Marianne Smythe murdered two people and assisted in the murders of at least five others. When she was arrested, she had the hatchet, the circular saw and the rope in her trunk, and the DNA of one victim under her fingernails. She refused to assist the police in pursuing her fellow cultists. She never feigned innocence or regret, and at her sentencing hearing, seemed almost giddy for the coming needle.
I’ve told you about Marianne Smythe so I can tell you about the two people who went to her execution. No relative of any victim attended, as the business was something of a mess, and a massive hailstorm pelted the state that night. Solomon James had no interest in the case, other than being the temporary guardian of Jedidiah Smythe. Jedidiah was the second person in attendance, his interest being that his mother was being executed. He was seven years and two months old at the time. He was not known to act out, or to speak with any frequency.
Many people in the institution, the state, and even the free press feared the boy would get the wrong impression from the viewing, but he could not be barred and willingly arrived twelve hours early to beat the hail. Upon his arrival, the warden gave him a grim tour of the facility, assuring him of how humane it was.
As they waited, Mr. James explained how law enforcement didn’t always catch wrongdoers, but pursued all those they could, and always did take care of the innocent.
The District Attorney arrived at noon and gave him a highly redundant lecture on the legal system, its checks and balances, and how many wise people had set up many ways to defend innocent people from punishment.
The warden avoided Jedidiah after that, and the D.A. left early for a fundraiser. Mr. James was obligated to stay with the boy. Marianne Smythe declined to see him, which made sense, as she had declined to see Jedidiah for seven years. For none of this did he act out, and he spoke only to answer “Yes” to the occasional rhetorical question.
I’ve told you about Jedidiah Smythe’s day to tell you about his evening. He sat in one chair for three hours straight, watching the second-hand on a clock. At a specific juncture he was moved to the viewing room, where he sat in another chair watching through a plate of glass. Someone snuck him a cup of coffee. It went cold and stale on his armrest, the top unpopped. It remained on his armrest as he departed the room after the injections finished their course. He did not act out, and did not speak.
It was only as the institution let out a collective sigh that Jedidiah Smythe initiated anything. He paused by an officer’s leg, touching his trouser for a moment.
When the officer bent to ask if he needed help, Jedidiah Smythe reported, “I know this place only executes the guilty, and that the law finds the guilty, prosecutes them until they’re dead. My guardian and I are both witnesses to a gang of doctors killing my mother. They’re all still here, so it won’t be hard to catch them. How long will it be before we can kill them?”