Elijah James is set to stand trial in March for the murder of Danielle Brown, a young woman who went missing in 2010 and is now presumed dead. The prosecutor in the case, Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, wants more than a conviction: he wants James to be killed by the State. However, it won’t be easy for Campbell to satisfy his bloodlust, because not only does he lack evidence that Brown was murdered by James, he lacks evidence that Brown is dead at all—because her body has not been seen since 2010, and she was alive at the time. ”We don’t have a body, we don’t have a cause of death if there was a death, we don’t have a location, we don’t have proof that anything occurred,” according to defense attorney Clyde Taylor.
Though it is widely known that State Attorney Willie Meggs won’t let a lack of evidence prevent him from charging someone with a crime, he has never before sunk to trying someone for murder without so much as proof that someone had died. But sources inside Meggs’ office have told the Tallahassee O that Campbell has hatched an unethical scheme to overcome his lack of a victim and have James sent to the Death Chamber at Florida State Prison: agree to continue the trial, then use the time during the delay to leak biased or false information about the case to Court TV, with the goal being to generate so much public outrage that the jury is pressured into convicting James, with or without a dead body.
All of which leads one to ask: why would Campbell go to such reprehensible lengths to have a man put to death? Our sources in the State Attorney’s Office provided us the answer—though they first made it clear that Campbell, like Meggs, frequently does such things simply because he craves the feeling of power it gives him. It seems that Meggs has been telling his close associates that he is planning to announce his retirement in a few months, and that he has handpicked Campbell to take his place. So he wants Campbell, thought by political advisors to be too androgynous to be elected State Attorney, to have a freshly won death sentence in hand that he can wave around on the campaign trail to “prove” his manliness—though it would actually be proof of nothing except Meggs’ and Campbell’s expertise in sacrificing others’ lives for personal and political gain.
And there’s another, scientific explanation for Jack Campbell’s blatant contempt for justice and the rights of local citizens: genetics. Jack Campbell is the son of a Confirmed Megalomaniac and Career Criminal, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, whose murder cover-ups, vote buying, and numerous other illegal activities have led to an FBI investigation so extensive that it is now going on three years, and is expected soon to have the senior Campbell in federal prison for the rest of his life. Though observation of Sheriff Campbell in the Publix parking lot a few days ago demonstrated that he has become almost as feeble as he is corrupt, and that a life sentence is likely to end not long after the ink dries on the indictment.
Sitting in my car, I watched our fascist Sheriff slowly creep from the store to his SUV, his mind and body ravaged monuments to decades of alcoholism. It was almost sad to watch, as the decrepit, scowling criminal spent a full minute struggling to insert his key into the door lock, then took more than twice as long to win the battle to buckle his safety belt. Perhaps Sheriff Campbell’s rapidly declining health is why the Tallahassee O has recently learned that he, like Meggs, is planning to step down within the year, and that he intends to try to force LCSO Major Mike Wood on the citizens of Leon County as his heir apparent. But just as Sheriff Campbell’s struggle to unlock a car door demonstrated his physical deterioration, his choice of Wood demonstrates beyond any doubt that his mind is, likewise, on its last legs, because Wood’s impressive dossier of criminal acts—previously provided to the FBI and to be exposed in an upcoming series of Tallahassee O articles—is expected to take Wood far beyond Leon County, to a federal prison cell alongside the Sheriff where Wood will live out his life, remaining long after the Disgraced Sheriff escapes to spend eternity basking in the warm glow of his fiery mentor.
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