A Deep Dark Secret

U.S. soldiers of B company, 4th Infantry Regiment patrol in Sinan village in Zabul province, southeastern Afghanistan, Monday, April. 2, 2007. Troops with powerful rifle scopes scanned mountain ridges for elusive, black-clad Taliban infiltrators. Afghan soldiers, hit by a roadside bomb, pressed on into the far-flung valley. U.S. Special Forces swept through the sinister alleys of its main settlement.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Those who know 72-year old Roy Gray are baffled by seeing him in custody. This, after all, is a man police call "a model citizen."

"He's a good guy as far as I can see. I didn't see nothing wrong with him," declared a neighbor.

To find something wrong, you'd have to go back half a century, to Alabama, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod. There Gray was known as Robert Cobb, as Detroit police found out when called to his house where he had been beaten up last week.

"During a routine domestic violence investigation, he was checked and Mr. Cobb was found to be wanted on a warrant from Alabama," the Detroit Police Department said.

Forty-seven years ago, in Mobile County, Alabama, Robert Cobb stole 13 pigs. In Alabama, that got him 13 years. He served three, then escaped and headed to Detroit where he worked and lived quietly — until last week.

"Pig stealing 40 years ago — they're supposed to forget about that. Let it go. Let the man go free," said one of Cobb's neighbors.

This afternoon, a court in Detroit let Cobb out on bond while Alabama's lawyers decided if they'd pursue extradition.

Forty-seven years later, even the idea that Alabama would want Cobb back for a half century old pig rustling charge had the DA in Mobile chuckling. "I thought a reporter was playing a joke on me."

Mobile's prosecutor John Tyson looked at Cobb's case and saw a time in Alabama when everything and nothing at all was black and white. He thought that past should guide Cobb's future.

"I hope, and my advice to the governor will be, that 50 years later we are satisfied with the time he has already given the state of Alabama," said Tyson.

Late today in Alabama, the governor agreed to look away. In Detroit, Robert Cobb is free. In both places, men are thinking of Dixie — an old time there now forgotten.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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