|THE CASE OF JOANN LITTLE |
by Joann Little Defense Fund
Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Nov/Dec 1974
Joann Little is a 20 year old black woman from Beaufort County, North Carolina. She is the oldest of nine children. Her educational career was prematurely ended when she left high school in the twelfth grade due to medical and economic reasons. After high school, Joann held various jobs as a waitress, garment factory worker and sheet rock finisher.
In June of 1974, Joann was convicted of breaking, entering and larceny, and was given a seven-to-ten year sentence. Instead of being sent to the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in Raleigh, North Carolina, after her conviction and while awaiting her appeal, Joann was confined in the women's cell block of Beaufort County Jail for approximately three months. Ironically, her appeal has recently been dismissed because of the failure of a record or brief to be filed by the attorney representing her on the breaking, entering and larceny charges.
During the majority of the three months Joann was the only woman confined in the cell block. All jailors in the Beaufort County Jail
are white males. The facilities in the jail were not uncommon to the majority of American jails. Joann described the jail as "filthy". She said she was allowed only one clean change of linen in the 81 days of
her confinement. According to Joann, there was no privacy in the jail. She said, "On occasion, I hung sheets up on the bars to protect my right to some privacy ... I was told 'You aren't supposed to have but one sheet.'"
On August 27, 1974, a jailor, Clarence Alligood was found dead in the cell assigned to Joann. He was apparently stabbed a number of times with an icepick. The icepick belonged to the jailors and was kept in their desk drawer. The autopsy report showed that:
"His (Alligood's) shoes were in the corridor, socks on feet, but otherwise naked from the waist down with open yellow plaid shirt and undershirt on. The left arm was under the body and clutching his pants ... Extending from the penis to his thigh skin was a stream of what appeared to be seminal fluid ... The urethral fluid was loaded with spermatozoa."
Joann Little fled from the jail and was pursued by Beaufort County authorities for a week. During this time she wanted to turn herself in, but was afraid.
One of her attorneys, Jerry Paul, was contacted. On September 3, 1974, Joann surrendered to the State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh, North Carolina. She stated: "The only thing I have to say is the reason I ran is self-defense ... If I had stayed in Beaufort County, the authorities there, if they had gotten to me, I knew I wouldn't been able to tell what really happened."
Joann Little has been indicted for first degree murder. She is now being held
in the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women in "safe-keeping" -- maximum security. Her activities are necessarily limited. On September 30,1974 a bond was set
for Joann in the amount of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000). Since Joann is an indigent, the public is asked to come forward and help raise this bond. (Information prepared by the Joann Little Defense Fund, Inc.,
<address>, Durham, North Carolina)
FAAR urges you to publicize the case in your community, for the purpose of raising financial support for Joann's Defense and because of the many political and legal issues
the case raises. If you are able to offer financial assistance to help meet Joann's
bond, please contact Jerry Paul or Karen Galloway.