DISCLAIMER: The story you are about to read contains graphic violence and sexual situations. I pray that the reader would be able to look at the deeper meaning of the piece as it relates to Beautiful Feet Entertainment. Reader discretion is advised.
The room was dark. The room was very simply decorated; nothing more than a medical bed, a dresser and a wooden rocking chair, sitting next to the bed. Sitting atop of the dresser was an assortment of family pictures of members that are hardly seen in person.
In the medical bed lay an elderly man. His hair is peppered grey and black and curled in an organized tousled look. Framing the elderly man’s face was a peppered beard, which lay on his natural wrinkles, giving the impression of a man who has seen a lot in his long life.
The elderly man ached from internal pain in the gut as he dealt with a terminal cancer as it slowly eats through his system; this disease will surely be his demise.
The bedroom door opened slowly as the face of a familiar face poked through the crack in the doorway. The man in the doorway was a clean shaven man of thirty-five. He wore a freshly-pressed button up shirt, which was a light purple, draping over a clean pair of jeans. The gentleman held a thickly bound Bible in his hand as he approached the bed.
“Hello, Mr. Ray,” The young man said with a smile. “How are you feeling?” He slowly sat in the wooden rocking chair beside the bed. He politely laid the Bible upon his lap although he refused to open it.
“Hello, Pastor Williamson,” The elderly Charley Ray forced out with a hoarse voice. He attempted to lift his head from his pillow and veer his attention toward Pastor Scott Williamson. He smiled at the sight of the friendly thirty-five year old beside him. “It’s good to see you.” He said with a cough.
“It’s good to be here.” Pastor Scott smiled. “How are you feeling, Charley?” He asked, reaching a hand out and gently laying his hand upon the elderly man’s hand. The elderly man lay back in his bed, attempting to relax.
“So, you wanted to me to come by? Your caretaker called me and said you had something to tell me.” The pastor said with genuine smile.
Charley nodded his head in agreement.
“I did it.” The old man spoke weakly.
The pastor’s face twisted with confusion. He looked deep into the elderly man’s eyes, hoping to sense the truth.
“I did it.” The man repeated.
“What are you talking about?” Pastor Williamson asked. Uncertainty distorted his face as the elderly man attempted to explain through bursts of coughing and shortness of breath.
“I did it. I killed them.” Charley coughed.
Pastor Williamson’s expression quickly changed, realizing that his patient may be telling the truth. “What do you mean, ‘you killed them’?” Scott kept his handhold with Charley for reassurance.
“It was….a long time…..ago.” Charley spoke, trying to steady his breathing. “……..never caught, never…..arrested.”
“Are you sure?” The pastor’s face was distorted with confusion as he looked on at his elderly friend of three years.
“I……had to…….confess.” He coughed. “I did it to them all.”
The look of his guest transformed into hysterics at the validity of the news. His mind began to race through a series of thoughts that spanned from fear for his own life to how and when he should call the police. Through process of elimination, Pastor Williamson realized that his life was in no potential danger; therefore he stayed in the room, furthering the conversation.
The conversation continued as Scott remained friendly and polite. He listened to the story of Charley’s past; his wrecked childhood, his broken relationships with his wives and kids and the events that led to his killing spread over twenty years ago. Charley shared the details of the victims; how he found them, how he executed the killings and how he haunted the families of the victims for years after that.
Throughout the confession of the victims Charley’s peppered face became wet with tears and regret. As he recalled the pain that he caused to those families tore his heart and tortured his spirit; he had to talk.
Charley Ray confessed to raping and killing five women within the span of a year. He was never caught; he was never even a suspect in the murders. Often his targets would be young women in between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-two. The victims were usually young wives and mothers, leaving behind their loving husbands and children.
According to reports Charley would often stalk his victims for some time before he would attack them. The incidents before the attacks were usually a series of phone calls to the target’s home where heavy breathing would often be on the other end. On other occasions, Charley would enter the home while it was left vacant, where small objects in the home would either be moved or taken. Charley would often leave behind a mask and rope hidden within or around the home for his inevitable return.
On the night of his return, Charley would sneak into the house in the dead of the night, where he would secure the victim to the bed with the rope. To the surprise of the young woman, a masked Charley would be found leering over the victim. With a calm voice and slowly methodical movements, he would tease his prey. When the tensions were at their highest, Charley would finally attack. First, he would disrobe the victim and proceed to sexually assault the victim, holding a hand over the women’s mouth to keep the silence. Then, as the victim’s movements become more frantic and worried, he would wrap his hands around the victim’s neck, holding tightly, progressing in to a tighter squeeze. As a result of his excitement and the victim’s fear intensifying, Charley’s grip around the sufferer’s mouth and throat would tighten, resulting in the death of the young woman.
