Part 4, Chapters 19–22 Summary
Within the American justice system, there are several avenues of appeal in capital cases, which may drag out the length of time between sentencing and execution. Lowell Lee Andrews’s case goes through appeals several times before he is executed on November 30, 1962. He takes nineteen minutes to die after the trap door falls and his neck breaks. Perry, Dick, and the two soldiers listen through their cell windows and comment on the nonchalance Andrews shows on his way to his execution. Dick has been given a portion of Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” though he does not know for sure if Andrews wrote it or copied it. Dick comments that Andrews knew a lot of information from books but nothing from real life. Perry does not regret Andrews’s death; he is unable to forgive him for correcting his grammar.
Dick’s mother continues to visit once a month and becomes friends with Mrs. York, the mother of one of the two soldiers also awaiting execution. The two women plan to live together in Florida, which Dick thinks is a good deal because it will allow his mother to get away from “all this.” Andrews’s aunt and uncle had visited Andrews once and told him that they would take his body back with them so he could be buried with his family, which Dick sees as laughably ironic.
Three more years pass, and more appeals are made on behalf of Perry and Dick. Two new lawyers examine Dick’s request for a new trial. Because of the numerous appeals, three new execution days go by without a hanging. The case is carried before the United States Supreme Court three times, but the justices refuse to hear the case. Their final date of execution is set for Wednesday, April 14, 1965, five and a half years after they killed the four members of the...
(The entire section is 482 words.)