I watched the lawyers hold my Susan's hand tightly, as the jury announced the verdict that would basically end my lovely wife's life. My worst fears were soon realized when I heard the foreman of the jury state the verdict was "guilty as charged. Suddenly I felt numb and in a state of shock. Just how could this possible have happened? Susan didn't have an evil bone in her body, and wouldn't hurt another human being, let alone actually murder someone. Yet for some reason the police had evidence that was undisputable that left little doubt in everyone's mind but mine. I simple knew that she was innocent, and would do what ever was humanly possible the get this verdict reversed.
I met Susan during the two-week Christmas break when her family moved into the empty house across the street. Since our family was the first to move onto this block when the subdivision was built, my mother was the self appointed "Welcome to the neighborhood" spokesperson. As part of her routine, mother would always invite the new family, no matter how large, over for dinner the day after they moved in, and this was no exception. It was just before our guests were to arrive that mother informed me that I had to show the new girl to school, and to also be her first new friend. I mean I had better things to do than to be big brother to some stupid dame, but I knew there was no getting out of if. Without a doubt she was going to be some ugly looking skank, with braces and horn-rimmed glasses.
When the doorbell rang for the second time, my mother shouted from the kitchen to let our guests in. I reluctantly walked over and pulled open the door and invited them all in. I gave a polite smile, as ordered, as Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings stepped though the door and was now expecting the worse. As Susan stepped through the door my jaw just dropped, as I could only stare at the prettiest girl I ever saw. The rest of the evening was like a dream come true, and it was just like the old saying, love at first sight.
The rest of the school year Susan and I became more that just close friends, and when we started high school the next year, I asked her to wear my ring. Our love grew deeper and deeper, and two years out of high school, we were married. I couldn't have been happier and just knew that Susan and I would last forever.
Our happy and wonderful life changed the night that the police knocked on our door. Susan answered the door and as soon as the door opened, I could hear a man's voice clearly ask if she was Susan Hansen. Seconds later the words "You're under arrest for the murder of Roosevelt Johnson" had me flying towards the door. I was in shock as Susan could only stare at me, as one officer placed the handcuffs on her, while the other read her the Miranda rights.
I followed the squad car to the police station where I tried to get someone to tell me just what the hell was going on. It was then that I was informed that Susan would be arraigned in the morning, and would have to spend the night in lockup. I knew my next step would be to get an attorney, and get Susan out of jail.
As the trial progressed with more and more evidence against her, Susan swore that she had nothing to do with the drug dealer's death. Even as the prosecutor introduced mounds of incriminating evidence, including a knife with Suzan's fingerprints on it, the deceased wallet and a small bag of drugs with his fingerprints on it that were found in her car, Susan pleaded with me to believe her. I knew in my heart that the girl that I love could never do what many were now believing she had indeed done. Through it all, I hoped that truth would be found, and Susan would be allowed to go free.
My hopes and dreams all faded to black the day that all appeals had been exhausted, and the state put my beloved Susan to sleep forever. I continued my own existence without meaning and prayed that someday I would awake and find it all just a very horrible nightmare. There wasn't a day that didn't go by that I didn't think of Susan, and her words that proclaimed her innocence.
I never got over Susan; I just learned to live without her. I felt my live was without meaning, and considered many time to just end it all. Then the day I had been called to do my duty as a juror changed my entire outlook on everything that life had to offer.
As I sat through the trail, it was like I was relieving Susan's trail. A dropout from society had been murdered, and just like Susan, a young woman was the accused. As each bit of evidence was brought before the jury, the more and more it was like before. Even the wallet from the deceased was found under the front seat, just as Susan's case. Could this just be a coincidence, or was my imagination starting to run wild?
After the trial ended, I started to research other cases that were similar to this and Susan's. Months of research showed that in each case, much of the evidence was exactly the same. Never a motive, but plenty of incriminating evidence would be found in the accused home, car or on their person, but never an eyewitness. The other stat that leaped out was the fact that in each case a knife was used, and also the same detective was in charge of each case.
For the last ten years detective sergeant Dave Williams had a remarkable record of solving what many thought at first were just drug related murders, involving rival gang members. As impeccable of a record that the detective had, I had trouble being convinced it was due to relentless investigational work. To prove my theory, I began to follow Mr. Williams around, and do a little private eye work of my own.
Over the next six weeks I followed detective Williams waiting for him to "solve" his next big case. My diligence paid off when finally another murder investigation was under his control. Like the others, this was a black male who had been found slain and left in deserted alley. During my surveillance I saw how Mr. Williams succeeded in getting the necessary fingerprints on the murder weapon. After pinpointing a "victim" to be the next accused, he would gain entrance to the home and simply remove a knife from their kitchen. He never had trouble matching the murder weapon to the accused. He then would plant as much evidence he thought was needed to insure a guilty verdict.
My first instinct was to simply bring an accusation to the power to be, but thought that maybe the entire police force may be doing exactly the same thing. When I saw him with a very attractive woman, I quickly hatched another idea. It only took a short while before I knew she was either his girlfriend, or his wife. Either way, would work out just fine. As it turned out she indeed was his wife of seven months, and oh how in love they looked.
My plan required that I get pretty friendly with Mrs. Williams, so I followed her for over three months detailing her every move. I finally determined that on every Tuesday she would get her nails done, and every other Friday she had her hair worked on. Other than that, I found nothing she did that could be considered a normal routine. Then one day as I followed her though a home improvement center I learned that she was interested in having a cedar deck installed at her home. It was when the lumber sales clerk said he could have someone get in touch with her that I knew this was my chance. I pretended to be interested in some how to book and listened carefully when he asked for her phone number. When she left, I loitered around a bit until the clerk was busy and I quickly snatched the paper with her phone number on it. The next day I called and made an appointment.