Victoria stared at the headline, ‘Local man convicted of attempted murder in the case of the People vs Munch.’ The article was so slanted and sensationalized it made her physically ill to read, but like a train wreck, she couldn’t seem to look away. She read the article for the third time that morning.
“…Thanks to the heroic efforts of Windenburg’s top DA, the trial had begun quickly, was handled efficiently, and concluded in record time. The entire event from altercation to verdict only took 25 days. A tribute to our legal system,” Victoria read aloud. “Yes, yes, heroic indeed. Convicting an innocent man based on nothing but a single ‘witness’ to the crime.” Victoria set the paper down and leaned back in the chair.
She would be able to visit Wolfgang for about 20 minutes today before he was transported to the prison three hours away. When she was able to visit that weekend she would bring him some of her favorite books and a small picture he had taken of the two of them at the bluffs.
He wouldn’t be able to take anything with him today but once he was settled in his new cell at the prison he was supposed to be able to have visitors and receive gifts that were on the approved list.
Sophie and Josef were at school today. Victoria had called in sick to work. She was pretty sure her boss knew why and understood without questioning. Though this article had really made her sick to her stomach, she really needed to visit Wolfgang one more time this afternoon before he left.
She closed her eyes and rubbed her temple and thought back to the final moments of the trial. She still couldn’t believe this was all real.
Victoria went to the courthouse for the final time with Wolfgang’s mother Mila Munch and one of their Renegade friends, Ulrike Faust.
Victoria would have preferred Morgan to be there with her today, but Morgan just couldn’t make it work with her schedule. Today was the final day of the trial and the jury would hear closing arguments and then come to a verdict.
Mila took one look at her son and ran over to hug him. It was certainly going to be an emotional day.
“I just know it’s going to be ok Son,” Mila said to her son. He merely nodded silently into her shoulder while squeezing her as if she were a life preserver.
As everyone took their seats the judge called for order.
Victoria sat there waiting as the Lawyers made their closing arguments. Wolfgang’s attorney looked like he’d aged five years in the weeks since he first took on Wolfgang as a client.
Victoria had no doubt that this sensational case was either going to look very good for the Public Defender, or very very bad. She hoped for the former.
Victoria had been hoping they’d be given more time, that somehow another witness would turn up, that new evidence would come to light that proved Wolfgang’s innocence.
That wasn’t to be the case though. Mrs. Gill had pushed her contacts in the DA’s office to get the ball rolling and like a stone boulder down a steep hill, the trial began and just picked up momentum on the way down.
It wasn’t long before most of the town knew what was going on and suspected Wolfgang’s guilt. After all, the Gills were upstanding community members, one of their own. Wolfgang Munch was just that punk who had defaced public signs, broken public restroom facilities, and put cherry gelatin in the community pool one summer.
The jury had deliberated less than two hours. When the sentence was read, “Guilty of Attempted Murder”, Victoria’s vision blurred and she felt a tunnel pressing in on her. When the judge pronounced the sentence, “Life in prison, opportunity for parole after minimum of ten years served.” She had fainted.
“So, I’ll be up this weekend to visit you. Is there anything I should bring from your house? I’m bringing that picture of the two of us for you and of course I’ll bring a few of my favorite books. Have to get you caught up,” she said with a sad smile.
“No, my Mom and Lucas are going to make a trip up tomorrow. They’ll bring the few things I’m allowed to have there.” Wolfgang took her hands.
They were cool and she felt a tremor running through him. He reached to embrace her and then kissed her passionately, she felt as if he were trying to put a life time of emotion into that kiss.
When he pulled away he looked into her eyes and said softly, “Victoria, I don’t know how this all spiraled out of control like this. But I do know I don’t want you coming this weekend. Or ever…”
“What!” she interrupted. “You cannot mean that!”
“No, I do mean it,” he began firmly. “I have at least ten years of prison ahead of me. I’m no good now and who knows how that place will change me.”
“I won’t have you part of that person I become. Just forget about me and move on with your life,” tears were welling in his eyes but his voice didn’t shake.
“No, absolutely not. We’ll appeal, something will be found, we’ll get through this!” Her tears were blinding her.
He reached up to wipe her tears away. “You’ll find someone else, you are smart, beautiful, compassionate and talented. You cannot waste your life on someone like me.”
“There is no one else I want. I will visit you this weekend Wolfgang.”
“I’ll refuse your visit. Don’t come,” he said sternly. Somewhat softer he said, “I love you Victoria, I always will. But I will not allow you to waste your life on a convict.”
He turned and called for the guard to take him back to his cell.
Victoria woke from her faint and realized she wasn’t at the courthouse. She opened her eyes and understood she was at the hospital with a handsome nurse standing over her. “Gotta be careful in your condition young lady!”
“Wha?” Victoria breathed.
“Your blood test indicated you are pregnant!” The nurse smiled at her. Something on her face must have queued him in and he looked blankly at Victoria. “Oh…you didn’t know?” He looked down, then back at her.
“Standard procedure, we always do a blood test to determine toxicology levels and blood type in case we have to administer blood. Is there someone I can call?”
Victoria shook her head and began to weep.