Hunters and Gatherers
Judge Hallowell tapped her gavel and addressed the jury. “We have now reached the conclusion of testimony. Do you have questions before I send you back to deliberate?”
The jury foreman raised his hand. “Judge, are we limited to sentencing this young man to either the death sentence or to life without parole? Is there any other determination we can make?”
“No, those are your only choices. Besides, rest assured, there are adequate mental health resources available to inmates.”
“And again judge, to be clear, how can a man this young be sentenced to death?”
“The law states that the minimum age is 18 when considering the death penalty. Although he was still in high school, Mr. Davis was actually 18 at the time of the murders.”
At that point a young woman stood up in the back of the court room and announced, “I hate him but I love him, he raped me but you can’t kill him. I’m carrying his baby.”
“Order, order,” Judge Hallowell struck her gavel. “Order in the court. Young lady please identify yourself and explain this disruption.”
“I’m Darla Davis, Tommy’s sister, you can’t kill him, I won’t let you,” she pronounced walking down the central aisle but was soon intercepted by a man who picked the girl up off the ground and turned with the intention of carrying her out of the courtroom.
“I’m sorry you honor,” the man apologized. “My little girl’s distraught. Don’t listen to her. She’s hysterical.”
As Paul Davis restrained his daughter he was joined by his wife, Victoria, who addressed the bench. “No, no, you can’t sentence my son to death. He’s going to be a father.”
“Order, order,” Judge Hallowell demanded. “I will continue this discussion with the Davis family in my chambers. I hereby conclude the sentencing hearing.”
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.