FIRING SQUAD: Innocent Heart Fractured

FIRING SQUAD: Innocent Heart Fractured

A Story by Domo

            Out here on death row, you get what seems forever to think about what you've done, and haven't done. Maybe you didn't get a chance to become that lawyer you always wanted to be because you wound up in prison. Maybe you got to play your award winning piano piece at a festival that had more than ten thousand in attendance, and then got hauled off to a cell with three walls and bars that hold no forgiveness. You regret the simple things, like not hugging your mom good bye the last time you saw her, or telling her that she made your life a living hell. These are all memories, ghosts you live with, in the cold, in the dark, for the rest of your life, all up to the point where you are put to death.

            Middle aged carpenter Timmy Johnson was sentenced to death due to being a murder suspect of a case involving three blundered, female victims, all the age of seventeen years old. The evidence displayed in court showed no mercy when the sentencing was made. The moment the gavel came down, a large gulp of fear choked up Timmy, as he had lost his case against the state of Oklahoma, there, where he would live the rest of his life, then die.

            Down the halls of the prison was the warden's door, there where he would finalize his final decisions, and digitize his last remarks. Two officers, each caressing an arm of the five-foot-seven convict, lead Timmy to the desk, and sat him down in a hard, old mahogany chair. He studied the chair, feeling the arms and their firm but loose hold on his weight and force. He looked the warden dead in the eyes, and silently waited to start what could have been the last conversation he would ever have.

            "We're done with you here, Timmy," alas the silence was broke from the warden, "it's time we follow through with your sentencing." The warden leaned back in his black leather chair, making squeaking noises every time he moved in it.

            Timmy said nothing, he continued to listen, but even when it was his turn to talk, he said nothing.

            "Do you understand your rights as a Oklahoma citizen for being put to death?"

            Still with no reply, only a firm stare, not the kind that would scare a child, but a stare of fear, and pure forgiveness towards the warden. Timmy was not all that quiet of a person though, in fact, he ran a huge carpentry company, where he and his wife made practically anything out of wood. You could name anything and they could make it without struggle.

            He continued to fiddle with the feel of the chair, carefully examining it without the warden or his guards noticing what he was doing. He wasn't all that innocent of a person, no he wasn't. He had gained his wood illegally from minorities whose green cards had expired, but that in itself was nothing worthy of the death sentence and in great connection no one at that prison even knew his hobby of carpentry, all they knew is he was found guilty by his peers.

            "I'm gonna hand you a form, and you need to sign where it needs to be signed, and make your decisions on what you want to do. If you choose not to sign or choose upon your options, choices will be made for you. Do you understand me Mr. Johnson?" the warden said sharply, not noticing Timmy rubbing his nails against the wood, scraping all the dirty and cheap polish off of it. In the meantime, the warden had laid out the papers in front of Timmy, and handed him a black pen. He backed away cautiously, and waited to see what Timmy would do.

            Slowly, Mr. Johnson reached for the pen, showing little effort in his decisions. He patiently read over the form for what seemed like a plethora of time. With three sets of eyes aiming down on him, he made three check marks on the first page, and then flipped to the next. The second page featured the state law and rights that are given to him on death row. He had the right to a final dinner of his choice, the right to pursue a final word to his peers, and the right to choose his form of death.

            Many see lethal injection as the ideal way to go, being it is one of the only accepted ways in numerous states that allow the death sentence. The electric chair was once legal in the majority of the United Stated, but was soon rejected and labeled as cruel and unusual punishment. Those who were sentenced back in 1998 for committing a capital crime were given a choice of electrocution, if they chose not to, an alternative method was use.

            In most recent years, Oklahoma has become the only state that allows the alternative of a firing squad, this method being most familiar to those in and out of the military. It involves the act of numerous marksmen, each given a gun, all with live rounds except for one. None of the gunmen are given awareness of whether or not their gun has a blank or a live round. They all would aim at the heart of the person being sentenced to death, and on a countdown, they all would pull their triggers at the same time, making it nearly impossible to know who shot the live rounds.

