Sumy’s gas station was a Skidmore landmark. It stood at the top of the hill for over forty years. Bobbi Jo Stinnet’s mother worked there on the day her daughter was murdered. When Mom’s Cafe closed, a lot of the coffee drinking went on in the back of the station. There were several men at the station on the day McELroy was shot, a few in front of the pumps. They would have had a bird’s eye view of the shooters who would have been standing just a few feet down hill from where I was standing when I took the photo. Their view would included the killers, the truck, the crowd, and the tavern. Thus they could have testified to the identity of the men on the street who witnessed the killing. I read their statements: they saw nothing.
Sumy’s closed last year, a hard blow to the failing economy of the small town. The bank, the grocery store, the gas station, the cafe. Not much is left but the post office and the new tavern/cafe. I hear the food is good there, but the place was empty when I went in.
One week ago yesterday, the Supreme Court announced its decision not to hear Seale’s appeal on the statute of limitations issue. Justices Scalia and Stevens dissented, arguing in essence that the matter was important, affected other cases, and should be heard and decided once and for all.
So Seale remains in jail, and no one knows what to do about the two dozen other cases. If you investigate and prosecute, you could spend all the time and resources, get a conviction, only to see it later overturned. Or you may wait and decide to see what the Court eventually does on the issue, which could take a couple of years, and meanwhile witnesses and defendants die and cases grow even colder.
The urgency of the matter apparently meant nothing to the seven other justices. They simply didn’t want to hear the case, apparently wary of setting a precedent that would end up overloading their docket.
So administrative, procedural concerns seem once again to have outweighed concerns that justice, however delayed, be done once and for all the victims of these old race murders.
There may be some truth to the adage that justice is too important a matter to be left to the lawyers.