“You want me to convince a judge and jury that you were being mind controlled?”
“I was being mind controlled.” Robert locked eyes with Jacob.
“Look, I may have to plead insanity on your behalf. There’s no way anyone is going to buy that defense. It’s crazy.”
“You’re my brother. You know I’d never kill anyone.”
“Temporary insanity. It happens. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”
“I didn’t go insane. I was conscious the whole time, but someone else was controlling my actions like a puppet.”
“How do you expect me to even offer a reasonable doubt that it could happen? Nevermind solid proof!”
“Check the ally where the guy who did it was. I already told you the whole thing, so follow the clues he left.”
“I’m not a detective. Hell, I only passed the BAR two years ago.”
“No one else is going to have a chance of believing me but you.”
“That’s because it’s unbelievable.”
“I wouldn’t have believed it either before it happened.”
“Fine. I am probably going to ruin my own career over this one, but I will try to plead your case as ‘not guilty’. Just be aware we may have the judge come down on us and you are probably looking at an immediate switch to a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ plea.”
“We have proof!” Jacob’s eyes were wild and his grin threatened to split his cheeks.
“What?” Robert stood, nearly knocking the chair over. “How, where?”
“The guy slipped up and accidentally tried his trick on an off-duty officer. He phoned in suspicious activity in the alley before he went in and another officer arrived to witness the act. It was all caught on a body camera. The off-duty was all jerky exiting the alley and unresponsive. The guy who did it was in a trance. The on-duty officer managed to prevent the murder and the guy who did this to you was arrested. It just happened this morning, so no lab testing for drugs yet, but if anything is found and they are something that passes through the system quickly, that would kick the leg out from the prosecution’s use of your clean drug tests.”
“I think so. We’ll see. I sent the evidence to their offices. They may drop all charges once this gets sorted out.”
Robert sat back down, feeling like a huge weight was lifted from him.
“What do you mean they plan to go forward?”
“They aren’t dropping the charges. In light of the new evidence, they are changing the Murder 1 charge over to involuntary manslaughter. That’s it.”
“Are they charging the cop that got mind-controlled then?”
“There’s no word about that one way or the other yet. They’re supposed to make a statement on that situation tomorrow. As for your case, it seems that since the law was never built to handle mind control as a valid argument of innocence, the prosecution is moving forward with only a slight shift in tactics and charges.”
“So what now?”
“Now, dear brother, we make the jury feel like each of them might have been in your shoes and that charging you with anything would not only be an injustice, it would be saying they deserve prison as well.”
“How does the jury find the Defendant?”
The speaker stood and began quoting off charges, starting with the most minor. ‘Not guilty’ on each. Finally, they came to the main charge.
“On the count of involuntary manslaughter, we find the defendant ‘Guilty’.
Anything else said after that was lost to Robert. It was as if the entire world went to white noise. He’d done nothing wrong, but he was still going to be held accountable. Guilty because the prosecution had argued he was reckless in entering an alley where a harmless looking man had asked for a light. Jacob had once said that the law can’t keep up with the changes of the world. That it takes years for new laws to be put into place to adjust. He’d been victimized by the man in the alley and now he was being victimized by the system. He vaguely heard his brother speaking about an appeal, but was still lost in his shock. Someone began leading him away, but he didn’t really focus on it consciously. The movement was just reflexive, entirely involuntary.