There are errors.
It isn't perfect.
I need to change some repeated adjectives.
I'll be the first to say all of these things.
There are words below that I do not use in conversation. But, this is not conversation- this is a murder in 1910.
But, here's something from what I am writing.... Let me know your thoughts.
May, 1910 ~ Augusta, GA Supreme Court
“I wouldn’t kill no white man. I’d rather kill every nigger in Augusta than to kill one of you white men,” said Mathis.
“You white folk care when one of your own dies.”
His lawyer, William Fleming, remained silent. Staring back at the ginger colored negro, the educated man patiently waited for him to continue.
Sobbing, Mathis continued, “I s’pose I will be hanged for it. If’in I aint, I’ll be lynched for it anyhow, but God knows I didn’t kill the doctor. If I had wanted to kill and rob someone, why would I go way up on the Sand Hill to do it, and how did I know that Dr. Hickman was going to pass by and how did I know he was out visiting that night? If I went up there to kill and rob someone, I would’a killed the first man I saw. But I didn’t kill no white man.”
In a dramatic outburst, raising his hand high above his head, he loudly cried, “I hope I may be paralyzed if I killed Dr. Hickman. Gentlemen, how could I be such a fool as to kill a man and try to pawn his watch where I am so well known?”
The defendant on the stand, John Mathis, cradled his head in his large hands and quietly wept.
Mr. Fleming looked at him with the soft eyes of an aging man beyond his quick fifty-four years. As if speaking to a child, he quietly said, “Now Mathis, is that all you wish to say?”
Pressed lips and fashionable round spectacles, Fleming shifted his gaze to Judge Hammond and slowly raised his head slightly.
Judge Hammond excused the final witness to the seat beside the deputy who stood guard over him.
This was the conclusion of the trial that had been in the makings since Dr. Charles W. Hickman was found on the side of the road, dead from a gunshot wound less than three months prior. The white men of the jury mutely stared as Mathis returned to his place. The silence was palatable.
A nameless juror stood, “Excuse me. May I ask a question?”
In a low voice, Judge Hammond replied, “No. Sit down. That is not your job.”
Court reporter Frank Capers continued with his short hand, writing it all down without painting anything into the scene.
The juror sat and the fate of Mr. Mathis was no longer his own.
The polished shoes clicked on the hard oak floor as Fleming walked back to the defendant’s side, sitting next to his appointed partner. He closed his eyes and nodded to the gods as the trial concluded, less than 48 hours after it had begun.
“Dear God, how did we get here?” He thought.