From Albany, Ga.

A Harvard Law Student Writes About The Recent Trial Of A Local Negro

Sheriff Warren Johnson was next on the witness stand. He reiterated the allegations made in the opening arguments of counsel, but he admitted never taking out a warrant. In fact, he declared, he had not taken out a warrant for anyone's arrest during his six years as Sheriff. He hadn't barged into Ware's home, he reported, but had been invited in. Anyway, he only wanted to arrest Ware for his own protection and the protection of society.

It was raining hard on Wednesday when the trial resumed; some water began to leak through the roof and drip down next to the defense attorney's table. The little wizened bailiff brought a spittoon over to catch the increasing flow of drops.

The Sheriff ambled back to the stand. He couldn't remember how he had leaned into the car and refused to identify a photograph of a 61 Olds Super 88 as his car. The State attorney, Gardner, tried to have the Sheriff read from a deposition, but Johnson, with his fifth grade education, stumbled to an embarrassed halt.

The next witness for the state was Jack Minter. Angered by the fact he was being cross-examined and challenged by Negro lawyers, Minter spoke in a belligerant and extremely hostile voice. He said that he had been standing near the courthouse and had heard some words sort of like "I'll cut your god damned head off." He couldn't be too sure of the exact words though--he was standing more than 100 yards away. He reported that he, with Watson rather far behind, ran over to the car as soon as the shots were fired.

Further Testimony


Although the Sherif had asserted that Ware, in the hasty trip to Camilla hospital, had been slumped over, Minter had him sitting up straight. When asked to demonstrate how Ware, from an erect position, could bite the Sheriff, Minter leaned stiffly to the left and with a quick jerk of his head took a chomp at the air.

Minter maintained that he saw a scratch on Johnson's arm, although Johnson himself thought only a slight bruise had marked the spot where the had been bitten.

When asked by Atty. Hollowell: "You never did care what happened to Charlie Ware then and you don't now, isn't that right?" Minter emphatically replied "That's right."

Then Watson took the stand. Slow witted, he didn't hear any conversation after the Sheriff came back from the jail to the car, but heard some talk before he went to the jail. Also, he was sure that he got to the car before Minter. Although according to the Sheriff it was Watson who found the knife, Watson maintained that when he got there the Sheriff showed him the knife. The relief the State felt when Watson left the stand was audible.

Finally, Dr. Williams, the physician who had removed a bullet from Ware at the hospital, was called. The State had attempted to prove that Ware was still crazy drunk when he allegedly assaulted the Sheriff, but the doctor first said that Ware's condition might have been caused by the truama of being shot at least three times. Nervous and blinking rapidly, Williams was forced by the State to read from a chart stating Ware was drunk when admitted.

Prosecution rested its case at this point. The defense moved for a directed verdict, a motion that contends the State has not adduced enough evidence to make a case against the defendent. Naturally the motion was quickly overruled