A Mother and a Murder

The scene was incredibly distressing to witness: a motionless body riddled with gunshot wounds, with blood staining the wall and floor. Mrs. Hannah Albrecht entered the house, and upon discovering her deceased husband, Bryce, she released a horrified scream and quickly dialed 911 for help.


Police officers, detectives, and paramedics all gathered at the house. The police set up a crime scene, while the detectives questioned Ms. Albrecht. She was visibly shaken but eventually calmed down and explained, “I came home and found my husband here,” pointing at him while he was being examined. She mentioned he usually got home before her from work. Their two kids, 8-year-old Lucy and 9-year-old Charlie, usually took the bus home. The children arrived a few minutes later and were confused by the commotion. Lucy asked, “What’s going on, Mom? And where’s Dad?” Hannah hugged her grieving and shocked children saying, “Daddy’s no longer with us, we won’t see him again.” The kids were clearly shocked by the news.


Hannah admitted her husband had no enemies and did not know who would want to harm him. After his body was taken for autopsy, authorities recommended counselling for Hannah and the kids. Bryce’s body tests suggested he was shot thrice – chest and abdomen. He died around 2:30. No major evidence pointed to anyone. Three weeks post Bryce’s funeral, life changed for his widow. A single mom now, she managed his belongings amid work and childcare. She and her children missed him dearly.


Hannah would become emotional whenever she recalled the time before her husband’s tragic death. She and Bryce shared a close bond as a couple. Bryce was a warm, kind, and accepting individual, a dedicated spouse and father. He worked diligently and also enjoyed spending time with his family through celebrations, outings, and vacations. It remains puzzling who could have a motive to harm him. Yet, Hannah could not forget that, before to his death, Bryce displayed unusual preoccupation and stress for a few days. Despite her inquiries, he dismissed it, saying “It’s just work, I’m fine.” This was out of character for him, as he typically held a positive perspective despite being a diligent worker.


Post Bryce’s death, every now and then, Hannah would often hear strange noises tapping at her door. Everytime, she went to check it, the noise would stop. Everytime she returned to bed, they would happen again, forcing her to check on them again and the result was always the same, the noise would stop. It was almost as if someone or something was trying to enter the house. This happened for a few nights before Hannah decided to tell the police about it. They agreed to look into it. Two officers guarded her house one night; they were unable to confirm what the noises were. They told her that they were unable to identify any suspicious activity around her home and they could only conclude that her anguish from her husband’s death may be the reason for her feeling insecure. 


One day, while her children were away at their aunt’s place, Hannah was clearing up in the kitchen after cooking herself a light meal. Just then there was a knock on the door. She opened it and to her surprise there stood the same police who had come to investigate her husband’s death. Assuming they had come with new information regarding her husband’s death, she invited them in. To her surprise, they revealed that they had come to investigate further as evidence seemed to be pointing towards her for her husband’s death. She went with them to the Police station where they questioned her further and she was asked to take a lie-detector test that she passed.


Further investigations revealed that the murder weapon was a pistol which was similar to one that Bryce had a licence for. Hannah told the police that the pistol was missing from the house. The police suspected that since Hannah had access to the pistol, she had used it and had hidden it. Hannah’s whereabouts at the time of the murder were also not very clear and her alibi was conflicting with her evidence. It was revealed even though Bryce was financially stable, he insisted that Hannah work for her financial independence. Something that Hannah did not agree with as she would have liked to be with her children at home rather than at work. The motive of the murder was thought to be the Albrecht estate and financial freedom. Hannah was arrested and charged with first degree murder. This completely devastated Hannah who with the help of her brother, also a Police Officer, Jimmy Smith, appointed an attorney to defend her case. A date was set for her to be tried by a state court.


The Court was filled with relatives, lawyers and reporters. It came to order under Judge Simon Banner. “All rise” said the Clerk as the defendant was escorted in. As Hannah Albrecht seated herself beside her lawyers, the Prosecutor in his statement gave a background of the case and ended by saying that Hannah killed her husband in cold blood with the intention of seizing his assets and property and the need to be financial free. It was now the turn of the defence; Attorney Douglas Jones struck back saying that there was no evidence indicating that Hannah was responsible for her husband’s death or that she wanted to seize his assets and property. Instead they retorted that Hannah had been unfairly targeted by the state with inadequate evidence that was by forged theory.  

