Today’s story is about one Kimball Richardson, M.D. If his name reminds you of the protagonist of The Fugitive, that’s because I’m ripping off that property. Richardson’s story is not unlike that of his cinematic progenitor; he’s a physician, framed for murdering his spouse, wrongfully convicted and sentence to death.
But there’s some significant differences: four, in total. First off, Richardson is not an athletic, straight white dude at the height of his career, but rather a nebbish, gay black man still laden with student debt. Second, his spouse was killed not in their home but while they were on vacation in Texas. Third, Richardson never escaped from custody, but rather spent a year in prison, where his experiences were exactly as pleasant as you’d predict for a skinny gay black nerd serving time in Texas for killing his male white spouse
Richardson was eventually exonerated–let’s say thanks to a hardboiled PI who found the real killer. He’d lost his license for obvious reasons. The prison doctor was sympathetic and got him a janitorial job in the infirmary, and during his off hours Richardson devoured medical journals, in preparation of getting his license reinstated once he was free
Which brings us to the fourth difference between this story and The Fugitive. Shortly before Richardson was scheduled to be released, there was a prison riot, and a certain guard was gravely injured. Richardson and several others had taken refuge in the infirmary. One of those others was a guard who, being a physically abusive, racist homophobe who had made Richardson’s life hell for months. The prison doctor was also injured–not mortally, but too badly to work. Richardson was uninjured and had both the time and the equipment needed to help the guard. He didn’t. The guard died.
Should Richardson’s failure to save the guard affect his release? How about getting his license restored?