They're Going to Kill My Son

Shirley Dicks, Author, Joan S. Dunphy, Editor
Shirley Dicks, Author, Joan S. Dunphy, Editor New Horizon Press $22.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-88282-112-2
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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Dicks's son Jeff has been on death row in the Tennessee state penitentiary since 1982, when he was sentenced for participating in a 1978 holdup-murder. That he sat in the getaway car while an acquaintance committed the slaying is verified, but according to the law, he is guilty nonetheless. As portrayed here by his mother, Jeff was a naive, overprotected youth who was deeply compassionate toward the dispossessed; in her view, that helps to explain his association with the killer and with the orphan he married, who turned out to be a troubled wife and mother. Dicks ( Death Row ) chides herself for bungling every effort she made to help her son's defense, and his lawyer is presented as having been more interested in his fee than in his client. Although she diminishes the book's emotional impact by writing in the third person, Dicks makes her case convincingly, and readers are likely to agree that Jeff's death sentence is not just. 20,000 first printing. (Dec.)
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