Philadelphia PA Parole Officer Found innocent after serving 18 Months For Murder
In this acclaimed true crime series, Clyde Shelton returns to resolve the question of whether a law abiding citizen can be a killer. Following the footsteps of his mentor, former police detective Gerard Butler, in an investigation that takes him all the way across the country, Shelton stumbles upon a grisly murder that has a strange connection to his past. As he unravels the details of this crime, he discovers the answer to the question that has consumed his thoughts for years: is it possible for a law abiding citizen to become a killer? What makes this story different from others is its focus on the element of surprise. This gripping novel is certain to leave you hanging on every word, and seeking those hard to discover clues for maximum reward.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a law abiding citizen of Philadelphia, who, ten years later, is brutally murdered in his own home by a criminal known as the Stranger. However, when his death is ruled a homicide, Shelton’s murder is classified a homicide caused by “malice aforethought”. The authorities are called to the scene and, because of this classification, are hesitant to prosecute the killer. The Stranger is free to roam the streets, however, he keeps watch over Philadelphia, always finding cracks in the system, and he is not about to stop anytime soon. This is a man with a secret; a man who has a list of innocent people who he intends to kill in the near future.
Ten years have passed since Clyde’s murder, and his murder remains a topic of mystery and speculation. He was believed to have died in his sleep from a bullet wound in his shoulder; however, his body was never found. With no further evidence in hand, the Philadelphia police department now suspects one of their own, working as a personal bodyguard for the Stranger. Thirty-one-year-old Joseph Girard is the department’s newest undercover agent. With his background in Italian job and extensive law enforcement experience, Girard believes he is fit for the task of protecting the city.
To that end, Girard sets out on a crusade to convince Philadelphia residents that they need a vigilant, law-abiding citizen who will take matters into their own hands if they feel their rights are being threatened. His mission to become the city’s most wanted criminal is complicated when two of his fellow officers, Detective Chief Inspector Tommy Clough and Detective Inspector John Paul Monroe, became suspicious of his motivations. Aided by Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fusco, both men try to locate and question Girard before he can complete his plan to infiltrate the Stranger’s Gang and expose it for what it is. Along the way, they learn that Girard’s long-term lover is a close confidant and knows much about his criminal activities. When both detectives become the target of his venomous ire, however, the true nature of his passion for justice finally reveals itself.
With a near-fatal shooting involving a police officer and a vicious dog attack in the midst of his mission, Girard stands accused of murder. Though the sensational nature of this case makes national and even international headlines, the Philadelphia prosecution has little to fight against because its system of justice system is too lax. With a low conviction rate and a high acquittal rate, this case could have been easily won if more police officers would have responded as Girard planned. The lack of accountability for the inaction of many officers on the streets of Philadelphia is rampant throughout the country and has resulted in more unjustifiable police shootings.
A lone nut with a violent past, Girard refuses to cooperate with the Philadelphia authorities and is turned over to the state’s Department of Corrections for life without parole. While in solitary confinement, he plots his escape plan with prison mate John McKedrick. However, the two are caught by the state police and brought to trial before Judge Samuel Johnson. Though acquitted of first-degree murder, Girard is sentenced to fifteen years in solitary confinement. The only person to plead guilty to this charge was the lone suspect in the case, Colm Meaney, who was given thirty years.
Girard appeals to the judge to be paroled, arguing that he is a law abiding citizen and a candidate for release under the judicial supervision of Judge Johnson. Philadelphia has no jurisdiction over federal matters, such as prison, and therefore cannot force an already convicted man to serve time in prison if they are not in Philadelphia. Philadelphia unsuccessfully uses the power of solitary confinement in attempting to force the release of its own citizen. Philadelphia failed even to bring this argument up to the court during trial; most likely because the system of justice in Philadelphia is corrupted and in need of an overhaul.
As the story ends, it appears that the judge, having seen enough of the city to believe that Girard is a law abiding citizen, sends him to Leavenworth Penitentiary, still controlling the parole system there. There, however, he begins a letter writing program to inform the other inmates of his plan to write every day to every prisoner, stating his desire to work on his sentence and to be a better person. With this letter, he tells of his love for his family, but warns them of his intent to follow the law and be a better law abiding citizen. One of the last letters he writes to his family members is a letter in which he apologizes for his crime. Finally, after serving eighteen months in prison, he is released on parole, having fulfilled his plea bargain.