That one word wormed its way through Victor’s ears and straight into his heart, where it began to tear pieces of his life away. Judgment had been passed.
The air in the courtroom was thick with hate. The jurors, supposedly impartial, looked at Victor as if he were a stray mongrel that had wandered into their midst. Stern-faced bailiffs led him away, refusing to look him in the eye. One didn’t need robes to be a judge.
Victor’s attorney had at least managed to commute the death sentence to a 25-year term. As he walked out of the courthouse and was confronted by the mob of protesters, he wondered if that had been the right choice. Over two decades of hatred and vitriol while sharing a cell with the overbearing spectre of his own guilt? Death would have been kinder.