July 4, 2012

“The state has done me wrong and imprisoned me for over six years,” Bob Kelly said in 1995 after his conviction was overturned and prosecutors were deciding whether to try him again.

“They want me to take a plea so they can save face. It will never happen.”

Oh, how the prosecution dreamed of at least one of the Edenton Seven rolling over, pointing a finger at a fellow defendant.

Never happened, despite their being held under vague charges for endless months – and later offered every inducement short of a trip to Disney World.

Even when Betsy Kelly and Scott Privott took pleas to reduce their prison time, they continued to insist on their innocence.

There’s painfully little to admire in the story of the Little Rascals case, but the defendants’ strength under pressure was extraordinary.