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I was angry, and scared, and not only do I regret my anger, I'm ashamed of it. I watched and heard a man as he died.
It was 9 AM on a weekday morning when I heard the pounding. I woke suddenly and was extremely agitated. The pounding continued and I woke my husband, who initially opened the door to a large, black man moaning and begging for help. I heard him hit the porch as he fell and my husband asked what had happened. He told him he had been shot by a man I'll call Mr. H. Assuming he had broken into his home and gotten shot in the leg, as there was blood on his pants, I was enraged and yelled at my husband to get him off of the porch.
Now, Mr. H is my neighbor and the grandfather of my children. Soon, my mother and I saw him emerge from his home, brandishing a bat. He came to the porch and yelled at the man to get off of his property, as he owns the house we lived in, and attempted to hit him. My husband held him off and told him he was shot. Not once was he shot, but twice, in the leg and the back. Within minutes of my husband and I both calling the police, squad cars and an ambulance pulled up to assist the man. Mr. H was arrested immediately after admitting he shot the guy. He looked scared and confused. He did not plan on shooting someone that morning and did not know he had actually shot him when he came running with the bat.
By the time EMTs got the man off the porch and to the hospital, he had died. He was shot with a .22 Luger, meaning the bullet went in, bounced around, and never came back out. There was no saving him, he had no chance. I found this out after I went to the police station to give my statement. I broke. Instantly I regretted my anger and was ashamed of how cruel I was. For days I cried, waking to the sound of phantom banging and loud moans and cries for help. Even now, I still wake up in the middle of the night, even after leaving the house. I listened to a man's final cries for help and it haunts me.
Mr. H was released two months later on an ankle monitor, and later given a plea deal: 15 to 20 years probation. He denied it and took it to trial. In the end, Mr. H was found guilty of murder and will face up to three years in prison. He shot him in the back as he fled the home, right in the middle of the street, and we caught it on our security system. I was forced to watch the video more than 20 times, for the police, for the detectives, and for a judge. It is a day I'll never forget and images and sounds that will never leave me. In life he may not have been a good man, but he didn't deserve to die like that, scared and alone. Mr. H is a very lucky man, not many men can say the murdered someone and only got three years for it. Maybe it's because he is almost 80 or maybe he knows someone in the court house. Lots of information was never brought to attention during the trial, which leads me to believe that's why he got such a short sentence. Age and lack of information given to jurors and the judge allowed this man to roam the streets again. Sometimes, I fear he will come for us for testifying against him.