In 1970, one of Mississippi’s more colorful weekly newspapers, The Ford County Times, went bankrupt. Many were surprised when the ownership was assumed by a 23 year-old college dropout Willie Traynor. Newspaper’s future looked grim until a young mother was brutally raped and murdered by a member of the notorious Padgitt family. Traynor reported all the gruesome details, and his newspaper began to prosper.
The murderer, Danny Padgitt, was tried before a packed courthouse in Clanton, Mississippi. The trial came to a startling and dramatic end when the defendant threatened revenge against the jurors if they convicted him. Nevertheless, they found him guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.
But in Mississippi in 1970, “life” didn’t necessarily mean “life,” and nine years later Danny Padgitt managed to get himself paroled. He returned to Ford County, and the retribution began.