The trial of Tom Robinson ends with Tom being found guilty in Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and the 1962 Academy Award-winning film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The jury of white men convicts Tom in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Tom, an uneducated black man in rural Alabama during the 1930s, stands accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a white teenage girl. The court appoints the novel's protagonist, Atticus Fitch, as Tom's defense attorney. Atticus demonstrates that an accident earlier in Tom's life left him physically incapable of inflicting Mayella's injuries and that her drunkard father is the likely culprit. Despite a brilliant defense and an emotional appeal for reason and justice, the jury finds Tom guilty. Although Atticus promises to appeal the case and asks Tom to remain patient, Tom expresses doubts that a black man can achieve justice, and he is led away in despair. Mayella's father confronts Atticus outside the courtroom and spits in his face while threatening revenge for causing him embarrassment. Atticus receives news several weeks later that Tom has been shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy during an alleged escape attempt.