"How is my grandson?"

The question from Mrs Tracy immediately brought the focus of the room to the main reason for the meeting.

"He's struggling to deal with the reality of his new status" Michelle, ruefully, admitted.

The last thing that anyone needed to know was the depth of depression that Scott had currently sunk to but she may have to go into details.

"What new status, he's already been in custody for eighteen months, nothing's changed"

Virgil couldn't mask his anger, why should he care about how his wife's murderer was dealing with prison.

"For Scott everything has changed"

"What do you mean?" Jeff's question gave Michelle a small chance to explain.

"Last month he was an inmate awaiting trial" she paused as everyone nodded at that.

"Last week he was a convict awaiting sentencing"

"And now?" it was Gordon who asked the question that everyone was thinking.

"and now he knows that the state wants him dead"

Michelle's statement was met with stunned silence as everyone realised the cruel truth about the sentence that had been passed.

"Then we all turned our backs to him"

John concluded as he indicated his brothers who, with the exception of Virgil, all appeared to be disturbed by how Scott could have interpreted their actions.

He couldn't believe that they wanted him dead, could he? That thought left them in stunned shock as they realised what that could do to Scott, a man for whom family was everything.

"You didn't!"

That exclamation from Mrs Tracy left three of Scott's four brothers unable to meet their grandmother's gaze, only Virgil seemed to be unrepentant at their complete rejection of Scott.

"What can we do now?" Jeff asked, his need to do something becoming apparent.

"There's not much that can be done about the conviction at the moment" Michelle admitted sadly.

"Why not?" the question from Jeff left Michelle wondering how he would react to the answer.

"With the conviction the burden of proof has now changed. Scott will now have to prove his innocence to have any chance of overturning the conviction."

"What do you mean?" the question from Mrs Tracy left Michelle with no alternative but to explain the only possible scenarios for the current situation.

"There are only two possibilities that we can be concerned with." she began

"the first one, the one that the jury believe, is that Scott is guilty, he did kill Madeline and for some reason has no memory of the event"

"If Scott has killed Maddie the knowledge of it would completely destroy him" John commented "Scott's default setting has always been to protect family at all costs"

"And if Scott's innocent" Jeff started to say

"Then someone else has gotten away with murder" Gordon concluded.

"There maybe a chance to appeal the sentence though" Michelle continued


"If both victims' families formally request that the sentence be reduced to life the judge may commute the death sentence"

All of the Tracys looked at Virgil, as Maddie's husband it would be down to him to request clemency.

"Never" no-one could miss the venom in Virgil's tone and everyone knew that there was little chance of any clemency for Scott ever being requested by Virgil.

"Are there any other options?" although spoken quietly the question from Mrs Tracy sounded loud in the silence after Virgil's outburst.

"Not many" Michelle admitted "My colleagues are starting to prepare everything for the first stage of the appeal against the sentence but it will take some time"

"How much time?" Jeff needed to know.

"We're looking at months, assuming that the court scheduling is in our favour"

"and if not?"

"Possibly 2-4 years before the appeal is even heard" Michelle concluded.

"What's going to happen to Scott now?" the question from Alan was the one that everyone wanted to know the answer to but no-one had been willing to ask.

"He's currently being held in the 'protected prisoners' area of the county jail. He'll be kept there under full suicide watch conditions until he's transferred to the state facility"

"Why 'suicide watch', he's been sentenced to death anyway" the, barely concealed, anger was still apparent in Virgil's question.

"Despite the sentence he's not allowed to end his own life, that now belongs to the state." Michelle's reply was all the more brutal in the calmness of the statement.

"But surely he has rights" Alan insisted.

"Actually he doesn't. Apart from the right to legal representation and appeal the only rights that will be accorded to him are what the state choses to grant." Michelle's words hit home just how much things had now changed for Scott.

"What will it be like for Scott now?"

"He'll be locked in his cell for 23 hours each day, only leaving the cell for solitary exercise provision or fully supervised showers" As Michelle answered Alan's question she saw the look of shock in his eyes.

"How big is the cell?"

This question from Gordon made her feel grateful for the size of the large conference table that had been provided for this meeting, some of her colleagues had thought that she'd been extravagant in requesting the largest table that had been available but she knew that the visual size would say far more than any words could ever manage.

"Smaller than this table" she saw the look of shock at the 'small' area that would now be the limit of Scott's existence, especially when they realised that the sleeping and toilet provision was in that same small area.

"And he's locked in for 23 hours a day?" she could hear the disbelief in John's voice as he struggled to accept that this was now his brother's reality.

"At least"

Michelle knew that the truth was going to be even harder for them to accept, the fact that even the opportunity for exercise could be classed as a privilege and could be withdrawn at any time.

"What do you mean" The look on Jeff's face as he asked told Michelle that he wanted to truth about the harsh realities that Scott would have to face.

Michelle went on to explain the 'usual' daily routine for all death row inmates in the state penitentiaries.

From the, barely edible at times, food that was provided three times a day to the humiliation of the supervised showers with the guards watching every movement.

The total lack of privacy and the fact that every movement outside the cell would be in restraints.

The exercise yard that wasn't even twice the size of the cell, in effect it was just a bigger cell and could be the only place where Scott would ever see daylight.

The fact that any visitors had to adhere to a strict dress code and submit to a full search or the visit would be summarily cancelled.

That Scott himself would also be subjected to a full body search after each 'contact' visit because actual physical contact had been permitted between visitor and inmate.

The fact that for most visits contact would actually be prohibited and Scott would be behind a screen for the entire visit with only a, monitored, telephone to communicate with.

The only private discussions permitted would be with his lawyers and all other discussions would be recorded and had to be loud enough to be clearly heard.

Although he would have access to the prison commissary he would not have the opportunity to earn any money, unlike the whole-life inmates, so that any funds that he could use would have to be provided by his family.

He would be permitted to write and receive letters but may not be permitted to keep the received letters, unlike the whole-life prisoners who were entitled to retain their received mail.

With each new revelation everyone, with the exception of Virgil, paled at the full horror of what Scott would have to face for the rest of his life.

"I have to see him"

That announcement from Mrs Tracy shouldn't have surprised anyone but Michelle was surprised, she'd expected Jeff to be the first to demand to see Scott.

"It may not be possible until his transfer to state but I'll see if a contact visit can be arranged"