Ever since he has been confined in the jail here, he has maintained an indifferent mood as to his fate, in reality expressing a hope that he would receive the limit of the law. He has not since his conviction changed in his attitude and appears to be perfectly willing to meet his fate. Unless executive clemency is extended him, which is not at all likely, or an appeal is taken from the decision of the court, he will be legally hanged at some place which will be designated by the Board of Supervisors at or near Pittsboro, on Nov. 20.
The Board of Supervisors declined to interfere with the fixing of the place for the hanging of the negro. This likely means that the hanging will be private, as the law says that unless the Board of Supervisors, for good reason fix the place of execution at some other spot, the hanging shall be in the jail in which he is confined, or in an enclosed jail yard. In all probability a scaffold will be erected at the north side of the jail and enclosed so the hanging can not be seen by the public. The negro seems to be resigned to his fate and employs his time in reading the bible and singing religious hymns.
A pretty large petition has been gotten up and presented to the Governor asking for a commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment, because of the negro being weak minded and being in a fit of jealous rage when he committed the crime, for which he is sentenced.
We are not of a bloodthirsty disposition,
nor don’t want to see a hanging just for the name of having one, but we
heard the negro’s own testimony against himself, and have been seeing him
almost every day since he was put in jail here Aug. 6th, 1907 [Note: paper
missing issue], and we have failed to see any of the symptoms of a weak
mind any more than usual, and we are inclined to agree with our District
Attorney that if he doesn’t deserve to be hung, Calhoun will never have
one that will.
We are firm in the belief that when a man is tried before a competent judge and intelligent jury, under the direction of the laws of the state and given the benefits of all doubts, presumed innocent until proven guilty and then that jury finds him guilty and the judge fixes his punishment, he should receive just exactly what they put on him. And especially when the case has been gone over carefully by the supreme courts of the state and affirmed.
The pardoning and commutation power vested in the governor is, to our mind, always more or less abused, no matter who fills the executive chair. This is easily understood, for only in rare instances is there more than one side of the case shown the governor. 'Tis true that an investigation of the records of the trial will show him the true merits of the case, but it is not often that a counter petition is presented, when a petition for pardon or commutation is filed before the governor. It is a well known fact that there is a tendency in the nature of most men to sign any petition that is presented to them of this character and making peace with their conscience with the thought that "Well, my name won't amount to anything anyway." This thought is a mistake however for a man who is the right kind of a man, while filling the place of a public servant wants to do, as far as is possible the things the people want him to do, and when a petition containing a large number of names is presented him asking him to do certain things and there is nothing from the other side, he naturally believes that the people he is to serve want this thing done, else they would never have signed it.
We have no quarrel with a man for signing a petition, if he wishes the petition granted, for this is a free country and we are broad enough in our views to grant every man the right to think for himself, but we do think that this commutation and pardoning business is over worked. We realize that a man is often placed in a position where he is almost forced to sign these petitions, even though it be against his principles of right and justice to do so, because of the ties of friendship, kinship or pity for relatives of the criminal. We do not mean to say that every petition of this kind should be turned down, for in many instances there are circumstances that make it almost absolutely necessary that something of this kind be done, and when this occurs we would not hesitate to sign it.
Again, we say that we have no personal feelings
in this negro's case, except that of justice to all, yet we can not help
but feel that in this case as in hundreds of others, there has been a miscarriage