October 1946, Clanton, Mississippi
Pete Banning was Clanton, Mississippi's favorite son-a decorated World War II hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, father, neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed his pastor and friend, the Reverend Dexter Bell. As if the murder weren't shocking enough, it was even more baffling that Pete\'s only statement about it-to the sheriff, to his lawyers, to the judge, to the jury, and to his family-was: "I have nothing to say." He was not afraid of death and was willing to take his motive to the grave.