            This was the option that Timmy Johnson chose, of the two choices he was given, lethal injection and live firing squad; he chose to be shot by one his peers instead of being poisoned. Maybe it was for the best, but then again, Timmy knew just as well as all the other inmates that he was innocent, but he had accepted his fate, willing to die for another man's sins.

            He was innocent, more innocent than the baby face he wore. The courts had evidence that led to the verdict of his case, and not even a top dollar lawyer could get him out of what he was in. He had no idea why he was convicted of such a terrible crime, all he knew was that he never touched those girls, never killed them, never even saw them. But the jurors all found him guilty on three counts of murder.

            The process started simple and demeaning. They brought Timmy a plate that had his last dinner on it, scrambled eggs with bacon and ketchup on a silver tray, marked with dents from its previous use. He sat and ate his meal in peace, slowly chewing down each bite with a savoring look on his face. It wasn’t until later that anyone knew his reasoning for that being his last dinner.

            Back when Johnson was a kid, his mother and father had separated. Naturally, the father bailed on child support and left his ex-wife with the kids. She had a terrible struggle with all she did, whether it was washing the laundry, cooking the meals, or even putting a quarter in the kids pocket for a carton of milk at lunch time.

            Whenever Timmy and his siblings had to go without dinner, they would go to the farm right off of where they lived, and stole eggs from the chicken coops. They would bring them home, and without fail their mother always had bacon in the freezer, as if she owned a slaughter house and had an infinite amount of supply. She had the old glass bottles that Heinz Ketchup would come in, and would use it as a condiment. Off of that they had a simple dinner for a few days in a row, eating that same meal. Unlike his siblings, Timmy didn’t argue with the repetition of meals, he only enjoyed that he was eating something.

            That last dinner helped remind Johnson that he had something great in his life, and that he wasn’t dying a wasted soul. He knew his part on earth was to help people and not harm them, and though the real killer was out there on the loose, there were more guys like Timmy in the world to help make up for those sins that killer might commit.

            After eating his meal, Timmy Johnson was handcuffed and put into shackles, being led down his final walk. On the way he was called upon by all of the other inmates, being called names, and laughed at. The guards didn’t fight their words, only encouraged them to give Timmy something to think and stew about while he was being put to death. But the truth is, Timmy wasn’t thinking about their words or remarks, he was thinking about how he was giving his life to satisfy the parents of the victims that he was accused of brutally killing.

            After leaving the cell lane, Timmy was escorted to a room where only a chair with straps had been. He was sat down in it, and strapped in tight enough to make Houdini second guess his methods. Quiet voices could be heard from the other side of the room. In the sharp light, a crowd of maybe twenty people sat to observe the shooting. It was their jobs to see that Timmy Johnson was executed to the extent of his death.

            The executioner stood in front of Johnson, looking him in the eyes, showing confidence in his lines. “Timmy Johnson, the state of Oklahoma has found you guilty on three counts of first degree murder. It is by your jury of peers that you have been sentenced to death. You were given the option of lethal injection and a live firing squad, in which you chose a live firing squad. Is that correct?” the man said with a firm tone.

            “Yes, sir,” Timmy said with fear in his throat. Though he understood the circumstances, he was still afraid to die, still afraid to be shot to death. He chose a firing squad because he wanted everyone to feel justice was served, that his alleged choices were being punished by law.

            “Do you have any last words you would like to say, Timmy Johnson?”

That question was asked in such a cold manner, that Timmy couldn’t stand to have it be the last question he ever heard. “Yes sir.” Timmy said, trembling at this point. He looked over at the left side of the seated guests, scanning them all like a child looking for which dog he wants to adopt. “I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?”

The stares back at him were viciously given, all with no remorse or acceptance.

“I hope you burn in Hell for all you have done you damn monster!” an angry man stood and yelled. “You took my daughter away from me, you took her life!” The man was pulled down by a woman, assumedly his wife, and was told to be quiet. But with the answer the man gave to him, he understood that he was not forgiven for the crime he did not commit.

