The New York Review of Books: The Right to Life: "The trial of Dobie Williams lasted one week, from selection of jury to guilty verdict to death sentence. Dobie was a Louisiana man, poor and black and with an IQ of sixty-five. He was convicted of the murder of a forty-three- year-old white woman who was stabbed to death in her bathroom. According to the prosecution, this lady called out helpfully, while being attacked, 'A black man has killed me,' and when her husband rushed into the bathroom, she indicated, while dying, that the black man had gone out through a window so small and high up that the family had never bothered to put a lock on it. Betty Williams, the mother of the accused, commented, 'That sounds like somebody in a murder mystery book.'
Dobie was on weekend leave from a detention center where he was serving a term for burglary. He seems to have been arrested because he was in the neighborhood. No motive was alleged for the crime, other than that Dobie had been drinking that evening. None of the blood of the dead woman was found on his person or his clothes. To explain this, the police suggested that Dobie had stripped naked to commit the murder. Because the victim's clothes were pulled down--she was, after all, in the bathroom--it was insinuated that the accused had been attempting rape, though the victim had not in fact been raped and no such charge was brought. But the insinuation may have contributed to the jury's speedy verdict.
Dobie was said to have confessed on tape, but the recording was missing by the time the case came to court, and the police officers who had overheard this 'confession' gave conflicting evidence about it. Dobie was defended by an attorney later disbarred for unethical conduct..."
4 years ago