Judgment Day

As judges ponder the fates of Brandy DuVall's murderers, they must measure different shades of black.

"It is the judgment, sentence and warrant of the Court that the defendant, Francisco Martinez Jr., be delivered to the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection."

A single, desperate moan escapes from a woman on the defense side, then tiny whimpers as Francisco's supporters try to abide by the judge's order. Brandy's family also cries quietly. There is no happiness here.

Francisco shows little reaction, other than the quick tapping of his foot on the floor. When he stands to be handcuffed, he doesn't look back. Not at his family crying in their seats, not at the family of the little girl he murdered. He leaves the courtroom.

The devil exits with him. Nearly two years have passed: three trials, seven sentences, one life stolen, seven wasted, so many more in tatters.

The curtain falls, and the stage fades to different shades of black.

To read Steve Jackson's complete "Dealing with the Devil" series, visit www.westword.com.

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