In a S.C. courtroom, an innocent man gets his life back

ROCK HILL, S.C. _ The Bibles flipped open to Genesis. A picture of 36 haircut style options for black men hung on the wall. A sign taped to old wood paneling stated, "No profanity, please."

A dozen black hands grasped the Bibles, and six black faces searched the text for meaning. One face was downcast toward the Bible, thoughtful and silent. The face belonged to a man tucked into the corner of the Sunset Park Beauty & Barber Shop in Rock Hill. He's a man of shadow who seeks no bright light.

Antonio Mobley has had enough of the spotlight.

All the other members at the weekly Bible study of a small ministry called "Brothers Growing in Christ" talked about Cain and Abel, faith and betrayal, life and death. Group leader Daryl Thompson asked all of them what they gave up to be Christians, what sacrifices they made to live meaningful lives, spiritual and positive. Their answers were about music, TV, worries about money.

The quiet man in the corner then spoke. He looked up from his Bible. A 27-year-old who admits, quietly when asked, that he got another chance at life and is thankful to God. A dozen strangers gave his life back to him after police and prosecutors tried to take it away.

Only 10 days before this Bible study, Antonio Mobley was in a courtroom, charged with the murder of a 19-year-old named Dawud Chester. He faced up to life in prison if convicted.

The dozen strangers who gave Mobley his life back were jurors. People who in a couple of hours _ the time it takes to change the oil in a Buick, then get coffee _ proclaimed: "Not guilty!"

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