Hunters and Gatherers
“And now, Judge Hallowell, ladies and gentleman of the jury,” a man in a three piece suit paced across the courtroom. “As prosecuting attorney, I will review a few specifics of this case to help guide you in your decision during the sentencing phase of this trial. As you have already decided upon the guilt of the accused I will restrict my remarks to just the testimony regarding the character of Mr. Thomas Michael Davis. As you know, the murder of Robert VanDamm and Raymond Elliott was premeditated to the extent that Mr. Davis wanted to kill somebody. He didn’t know the victims but he had a plan and a place for his crime that was based on previously visiting the Pit several weeks before. At that time he had gone to Pine Mountain with friends to target practice and came upon what he described as a group of illegals and wetbacks. His friends also testified that Mr. Davis was furious that those individuals owned firearms that were far superior to the ones he and his friends possessed and Mr. Davis vowed to shoot those men to steal their weapons to which he claimed they had no legal right.”
The attorney took a drink of water and nodded to the judge. “At the time those friends of Mr. Davis talked him out of shooting the Latinos but reported that later he swore he would go back to Pine Mountain with one of his father’s guns and shoot the wetbacks in a vigilante form of justice where he would act as judge, jury and executioner. We also know from the testimony of some of Mr. Davis’ friends that he was obsessed with wanting to take the life of another person in order to become a real man. For instance, Mr. Davis is reported to have repeatedly expressed to his high school counsellor that his only interest in graduating was so that he could enlist with Special Operations forces such as the Green Berets, the Army Rangers or Navy SEALS and murder enemy combatants. To others Mr. Davis expressed an interest in being employed as a Mafia assassin or hit man, as though that might be a means of gainful employment.”
He then paused and looked into the faces of the jury. “All of this testimony is to be considered in regards to the motivation that brought Mr. Davis to Pine Mountain on that day and that resulted in the brutal murder of Mr. Van Damme and Mr. Elliott. As you know Mr. Davis returned to the Pit determined to run into the Latinos he had seen before. But when he came upon Van Damme and Elliott he changed his mind and decided to take the life of someone, anyone. I would also remind you that Mr. Davis initially claimed that he was acting in self-defense but was armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle while his victims possessed simple deer rifles. Our forensic experts have testified that while Mr. Van Damme died instantly from more than twenty bullets, Mr. Elliott may have survived for more than a half hour after the first injury and crawled on the forest floor like a wounded animal before he was fatally shot. So, in conclusion, it is obvious that Mr. Davis killed these men simply for the thrill of it and not out of any sort of personal grievance or malice making this a most reprehensible crime that requires you to invoke the death penalty in order to bring closure to the suffering of the Van Damme and Elliot families.”
Casey Bush is a Portland poet whose eighth collection Student of Hippocampus was published in 2018 by Last Word Press (Olympia, WA). His essay “Sisters Around the Cauldron: Mary Barnard and Her Sappho” was recently posted on the Berlin based website The Decadent Review. Casey is the poetic voice of Notes & Motes: The Vlatkovich Trio Plus One. He recommends Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center.