Time to Kill

Released 1990


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Movie Summary

Giuliano Montaldo
In Clanton, Mississippi, 10-year-old Tonya Hailey is viciously raped and beaten by two white racists -- James Louis "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Shortly thereafter, Tonya is found and rushed to a hospital, while Pete and Billy Ray are heard bragging in a roadside bar about what they did to Tonya.Tonya's distraught and enraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, recalls a similar case from the year before, in which four white men raped a black girl in a nearby town and were acquitted. Carl Lee is determined not to allow that to happen in this case. Consequently, while Deputy DeWayne Powell Looney is escorting Pete and Billy Ray up a flight of stairs inside the courthouse, Carl Lee emerges from a nearby closet with an assault rifle and kills Pete and Billy Ray and wounds Looney, resulting in the amputation of his leg. (During the trial Looney forgives Hailey, saying he has a daughter himself, and that if someone raped her, he would gladly do the same as Carl Lee.)Carl Lee is later arrested at his home by black sheriff Ozzie Walls (who must uphold the law but privately supports what Carl Lee did and gives him special treatment while in prison) and charged with capital murder. Despite the efforts of the NAACP and his old military friend Cat to persuade Carl Lee to retain their high-powered attorneys, Carl Lee elects to be represented by his friend, Jake Tyler Brigance. Helping Jake on the case are his heavy-drinking former boss Lucien Wilbanks (who has since been disbarred for his involvement in a fight resulting from a union strike, but still consults and aides Jake from the background), his friend, sleazy divorce lawyer Harry Rex Vonner, and law student Ellen Roark, who has prior experience with death penalty cases. The prosecuting attorney is Rufus Buckley, a corrupt shark with no concern or respect for ethics and with sky high political ambitions, hoping to win the case so as to gain the publicity that a win would generate, in hopes of beimoreless

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