A US West employee testifies to loaning Bletson a ladder to gain entry to his mother's home. Friends and acquaintances admit to selling him crack as he produced more and more of his mother's belongings. The most damning evidence is the blood on the pants he was wearing when he was arrested-blood that DNA tests show to be his mother's.

During closing arguments, Cooke stands beside a photograph of the security gate on Danella's bedroom door. This is how she was willing to live. To what lengths should society go to keep her son alive?

No one is surprised when the jury comes back with a conviction of aggravated murder. Jones explains the possible sentences: life with the possibility of parole after 30 years, life without parole, death.

The jury decides nothing would be gained by taking another life. Bletson appears relieved. He looks at his defenders one last time as he is ushered from the courtroom. Cooke puts her hands behind her back to show him what to do-he complies and is handcuffed before being led away.

Jones and Cooke believe in their clients-even those accused of rape, incest, or murder. They say no one is as bad as the worst thing he has done. Cooke explains, "I don't want the state to kill anyone in my name." Jones agrees, "The only difference between a murder and an execution is the amount of paperwork."

Janice Pierce is a freelance photographer and writer. This is her first article for Reed.

The Bletson case may be the last Jones and Cooke work on as co-counsel: Jones has been appointed a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge. In his investiture, he credited Reed College with giving him two things: his love of rhetoric and his wife.

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