CoCo Bed Justice – Chapter 24: Captain John Winston Makes A Deal

A fictional story by Junior Johnson

Early on the morning Deputy Moran was to prepare his prisoners for a trip before Judge Robert Porter in Natchitoches, he summoned Doctor Scruggs for one last visit to check on Captain Winston’s condition.

While the good Doctor was treating Winston’s wound Deputy Moran summoned their local lawyer Ronnie Smith. He wanted Smith to present their proposal to Captain John to sign over all of his properties to the original owners, along with his money, in exchange for escaping the hangman’s noose back in Mississippi.

When Ronnie Smith arrived at the office with all the necessary paperwork for Winston’s approval, Doctor Scruggs had completed his examination and treatment. He told Deputy Moran that Winston was fit for travel to Natchitoches, but first their business needed to be conducted.

Winston was the only prisoner in the office when the Attorney arrived and sat quietly as Ronnie Smith outlined what he needed to do to spare his life in Mississippi. Did he want to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison or death by the hangman’s noose.

It didn’t take long for Winston to make his decision. He eagerly signed all the paperwork that would guarantee each of the families he forced out of their homes the opportunity to return and to each share a portion of his wealth for the hell that he had put them through.

As soon as all the paperwork was signed Winston and the other four prisoners were shackled and put in a wagon for the trip to Natchitoches. Moran and the two Mississippi Deputies then road out of Cloutierville headed to Natchitoches to meet Sheriff Jones and Judge Porter. Traveling with them to Natchitoches was Abslom, Levy, Pete, Aiden, Dylan, and their Mother. They’d been summoned that morning to make the trip so that the boys could speak before Judge Robert Porter in the proceedings. Attorney Ronnie Smith would be coming along with the party as were Harold LaCaze and Andrew Hernandez. They had discovered valuable information to present Judge Porter regarding events at Monett’s Ferry.

All parties entered Judge Porters courtroom in Natchitoches for what would be judgement day for the five murderers. Sheriff Jones met them in the hallway and ushered them inside.

Once everyone was settled Judge Porter called Captain John Winston and his two thugs from Mississippi to come forward. Winston was ushered up in a wheel chair. Sheriff Jones was then called forward to relate events that had taken place in Mississippi, ending with Winston murdering the jailer during his escape. He and his two associates were to be hung upon their return.

Judge Porter then asked Sheriff Jones if events had changed concerning those plans. Jones said that a deal had been made with Winston that their lives would be spared if he returned all property to the rightful owners along with the wealth that he had amassed to be shared equally between the property owners. Ronnie Smith confirmed that the necessary papers were in order to accomplish this agreement.

Judge Porter called for a short recess to look over the murder charges and death penalty that went along with them, as well as the documents that Captain John had signed surrendering his property and money. He also had documents that Sheriff Jones had signed freeing the criminals from a hangman’s noose and allowing them to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

When he returned to the bench Judge Porter announced his decision. The papers were in order. All property and cash would go to the land owners. Sheriff Jones had received the authority from the Judge in his jurisdiction to drop the death penalty. That was in order and he accepted this decision and rapped his gavel and began to finalize the proceedings thus far.

Captain John Winston and his two thugs breathed a sigh of relief. Then Judge Robert Porter cleared his throat and rapped his gavel again.

The matter in Mississippi was satisfied; however, there was the case for Pete’s kidnapping and the murder of the old Doctor at Monett’s Ferry. Both cases brought the death penalty. Pete’s testimony along with information Harold LaCaze and Andrew Hernandez had gathered which proved the old Doctor was killed even after he saved Captain John’s life, was all Judge Porter needed to make another decision.

Since the kidnapping and murder charges took place in Louisiana and the perpetrators were captured in Louisiana, the law clearly stated that justice would be served here first. This was Judge Porter’s interpretation and it was final.

The Judge then ordered the two old Union Army thugs to stand with Winston and his two men. The courtroom was quiet when Judge Porter cleared his throat and made his next ruling.

The five murderers before him would stand on the gallows which would be constructed and placed in front of the Court House and be hung by the neck until dead. Sheriff Jones could bring the bodies of Winston and his two thugs back to Mississippi with him, but he did not think a jail cell would be necessary. Judge Porter hammered his gavel and smiled as he said that court was adjourned.

Everyone’s eyes were on the five men before the bench. Captain John Winston began to cry like a baby again, and so did the men standing next to him.

Everyone else in the courtroom was smiling as the prisoners were lead away to the Natchitoches jail to await execution.