Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Witness to Death by Dave White. Witness to Death 3. John Brighton is an ordinary young schoolteacher still hung up on his ex, Michelle. Suspecting her new boyfriend is cheating on her, John decides to follow Frank's Lexus and find out the truth once and for all. Turns out John's in for a major surprise. Frank isn't heading for some sack time with another girl. Instead he drags John into the middle of a shootout on the banks John Brighton is an ordinary young schoolteacher still hung up on his ex, Michelle.
Instead he drags John into the middle of a shootout on the banks of the Hudson River, and before John knows what's happening, he's knee-deep in bodies. Before the corpses can even cool, Frank disappears and John finds himself wanted for five murders. With no way to prove his innocence, John goes on the run—not only from the police, but a vicious assassin as well.
Though his head tells him to stay in hiding, his heart says otherwise. He has to save the woman he loves or die trying. Thousands of other innocent lives are in jeopardy too. A heart-pounding, heart-stopping, heart-breaking thriller from two-time Shamus Award nominated author, Dave White.
Kindle Edition , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Witness to Death , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. May 15, Elizabeth A. Breakups are never fun, but rarely do they lead to the disastrous chain of events that John Brighton finds himself caught up in after being dumped by his girlfriend, Ashley. Instead of going the getting drunk route, John decides to turn to his ex-girlfriend, Michelle. Problem is, Michelle is involved with a new guy, Frank, and John's convinced Frank is cheating on her.
Thinking he can kill two birds with one stone, prove the cheating and get Michelle back, John sets out to follow Frank to what h Breakups are never fun, but rarely do they lead to the disastrous chain of events that John Brighton finds himself caught up in after being dumped by his girlfriend, Ashley. Thinking he can kill two birds with one stone, prove the cheating and get Michelle back, John sets out to follow Frank to what he believes will be a secret rendezvous with another woman.
Well, he was right about the secret rendezvous part, anyway. As John follows Frank down to some waterfront apartments along the Hudson, he notices Frank actually appears to be tailing a group of men in trenchcoats. As John's trying to puzzle out what's going on, a gunfight erupts between Frank and the men. Before he knows it, all five of the men in trenchcoats are dead, Frank is dragging him away from the scene, and life as John knows it will never be the same again. You see, John has inadvertently stumbled upon a covert operation involving rogue arms dealers, terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security, in-fighting between the New York and New Jersey mobs, and one very, very dysfunctional family Now John isn't just trying to salvage his relationship, he's fighting for his very life, and the lives of countless others.
Author Dave White has crafted a top-notch thriller in Witness to Death. The action jumps off right from the first page and never lets up, overflowing with fist fights, car chases, a daring escape from a police station, double-crosses, and torture, all hurtling the plot to a race against the clock finale. And yet, for all the pulse pounding action there is more going on. A lot more, actually. White has quite boldly decided to address some very serious issues of personal character, responsibility and morality, elevating what would otherwise be a straightforward thriller to a higher level.
As John fights to get clear of the events he finds himself caught up in, he's forced to reevaluate his motivations and resolve. A man haunted by a tragic event in his past, John had fallen into a pattern of never quite addressing things head on, always seeing only the potential negative consequences of situations but never proactively taking steps to resolve them. In Witness to Death he's thrust into a situation where his actions - or inaction - will decide whether he and many others live or die, and John has to dig deep and see what he's really made of and how far he's willing to go not only to save himself, but to protect the one he truly loves.
Similarly, in one particularly brilliant scene a U. He honestly doesn't have it, however, and as the scene unfolds the agent has flashbacks to a situation where he was the one committing the torture in effort to extract information. Now knowing firsthand both what it feels like and what he'd be willing to say to make it stop, the agent is forced to reconsider both the morality of his own actions, as well as to question the value and reliability of information obtained from someone under such duress they'll say anything to make it stop. In Witness to Death White has put together not only a very entertaining thriller, but one with both heart and a conscience as well.
