Beneath a Ruthless Sun
by Gilbert Anthony King
Gilbert Anthony King is best known as the author of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. In a different case never before reported, King's latest book, Beneath a Ruthless Sun, exposes and documents the cruelty and injustice of Lake County's former sheriff, Willis McCall. In this book, King relates how McCall's power and influence corrupted deputy sheriffs, judges, state attorneys, defense attorneys, physicians, politicians, and the victim herself.
The victim, from a socially prominent family, alleged an African-American had sexually assaulted her. The perpetrator was arrested and held in jail. The victim's husband and her father convinced McCall to place the blame on any white male. To accommodate, McCall framed Jessie Daniels, a 19-year-old white male who was intellectually disabled and had only a fifth-grade education.
McCall struck a deal with the true offender--he would be released if he would pretend to be Jessie, sign a notarized confession, and, as Jessie, take a polygraph test.
Jessie was indicted and thereafter McCall conspired with the...