A man left a prison this morning
he’d been there the last fifteen years
when he walked down the mean streets of Jesup
he’d resurrect all of their fears.
He was a man, no different to others
though he kept himself to his peace
but the anger all stored up inside him
was destined for violent release.
A young girl had been murdered in Jessup
and he’d been a stranger in town
they said that he’d beaten and stabbed her
he hadn’t, but they still sent him down.
His first thoughts were for retribution
he’d beat them and they’d feel the pain
like he felt when they kicked him in prison
again…and again…and again.
Now he travelled to seek not just vengeance
he needed to get back his name
so someone was going to suffer
and others would pay for his shame.
He’d walked out of prison in Jackson
and boarded a train to Mobile
By Greyhound he reached Pensacola
where he rested and took time to heal.
In Jesup he woke with a headache
to the loud urgent ring of the phone
he remembered that night and that poor girl
and he let out a long quiet moan.
It was Hedley the new County Sheriff
he said for the man to go down
he could call at his office in Jesup
or pack up his things and leave town.
Such a bright sunny day as he stepped out
not one single cloud in the sky
a gunshot and a burning sensation
The man fell and knew he would die.
To Hedley the man was plain guilty
keeping peace meant he wanted him out
he thought back to the slaying that morning
the dead man’s last words cried like a shout.
A young man had rushed up to help him
there was nothing to do he could see
but as he died the man whispered something
“Tell the Sheriff, son, it never was me.”
A young girl had suffered so many years before
and the case had been closed a long time
but the wrong man had gone into prison
or his death had no reason or rhyme.
The girl needed justice as the man did
Sheriff Hedley would never be the same
for he promised the girl and the dead man
he’d catch her killer and clear the man’s name.
A bullet was found by the dead girl
a matched one lodged in the man’s heart
the second one carried a thumb print
for the Sheriff, a good place to start.
©Joe Wilson – Where was the justice then…2014 (re-shod from 1992)