The executioner walked forward with a black blindfold, and placed it on Timmy Johnson’s head, covering his eyes. He then called upon the sharpshooters to approach their positions. Five tall men walked into the sight of everybody, and took a stance, aiming at the guilty man’s heart. All wore black uniforms and carried rifles of suitable size.

“Men, take aim,” the man calling the shots said. This was the last moment of this innocent man’s life, and it was about to be shown in front of numerous people, as if it was a drive in movie theatre. They all cautiously stared at Timmy and waited for him to die. It was a sick game to them all; this being that if the first round didn’t successfully kill the guy being put to death, then he must be shot again to be relieved of his misery.

“Ready!” the first man yelled, giving the signal to be ready to shoot. A doctor stood to the side of the men, ready to check Timmy’s pulses to see if the first round were to be a success. “3... 2... 1...” BANG!

The shots went off, like a loud whip hitting a desk just right, four bullets pierced the chest of Timmy and intruded his innocent, broken heart. All he wanted was to make others happy, and he knew his death would be hope and relief to many others, but only he knew that.

The doctor approached Timmy, quickly checking his pulse. The doctor shook his head no, and quickly backed away. Timmy tilted his head up and screamed in immense pain. A sixth gunner came up with his rifle, aimed fast, at a much closer range to the real victim, and shot a round into his heart once more, this time, being a success.

Timmy’s head dropped to the side, showing the sign of his death. To be certain, the doctor approached with caution once more, and checked Timmy’s pulse. Nothing, he nodded yes to everybody in the room, indicating that the monster was dead. A wave of relief overcame everybody.

Within five minutes the room was cleared of the audience and the men started to clean up the mess. Soon Timmy would be in the morgue, with a little label over his toe that would have a number and his name on it. He would be put in to be cremated, and then brought to his final resting place.

No one found out he wasn’t the real killer, and no one found the real killer, but as far as everyone knew, they did, and it gave them all relief to see him leave the lives of their loved ones. It was better that way, better that he didn’t fight, better that he showed sorrow. It was all better, all thanks to Timmy, because even though it was his life on the line, he was willing to do something that would relieve others of their pains.

© 2017 Domo

My Review

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I really liked this piece, it has a lot of tension.... and keeps you on edge. It is intelligently written, and has such a tragic yet caring note to it. A powerful subject that far too few people touch, much more powerful than poetry about how you cut yourself, that much is for sure! Only typo would be the ketchup is spelled Heinz, and you have a few minor grammar issues, but nothing which impedes. I live in Utah, and remember the last man we had executed by Firing Squad. He professed to choosing it because of an archaic Mormon doctrine of "Blood Atonement". A rather interesting nuance to the whole thing, which I couldn't help but consider after reading how Timmy chose it over lethal injection. Powerful writing, thanks for sharing!

Posted 10 Years Ago

I am honestly impressed over the quality of the story. Not only did you research topic about execution, firing squads in the state of Oklahoma. But, you also captured a certain believability about the story. Timmy Johnson, the innocent martyr.

This entire story had me gripped from beginning to end. It was all very well written and very well dialogued as well. Every single character was believable. Timmy Johnson was one hell of a character. Laying down his life so that people in the audience could rest in peace. While he did not.

I'm surprised that not all a lot people were drawn to this. I scroll down the entire thing expecting to see a handful reviews praising your miraculous writing ability. But instead I found nothing.

This is possibly one my favorite stories that are read. You should definitely invest in a grammar checker, and submit this to a literary magazine. Because it will be picked up instantly.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on September 2, 2012
Last Updated on October 18, 2017
Tags: firing, squad, chair, death, sentence, prison, electric



Round rock, TX

I'm Domo. I'm twenty-two, I like to be creative. I write books, lyrics, songs, poems, you name it, I've tried it. Though I like to focus on music, in the form of piano and guitar. Playing p.. more..


A Chapter by Domo


A Chapter by Domo