May 22, 2013

“One of the biggest strengths for the prosecution was that these children would go home every night to a parent or parents fully aligned with the prosecution theory. The story line would be reinforced at dinner, bathtime, playtime, bedtime….

“The children were, of course, separated from further contact with the accused day care workers, and by the time of trial their young memories of the actual person had been replaced by the fictional person, if they could remember who the perpetrators were supposed to be at all.

“At one point, a Little Rascals child pointed to a picture of the sheriff as one of the defendants; this identification, of course, was selectively ignored.”

– From “The Metanarrative of Suspicion in Late Twentieth-Century America” by Sandra Baringer (2004)

Edenton’s mayor was also among the initially accused, who numbered either 20, 24 or “dozens,” depending on the source. The inevitable question: How did prosecutors come to choose the Edenton Seven? Who lucked out – and why?