At the sight of the young woman’s body lying lifeless on the bed, Charley loosened his grip and returned to standing position beside the bed, leering down at his work. Charley carefully untied the victim, leaving rope burns around the wrists from the victim’s struggle. With the seen cleaned up and evidence collected, Charley vanished into the night, leaving the body of the victim to be discovered.
“A statement from Charley Ray:” A man in a well tailored suit began, holding a printed document in his hand. Standing before the courtroom, the attorney read the document aloud. “My name is Charley Ray. I am fifty-three years old. I am dying from cancer. Before I die, there is something that I need to address. Twenty years ago I began breaking and entering into homes, where I would sexually assault and kill the female owner of the house. In the timeframe of a year, I killed five women.
“At the time of the murders I never thought about the families that I destroyed. I never considered the young children that I left motherless. I never thought of the husbands that I left wifeless. Not once did concern the mothers and father who are now without their daughters.
I am so sorry for what I’ve done. I don’t expect you to forgive me; I don’t expect you to show me any kind of sympathy. I only needed you to know what happened. I’m so sorry for what I’ve done; how I left your lives, the things that I put you through; I wish I could take it all back.
While the defendant read through the elderly man’s confession, tears began forming behind Charley’s eyes, leaving him to wipe the tears from his eyes. Charley remembered every woman that he killed. He remembered every detail of those nights; to the stalking, to the set up, to the actual night of the attack.
Continuing to read the confession, the defendant said:
“I completely expect to die in prison. I do not expect to be spared from the death penalty. I am prepared for face any sentence that I receive. Yet, before I face my fate, I wanted to look the victim’s families in the eye and let them know my regret for my wicked past. I pray that as I face my fate that you all find peace and that you can move on. Once again, I’m sorry; signed, Charley Ray. ”
At the testimony of Pastor Scott Williamson and the confession from Charley Ray, himself, Charley was found guilty of the five murders. Due to his ailments, Charley would rest in his medical wheelchair for the sentencing.
At the news of the capture of their mother’s killer, three of the victim’s adult children came to the hearing. The family member’s were seated at the front of the courtroom and looked into the eyes of the man who took their mother away from them.
They were able to analyze his fragile frame, questioning how such a sickly-faced, frail man could commit such brutalities. Their minds were able to roam though the many nights of their childhood, trying to imagine the monster that killed mommy. They were now looking into the eyes of the man that haunted their nightmares for years.
“Now, before we go into sentencing I have agreed to give the floor to the families of the victims, allowing them to share their thoughts with Mr. Charley Ray.” Judge Marshall Stephens spoke from his benched podium at the front of the courtroom. His round glasses rested on the bridge of his nose as he looked down at the three attendants before him, awaiting their response.
“Uh, yeah,” A young man said to himself, gently raising his hand in the air. The young man’s shabby hair draped low above his eyes. His was dressed in the Sunday’s finest, which consisted of an old black suit and tie. The clothes hung loosely off of his body, indicating that he had lost weight since it was originally purchased. “I’d like to say something.” He directed to the judge, who nodded in agreement.
The shabby haired kid with the bags under his eyes stood before the courtroom. He surveyed the courtroom, which look eerily similar to the courtrooms that any viewer would see on any crime drama TV show. The attorneys and the spectators waited with curiosity aimed at him.
“Uh, yeah, my name is Eric, my mother was Erin Montgomery; do you remember her?” Eric asked, now aiming his dialog at Charley, who looked in from his wheelchair with a look of remembrance. “You killed her the night before my birthday. You left her breathless on the bed, where I found her the next morning. Do you remember that, you sick schmuck? I’m glad that you are confined to that chair. Whatever is eating away at your insides is a godsend! You deserve so much more torture for what you have to done to all of us!” at this point Eric’s tone was irate and angry.
Eric’s eyes were filling with tears of anger. His face was red as he spoke with a heavy intensity. As he spoke, he pointed an index finger toward the wheelchair bound killer. It took everything within him to not physically attack the man that he despised.
“Mr. Montgomery we are going to ask you to try to remain calm while you are in my courtroom.” Judge Stephens ordered with a calm yet firm voice.
Unable to contain himself, Eric balled up a fist and pounded it on the tabletop in front of him. “I can’t not remain calm I am here to ensure that he gets what he truly deserves!” Eric hollered, pointing an unstable finger to Ray.
With a wave of the hand, Judge Stephens ordered the bailiff to escort Eric Montgomery back to his seat to ensure peace in the courtroom.
“Now, I’m Montgomery I understand that tensions are high and that could elicit radical behavior but if your outburst continues than I will have no choice but to banish you from my courtroom.”
A silence fell among the courtroom. Charley Ray remained in his wheelchair refrain from all emotion. He just sat slouched in the chair, eyes surveying the courtroom. With a moment of silence Judge Stephens awaited the response from another progeny of the victims to stand up and address the courtroom.
The room remained silent.
