Mr. Ransom sold Hickory Farms for $41 million in 1980 to the General Host Corporation of Connecticut. Analysts thought the price was steep and attributed it to Hickory Farms’ shrewd marketing. The company has since changed hands more than once and has shifted to catalog sales.
Now I’m nostalgic: I remember the Hickory Farms stores in the malls when I was a child, and going in to scam some free samples. These days, I have to get my free samples of meat and cheese at the gun show…
The WP obit fills in some context:
A 1983 study by an organization investigating justice in rural America found that Mr. Britt’s near-total control of the court system in Robeson and Scotland counties led to “a widespread and serious denial of [the] rights” of poor defendants.
Bails were set unreasonably high, the study found, and the court calendar — set by Mr. Britt — often forced defendants to wait for weeks before their cases were heard. Minority defendants were prosecuted at higher rates, and many were improperly told that they would have to repay the state if they asked for a court-appointed lawyer.
“Because I ain’t killed nobody,” McCollum said. “I want to tell you something, Joe Freeman — God got your judgment right in hell waiting for you.”
McCollum and Brown served more than 30 years in prison — including years on death row — before they were exonerated by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. A cigarette found at the scene of the crime contained DNA from the man who had been convicted for the other nearby killing while the brothers were jailed.