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Conner Whitley: Guilty or Innocent?
An Article [24/3/17]
Dale and Suzanne Whitley, the couple famously murdered by son Connor Whitley, age seventeen. The teenager holds a violent record fraught with aggression and fights; his chances for freedom at this point are minimal. while sister Marcela claims her brother "has anger issues, but is a kind, caring person" and had a good relationship with their parents, therefore no reason at all to kill them.
"Sit quiet and don't speak."
Conner's wrists were in handcuffs, and his ankles were bound to his chair. The guard began writing up a report.
"That's redundant," Conner informed the guard.
"I told you not to speak."
"And that's not exactly fair,"
"You are a homicidal teenager, so I don't care what's fair or not. Now shut up."
In an interview, an anonymous family member (not sibling) maintains that he has "always been hostile and violent" .
Conner smiled a little, because he knew it would infuriate the guard. But mainly he smiled because he didn't know what else to do. He felt hollow, and if he had been standing, his legs would surely have given way. His hands very trembling, gently, but they were certainly not steady. Not very manly.
He wanted to cry, puke, and shoot somebody all at the same time.
Meanwhile, sister Marcela claims her brother "has anger issues, but is a kind, caring person" and had a good relationship with their parents, therefore no reason at all to kill them.
He remembered Marcie's face, sweet and young; she had always been so dependable. But fourteen was too young to play mother. After their parents were dead, and just before Conner had been arrested, Marcie was the one who had comforted their nine-year old brother Will. Will, he thought Conner had killed Mom and Dad.
"Murderer," he had yelled, tears and snot running down his face. "You're not my brother. You ruined my life, I hate you."
The words rang in Conner's memory and he winced. If his own brother believed he was capable of killing, then surely there was no hope.
But Will was nine years old, and he had just seen his mother and father lying dead.
The trial will resume today and the verdict will be announced immediately.
"Shut up," the guard said, raising his eyes to Conner. It shattered his thoughts.
"But I didn't…" Conner said, then realized he'd been crying. "Oh."
He couldn't wipe the tears from his face, because his hands were restrained, so he turned his head and did his best to smear it on his shoulder and sleeves. Talk about humiliating, to be seventeen and have to wipe your snotty face on your prison jumper.
If declared guilty, as the newly enacted Compassion Amendment dictates, Whitley will receive the death sentence.
When he was done drying his face, he spoke even though he wasn't supposed to. But he couldn't stop himself.
"Is there any news on the verdict?"
"I told you not to speak. Should I tape your mouth? The verdict doesn't matter."
Of course it mattered, it was the difference between Conner walking free or him being shipped home to his siblings dead in a box. Of course it mattered. But for once in his life, Conner kept his mouth shut.
Should have done that years ago, he thought. Maybe he wouldn't have gotten into so many fights, if he could just keep his damned mouth shut. But no… he always had to defend whatever crybaby was getting bullied, or be antagonized by some trivial provocation thrown his way, or any stupid thing that caused the fighting. Why could't he just ignore whatever the damn thing was, keep his head down, and just live? Conner closed his eyes and breathed hard. Now his record was dirty, his parents dead, his brother hated him, his sister was burdened, and he was probably going to die.
"You have a visitor,"
Conner's eyes shot open.
"Yes," the guard said. He was smiling suddenly, but it wasn't creepy, it was genuinely warm. "Your sister."
Conner quickly wiped his face some more, then sat up straight, clearing his throat a little.
"I'm ready," he said.
The door opened and Marcie stepped in. She was fourteen, and fairly average-looking, but Conner thought she was beautiful.
"Conner," Marcie said. She ran to him and gripped his hand. "Oh, God, what have they done to you?"
"Nothing, nothing, I'm fine." Conner grimaced; the days spent in prison had taken its toll. He badly needed a shave, smelled, was grimy, and his cheeks probably had recent tear tracks. Not picturesque, but he knew he could never repel Marcie, she was just that kind of sister. "Although I know I don't look as pretty as normal," he said with a faint grin.
Marcie smiled a little, but said nothing.
"I'm fine," Conner told her. "How's Will?"
"He's…" Marcie faltered. "He's really upset; he still believes you hurt Mom and Dad. But he's just a little kid, Conner, don't pay attention to him. I know you didn't do anything. I'm not sure how it happened, but I can't believe you'd ever do something like that. I know you, Conner, and I love you."
"Thanks. I just hope the judge thinks that way, too…"
Marcie lowered her eyes,.
"I have to go now. I love you. Will will come around. I love you." Marcie gave her brother's hand another squeeze, then left the room.
"Now, son, just one last thing. Then you're free to go."
"A checkup," the guard explained. "Standard procedure, to clear prisoners before release. It's just to make sure you're all right."
He unchained Conner's feet, and helped him rise.
"Then I'm all right," Conner said. "They think I'm innocent?" Conner stopped walking, a smile breaking across his face. "I'm going home!"
The guard studied him. "That's it, son," he said. "You're going home. Now start moving."
"I didn't kill them," Conner said, shuffling forward. "I'd never kill anyone." His face broke for a moment, as he remembered his dead parents, and grief showed through the twisting mouth. "I'd never do it," he said quietly. "Hurt them, that is."
There was a long silence, then,
"It's time to stop talking," the guard said brusquely. After that, it was very quiet. All that Conner could hear was the sound of his footsteps and his muffled breathing as he cried for the second time that day.
"Conner, is it?"
"Well, I have news for you, Conner! After this, you're going home. Your siblings will be in good hands very soon… okay, I'm just gonna put this on you…" And the doctor proceeded to strap Conner down.
"What the hell is this about," Conner said, dampered somewhat. "Why are you tying me down? If I'm innocent, you don't have to worry about me escaping, do you?"
"Standard protocol," the doctor said vaguely. "It might hurt a bit, that's all. No biggie."
Conner's heart started to race, and he felt pukish again. "Make it quick, okay?"
"Sure thing, kiddo," the doctor said easily. "I'll make it very quick. It always is."
The doctor then began fastening wires to Conner's wrists, chest, temples, and other various parts of his body, and inserting the connecting needles. Conner squirmed uncomfortably.
"Just hold still," the doctor said.
"Sir," Conner said. "If… if, it takes a while for me to get home, could you… could you tell them…"
"You'll be with them soon," the doctor said. Now, I want you to close your eyes. Relax, breathe deeply." He fingered the switch latched securely to the wall.
"But," Conner interrupted. "Tell Marcie and Will that, that I love…"
The doctor flipped the switch. Poison coursed through the wires and piled into Conner's veins. He halted, a look of horror spreading on his face, then went limp as if he were a puppet cut loose. He was just… gone, just like that. It was painless, had minimized emotional trauma, and was reasonably efficient. The doctor smiled. It wasn't fun, but he was good at it.
"Take care of the body," he ordered his assistants. And when you're done, present it to his family. His remaining family. After all, I promised the boy he'd be with them soon."
I just didn't mention he'd be in a box.
As a reminder to those not familiar with the procedure outlined in the Compassion Amendment, standard protocol dictates those convicted to be treated humanely, and therefore are unaware of the verdict until moment of execution.