I realize I might be too late. I deliberated over whether I should even bother. And yet, I write this in the hope that you get a chance to read it.
Let me start off by stating that you do not know me. There has never been any reason for us to have met. But of course, I know you. Who doesn’t, after all the media coverage that your trial received.
I had followed your case with much interest from the very beginning and I attended every single day of the trial. In fact, I was invested even before you came into the picture. I began paying attention from the moment the murder was reported. It’s not every day that a serving mayor is found dead in his office, and that too shot right through the head. The high-profile nature of the crime attracted a lot of attention and investigations were conducted with a sense of urgency. And it was so efficient that they were able to narrow down the suspects into an initial pool of just five names, yours included. You mustn’t think that I’m rambling, I say all of this only so you understand these events from the point of view of a common observer.
Public interest peaked as further investigation shortlisted two possible suspects, both businessmen, owners of some vague or unknown establishments, and who had meetings scheduled with the mayor on the day of his death. When enough evidence was finally gathered to bring one of the suspects to court, the public was unquestionably hooked. Here was something exciting after a long time. When your trial began, everyone, including me, assumed it was going to be an easy conviction. The courtroom had been full, like people had come to watch a movie or something. I was there too, but because I had a gut feeling that things would not turn out to be as straightforward as was expected.
You may not be aware of this, but the media advertised your trial with the statement that your motive was money. Apparently, the mayor stood between you and some important business deal. Evidence began to stack up against you and all the other suspects had been entirely forgotten. The prosecution seemed to be moving in for an easy kill. That was all until the mayor’s underworld ties came out into the open, and through an anonymous tip. This left the prosecution and the police scrambling to cover other possibilities. The defense was finally having some luck, as the links between the former mayor and the mobs became stronger. They moved in for a dismissal of all charges on the grounds that the new evidence strongly suggested the possibility of a mob hit. I wonder what you felt then, on the cusp of freedom again.
Let me interject my opinion here, that I’ve always suspected the mayor of being involved in something shady. We had all seen the large sums spent during the election, and yet we weren’t sure where it was coming from. And then came the second anonymous call. Someone revealed that your business was just a cover. They provided proof of how you were a member of the exact gang that was thought to have ‘taken out’ the mayor.
Of course, once that cat was out of the bag, the defense lost all its smugness and I’m sure your lawyer would have told you that the case was hopeless. Not only did you have the motive and the opportunity, but you had also lied in court about your profession. Any sane lawyer would have advised you to plead guilty, in hope of a lighter sentence, than to continue resisting the charges. The next day, a fully packed courtroom witnessed your confession of the crime. And that was the moment, to me (and to me only, probably) that your innocence was most clear.
That is why I’m writing to you, to let you know that there is at least one person who believes that you were innocent, to offer you the relief of knowing that someone out there knows the truth, in the last hours of your life. I thought about writing to you as soon as you were awarded the death penalty. I just hope that this letter is delivered to you before the noose goes around your neck. Perhaps, when the knot does tighten around your neck, you will see the irony of how, after escaping justice for everything that you had done, you were punished for something you did not.
I have decided to leave myself unnamed, just like that anonymous call.
P.S. I realize that your confession had to be quickly concocted and it was why there were a few inaccuracies in it. For instance, the mayor’s last words couldn’t have been ‘Tell my wife I love her’. For, if that had been what he wanted to say, he could have said it to her face. She was there too.