Entries by Mara Leveritt

Read An Excerpt From Dark Spell at Arkansas Times

On that Saturday, March 19, 1994, when Judge David Burnett sentenced Jason to life in prison, the teenager’s 17th birthday was still more than three weeks away. The following Monday morning, guards cuffed and shackled him for the three-hour ride from the jail in Jonesboro, in Arkansas’s northeast corner, to the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Diagnostic Unit in Pine Bluff, about 150 miles south. Carrying his Bible and $35 from his mother and friends at the jail, he climbed into a van with six other prisoners.

Ford ‘Failed’ Old Woman

DARK SPELL raises significant questions about what Jason Baldwin’s attorney, Paul Ford, did—and did not do—at Jason’s trial. Why, for instance, did Ford fail to call ANY of Jason’s alibi witnesses? Yesterday I found this: Last year, the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, issued Ford a caution, its mildest form of rebuke, for […]

A Theme Of Schemes

Someone asked me today if any theme connected all my books. “Prosecutors and politics,” I blurted. Then: “And maybe a subtext of drugs.” My first book, The Boys on the Tracks, is about a corrupt prosecutor who manipulated his position to derail the investigation of two teenagers whose bodies were found run over by a […]

‘Start talking about the devil’

On March 3, 1994, John Fogleman, then a deputy prosecuting attorney, was preparing to call Damien’s probation officer, Jerry Driver, to the stand to question him about Damien’s alleged involvement in “the occult.” Damien’s and Jason’s defense attorneys were fighting hard to block that testimony. As I write in Dark Spell, the official transcript of […]