Right to the very end White never takes his foot off the pedal, bringing the book to a conclusion that while somewhat unconventional, is wholly honest to the tone he sets from page one. May 14, Fiona Johnson rated it it was amazing. Witness to Death is the third novel by crime thriller writer Dave White. In this exciting tale of chance events and betrayals, White jumps on board a speeding getaway vehicle, tyres smoking and screaming, whilst taking every corner on two wheels.
If you like an exciting ride, you will jump on board with him and as you struggle to hold on tight, White will expertly steer with one hand on the wheel while firing at the gangsters closing in behind. The plot that White has devised is a major strength, Witness to Death is the third novel by crime thriller writer Dave White. The plot that White has devised is a major strength, keeping the reader guessing until the very end, only revealing little hints and clues as his characters run, hide and chase; trying to work out for themselves why Frank Carnathan was attacked by five men in Jersey City, obviously out to kill him.
The four main characters in the story all know each other. John, a teacher, is now dating Ashley but is still in love with Michelle who ended their relationship because he was too boring and ordinary. Frank and Michelle suggested Ashley as a new date and although John is fond of her, he can't get over Michelle. You may be thinking at this point that you have stumbled upon an old episode of 'Friends' but don't worry, White doesn't get bogged down in relationship issues, instead John very quickly finds himself in the middle of a shoot out that ends with him being arrested and questioned by the police.
John, who is just an everyday kind of guy, has no idea what he has stumbled upon and the challenges that he will have to face in a bid to save the woman he loves and the city. John Brighton is an interesting character who allows White to play around with themes of destiny, betrayal, love and chance. Was John destined to follow Frank on that fateful night or was it just a bad decision? Was John always capable of great actions or did extreme situations change him? Can ordinary people be heroes? Witness to Death is stuffed full of such questions and White leaves the reader to decide as the story rushes on leaving so many bodies in its wake; so many tortured, so many shot, so many blown up.
There is a lot of violence - pretty much constant violence, too bad if you are squeamish, but if you love rip-roaring noir with scenes of taser torture and hand grenades, then you will be utterly delighted with this fabulously gripping tale. May 17, Spencer Koch rated it really liked it. In Witness to Death, John, a high school teacher inadvertently witnesses one of his friends, Frank murder 5 thugs on a dock in New Jersey.
One of the thugs follows he and his friend onto a train, where Frank strangles the final thug. Unfortunately someone snaps a cell phone photo of John, and he has to go on the run because there may be people inside the police who may be trying to kill him. Along the way, John's girlfriend gets murdered, and we find out that Frank's real name is Peter, and he is In Witness to Death, John, a high school teacher inadvertently witnesses one of his friends, Frank murder 5 thugs on a dock in New Jersey.
Along the way, John's girlfriend gets murdered, and we find out that Frank's real name is Peter, and he is actually an undercover homeland security agent who is trying to stop a guy named Omar from bombing an unknown target. There are other, complicated corporate and family dynamic things going on, which are too complicated to go into, and are probably spoilers anyway. The novel ends with a climactic scene that is worth the read in the end. It might be a wooden carving from Mexico, hand-knitted socks from Romania, or a unique rock from Arizona.
I brought back a present for my kids too: My father would definitely not have approved of such a frivolous thing. But his grandkids loved it and so did I. We celebrated him until the fireworks were gone. Lich, What an extraordinary story you have shared. You and your family have certainly endured almost unimaginable pain. May you find peace and solace in raising your family. The greatest honor you can bestow upon your father is to live your life well. That is what any father would want. Self centred guy approves of state-sanctioned murder because someone murdered his father.
Thinks two wrongs make a right. Flips off another human being who is facing death. Writes the private details of the state-sanctioned murder for the world to see. Robs a state-murdered man and his family of their privacy on his deathbed. I hope that one day you see the error of your ways. When you do, I hope that you find the compassion for yourself that you were unable to find for your fathers killer.
And that, it seems to me, is exactly why you say things such as that: Indeed, you invite belittlement and go out of your way to seek it. My compassion, such as it is, is reserved for the victims and their survivors. I am also from Canada, and what I read here from the author was not gloating or evil. It is a heartfelt and moving testimonial of what he experienced. My heart goes out to him and his family.
