Until You Are Dead, Dead, Dead: The Hanging of Albert Edwin Batson
Until you are dead, dead, dead
Author(s) Jim Bradshaw
Danielle Miller
Published 2014
Publisher University Press of Mississippi
Country United States
Pages 235
ISBN 9781628460995

Until You Are Dead, Dead, Dead: The Hanging of Albert Edwin Batson is a book by Jim Bradshaw and Danielle Miller, published by University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, MS in 2014


In 1902, on a prairie in southwest Louisiana, six members of a farming family are found murdered. Albert Edwin Batson, a white, itinerant farm worker, rapidly descends from likely suspect to likely lynching victim as people in the surrounding countryside lusted for vengeance. In a territory where the locals were coping with the opening of the prairies by the railroad and the disorienting, disruptive advances of the rice and oil industries into what was predominantly cattle country, Batson, an outsider, made an ideal scapegoat.

Until You Are Dead, Dead, Dead tells the story of the legal trials of Batson for the murder of six members of the Earll family and of the emotional trial of his mother. She believed him innocent and worked tirelessly, but futilely, to save her son's life. More than two dozen photos of Batson, his mother, and the principals involved in his arrest and convictions help bring this struggle to life.

Though the evidence against him was entirely circumstantial, most of the citizenry of southwest Louisiana considered him guilty. Sensational headlines in national and local newspapers stirred up so much emotion, authorities feared he would be lynched before they could hang him legally. Even-handed, objective, and thorough, the authors sift the evidence and lament the incompetence of Batson's court-appointed attorneys. The state tried the young man and convicted him twice of the murders and sentenced him each time to death. Louisiana's governor refused to accept the state pardon board's recommendation that Batson's final sentence be commuted to life in prison. A stranger in a rapidly changing land, Batson was hanged.

Table of contentsEdit

Chapter Page
Preface xi
Prologue 3
1. The Horse Trader 5
2. Scene of the Crime 8
3. Coroner's Inquest 12
4. Cajun Prairies 19
5. Welsh 27
6. The Arrest 30
7. Trial by Newspaper 38
8. Lynching Fears 43
9. The Dead Tramp 48
10. Another Crime 54
11. Indictment and Plea 57
12. A Mother's View 64
13. Confusion, Confrontation 71
14. The Case Is On 76
15. Batson's Turn 87
16. Reaching a Verdict 95
17. A Ray of Hope and an Appeal 101
18. To Court Again 107
19. Resignation 121
20. Enter Dobson 125
21. Indignation and False Hope 134
22. Last Chance 143
23. No Escape, No Reprieve 148
24. To the Gallows 154
Afterword: Beyond Reasonable Doubt? 162
Appendix A: Chronology 171
Appendix B: Cast of Characters 175
Appendix C: Batson Letters 187
Appendix D: The Batson Ballad 191
Notes 197
Bibliography 223
Index 229

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