Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt
by John Crawley
Had Mason Chase gone to sleep that night he might be dead. The fact that he didn't might make him wish he was dead.
With his family gruesomely murdered around him in their comfortable suburban home, he is arrested, charged and convicted of a crime he claims he did not commit. In fact there is evidence – strong evidence– to suggest that Mason's claims of innocence are in fact true. But a Texas jury decides against him, finding him guilty and sentences him to death by lethal injection.
For close to a decade and a half, Mason sits on Texas death row while Rob Gilmore, his lawyer, and others work to get him set free. At times, mason comes within hours of his death. Not until Rob is killed in a traffic accident does the lawyer's wife discover Rob's secret – a secret that will aide in releasing Mason Chase of incarceration and freeing him from the looming death sentence that crowds him like an angry shadow. Rob's wife, a lawyer for the county, also discovers her own boss' culpability in the botched conviction. She turns to the aid of a Houston law firm, who specialize in cases like Mason's.
The evidence is presented to a U.S. Federal Judge who frees Mason and gets him removed from prison and away from the horror of death row.
Months pass, Mason Chase decides to sue the county, its DA, lead investigator and criminal lab for damages and restitution for his wrongful conviction. Carol Gilmore, Rob's wife, now in private practice, leads the case and wins a huge multi-million dollar settlement for Mason, only to have the U.S. Supreme Court eventually rule against him. Mason is left with nothing. Again a victim.
After a few months, three justices who sit on the highest bench in the land disappear. (They happen to be the three that were the lead advocates that Mason's case was without merit.) There are no leads. There is no evidence. There is nothing to go on. The FBI is baffled until a freak traffic incident on a lonely Texas highway, just north of the Mexican border leads authorities to believe that the killer of the three Supreme Court justices is residing just on the other side of the Rio Grande.
A former Texas Ranger, Lucky Drake, is asked to snoop around in the desert of Northern Mexico, to see if he can "unofficially" sniff out anything like clues to the deaths of the three. He, in fact, uncovers the real killer: Jimmy McDermit, a man who has long been suspected as being the actual killer of the Chase family. But Lucky also discovers, that Jimmy seems to be taking is directions from a doctor in a small Mexican village. As he gets closer to the two, who are deep in conversation, Lucky discovers his camera lens is focused on, not a doctor, but Mason Chase.
We have come full circle.
- Gallivant Press/Venture Galleries, LLC, January 2012
Gallivant Press/Venture Galleries, LLC
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