He is justified at being angry that he lost his father, that his children will never know their grandfather, and that his family has been so badly hurt. How on earth can you judge him for expressing his feelings of pain and anger? To the author, I hope you and your family are doing as well as is humanly possible. Oh yes, he did indeed gloat. Remember, he did compare the whole process as a confrontation. He said that after he walked out of the room after Hernandez died that he felt like he won. Guess what the author also made a point to do: He spent the time and effort writing this in an attempt to justify his actions and emotions.
But how can you justify being an accomplice to murder? Because his article advocates for murder instead of forgiveness. There are appropriate and compassionate ways to express emotions, even if he is against forgiving. I regret that you judge me harshly. But I think that you misunderstand the reason why I went. Rather, I wanted to offer people an honest perspective on how I felt and what an execution does to a family member. And I told you the honest truth — and yes, I still hold anger and hostility. You know that now. Yes, seeing him blow kisses at me was very upsetting, and I made a vulgar gesture in return.
It just irritates me when someone asks for a free pass on their own moral defects. There are ways you could have written this account and chosen to withhold information that the family might find private or sacred. There are ways you could have written about this scenario without painting this man in the worst possible light. You chose not to do that.
You chose to wax poetic, to play to the emotions of the crowd, and to narrate in a very particular manner. You passed personal judgements and publicly asserted things about the man. Strictly speaking, an account of ones personal experience would have been much more reflective and less externally oriented than this. Perhaps you were not capable of that yet, in which case you should have waited. Not even getting in to the implications of leveraging your fathers murder into an advocation for state sanctioned murder. While in CanaDUH you let murderers out of jail to murder again after just a few years.
How dare you judge a dead man based off another persons account? At least I base my judgements off of the words the person wrote himself. I hope that I would forgive that person too. Poor, poor Hernandez Llanas. Just because he then chose to beat Mr. I hate it there. It was none of my business as I am not Canadian. Canada, where do you get off with this statement? What could you possibly know about your father being murdered and your mother being raped and almost murdered?
Rob this murderer on his deathbed? Are you kidding me? You are way off base, Canada. Let me remind you of something…. We all do this differently. I could not imagine having to deal with this much pain and suffering. You sound like a Westboro Baptist Church follower. They are true blue. If there ever was a poster child for the death penatly…this guy certainly qualifies! There should be a special place in Hell for Mr. There is no wrong way to grieve, except for when you take it out on others state sanctioned murder and especially in a public forum this article. Lich goes beyond feelings and reactions in the article.
And your judgement of Llanas is based entirely off of one mans highly-biased account. When we build a prison where there is no chance of escape. When we can cut off all entertainment, tv, books, gyms, even socializing with other prisoners. Judge not lest ye be judged. Morality is an incredibly difficult and personal subject. This topic is at the intersection of so many important and conflicting themes of both moral and social codes that it deserves deep thought, reflection, and enlightened debate. In my opinion what Mr. Whether you like his honesty or not, whether you condone his personal reactions or not, you should thank him for contributing in a very meaningful way to the discussion of such a polarizing topic.
Why are you against a convicted criminal paying the consequence of his actions? Why is so hard for you to hear a hurting victims side of the story? It signifies a short summary for those who are not interested in reading the whole article. I believe in forgiveness, even if you can not trust a person. We can not trust those who have murdered people, but we can choose to treat them with compassion, to understand them, and to forgive them. We have to keep them locked up for our safety, but anything beyond that is nothing short of abuse. Abusing and murdering people is wrong no matter where they come from or what their past.
This particular kind of flock mentality causes social issues that are systematically perpetuated in this society. When the author went public with this it became no longer a single case. A rare look into the world of the victums of crime. Eloquently written and illuminating to those who oppose this punishment for the most egrious of crimes. I deeply appreciate the honesty with which Mr.
Lich shared his story. May your father rest in peace. Stephen Lich I applaud you. I doubt that many could be as strong as you have been. I hope that you now find peace. I too, faced my monster before he died and it gave me such peace and eventually healing. I think what you did, was brave and I commend you for facing your fear. I hope you and your family can find peace now.