The two remaining survivors of the victims were both females in their early thirties. They were nicely dressed, although they were not dressing for the approval of those in the courtroom. One of the young women had dark hair that was pulled back into an elegant ponytail, which swayed behind her with every move. Her name: Abigail Davies, her mother was, Maureen Davies, Charley Ray’s fourth victim. As Abigail waited in the nearly awkward silence, she looked down at her hands, which were resting in her lap. Simply from observation, it was evident that she wished to speak to the killer of her mother, yet she was unnerved and unable to summon the courage. Although, from the expression on her face it was easy to see that she held resentment and anger deep in the pit of her stomach for the man who destroyed her family.
Every few moments, the dark haired girl looked over at Charley Ray and glared with eyes of angry frustration over the twenty years it took to catch the killer. Abigail was eleven when her mother became a victim of Mr. Ray. Her father, who often traveled for work, happened to be in an entirely different state when his wife was killed. He blamed himself for the murder, which caused him to develop a heavy drinking habit. Due to the drinking, Abigail often raised herself.
Abigail’s anger toward Charley’s crimes propelled her to work toward becoming a defense attorney. She never wanted anyone else to have to go through what she went through as a child.
The third and final witness looked around the room, often looking over to Charley. Her smooth, blonde hair hung around shoulder length. She could sense the tension between Abigail and Charley thickening. Eric sat next to Abigail, his fists balled up in anger at the sight of Charley sitting in the same room as them. Next to Eric was the bailiff, ensuring that there would be no further outburst from any one. Neither Eric nor Abigail seemed to be moved by Charley’s confession letter and the tears that left his cheeks soaked. All they saw was a killer, nothing more.
“Well, since no one else has anything to say…..” Judge Stephens began to speak as he looked down at the manila file folder that lay in front of him.
“Judge, can I say something?” The shoulder-length blonde said, holding a semi-pointed finger to the sky, just parallel to her head. Her face was white with fear as she made eye contact with Judge Stephens.
“Of course you can,” The judge smiled gently. With an open hand, he welcomed her to stand before the courtroom. With a deep breath, she approached the podium. In her hand was a folded piece of paper; a prepared statement for this kind of occasion.
She unfolded the paper, starred down at it and decisively folded it back up and placed it back in her pocket. She surveyed the room before she made eye contact with Charley, who remained in his wheelchair looking on.
“My name is Danielle Snow. My mother was your first victim. I was ten years old when you commit this serious crime. To be honest, I saw you walking through the hallway, approaching her room. You didn’t realize I was there. At first I thought you were just part of my imagination. I tried to convince myself that you were just a shadow that I saw.
“I am of the same mind as Eric and Abigail. I came here to face my fears, to face the man who stole my childhood. I wanted to ensure that you were given the death penalty. I wanted you to pay. That’s what I came here to say to you. Yet, as I’ve been sitting her hearing everyone’s stories and seeing you here. I must say: I feel sorry for you.”
With those words, Charley Ray lifted his eyes to meet Danielle’s. He previously had his eyes pointed toward the floor in shame and embarrassment. With every furthering moment he wished for his sentencing. Yet, he remained shocked at these words.
“I don’t condone what you’ve done, in fact, I despise it. I wish it never happened, but that is something that I can’t change now. All I can do is use this moment to become better, to be a better person. Truth is; I heard your words. I heard the remorse in them. It seems that you truly are sorry. Seeing you now, I see that you’ve grown and you stopped killing. I can see that the truth of your crime has being eating away at you for the past twenty years; it is literally killing you.”
Danielle searched through her mind to perfectly encapsulate the feelings that were swirling within her heart. Looking over to Charley, Danielle’s feelings became complicated. On one hand, Danielle wishes to ensure her mother’s killer gets exactly what he deserves, and on the other hand, she sees Charley as a human who makes mistakes, who makes the wrong choices, who needs something more powerful than hate.
“Although this is hard for me, I see that this is also hard for you. I want to thank you for finally coming clean with your crime and finally facing responsibility for your actions. Lastly, I want to say: I forgive you. I will no longer hold in the hate that I felt for so long. I will no longer wish upon you and I will no longer see you in my dreams. I forgive you. I hope you find peace with yourself and with God. I forgive you.”
Danielle finished her speech to Charley Ray with tears in her eyes. She looked Charley in the eye, as she wiped her face clean. She felt peace settle in her heart. Without another word she sat back down next to Abigail and Eric, both of which seethed with anger at the words that she just spoke, yet she was not bothered by their evil-eye looks.
Charley remained in his chair, his eyes wet with tears. How could anybody forgive him for what he has done? How could she show him compassion with all that he has done to her? He was overwhelmed at the gesture of forgiveness.
Wiping his eyes, Charley turned to look at Danielle. Making eyes contact with her, he mouthed the words “Thank you.” Charley Ray knew his mistakes. He knew he had destroyed lives. He deserved the punishment that he would be sentenced, yet he was offered forgiveness. In the end, that’s all he wanted.
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.