Flash fiction story concerning an unusual court case
“Ms. Claudia Gardiner,” he gestured to the judge, “must the court remind you that you are under oath?”
“No. No, Mr. Bertram, that won’t be nec . . .”
“Then I ask again . . . Did you shoot Mr. Aaron Alvah Bernard?!”
Claudia glanced quickly at her sister before answering. “No. No, I didn’t kill him. I loved him.” the last part a hoarse whisper.
“Ms. Gardiner, the court has established that both you and your sister were present at the time of the murder.” He smiled towards the jury. “Your . . . excuse me . . . DNA identical to your own,” this time he winked before continuing, “was found on the murder weapon. You say you didn’t kill him . . . Well, who did?”
“Are you telling us you don’t know who pulled the trigger?”
“I . . .I . . .”
He had her right where he wanted her. Squirming. Emotional. Scared. “Did you witness his murder?!”
“Is that person in this courtroom?!”
"Is it your sister? Did Claribel shoot and kill Mr. Bernard?!
“I . . .”
“This is a yes or no question, Ms. Gardiner!”
“I . . .”
“Your Honor, will you please instruct . . .”
“I did it! I shot him! Now, leave her alone! Just . . .” much quieter, Claribel finished, “I confess. She didn't know. I snuck the gun in my purse. She didn’t know. I’m so sorry, Claudia.”
Ms. Claribel Gardiner was found guilty of murder in the first degree, Ms. Claudia not. Together they left the courtroom, holding hands. Judge Winfred returned to his chambers. No sooner had he sat than his wife called. “How’d it go?” she asked.
“Her sister confessed. I had to let her . . . them walk . . .”
“You did the right thing, honey.”
“I think so. Depriving an innocent citizen of liberty has to be worse than freeing a murderer. Conjoined twins . . . who would've thought . . ."