A Perfect Time in 750 Words
Today was the conclusion of Jack Hamilton's trial for aggravated assault, a felony. He had beat up a man in cold blood. That was a fact established by many eyewitnesses.
During a convention June 18, he had calmly walked up to Calvin Johnson, and hit him with the butt of a rifle three times: once between the eyes, once in his mouth and once in his groin after Johnson fell. He then dropped the gun and laid prone on the floor until police arrived.
Interrogated, he admitted everything. Asked about motive, he cited Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: "There is a time for everything." He refused any more explanations.
The media - especially the internet - click-baited its coverage as "A Perfect Time" assault and speculated the attack was sexually related.
The defendant, who often cited the same verses, was in his late 30s, a respected owner of several resorts, and married to the same wife for 18 years with 14-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.
The prosecutor had done her job well. She recounted the story, step by step, with copious proof including expert witnesses.. The rifle training classes starting five years ago. The purchase of a Winchester Model 70 rifle with boxes of bullets. Acquisition of the permit. Attendance records for frequent practice sessions with high scores. Positive ballistics tests. Testimony of people who witnessed the beating. Everything but the motive.
Hamilton's attorney offered no objections on Hamilton's instructions. No obvious roadblocks to a conviction existed.
Today, the defense attorney planned to call one witness - Peter Hamilton - who had promised a motive.
The defense attorney led Hamilton through the questions, which reviewed the prosecutor's case. Knowledgeable people in the courtroom shook their heads in disbelief. He was confirming the state's case. No one understood why.
"Mr. Hamilton, can you explain your motive for assaulting Mr. Johnson on June 18."
He cited Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: "There is a time for everything." He stopped.
"I object," the prosecutor cut in. "You agreed to explain everything."
Hamilton sat before speaking quietly. "Yes, I will. I wanted a few seconds to review. I crave conciseness.
"Pat and I badly wanted children. We tried without results for three years. When the twins were born, we called them miracle children. I love those children. Did then. Still do.
"Six years ago, I discovered I was not their birth father. We talked about how that happened, went through counseling, and finally decided it didn't matter. It was a one-time event that happened years ago. She said this guy seemed to have a spell on her. I forgave her. We still loved each other. We had the children we desired. We were happy.
"One day in a public restroom at my resort, I overhead a man bragging about a woman he'd been seeing. Won't tell you everything he said. But one item caught my interest. He said they been together in room 218 of Whispering Sands at least once a year for 16 years and every Wednesday recently. That's the room my wife and I used during our honeymoon, before I owned the resort.
"My wife had worked late every Wednesday for the past month. Same thing close to our anniversaries. She'd seemed to be acting strange too. When asked, she said everything was fine. Suspicious, one Wednesday I followed her to the second floor of the resort.
"Afterwards, I placed cameras and mics in room 218. It's my resort. I took precautions. I wired her favorite dress with a trigger that caused the system to turn on. Didn't want to catch someone else and invade their privacy
"I recorded them four times. I won't try to tell all the things they did. Some embarrassed me.
"During the weeks in between my wife told me repeatedly that nothing was wrong and that she loved me."
"The morning of June 18 I found a positive pregnancy test in our trash."
"Why didn't you divorce Pat Hamilton if she was cheating?" his attorney cut in.
"It wasn't time. It was a time to heal; not a time to kill. A new life was involved.
"But when I overheard Johnson on June 18 bragging about all the women he had, and planned, to impregnate, including Pat, something changed."
"The time to heal, the time to build, had gone.
"I love my wife. I couldn't harm her. It was a time someone else had to suffer. Without that, this pattern would repeat. I am sterile. I can't impregnate anyone."