It was one of the United States’ most notorious murders.
Medger Evans was a Civil Rights activist in the Deep South when he was gunned down at point-blank range, in 1963.
In those days, racial hatred, never far from the surface even now, was practiced unashamedly.
When Byron de La Beckwith was tried for the murder, the all-white jury could not bring themselves to convict him, even though his fingerprints were unmistakable on the murder weapons.
Years rolled by, and in the changing political climate, voices, which had previously been frightened into silence, began to make themselves heard.
In addition, certain incriminating documents came to light, which suggested that de la Beckwith truly had a case to answer.
And so, in 1994, a new trial began in Jackson, Mississippi which received widespread media coverage.
Sitting in his home in Chicago, hundreds of miles to the north, Mark Reiley, a retired prison guard, was watching the evening news.
The name of Medger Evans forced him to reflect. Had he not heard that name somewhere before? And he remembered prisoner he had guarded in a prison in Louisiana, who, by way of threat, had once boasted to him, “You don’t appreciate the connections I have, otherwise I would be serving time for the murder of that nigger Medger Evans”.
Reiley put through a call to the prosecuting attorney, and his evidence was the clinching testimony which sent Byron de la Beckwith to prison for the murder committed thirty-one years before.
We often bemoan the state of our world, and ask why God seems to permit evil to proceed unchallenged.
But the Bible asserts that God knows all, and that His light exposes the deeds done in darkness.
As the Psalmist asserted, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me... even the darkness will not be dark to you’” (Psalm 139; 11,12).
And the apostle Paul said that Christ the judge “will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4;5)
In Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘Our Mutual Friend’, he muses on the impossibility of hiding a crime in God’s world.
“There is”, he wrote, “a spell against which the shedder of blood for ever strives in vain.
“There are fifty doors by which discovery might enter. With infinite pains and cunning, he double locks and bars forty-nine of them, and cannot see the fiftieth lying wide open”.
Even in this fallen world, a moral truth prevails that evil cannot ultimately be hidden.
As the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it, “Commit a crime and the world is made of glass. Some damning circumstance always conspires”.
Tiger Woods, Jimmy Savile and Lance Armstrong all confirm the truth of Emerson’s assertion.
Is Oscar Pistorius just the latest to prove it true?