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and they thought Billy Wilder was exaggerating:
 
[swiped from <URL:http://www.teleplex.net/SHJ/smith/index.html>
website of Spartanburg (SC) Herald Journal]
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  The Susan Smith Trial: Archives
 
                   Carnival atmosphere surrounds Smith trial
                  8 1994-95 Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC
 
  By CLAY MURPHY
  Staff Writer
 
 UNION, S.C.  -- With the Susan Smith murder trial somberly under way within
 the Union County Courthouse, the surrounding blocks took on a festival-like
 atmosphere Monday.
 
 Street-corner vendors peddled everything from bagels and hotdogs to bottled
 water and cigarettes while children standing on sidewalks hawked spaces in
 nearby parking lots.
 
 The vendors were thriving on sales to more than 100 employees of media
 outlets, but fewer than two dozen citizens turned out to see the first day
 of the death-penalty trial.
 
 "We just came here to have somewhere to go," said 87-year-old Quay Hunter.
 He and his wife drove from their home in Lancaster in the hopes of getting
 seats in the courtroom.
 
 "We were just lying in bed this morning and decided to come," said the
 retired textile mill worker.  "We go somewhere just about every day."
 
 Other tourists included a self-employed Greenville couple who said they
 have emotional ties to the case and a Miami professional wrestling manager
 who said he likes to see good lawyers work.
 
 "It's the same kind of thing that I do," said the Florida man, who goes by
 the "working name" Casino Riviera.  "They get behind a microphone and shout
 out a good, compelling lie."
 
 But almost completely absent from the scene were the very owners of the
 courthouse: Union County residents.
 
 Locals made up about half of the 20 or so people seeking courtroom access.
 Few others could be found roaming around the building.
 
 Union native Elizabeth Morris was surprised not to see more of her
 neighbors at the courthouse.  She and her two granddaughters, ages 13 and
 14, waited outside for hours before court began.
 
 "We've followed the whole thing," Morris said, adding that her
 grandchildren have developed a scrapbook of the Smith case.  "We want to
 keep following it until the end."
 
 Others in Union, however, appeared determined to go about their business as
 if the town's most notorious murder trial had not just begun.
 
 Monte Lancaster, vice president of Arthur State Bank, said the Main Street
 branch was far busier Monday than had been expected.
 
 "So far, so good," said Lancaster, president of the Union County Chamber of
 Commerce.  She, like many downtown merchants, fear the trial may dampen
 business.
 
 The vendors who set up shop across from the courthouse to cater to the
 media weren't complaining, either.
 
 "Booming" is the way Mary Nolan described business at her ice cream truck
 turned convenience store.
 
 "Everybody's been trying to keep cool today," she said from the truck,
 which now supplies corn dogs, burgers, lemonade, iced tea and newspapers,
 in addition to the regular flavors of ice cream.
 
 At the Clinton Chapel, two blocks from the courthouse, Sandra Dawkins is
 expecting dozens of hungry people to take up her church's offer of fried
 chicken, rice and gravy, green beans and more for $5 a plate.
 
 "Tomorrow I expect to be filled," she said, adding that the staff of the
 AME Zion church is preparing 150 meals a day.  Profits will go toward
 renovating the chapel.
 
 The four or five parking lots surrounding the courthouse haven't fared as
 well, but owners say they're confident the spaces, which cost between $5
 and $15 each, will be filled after testimony gets under way.
 
 Sitting on the steps of the courthouse with her granddaughters, Morris said
 she was infuriated by some of the steeper prices charged by the parking lot
 owners.
 
 "And we're the City of Hospitality," she said indignantly.  "They're making
 money off these two boys' deaths.  That's not right.  That's not Union."
 
 But Cheryl Strand, who brought her catering outfit to the parking lot
 across from the courthouse, said she and others are supplying a needed
 service.
 
 "If it hadn't been me," she said, "it would be somebody else."
 
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