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“Justice delayed is justice denied, and an awful lot of families of the victims have been waiting for justice to be done, and so that’s certainly an important factor,” the person on the television yelled. The reporter turned away from the person he was interviewing in front of the courthouse that buzzed with activity as police enforced the barricade. "And that's really been a sentiment mirrored by so many people that have personally been affected by this man, Anderson. A man who shot and killed a police officer and had a laundry list of allegations. He was wanted across three states for crimes so heinous that prosecutors said that trying him on one count of first degree murder would have already been enough to carry the maximum punishment of the death penalty because of the sheer brutality of the crime. The defendant has been wanted in suspicion in the disappearance of four people in Arizona and Texas, but in the end, Anderson, it was the murder of Officer Owen that secured a guilty verdict. With the family of the slain police officer in attendance, Ethan Granger was sentenced to be executed by the State of California by lethal injection."

"Jim, any word that his lawyers will be appealing the decision?"
"Yes, his lawyers have already issued a statement after the sentencing saying that they will indeed appeal the State's decision until they exhaust all possibilities to get a stay of execution on grounds of allegations of jury manipulation by the prosecution, who--according to them--was leaked information about the defendant's alleged crimes in other states, crimes he hasn't been convicted of in court. The defense is also stating a case for police manipulation of the evidence."

"Based on what?"
"Based on evidence that the defense says was not admitted into court."
"Evidence? What evidence?"
"Anderson, that's a question that everyone is asking tonight, especially civil rights activists like those behind me who are pointing fingers at the LAPD and saying that they mishandled forensic evidence to secure a conviction."
"Would it matter, Jim? I mean the man was already wanted in connection to charges of kidnapping and conspiracy."
"Neither which are capitol offenses, Anderson, and, really, prosecutors wanted to get this guy. He was not charged with any of those counts, the prosecutors went straight for the highest punitive charge, in this case, murder in the first degree."

Ain't gonna lie. Made some mistakes in my life. Ain't gonna apologize for 'em neither or else I'd be apologizing for the rest of my life. And even that was considerably shorter now. Least my lawyer gave me a smoke. "You know, I should just give you the whole pack. If you smoke all of them at the same time, it might shorten the sentence." I snorted out in a huff of laughter. Morbid humor. I got it. Cause really? I heard a few times 'bout them doctors really fucking up killing someone with those lethal injection drugs. Guess it's hard if you never really had any practice in it. I'd offer to shoot myself up, but I'd like to see them to do it. Got some respect for those that take matters into their own hands. 

"San Quentin?"
The lawyer nodded.
I did too.
Silence.
"Can I ask you something?"
I looked at the lawyer from the corner of my eyes.
"If you have to." Last thing I want is a heart to fuckin' heart.
"Am I going to be wastin' my time on these appeals?"
Silence.
I nodded. "Yeah, man. Most likely." I say quietly, looking down before another puff. 'Cause I've been on the inside before. Knew what it was like.
"Gotta lot of enemies up in Quentin. Old acquaintances." Took a deep drag off the cigarette. Nearly burned it down to the middle with one pull. The lawyer nodded. Fucker knew me. Since I was...what...seven? 
"Los Muertos?" He said quickly as if I'd hit him if he drew it out. The skin pulled tightly across my face. It's been a few months that someone had the balls to breath that out in my presence. Ever since...ever since I pulled the plug on...her. Ain't life a bitch?
"Son." He began, his weathered face pinched in lines that drew a map of the kind of life he had lived. "Don't." I hissed. Yeah, he was more like a dad than mine was, the entire Nation had been, should have taken more from him than the bastard, but I was a man who believed in genetics and they proved me right time and time again.
"Lot more people need to die before they put a needle in my arm." I said, my voice raspier than I could control. "Couldn't do that from the outside looking in."
"He's going to be protected. You got nothing. Nothing."
"Yea." Morose and sullen I thought back to shit that shouldn't matter any more but did. "Maybe. Maybe not." I eyed him carefully. It dawned on him slowly. "Oh, Ethan. You know that if you try it, you'll be dead before-"
"Before what? Before the State of California buries a needle in my arm? What does it matter which needle I bury in my arm? They'll both kill me, but at least if you bring me mine, I might be able to take him down. Come on. Need to set that record straight. Can't die knowing that..." Shook my head because it was easier.
"I know." Yeah. He sure as hell did. We sat in the cell like two man sitting the shit about nuthin.
"Maybe." He started, rubbing his head, thinking and grasping at straws that I knew were all short. "Maybe we can work on getting you transferred until..."
"You ain't one of your crazy totem gods, Frank." I interrupted, knowing what he was thinking. "Can't wish me outta something I got myself into."
He shook his head. "Navezgane, your path was never going to end well. But..." Frank looked sad. "Apache blood in your veins. Thought you would die better...with honor."
Thought I was gonna throw up hearing that. Some invisible knife was being twisted in my stomach. He wasn't wrong. But this was useless. "Honors got no place among murderers and thieves. And we both know what I am. Blood's blood. Not matter what bullshit clan runs in my veins. Changes nothing." I said, blowing it all off even though it echoed in my head.
"You do not understand, Navezgane. You are Killer of Monsters. No death given from your hands has ever reached its wrong target--man, child, monster, officer. Destiny make it so that you channel Sky Father's will."
"Yeah." Granger sneered with contempt, turning his head to laugh bitterly. "Right." 
"But...I did not think that you would not live to..." He shook his head, shamed that he would tell a dead man walking of what he should'a done.
"What?"
"I did not think you would not live to avenge your blood." Stone cold silence. He patted my hand. "That is why I will appeal. The spirit of your ancestors demands it."
Didn't have enough time to make a comment about practicing law and smoking peyote. The transport bus was there with a special seat for me. He nodded his head but it was his words that echoed in my mind. Had half a mind to tell him what I thought about what he said. 

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ethangranger

March 2016

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