They went on to state that Mr Albrecht himself had a licensed Pistol a .38 cal. revolver which had gone missing from the home. Tests on the bullets extracted from his body showed these were fired from the same type of pistol, possibly his own pistol.  That could possibly be the very same weapon, missing from the family’s home.  Only Hannah had access to the weapon. The Prosecution summarized that Hannah had used the gun for the murder which she could have then hidden. Despite the Defence’s best efforts to counter the prosecution’s statement, it took only three hours for the Jury to reach a verdict. They found Hannah guilty of first-degree murder and she was sentenced by the Judge to life in prison.


 Yet even as she approached and without any problem, found herself adjusting to prison life, Hannah continued to maintain her innocence. While the Police confidently felt they had caught the culprit, one of them believed that his sister was innocent, that was Officer Jimmy Smith. Smith continued to investigate on his own in the hope of finding clues to prove Hannah innocent. He was unsuccessful, much to his frustration. It had now been eighteen months since his sister was wrongly convicted of her husband’s murder. Since his sister’s incarceration, Jimmy Smith had continued to work on her case privately in a desperate attempt to find the real killer although no-one from his department was willing to stick with him on this case, considering it closed. His niece Lucy and his nephew Charlie were now in the care of his wife and himself.


Smith was so busy and obsessed with solving his sister’s case that he did not know that it had become a newspaper story in the community. This, to some was seen as a campaign and a few even told him that should they have any information or assistance regarding the case, they would contact him.


During all the time between the trial and the present, the murder weapon was not found. Jimmy Smith looked for it in places that murderers could hide their weapons. He looked through every possible place on the Albrecht Property with no success whatsoever. He also went through old Police files to look for anything that gave an indication as to what could be done with a weapon such as a pistol. Some of the files reported that many weapons had been found buried in nearby woods or even in lawns. Smith would often go to various areas where he felt that he may find the pistol, but the result was the same, nothing. Nonetheless, Smith continued to visit the same areas each day, searching in part


During his attempted investigations, Smith had often felt seemingly paranormal activity happening around him; sometimes when he went to find the murder weapon, he often got the feeling that he was being watched by someone or something. But everytime he tried to look in the direction of where that anonymous watcher could be, no-one was there. Smith had also noted that during his visits to those places, it seemed that someone had been there already. Could these tracks be of the same person who was watching him?


There were times, Smith received strange phone calls, however, on answering them, he could hear that the caller was crying but did not speak at all. It appeared to be a female on the other end. “Hello? Hello?” he kept saying but there was no response in words, just the crying and then the phone was disconnected. Smith believed it to simply be a prank call so he continued on with his work. Jimmy tracked these calls to public telephone booths from several places which seemed to be unconnected. The random nature of the calls made it impossible for him to place the time of the next call. These calls gradually stopped.


Meanwhile, even though Hannah was angry and unhappy for being in prison for something she had not done, she gradually came to terms with it and decided to spend her time in prison in as positive a way as possible. She immersed herself in prayer and devoted herself to being a ‘Person of God’. She felt that she was blessed in many ways in having a loving family and people who cared for her as compared to other inmates who came from very unhappy environments. She decided to be kind and bring a sense of peace to herself and her surroundings.


Her brother, who had been attempting to find clues that would prove his sister had been railroaded by the system, was surprised by the change in her. She often told him that, from her point of view she had gone to prison for a purpose and that she was making the most of it. She did not want to be bitter and wanted to help others as well. She also told him that even though she missed her husband, she still loved him and knew that he was aware of her innocence and that he still loved her. Jimmy  asked his sister about how her husband had been in the days prior to his death and she shared with him, his reluctance to share his reasons for why he looked so stressed. She wished he had been able to confide in his wife more about his problems. Hannah also got to see her children who came to visit her with their uncle.