I know I can, knowing these monsters are no longer walking among us and controlling our emotions. Paul Lutus has an excellent summary of the arguments for and against capital punishment: We were not the ones who sentenced the offender to death. Many of us carry guilt about the sentence, because people view us as part of the system. Why should we be made to feel like evil ones, the killer to seem like the victim; and the death sentence imposed by the jury is our crime against him?
Again, please do not criticize us. We did nothing to deserve this. But for being complicit in the delivery of morally questionable punishment or retribution, guilt may be appropriate. For example, if the practice of cutting off the hands of a thief went on, and the people whose possessions had been stolen went to see the hand being cut off and wrote a story about how it was satisfying and relieving to see it, that itself is a new sort of evil and the transgressor in fact does become a victim.
When you wrote this article, fingered a man facing death, and advocated for the death penalty you also assumed the role of oppressor. For example, while you have had over a decade to recover, the victims who have just lost their family member to state sanctioned murder have enough on their plate without you running around publishing this sort of junk.
Another example, if extra people die due from the death penalty and due to this article then we have you to thank for that. So while you are a victim, you are also not so squeaky clean yourself anymore. That makes me critical of you. You should carry guilt for the laundry list of things you have done since that were oppressive and unethical at best, and an advocacy of murder at worst.
No matter what your background, there is no excuse for that the same way as there is no excuse for what your oppressor did to your family. I am a murder victim family member who is against the death penalty, but I believe you have the right to feel the way you feel about what happened to you. You did not ask for this to happen to you, quite the opposite. You were taken into this situation. It is not your fault that this man died. Your reaction is understanable. The killers of my mother have never been located.
I know, from years of working with victims, that you are justified for having the feeling that you have. You should feel not guilt for anything. Family members are often put in a bad light and the person who committed the crime is raised up to celebrity status.
You family deserves to live in peace. This is a beautifully written piece and I thank you for sharing your story. I too have struggled with my thoughts on the death penalty and do believe it was justified in this case. The man who murdered your father took advantage of a kind man who was trying to help and the evidence was concrete. I thank you for the decision to remove him from the streets where any one of us could have been unfortunate enough to cross his path.
Your decision to attend the execution was clearly a hard one to come to but I am glad you did and were able to bear witness to the end of his life. I hope you are at peace and wish you and your family nothing but the best. I am so very sorry for your loss and all that has come with it. I wish you the very best. I am a murder victim family member. When you lose a loved one to murder, it changes your entire world view. Life as you knew it is gone. When my mother was brutally murdered by my father in it changed the course of my life forever. Back then I was for the death penalty and thought our justice system was perfect.
My father remains in prison to this day.
'Stripper' dad on death row to be executed with new drug cocktail
Over the years I learned that many mistakes have been made and are still being made as well as biases when it comes to criminal convictions. I came to believe that not only have we as a nation executed innocent people, but executing someone does not make anything right or better. It does, however, leave more victims. The criminal leaves behind loved ones who had nothing to do with the crime but are left to live out their lives with that devastating loss of losing their loved one as awful as he or she may have been to execution.
One had a grandfather executed when she was young. It still haunts her to this day. One lost a brother to execution. One lost a father to execution. We created more victims. There is no such thing as closure. My mother will never be back. All we can do as murder victim family members is reconcile what has happened in our respective lives.
Think about that phrase. I refuse to allow the situations from my past and those involved ruin my life with anger. I choose to be better. I must respectfully disagree with this. I am against violence and killing on principal. This is a slippery slope. At the time they were executed, many believed the evidence against Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos DeLuna was undeniable. Subsequent investigations have shown that they may have been innocent. I believe it is better to abolish the death penalty than to risk executing even one innocent person. Life without parole permanently eliminates the threat.
