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Interview with Skip Hulett, June 22, 2012

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:28 - Early Life and Education

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Partial Transcript: Um, so Skip, I've just kind of introduced you but I wanted to go ahead and begin by asking you to tell us your full name and when and where you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Skip Hulett introduces himself, beginning by sharing that his given name is Keith Hulett. He was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1958. However, he and his family moved to Macon, Ga when he was young. He talks about growing up in Macon, which eventually leads him to Athens, Ga. Hulett provides his brief educational history, explaining that he was in West Point for school for a short time before transferring to the University of Georgia to study journalism. After earning his degree, he was an intern for several different companies, including the Atlanta Newspaper and the Macon Telegraph, where he was offered a job as a police reporter.

Keywords: Grady School of Journalism; U.S. Military Academy at West Point; UGA

00:02:12 - Getting to Work with Terry Mincey

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Partial Transcript: So, um, we're here today to talk about some significant- a significant experience you had while on that job...

Segment Synopsis: Hulett explains how Macon Telegraph transferred him from police reporter to court reporter, covering the State Courts and Federal Courts for the daily newspaper in Macon, Ga. When Terry Mincey, Timothy Jenkins, and Bobby Jones were arrested for the murder of Paulette Riggs, Hulett was responsible for keeping up with the case's progress and their indictments for murder, among other charges. Hulett personally covered Mincey's trial and sentencing, where he met Mincey's father and attorneys. He shares his experience working with the Macon Telegraph and his series "Death Work," in which he worked with several prisoners on death row. Hulett and Mincey began to exchange letters and phone calls for about a year before they met in person, as his prior experience with death row inmates proved to be an obstacle for his visitation. It was during this time that Hulett left the Telegraph and went back to Athens to study English in the graduate program.

Keywords: Alpha Otis Stephens; Athens, Ga; Bob Daniels; Death Work in the Macon Telegraph; Death penalty; December 1984; Early 1980s; Jimmy Lee Horton; Russell Peterman; Silver Gavel Award; Superior State Court in Macon, Ga; US District Court in Macon, Ga; University of Georgia (UGA)

00:10:59 - Relationship with Terry Mincey

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Partial Transcript: It sounds about, like, over fifteen years you visited him, mostly, pretty regularly...

Segment Synopsis: Hulett describes his relationship with Terry Mincey as a friendship, partially due to their similarities in age and mutual friends. He describes Mincey as inquisitive, nonjudgmental, and devoted. Their relationship started as Mincey being Hulett's inside voice while he was a reporter, but over fifteen years it grew through Hulett's move and death of his father. Aside from being friends, Hulett also helped Mincey with his writing while grading graduate student essays. He submitted one of Mincey's papers to the "Red and Black."

Keywords: Hargrett Library; Juries; Life without parole; Terry Mincey Papers; University of Georgia (UGA)

00:15:14 - Mincey's Childhood and Family Relationships

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything you'd like to share about Terry's family or his upbringing today...?

Segment Synopsis: Hulett shares what he knows about Mincey's personal life. Mincey moved frequently in his early life due to his father's employment, which at first was in the industrial field, but he later found his "calling" and became a minister. His parents were divorced, thus he considered Lizella his home, which is where his mother lived at the time of his arrest. Hullet elaborates Mincey's family's feelings of blame against him. His family supported him at first but over the years there were periods of estrangement. One of his brothers felt that he deserved the death sentence for what he did. His father maintained their relationship as best as he could, despite developing cancer during Mincey's incarceration, up until his death. Mincey did reunite with his mother and sisters before his execution.

Keywords: Lizella, Ga; Methodist Minister; Mystic, Ga; Union Camp

00:21:08 - Mincey's Parole Hearing and Visitation

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Partial Transcript: Um, what would you like to tell us about the day of the execution or your experience witnessing it?

Segment Synopsis: Hulett describes his experience of the closed hearing at the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole for Mincey on October 24, 2001. He describes the building as having tight seating and the gallery providing an intense feeling of insignificance. The parole board, according to Hulett, was distant and lacking mercy. He then goes into the visitation with Mincey and his other visitors, including his family and ministers. Mincey was "wired" and his nerves were on fire. He tried his best to make others feel comfortable by telling jokes and teasing. Only five visitors were allowed at a time but there were several people that cycled in and out to see him. Hulett clarifies that he doesn't think Mincey is innocent, but wondered the level of guilt due to the lack of truth. Such lack of truth is part of what led Hulett away from his job as a court reporter after corresponding with Mincey.

Keywords: Atlanta, Ga; Board of Pardons and Parole of Georgia; Death Warrant; Murphy Davis; October 2001; Open Door Ministry in Atlanta; Petition of Clemency; Randy Loney; The James H. "Sloppy" Building; Tracy Bilow; execution

00:29:43 - Mincey's Visitation and Funeral

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me who else was there on the day of the execution?

Segment Synopsis: Hulett says the only two witnesses for the execution were Tracy Bilow, whose husband was also in jail , and himself. He then shares that Mincey never wanted a funeral, but a get-together with all of his friends after his death, which they followed through in December of 2001. Mary Ota, Karen Cummings, Murphy Davis, Tamera Puffer, Ed Lauren, Randy Loney, Jennifer Weathers, his mom, his sisters, and others visited Mincey over the course of two days. His brother did not show up, but his last gesture was to write a letter telling them to get his name right. For years, Mincey was referred to by the wrong name, even when read the death warrant.

Keywords: Atlanta, Ga; Bibb County Jail; Bibb County, Georgia; Lizella, Ga; Pine Mountain, Ga; The Open Door Ministries

00:33:26 - Mincey's Execution

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Partial Transcript: So, um, Tracy Bilow and I were the witnesses...

Segment Synopsis: Hulett describes the process of preparing for Mincey's execution with Tracy Bilow. He and Bilow agreed to meet in the parking lot after the end of visitation on October 25th, where they were driven to the execution site. After being read the death warrant, Mincey's last words were that he wanted to thank those who had supported him and took responsibility for the position he was in. Before laying back down, he mouthed to Bilow and Hulett that he loved them. Even when being read the death warrant, his name was still recorded as Terry Michael Mincey. Hulett and Bilow, upon leaving the site, shared a conversation about Bilow's memories of Mincey in the tree house when they were younger and pictured him there after death. Hulett gave Bilow a ride back home, and a few days later he returned to the prison to pick up Mincey's belongings. Among these were eyeglasses he wanted donated to the poor.

Keywords: Ed Lauren; Mitchell Terry Mincey; Randy Loney