A Story by Robber Jay

Judge Alderman wiped his forehead. They had to fix that AC unit. The defense attorny had long since shed his suit jacket, but the prosecutor seemed comfortable enough in her dress suit as she paced the room, adding to her imposing mountain of evidence. 

"Guilty!" The mallet rang through the courtroom. The defendant, hopelessly entangled in his own web of contradictory alabies, buried his face in his hands. 

A few minutes later, everyone was out on their break. Alderman glanced over the next case--double homicide, wife and child. A tremor ran through his hand. There was no child, Dan. This is different. He tried to reasure himself.

"Daniel? Are you all right?"

Alderman started. "Yes--I'm just looking over this case."

"Ah. The Nicholsons. That's an ugly case if I've ever seen one. What'll you give him if he's guilty? I couldn't give a man like that less than thirty years, maybe twenty-five if they prove the child's death was accidental."

"Nothing is proven yet. I have to return to the court, Jessica."

"Of course. And we are still on for dinner tonight, right?" Alderman smiled. Few old widowers could find a girl as young and pretty as her. But this was what he had done it for. If she had only complied with the divorce. She had forced his hand.

"And why did the defendant say he needed this firearm?"

"Crows. He said they were eating his wife's garden." 

That cursed air conditioning. But Alderman knew it was just the heat that made him sweat. This story was far too similar...

"Daniel? Dan, is that you?" He could hear Evelyn's voice just around the corner. He had no choice. He saw the look of stunned horror on her face as he pulled the trigger. 

Suicide. He had set it up perfectly. No one would ever know. His in-laws suspected nothing. His neighbors had nothing but sympathy for him. It was a closed case--over, done. There was no danger. His guilt had been buried with her, never to be found. 

He took a breath and entered the court with his accustomed slow solemnity. The defendant was standing, handcuffed, eyes low. Jesse Nicholson was a large man, a former soldier, competitive body builder, but here, he looked small. His powerful shoulders were slumped, his face grey. Alderman looked away.


"Yes, your Honor." Stephens stood and began his professional pacing. "Jesse Samuel Nicholson, the defendant, on the day of May 23rd, 2013, did shoot and kill his wife, Shalayne Grace Nicholson and their six-month-old son, Alexander Elliot Nicholson..." The witnesses came and went, painting a clear, stark picture of a severely paranoid man who distrusted everyone and spent hours daily shooting out in the woods alone. Finally, the defense was called up.

"For my first witness, I c--"

"No!" The defendant rose to his feet, interrupting his lawyer. "I am guilty. I killed Shay and Alex." He started to cry loud, gasping sobs. "I took my gun and I took their lives like a monster. I'm a killer--a damned killer. Just get it over with--stop me before I hurt someone else." The voices in the court rose to a storm. Alderman pounded his gavel on his desk, shouting for order. When silence finally fell, the defense requested a recess. 


"Yes, Stephens?" Alderman did not let him see his face.

"I have spoken to the defense. They are going to maintain his guilty plea."


"I am going to recommend the death sentence."

Alderman half-turned. "Even after he confessed?"

"He is asking for it--literally. He wants to die. He's begging us not to make him live with this. It's either death or a padded cell."

"I see. I will think about it. Excuse me." He made his way to the bathroom. Death or a padded cell. Justice. Justice was his life. And that was the greatest of lies. How could he kill this man without damning himself? Damning? He would only be damned if his deed was known. He had but to play this final role and it would all be over once and for all. He had condemned more criminals over the course of his career than he could remember. Why should his conscience chafe now?

"All stand." Alderman could hear his own heart beating as he formed his words. Death. He said it loud and clear. No tremor in his voice betrayed his fear of what he must say. He involutarily glanced over at the defendant. The man was nodding his head vigorously, tears streaming down his face. The sight was unbearable. He ordered the condemned to be removed and made a hasty, though dignified exit. 

That night, sleep evaded him. The face of Jesse Nicholson haunted his mind. Then, like a cancer, like Lady Macbeth's damned spot, Evelyn's face and voice invaded his thoughts. He saw her in her wedding dress, he heard her singing at their graduation--the voice of an angel, he had called it. He heard her laugh, saw her smile--how he had loved her once! But age and diabetes had taken their toll and all beauty had faded. All beauty except her voice. When she took to the piano, then he could forget her thinning hair and sagging figure. Stop it, Dan! What was he doing, thinking of her this way? She had been a crude-mannered vixen as a girl, a bossy, sarcastic wife, and a hideous, loud-mouthed old witch in the later days. She had deserved it--she had brought it on herself. No. She had not. He knew that. He began pacing his room, his mind churning. 

What is the difference between me and Jesse Nicholson? 

He was caught--I was not.

No. It was something else.

He killed his child. I had no child.

No. That was not the main difference.

The mortician shook his head. Why was it always the rich and famous? What could cause such a suicide? This man had had it all--an enviable fortune, a stellar reputation, a gorgeous young girlfriend, and a well-established career as a judge. Yet here he had been found, his suit splattered with blood and brains, a handgun in his right hand and an envelope in his left. 

"Who is Jesse Nicholson?" His assistant was holding the neatly sealed envelope. "A relative?"

Jesse Nicholson's hands trembled violently, his mind spasming with a confusion of memories and imagination. Images from the front randomly blended and distorted with more recent memories and flashes from his childhood. He knew only one thing for certain: He had, one dark night, in a confused state of anger, stepped out into his yard and blindly, madly, opened fire on his own house. He couldn't even remember if he had known his wife and child were in there. He did not even know why he had done it. But he did know he had killed them. And he knew that soon, he too would be killed. And he thanked God for that.

The officer entered with an envelope. Her words did not make sense to him. Judge. Suicide. Death. Note. Shoot. Kill. Death. Yesterday. But then she opened the envelope which bore his name and placed the note in his hands. He read it silently.

"You are more righteous than I."

© 2017 Robber Jay

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Added on February 18, 2017
Last Updated on February 18, 2017
Tags: Crime, Law, Guilt, Murder, Judge


Robber Jay
Robber Jay

Cremona, Canada

My name is Robyn Patterson. I am an aspiring author with a passion for fantasy and allegory. Above all, I am a Christian. God sent Jesus Christ to die in my place on the cross, and now I gladly liv.. more..

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