The Witness

Unfolding the Anatomy of a Killer


Pg. 160:

“Wanda froze as the reality and full extent of the dangerous situation she had unknowingly and brazenly entered hit her like a ton of bricks.”

Pg. xxiv:

What do you mean by synchronicity?” Ladero queried for the benefit of some in the audience who might not be familiar with the term.

“Carl Jung, the great psychologist, first used this term in his work with patients. It means the coming together of events or circumstances that seem related but not obviously caused by one another. We might think of it as the relationship between things that are happening or working together at the same time without being aware of it at the time—like sound and image in a movie that matches up with action.

“My greatest interest in working with these criminal cases is studying the defendant as a whole person, not just someone caught in one slice of time. I want to learn about this person’s childhood and family and community life and about the influences that coalesce to have an impact—for good or for evil. I want to connect the dots.”

Pg. 164:

Wanda thought about how Jackson was incomplete, caught between boyhood and a full-grown man: This unnatural combination of boy and beast makes him a brute. And, Jackson’s brutishness is his most egregious crime. Whispers and suspicious glances have always followed him throughout the community. Is anyone surprised that Jackson is connected to this horrible murder? No. Did anyone expect anything less from him? No.”

The Witness brings a new dimension to the genre of true crime literature, piecing together shards of personal circumstances and critical life events, so often swept under the rug of family shame or neglect, revealing how the past casts a grave shadow over one’s future.

CSI has long since rolled up the tape but the investigation isn’t over. Detectives cool their heels from pounding the pavement, but the interviews have just started. The suspects – charged and booked – are left to contemplate their fate. The key to their future lies in their past; while the crime is solved, one question remains:

What is justice?

The most fascinating and interesting thread to be untangled from the horrid mess of humanity starts with the jury’s verdict – guilty.

In the second stage of the trial, the jury is charged with the task of deciding a just and adequate penalty. Instructed to put aside their own experiences and put on the defendant’s shoes, they must arrive at an impartial decision based on the facts. Draper leads them through the defendant’s lifepath, from his birth to this murderous act.

The newly convicted murderer’s motives are balanced against humanity. The DA argues that such an atrocious act warrants death. The defense and prosecution push and press the circumstances, mounting the evidence to a landslide verdict. In the midst of the overwhelming accusations and suppositions, one obstacle keeps the rising tide at bay.

Unfolding the key circumstances of childhood that lead to adult criminal behavior reveals the unique role of the expert witness, determined to leave no stone unturned in her search for unravelling the human mystery of each case. Will her discoveries uncover mitigation evidence adequate for the jury to determine just punishment – death or life in prison without parole?

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