Three weeks passed slow for Bohdan who was now a sickly version of what he had been. The constant sunlight flooding his cell and lack of blood left him weak and pale. He was transported to the courthouse covered with a blanket to keep him from burning from the sun and was set up at a table with his public defender attorney Jack Shultis. This was the first time he had contact with his attorney and he knew he didn’t have a chance in hell.
Across the room sat the county attorney and prosecutor Ed McDaniel who had been working the area for years and knew the judge well. The room was filled with interested locals who came to see the show and what would happen to the person accused of serial murder in the town of Abilene Kansas.
The bailiff looked at his watch and then announced the judge to the courtroom. “All stand for the honorable Judge Stevens,” the bailiff stated and the room rumbled with the sound of the gallery standing while the judge entered the room.
“Be seated,” Judge Stevens said and the room rumbled again with the sound of everyone taking their seats.
The bailiff announced the case and the judge addressed the county attorney telling him to make his opening statement.
County attorney Ed McDaniel stood and faced the jury box where twelve locals sat in anticipation of the arguments. “What we have here is a simple case, an open and shut case of the murders of three women committed by one Bohdan Malko who you can see sitting at the defendant’s table. According to a signed letter from the former pastor Brett Adkins, the accused was identified as the probable cause in his death. I contend that the accused also was responsible for the murder of a local prostitute Maria Ortiz, her Madam Jane Henry, the pastor’s wife Julie Adkins and local Angela Johnson.
“Objection!” the defense attorney Shultis said. “My client is not on trial for any murder other than Brett Adkins.”
“Sustained,” the judge said.
“The letter has been entered into evidence, but I have written down what the pastor wrote and would like to read it aloud to the jury if I may?” McDaniel asked. He looked to the judge for approval and saw him nod in agreement. “The letter reads as follows. ‘In the event of my untimely death, I ask you to look to a man named Bohdan Malko as my probably killer. This man has come into my life and caused terrible hardships upon me and the town as a whole. I don’t feel it is my duty to go into detail, but it is my duty to point you in the right direction if anything were to happen to me or anyone else in town. Bohdan Malko is an evil man, with evil intentions. That is all I have to say for now. Pastor Brett Adkins.’”
“Objection!” Shultis said. “What proof is there that the pastor penned this letter?”
“It was found at his desk the night of his murder. It was in his handwriting,” McDaniel replied.
“Handwriting can be faked. Do you have an expert to verify the handwriting is that of the pastor?”
“The closest expert would be Kansas City maybe, Chicago if we’re lucky. I ask the judge to rule that the handwriting is that of the pastor and can be considered as legal evidence of his state of mind at the time of his death.”
“So you don’t have any proof? I ask that this letter be tossed out as evidence!” Shultis yelled. “The letter itself is no proof let alone its authenticity. I ask that the letter be struck from the record as evidence!”
The judge sat and thought for a moment. “I’ve seen the letter and have read it. I am convinced that the letter is genuine and I will allow it as evidence.”
“Thank you your honor,” McDaniel said. “The question at hand is why would the pastor pen this letter? Why did he think his life was in danger? What was the relationship between the defendant and the pastor? I will make the argument that the defendant knew the pastor and that the defendant killed the pastor based on this letter. That is all I have for now,” McDaniel stated and sat down.
“The defense can make its opening statement now,” the judge said.
Defense attorney Jack Shultis stood up and walked towards the jury box. He was nervous, but anxious to get his statement read into the record. “The letter means nothing,” Shultis said. “It’s points a finger but that’s it. There is no testimony in the words, there are no facts, just a broad sweeping generalization that my client may be responsible in the event of a death that hadn’t occurred at the time the letter was written. Does that make sense to you? When this letter was written, there was no murder. The pastor was still alive. Maybe the pastor and my client had an argument, and the pastor decided to slander my client with this letter? Who knows the real intention behind what’s written. The pastor isn’t here for me to ask. It’s a baseless accusation with a hidden agenda. Even if the pastor did write the letter, it proves nothing, nothing at all.” Shultis said. “I have nothing further.”
“The prosecution may call the first witness,” the judge said.
“Don’t bother,” Bohdan said. He was cold, sickly and trembling in his seat. “I did it, I killed the pastor.”
“The gallery began to rumble with the revelation that the defendant just confessed to the murder.
The judge raised his hands and spoke loudly, “Silence in the court!” When the crowd calmed down the judge addressed Bohdan directly. “Would you repeat what you said?’
“I killed the pastor,” Bohdan said. He had a hard time getting the words out.
“What is wrong with your client?” the judge asked Shultis. “He looks like he as tuberculosis or something.”
“His time in jail made him sick, he needs to see a doctor,” Shultis replied.
“Is there a doctor in the room?” the judge asked. “There was no response.
“There’s a doctor in town,” Shultis said.
“Will someone fetch the doctor?” the judge said.
Bohdan’s lips were dry and he had a hard time focusing his eyes. It had been weeks since he had any blood and the light that he was exposed to darkened his skin in spots, and burned him in others. He was dehydrated and undernourished.
“In light of his confession, I ask that the court rule on the case,” McDaniel said.
“Not so fast, I think the doctor should take a look at the defendant before I make a ruling in the case,” the judge said.
“What difference will it make, he said he did it.”
“I don’t want a confession based on a medical condition. I want to make sure he is of a right mind. His life depends on it.”
