Brenda Mackay, the mother of four, one an infant girl, was in love with Coyle when they married; but when he returned from Korea he was a different man. Not the boy she had married. Now he is cruel, belt-whipping their oldest son. Coyle moves them constantly to avoid law enforcement officials. Stuck in the woods of northwestern Montana, Brenda decides she’s had enough and makes an unsuccessful break for freedom. Coyle drives them to Los Angeles and finds a vacant house in Hollywood. He gets drunk, threatens the oldest boy with a revolver. When Coyle is asleep Brenda, scared and desperate, takes the revolver to hide it, but Coyle awakens. A shot is fired and Coyle is dead. Mike Montego, a newly assigned homicide detective gets the call. His senior partner sees the murder as an open and shut case. Montego having second thoughts contacts his lifelong mentor, an ex-homicide detective now a successful criminal attorney, to defend Brenda pro bono. Montego’s ex-patrol partner, a new Deputy District Attorney, is assigned to prosecute. It’s his first homicide case. Montego has misgivings about the charge of Murder One, but he must testify at trial. What occurs subsequently. . . .