The Trial and the Surpise Twist

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The courtroom, filled with smoke and mirrors, undulates as I rustle my papers. I cough slightly, nudging against the woman next to me, noticing as she brought her white lace handkerchief to her mouth and nose, no doubt wanting to avoid whatever disease or foul humors I appear to have. Murder trials always brought the most unusual crowd of men and women, and a murder such as this, with so much controversy created a stiflingly large crowd. The sick stench of people filled the thickening air as we wait for James McDermott and Grace Marks to be brought into the room. I scrape the sweat from my brow, and clutch my fountain pen reassuring myself that it is full. The judge bangs his gavel to call for quiet. We all snap to attention, and the prisoner’s door opens. James McDermott is slovenly, slouching, and sullen as he sits down on the convict bench. Grace Marks enters the room, and ensnares the attention of all. Slim, attractive and slowly making her way across the courtroom, she takes on the rabid curiosity of the crowd blankly. She is wearing a well-made dress and could be almost stately. If she had not been accused for murder she could be mistaken for a well off wife of a merchant. The judge demands attention. I am poised to write. “James McDermott, how do you plead to the double murder of Thomas Kinnear Esq. and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery on July 28, 1843?” the Judge’s nasal voice creaks over the courtroom. McDermott considers the Judge. He sways slightly,

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