We have supermax prisons where there is absolutely zero chance of escape. Why was a sentence of life without parole unsatisfactory in this case? I wonder what Mr. Lich thinks of that notion. BTW, this article was beautifully written. Credit goes to Mr. Lich and his bravery in sharing the intimate details of his experience, but kudos also to Michael Hall and the editors of Texas Monthly. The Old Testament at least can not be construed as a document that opposes the death penalty, not really. The death penalty is murder in my opinion, and the bible, especially the Old Testament, is open for interpretation based on modern contexts.
Our understanding of the scriptures is supposed to change, not stay where it was 3, years ago. I strained to find the best words to explain it. I am very strongly opposed to military interventionism — very strongly.
- French Short Stories - Balzac and Zola?
- Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (Vintage Classics)?
- Witness to an Execution.
But could there be cases where interventionism is justified? I wonder about the Rwandan Genocide.
Witness to an execution: The death of Billy Ray Irick
I think that answer might be yes. Does that example make sense? If a person opposes the death penalty on the basis that there have been too many mistakes: If a person opposes the death penalty because it simply takes other lives: Remember, Hernandez Llanas very nearly killed a jailer, and he continued to be violent as long as he was alive. I hope this helps you understand my position better? Again, I am encouraging people to step away from absolutionist positions. As for suffering forever in prison: I believe that being locked away forever in isolation would be a far worse punishment than execution.
I have a big, jumbled-up, cloud of emotion about Hernandez Llanas and his sentence. And sometimes, my feelings are contradictory.
A life in solitary confinement would have been worse for him. The military intervention analogy is interesting. I am also strongly opposed to military intervention, but could imagine some hypotheticals when I might make an exception and support it. I will need to think about that, and try to figure out why I have somewhat contradictory views on the death penalty and military intervention. Your article, and your willingness to engage in debate in these comments, is a great benefit to everyone who struggles with this issue.
They do not indicate ones specific thoughts on case-by-case matters or vice-versa.
Witness to Death by Dave White
You have my utmost respect and admiration. You have survived the unimaginable with dignity. Even gesturing to the prisoner was, in my opinion, extremely restrained under the circumstances. I agree, rabid dogs must be put down. Quickly, cleanly, and with as much kindness as possible. It is an ugly task, but one which must not be shied away from if we are actually to remain civilized. Keeping these predators alive harms our community and its members. The message from the anti-death penalty person from Canada is full of hubris, which is not an admirable trait at all.
Please ignore that kind of tripe when it crawls out of the gutter. So, from Canada…my assertion of your stance is that killing of any kind is murder…and wrong, correct? Are you really that high-and-mighty? Would you really have compassion for the guy as he was killing the rest of your family….
But your point was that killing period is wrong…so if you would kill to defend your family, where does that put you? I agree with Mr. Besides, he made a choice to kill someone knowing the death penalty could be a consequence…people do stupid things all the time while already knowing the punishment beforehand. He made a choice to take that chance. Lich, you and I have a mutual friend.
I applaud your honesty and your lack of fear in telling your story. State sanctioned revenge murder, like the one described by Lich, is murder plain and simple. If he had walked in and protected himself or his mother then it would not be murder, even if the guy died. And yes, I would protect myself in that situation. Hopefully I could do it without killing another person in defence i. Instead, I would have used that decade to forgive and move on, perhaps understand how he could have become so heartless or what caused him to snap.
Use that to forgive him and move on. In practice it might not be that simple, and I might harbour long-term resentment until my grave, but I would at least curb my behaviours. Sure, you can assert all the idiocy you want…. What actually do you stand for? So I guess you are the god of everything correct? One of the possible punishments for killing someone in Texas is the death penalty.
You kill someone knowing this…you bitch about Mr. Your incredibly ingeniuos mind maybe can shed some light on all us morons incompetent of the most base common sense available to humans as to what happens when you kill someone in Texas…. What if you were trying to maim I laughed at this…considering you can kill someone attempting this and you accidentally killed the guy? The thing is with people like you…you judge without knowledge, wisdom, and damn-sure common sense. Have you EVER been in a fight? Have you EVER needed to make that decision? I doubt it…since you have so much time on your hands to keyboard-jockey all day long.
