The Thirteenth Juror

book-The Thirteenth JurorThe Thirteenth Juror is journalist Nelda Holder’s investigative report on the contents of more than 6,466 pages of transcripts and documents released in the Missouri grand jury investigation into the death of Michael Brown, Jr.

The Thirteenth Juror will be presented by Nelda Holder at the Sunday, August 21 meeting of the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville, 2-3:30 p.m. at Asheville Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Road, Asheville, NC. All are welcome.

Holder will describe how her involvement in this project came about, and the import of her months of investigation. The book’s title is symbolic of her approach to the material, which was to slip into the role of a grand juror as she read the testimonies and the attorney narratives, and looked at the evidence presented in the transcripts. The book invites its readers to be present as well, offering anecdotes and descriptions that present a candid sense of many aspects of the 24 days of grand jury hearings.

In addition to a synopsis of “facts” and a discussion of their import, Holder will share research regarding the grand jury process in this country and the potential and need for its reform. She will also discuss the widely disparate eyewitness testimony in the case and the striking documentation of unreliability for such testimony.

The author will share personal stories from witnesses who knew Michael Brown, and stories about their individual lives in the neighborhood they shared, particularly involving police interactions. She will discuss two troubling aspects regarding Darren Wilson’s own testimony (the young police officer on trial) that she discovered in going through these records. She will also discuss the ultimate revelation inherent in the release of these documents, which she feels reveals a sobering ethical dilemma.

Questions and discussion will be welcome. Refreshments will follow the presentation.

An Asheville resident, Holder has been a journalist for most of her professional life. She began her career with The Tampa Times in the 1970s and has practiced investigative and documentary journalism ever since. In Asheville, she formerly served as associate editor of Mountain Xpress and is currently the legislative columnist for Asheville’s The Urban News. Holder also manages and edits her own website, Politically Purple NC, which publishes political and cultural articles on the state of North Carolina. She is a graduate of NC State University, and holds an MS from Antioch New England.

The Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville is a nontheist alternative to traditional religion, a member of the American Ethical Union and an affiliate of the American Humanist Association. Its role is to nurture the capacity and responsibility of human beings to act in their personal relationships and in the larger community to help create a better world. Ethical Humanists are inspired by working to create a more humane society, recognizing each person’s worth and dignity, and helping to bring out the best in him or her. Members assist each other in developing ethical ideas and ideals, celebrate life’s joys, support each other through life’s crises, and strive to cultivate ethical behavior throughout the community.

For more information: call (828) 687-7759, email, visit our website at, or see us on MeetUp:

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