A young man knocks on his neighbor’s door, hoping to celebrate Christmas Eve with a friend. He is welcomed in, and the two spend five festive hours playing video games, strumming guitars, and drinking fine brandy. A silly dispute turns into a brawl, and a weapon is drawn. One friend dies, the other is charged with murder.
Small-town Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, had a short history of violent crimes, but it was 2001. Following the 9/11 terrorist strikes, residents were focused more on attacks against country than fatal fighting among friends. The resulting trial featured two attorneys: one a “favorite son,” the other an unknown public defender from miles away. Readers of this true story, like jurors at the trial, will face difficult questions about motive, mental health, self-defense, and ultimately, justice.