ANATOMY OF INJUSTICE: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. By Raymond Bonner. Knopf. 298 pages. $26.95.
After cataloging the flawed investigation and prosecution of the 1982 murder that rocked Greenwood, Raymond Bonner ends “Anatomy of Injustice” with the convict, Edward Elmore, deep in the tortuous federal appeals process.
“Meanwhile, Elmore remains in prison,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter wrote matter-of-factly.
But just a week after Bonner's crisp volume was published, Elmore's story had a new epilogue.
On March 2, after spending 30 years behind bars, 28 of which awaiting execution, he went free.
Rather than face a fourth trial for the brutal stabbing of Dorothy Edwards, a 76-year-old white widow whose windows and gut- ters he'd cleaned once or twice, Elmore accepted a plea deal.
The 53-year-old, whose mental retardation saved him from execution in 2009, wasn't about to sit in jail for more months or years in the hope that a South Carolina judge or jury would see through the holes in the case against him and declare him innocent.
After reading “Anatomy of Injustice,” one can understand why.
Armed with Elmore's voluminous case file and interviews with most of its key characters, Bonner is able to trace the missteps by police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges that allowed a seemingly innocent man to be railroaded.
Using his professional background as a lawyer and reporter, Bonner ex- plains what went wrong in Elmore's case and thereby makes a compelling case for abolishing the death penalty.
Even though Elmore's recent release makes “Anatomy of Injustice” slightly dated, the insight is still there, and it's worth the fast read.