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Carl Lee Hailey

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Yes, they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in Hell!
~ Carl Lee Hailey's famous quote.

Carl Lee Hailey, also nicknamed "Carl Lee", is the protagonist of both the 1996 legal thriller movie A Time to Kill and the 1989 legal thriller novel of the same name by John Grisham.

He was potrayed by Samuel L. Jackson.


An Afro-American local in Canton, Mississippi, Carl was working when his boss come to him and told him he have a phone call. When Carl Lee returned to his home, he found out his only daughter Tonya was raped. He then taken her to the hospital and was told that 2 racist male Caucasians Billy Ray Cobb and James Louis 'Pete' Willard, come across her in rural Mississippi. They violently rape and beat Tonya and dump her in a nearby river after a failed attempt to hang her. She survived and they were later arrested.

After what happened to his daughter, he went to see Jake Brigance and talk to him about the 2 same white men who was released after raping a black girl, scared that happen again he decide to take the law on his own hands. He recalls a similar case from the year before, in which 4 white men raped a black girl in a nearby town and were acquitted. Upon taking justice into his hands, he waited in the open courthouse when he see the two men, he shows up with a caliber, and killed the two rapists of his daughter. This results in the deaths of both rapists and also in the unintended injury of Deputy Dwayne Looney, who has to have his leg amputated. Carl Lee is soon arrested without resistance.

Brigance agrees to provide defense for Carl Lee for a much smaller amount of money than such a trial would usually require. He intends to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. He was eventually found not guilty after Brigance makes a speech to the jury about what would happen if the victim girl was white, which made the entire jury understand exactly what Carl has went through after his daughter was raped.

In the end, Carl reunites with his family while doing a family cookout, inviting Brigance and his family over.

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