10 days later…
Hands on her knees, Abby is panting like a dog on a hot summer day.
After 8 hours of grueling hike of trekking through woods, brambles, and nothing but uphill, she finally reaches the summit, the highest point of the tallest mountain nearest to her. The week had been torturous, in Abby’s opinion. She had to relive what she had seen and went through in the Hitchcock mansion over and over for 5 days straight.
The attorneys, especially the defense attorney, were ruthless. They had her spill and relive every gruesome detail and every traumatic second of that day again and again. She had almost cried at one point. “How many times do I have to tell you? I’ve already relayed the same thing more than a dozen times. If you still need me to repeat it, you’re pretty dumb for an attorney.”
She thought she had botched the case for the state by blurting out such things but thankfully, the judge threw that statement out. “You got to control your emotions.” The state’s attorney told her. “Don’t let him agitate you. He’s trying to get you to change your side of the story, to incriminate yourself because one word out of line and Hitchcock might have a chance to walk free. I’m sure you don’t want that, do you?”
Though the trial only lasted for two days, it was waiting for the juries’ verdict that took the longest. It was like waiting for something that can happen at any moment. At last, almost three days after the bench trial, the verdict was in.
“Do you have the verdict?” The judge asked.
“We do, your honor.” The jury foreman cleared his throat as he began reading from a piece of paper. “The Defendant, Richard Hitchcock, is charged with a total of 12 counts of first degree murder. Based on the evidence and witness testimony, we, the jury, find the defendant…” his eyes suddenly glanced up from the paper at Richard Hitchcock while holding the courtroom audience in suspense and then he took a deep breath and blurted the final words, “guilty of all counts.”
The plaintiff side of the room erupted in cheers. Abby exhaled a breath she didn’t know she was holding as the judge banged the gavel three times for silence. Abby could tell the judge was, too, relieve to at last hear the verdict. “Court is adjourn for the day. We will reconvene tomorrow for the sentencing.”
In the end, Richard’s plea for insanity was denied on the count of, “if you can write so many stories, you’re not insane.” He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Abby wasn’t sure if he deserved the sentence. After all, he did kill a dozen individuals, shouldn’t he deserve death instead of living the rest of his life in a cushy cell?
Now, as Abby takes in the view from the mountain top, she’s wondering if or when her nightmares will ever end. Will she have to live in fear for the rest of her life? Afraid someone might ambush her in the least expected moment? Will her brain return her those moments in the cellar each time she closes her eyes?
Abby inhales a deep breath of fresh air and smiles, temporarily banishing all her fears and negative thoughts from her brain. “Let’s enjoy this moment, shall we?”
Theme: The Mystery of the Millionaire Mansion
Click here to see all the #AtoZChallenge posts so far.
For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.