How well does one truly know their loved ones? I posed this question to myself over and over again in the days that followed the judge sentencing my best friend, Joshua, to 20 years in prison. They had found him guilty of manslaughter. I could not believe what I was hearing. The same boy I had grown up with and created a life with, was being convicted of manslaughter. When we were little, he was the type who believed you should never kill a living thing. Even as we grew older, he would capture spiders and other insects we’d see in the house and set them free outside. For these reasons, I was sure that the judge and jury had made an awful mistake. This man could never hurt a fly, to hear that he not only injured, but killed a human being was the toughest pill to swallow; and if I’m being honest, the news still has yet to settle in.
Throughout the whole trial, I rallied for him and fought, hoping that they would all see just how good of a person he was and that there was no way that he could be guilty of such a heinous crime. I did countless interviews, I tried to appeal to the courts emotions, and I even tried to use logic and reason. I guess it was all for not considering I watched two policemen haul Joshua away in handcuffs that one fateful day. The judge banged his gavel and that was that. They had all the evidence they needed to find him guilty. I sat next to his little brother and my mom and dad, all of us in a state of shock. No one said a word as we watched the cops push him out of the courtroom, his eyes sadly fixated on me. There was nothing either of us could do.
Months afterwards, I too started to believe it all. The evidence certainly seemed to pile up against my dear Joshua and I felt there was nothing left for me to defend, but that didn’t stop the feeling I harbored deep down inside myself that he was innocent. There had to be something they had missed, there had to be some other suspect. I just knew that I had to find evidence to support this gut feeling. So, over these three long years since he has been away, I’ve managed to keep in contact with him. I visit and talk on the phone with him on a regular basis and he was over the moon the day I told him about the book that I wanted to write for him. This is his only chance to finally be able to tell his side of the story, the whole story, the real story, the true story; and assert his innocence once and for all. If they won’t listen, then you must make them listen. So, I hope they hear us loud and clear now. This is Joshua’s story, may it never be forgotten.