The Cold Depression of A Deliberation
“ There were seventy stab wounds to the infant's body when we found him.”
The jury was struggling to tear their gaze away from the terrible photographs that were pinned to a cork board facing them. Each photo was enlarged and some were just of the stab wounds. It was that classic car crash dilemma where you don't want to look, but you just can't help it.
“We followed him, where he went back to the body and tried to move it. He wanted to throw it into the ocean hoping it would never be found again.”
The jury stirred but kept their eyes on the photographs.
“He tried to convince us that there was no reason for the death of the baby boy. He said it was an accident. I ask you, how the hell is seventy stab wounds an accident?”
The detective on the witness stand looked at each member of the jury with renewed intensity. The accident statement was a slap in the face and it disgusted him to no end.
Eventually, as facts began to get in his way, the accused story changed. He suddenly remembered, for instance, that a stranger had at one point opened the trunk of the stolen car and had shown him a zippered black plastic bag. The bag was designed to store gowns, but it wasn't in that case.
The stranger pulled down the zipper just enough to reveal the face of the little boy.
Detective Nathan Chambers felt every word stabbing at him. His stomached turned and he just wanted to empty his revolver into that sick son of a bitch. The jury watched his reaction, but made no sound.
A moment passed, still and deathly quiet. Chambers closed his eyes and imagined, with clarity of being a witness of the nightmare that the small child must have endured. Each scream of pain with every stab. Each penetration scarring him for life and death was enough to make even the devil look away.
Chambers knew when he first started that the case was going to have holes. He worked hard to get enough detail to start a full investigation. He had to confront doctors who treated the accused for mental instability. His story of being with a friend the night the child went missing had to be corroborated or knocked down.
He did everything he could to get the case in front of a jury. He knew that if twelve people heard his facts, they would sentence the sick bastard to life in prison. However, to every other detective on his shift, the case would go down in flames. The doctors that treated the sick bastard had to reveal that he had issues, and what he did to that child came from deep within. He didn't know what he was doing while stabbing the young boy 70 times.
They didn't want to kid themselves, they also knew that Chambers went over the hill on the case. He kept repeat warrants on the suspect's apartment, prolonged back ground investigations, and tried to even get that son of a bitch to commit suicide.
At one point even Captain Roque thought Chambers had lost it, but still gave him his space. He knew that the detective would either swim or sink on this case. He would let Chambers burn trying only because it involved the slaughter of a young child.
24 hours after the cold depression of a deliberation, Detective Nathan Chambers found himself torn between elation and despair. He could have sworn he saw God's shadow stirring behind the jury waiting for the foreman's reply to the judge's question.
“What say you?”
The time had come. Chambers had lived on nerves and nicotine, drank too much coffee and slept too little during the investigation. It was finally all coming down to a boil. He watched the foreman stand and face the accused.
“Guilty, your Honor! Guilty in the first degree....”
Chambers rushed out into the corridor to make certain it was clear. He fell down to his knees as he tried to catch his breath. He looked toward the sky and started crying and rocking back and forth uncontrollably. The captain peeked out the door and closed it giving the detective some peace.
© 2016 Frank Atanacio
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