Hannah was in prison for more than three years now. One day in his office, on the evening of February 9th 2005 Jimmy Smith was going over some notes when the reception desk called. “Someone by the name of Alice Evans is here and insists on seeing you” said the receptionist.  “What is it about?” “She has information concerning your sister Hannah”. Jimmy Smith sensed a pang of hope within him at hearing this. Someone had finally heard his pleas. “Please send her in” he said and arranged for other officers and the detectives involved in solving his brother-in-law’s murder to be present at this meeting.

Alice Evans was in her mid-thirties and appeared to be disturbed, she had a uncanny resemblance to Hannah. She clearly looked as if she was worried and may have been crying. As she took a seat and said “I want to make a confession that I am responsible for the murder of Bryce Albrecht”. The police officers around her seemed perplexed and the chief interrogator said.  “There seems to be a mistake because this case was solved and the murderer has been serving the sentence for the crime. Are you sure that is what you are here for?”.

Jimmy felt excited and had to hold himself from asking any questions “That is what I’m trying to say, please listen” the woman pleaded and burst into tears. The police officers allowed her to calm herself before she said “It was on the afternoon of November 5th 2002 that I went to see Bryce at his house and pleaded with him not to end our relationship. We were childhood sweethearts and had met while I was at work, and renewed our friendship. I knew that he was married but was hoping that we could get together. When the relationship became a serious one, Bryce was clear that he wanted to end it, as he was committed to his family”.

“On that fateful day, when Bryce saw me at his doorstep, he was clearly unhappy and asked me to leave. I was really upset and ran into the house, past him and said that I would await his wife’s arrival and tell her about us. He seemed to panic at this and went to bring out his pistol in order to threaten me to leave. I became hysterical and started hitting him with my fists. At this, he was taken aback and dropped the pistol. I don’t know what came over me at that time, but I grabbed the gun and shot him several times. I was so out of my mind, I didn’t realize that I had murdered him. I had to run to save myself so I jumped out of the window with the gun still in my hand, knowing I had to get rid of it. Something told me that my fingerprints were on it, so I cleaned it with my skirt and threw it into a river that I passed by while fleeing the residence. And poor Hannah has been accused of this crime which she did not do, she had nothing to do with her husband’s death and now she’s in prison! I decided to go and confess everything to her which is why I went to her house several times late at night. I live just a few miles away from the Albrecht estate. But as soon as I knocked on the door, I was so afraid that even before Hannah could open the door, I ran away. Upon seeing your story in the newspaper Mr Smith about wanting to look further into this case, I sometimes saw you in certain areas near the woods or at fields and lawns. I always tried to approach you and confess but my fear held me back. This happened multiple times, and I failed in what I set out to do. I even tried to talk to you on the phone but I was still too afraid. That’s why having had enough of being scared, I came here to say it all” and Alice began to sob uncontrollably. There was complete silence from everyone present. This was the most bizarre confession they had ever come across. This person had to be proven guilty in order for Hannah to be exonerated.


Alice was told that her mere confession was not good enough for her to be convicted and that she would have to go through a legal proceeding to prove her crime. She was granted a lawyer and the case was reopened to prove Hannah’s innocence and Alice’s guilt.  


A new case was lodged for the murder of Bryce Albrecht, now involving Ms Alice Evans, who had confessed to his murder. This was not very straight-forward as Mr Albrecht’s widow Hannah had been found guilty by a jury in the first place. This involved proving Ms Evans guilty after which Hannah could be exonerated of the crime.


With the assistance of a lawyer whom she was granted, Alice signed a confession admitting that she indeed shot Bryce Albrecht to death without thinking as well as what happened in the days prior to and after the murder, including his affair with her and her struggle to come out with her crime


Following her confession, Alice Evans was asked to take a lie-detector test to prove that she was telling the truth about her confession regarding her responsibility for the murder of Bryce Albrecht. The results of the lie-detector test were a success and proved that Hannah was indeed responsible for the death of Bryce which led to her arrest.


The same Police force who had carried out the original investigation were able to pick up Alice’s footsteps with forensic techniques which they should have done during the first investigation.


Hannah was released after the proceedings began and the prosecution went over the evidence and was able to determine that there was no doubt that Mr Albrecht had died as a result of being shot by Alice with his own pistol.


The case was concluded and Hannah returned to her family, praising her brother for not giving up on her and in her heart knew her husband loved her as she loved him and continued to do so.
                                                                                The End



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