The point is, you have no idea what it would be like in his situation. People like you never do…Is the killing of anyone wonderful? If the law states is beforehand and you do it, genius, then you chose to die. Lich…but sir, you are a coward. I would have flipped him off too. You can call me all the names you want but it will never change that people like you are why crime grows.. Wait, let me answer that for you…compassion. Well unless they actually WANT the consequence.
So, genius and god of all absolute thought…nothing I say will change your mind. The Bible yes, dude.. I said the Bible says that quarreling with a fool leads to nothing. Well, whatever your response is, I doubt it falls out of line with you being a fool. A couple more things…I realize that you are one person in billions out there. The comforting reality is just that. You will never affect change, you will never change the fact that Texas has a death penalty and that despite your incalculable IQ and comment-section prowess, your arguments are meaningless..
Somehow your life has lead you to seek out those you believe you can intellectually dominate. Lich has gone through something no one would ever wish on their enemy I could be wrong. A large clock stands above the glass front doors, which themselves are about a dozen steps above the road. Those are the steps, bordered by a thick brass rail, that I walk up at 6pm, the time Texas law specifies executions may begin.
The death warrant runs to midnight, but that wasn't always the case. For Autry and for many years after him, death warrants ran from midnight to sunrise. That led lawyers for Raymond Kinnamon — who shot a man in the back — to keep arguing his case towards dawn, in an apparent attempt to reach sunrise and escape the executioner. His final statement rambled for perhaps 25 minutes, but it didn't work and he was put to death. His intentions will never be known. I couldn't ask him. For decades, many inmates brought to the "death house" holding cell at Huntsville spent their last hours a few feet away from crates holding a disassembled "Old Sparky", the electric chair where more than Texas prisoners were executed from the mids until the early s when the death penalty was halted by the Supreme Court.
The same court nearly a decade later would allow capital punishment to resume. While electric chairs remain in some states in this so-called modern era of capital punishment, none is commonly used today. Texas switched to injection, and "Old Sparky" is now housed in a prison museum a few miles away where visitors can, and do, pose for a picture. By the time we journalists enter the death chamber through a small courtyard and steel door, the inmate has been prepared for the injection by a team of prison officers. Normally, two needles are inserted into his arms at the inside of the elbows.
He, or she, is belted at their ankles, wrists, legs and chest. The inmate's arms are extended. From above, it would resemble a crucifixion, with the prisoner lying down. They are able to move their head, either lifting it or moving it from side to side. Over their head is a microphone, linked to speakers in each of two small viewing areas.
The warden stands at their head. A chaplain stands at their feet. In an adjoining room, up to five relatives or friends of the murder victim are allowed to watch. The inmate can also select five witnesses. We, the five media witnesses, are the last to enter one of the two rooms, which are so small you could probably touch both walls if you spread your arms out. This means you often have to peek around shoulders or between heads to get a view through jail bars set between two plastic windows. There are no seats. We are allowed to bring in only a pen and writing pad.
No photos are allowed. Once the command is given to proceed, the warden asks the inmate if they have a final statement. After that, the drugs are administered, carried by plastic tubes that originate in an adjoining room. The executioner is an unseen and unidentified prison agency official who can look into the death chamber through a window covered by one-way glass. Typically, the prisoner takes some deep breaths, may gasp, begins to snore, the sounds diminish, then all movement stops.
Less than a minute has gone by, often less than 30 seconds. On occasion, before slipping into unconsciousness, the prisoner may say that he can taste or smell the pentobarbital, the powerful sedative Texas uses as its execution drug. Some have said it is cold, others hot. A few have been defiant.
Gary Graham, executed for a killing at a Houston market, railed about the injustice of his punishment and unsuccessfully tried to wrest himself free. Others have been more accepting of their fate. Many, like Autry, say nothing. Two inmates said hello to me by name as I walked in the chamber. The first was Robert Black, whom I had interviewed several times and was convicted of arranging the murder of his wife. After spotting me, he said: I look like a stretched-out goose.
Once the inmate is unconscious, and all movement has stopped, prison officials continue administering the drug until the dosage is exhausted.