The local doctor examined Bohdan in his seat and came to the conclusion he was suffering from starvation and dehydration. Neither of which could be resolved without human blood and the doctor didn’t know. Nobody but Bohdan knew. And Bohdan was on the verge of unconsciousness when he reached out and grabbed the doctor by his arm and pulled him in close and sank his fangs into his neck puncturing his artery drinking as fast as he could.
The gallery erupted seeing what Bohdan was doing but no one had the insight to stop him from killing the doctor. For a few seconds Bohdan drank from the doctor’s neck in full view of everyone in the courtroom until he dropped the doctor on the floor in a heap. Bohdan leaned back in his chair, blood draining from his mouth feeling the rush of nourishment fill his body. Then he felt a strike to the back of his head and fell face first onto the desk. The bailiff had finally come over to stop Bohdan and made sure he didn’t attack anyone else.
Bohdan was dragged to a side bench while the gallery was forced to leave the room. Ropes were tied to Bohdan’s hands and feet while onlookers tried to get one last glance before being forced out the front door. When the gallery was emptied, the room was left with the judge, the bailiff and the two attorneys. The sheriff was on his way.
“Now what?” McDaniel asked. “Now we don’t need a confession, we all saw him kill the doctor.”
“I know,” the judge said. He had never seen anything like this before. An actual murder, witnessed by a crowd in attendance for a trial.
“Are you going to do something?” McDaniel asked.
“There is due process, I can’t make a ruling without a trial.”
“But you can rule on the pastor’s case. From what you saw, you can obviously tell that the defendant is capable of murder. I don’t need a letter to tell you that. And he did confess.”
“I know, I will hand down my decision tomorrow,” the judge said. “That’s the best I can do for now.”
The next day the courtroom was again filled with people wanting to see how the judge would rule. There was a line out the front door and people were turned away once the seats were filled. Bohdan sat at the same table as before with his defense attorney sitting next to him. He was feeling much better now that he had fed and now regretted confessing to the crime of murder. But it was too late and he had no choice but to await his fate.
The bailiff again called the judge into the courtroom. Once the gallery was seated, the judge pulled out a sheet of paper as if he was going to read something aloud. He set the paper down and looked out into the crowd. “As you know,” the judge said. “Yesterday the defendant confessed to the murder of Pastor Brett Adkins. We are here to adjudicate that case and that case only. What you witnessed yesterday was altogether a different crime and would be heard at trial if it weren’t for the decision I’m about to hand down. As we all saw, the defendant’s character is that of a cold blooded killer, and with the confession I have no choice but to rule the defendant guilty as charged in the murder of Pastor Brett Adkins. I now sentence the defendant, Bohdan Malko to hang from a rope in the town square at noon until he is dead. That is my decision, and that is final.” the judge said slamming his gavel.
The crowd again erupted and the judge left the room. Bohdan was led out the side door, covered in a blanket and driven back to the jail where he’d wait three hours until his death. Or that’s what the townspeople thought. They had no idea Bohdan was immortal and hanging would do nothing to him. Bohdan smiled in his cell, this time with the blanket shoved in the window.
“What are you grinning about?” the sheriff asked.
“You’ll see,” the newly recharged vampire replied.
“When they put the rope around my neck and pull the lever. I’d make you a bet that you’ll see me again in this jail cell before nightfall.”
“We have a morgue,” the sheriff said.
“I’m sure you do, but I won’t be in it,” Bohdan said with a grin.
Three hours passed fast and Bohdan was brought out to a hastily built set of gallows just large enough for Bohdan and the executioner to stand on. It was nothing more than a platform that held the men and allowed the appointed executioner to shove the condemned off to his fate below. Bohdan was brought out into the bright sunlight, still covered and forced to climb the ladder to the top of the platform. The executioner was a volunteer the judge appointed for this execution who followed Bohdan up and stood next to him. In his pocket was a sack to cover Bohdan’s head before the noose was placed around his neck. And above, hanging from a strong tree branch was a rope with a noose dangling down far enough to reach below the floor of the platform.
The executioner pulled the blanket off of Bohdan and quickly placed the sack back over his head. He then placed the noose around his neck and tightened it snug. The county clerk then approached the gallows and held up a sheet of paper and began to read to the crowd who had gathered to witness the execution. “Today we are gathered to witness the execution of one Bohdan Malko for the murder of Pastor Brett Adkins before the people of Abilene Kansas. July seventeenth, eighteen seventy five. May the execution commence.” the clerk said folding up the paper.
His nerves rattled, the executioner placed his hands on the back of Bohdan and hesitated- afraid to administer his duties. He saw all the eyes upon him from below and awaited some official signal that he should shove the condemned man off the platform. Then here heard voices from the crowd yelling for him to push.
Hearing calls all around him, the executioner felt like it was alight to do what he was asked to do and shoved Bohdan off the platform. As the rope snapped tight, Bohdan stopped with a jerk dangling ten feet from the ground spinning in the wind. The crowed clapped and yelled enjoying the show until they saw his feet move like he was dancing. He wasn’t struggling at all, and it seemed like he was making a mockery of what they had just done to him.
There was no sound from his mouth, but once he managed to work his hands free, he began to clap mimicking what the crowd had done when they thought he was dead.
“What the fuck is going on?” Mc Daniel asked.