There was this boy I sent to the electric chair at Huntsville here awhile back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a 14 year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been plannin’ to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out, he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell: ‘Be there in about fifteen minutes.’ I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t.
The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willin’ to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet somethin’ I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say: ‘O.K., I’ll be part of this world.’”
Children swim and play in oceanside pool, February 1955.
Photograph by Franc & Jean Shor, National Geographic