Both families waited patiently for the verdict to be read. The verdict that would change their lives. Sam and Mindy had been married for 10 years. They had 3 children. At some point in the marriage Sam began looking for another woman in his life. What began as a lustful thought developed into an affair. In Sam’s mind, Mindy was no longer compatible with him.
The new girl, Cathy, was just what he thought he wanted. She listened to him. She seemed to really love him the way he wanted to be loved. Sam made the decision to cover it up as long as possible. It only lasted for 3 months before Mindy figured it out.
Overtime she had sensed that something was wrong. Sam was always gone and his stories did not add up. She had caught him in a couple of lies that peaked her suspicions. Overtime she was able to put it all together. At first she was hurt and wondering how could he do this to her and the kids. When she confronted him about it, he blew her off and refused to end the relationship with Cathy.
Mindy told him that she wanted a divorce and she would fight for full custody of the kids. She did not want her kids around a man like him. The image of him being the “perfect husband and father” would be destroyed once his affair became public.
Sam had always been verbally abusive but at this point he became physically abusive. The kids later retold the stories of abuse during the trial. Mindy had confided in a close friend that she was now scared of Sam. She told her that if she ever showed up missing Sam had something to do with it.
A few days later, Mindy was murdered in her own home. Initially they had no suspects but as facts began to come out about Sam’s affair the investigation turned towards him. At the trail, he claimed he loved her and would never hurt her. But the evidence against him was overwhelming.
He had no alibi. He had threatened her the night before. He had been caught on a surveillance camera buying the things that were used to kill his wife to try and hide the crime.
For Sam’s family, as if the murder of Mindy was not bad enough, Sam’s arrest was horrifying. His parents did not believe that he was guilty initially but as the evidence began to build against him, it was hard to deny. They knew all roads were leading to their son as having killed the mother of her grandchildren.
The jury marched in single file line and sat in their chairs to await the question from the judge. The judge asked the jury Foreman, ”Have you reached a verdict?”
“Yes we have”, replied the Foreman.
“What is your verdict?” replied the judge.
The Foreman stated, ”We, the members of the jury find the defendant guilty of first degree murder.”
With this verdict, both families lowered their heads, held on to each other and cried.
This is not where the story ended. Mindy’s father arose from his seat, walked over to Sam’s parents and embraced them. They all cried.
As I watched this profound act of love and compassion, I fought to hold back my own tears. Often in a time of tragedy and loss we can forget the pain that others may be experiencing. We tend to see it primarily from our own point of view. It seems that our culture is quick to cry for “heartless vengeance” in the face of injustice.
We can grieve our losses without attempting to destroy those who may have contributed to the pain. Though the guilty verdict radically changed the life of Sam’s parents, I am sure the hug from Mindy’s father offered grace during their time of need.
Justice can be served without it being filled with vengeance and hatred.