Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Trial - Part One

The courtroom was silent, except for the quiet sobbing of Marlene Hopper who sat in the front pew. I sat at the defendant table with my lawyer, Tim Pratt. We all awaited the arrival of the judge. "Please rise for the Honorable Judge Herbert Judge," said the bailiff. We stood.

Judge Judge came out of his little door and took his seat behind the bench. We all sat. "Would the defendant please rise?" the judge asked.

Gah, isn't this why I stopped going to church? I stood up, along with Tim.

"You have been charged with three counts of harassment and one count of intentional grasshopper slaughter. How do you plead?"

Tim leaned toward me and whispered, "Pretend I'm saying something relating to the case. Think about what I'm saying, then come to a conclusion to agree with it." It was a good thing I took an acting class before.

Tim leaned back away and I said, "Not guilty."

The audience gasped. Marlene shouted out, "Not guilty, my foot! You killed him, you killed Bob!" and burst into tears. The judge called for order and the courtroom quieted down.

After some rather routine opening statements, full of things like, "Bob hopped his last hop" and "I hop, for your sake, this man is put away for a long, long time," District Attorney Brick Johnson was asked to call his first witness.

Dr. Hal Levin took the stand. "First, Dr. Levin, would you mind telling the court your qualifications?"

"Why, certainly sir. I have long been a leading forensic expert in this country, as well as Mexico and Zimbabwe. In the last 20 years I had decided to devote myself to crimes concerning herbivorous insects of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. I have two doctorates, one from Harvard, the other from the University of Kentucky. I have served as an expert witness in over 200 cases, half of those concerning hate crimes toward insects."

"And could you tell us your involvement with this case?"

"I was called in by the Hobbs Police Department. They said they had what looked to be a homocide disquised as a suicide. Apparently the crime scene was made to imply Mr. Hopper had jumped off the roof of Mr. Griffin's house, killing himself on impact. However, I found prints around the body, belonging to a size nine and a half steel-toed Wolverine workboot. Upon closer examination of the body I found that it was indeed a homicide."

Another gasp.

Brick looked over at the jury, comprised of five men, four women, two centipedes and a worm. He looked at them as if he were holding back a tear, shook his head and said, "Going by the autopsy, who killed Bob Hopper?"

"Clayburn Griffin," he stated.

Believe it or not, the audience gasped another time.

The doctor continued, "The prints matched those we also found throughout Mr. Griffin's house and, judging by the...well...the disfigurements of the body, it can be determined that Mr. Hopper's stomper was physically weak and relied predominantly on the force of gravity to land the fatal blow."

Dr. Levin talked for what seemed like hours about all the icky details of the murder. The jury seemed particularly disturbed by the fact one of Mr. Hopper's legs was never found. "No doubt taken as a trophy," as Dr. Levin put it.

Brick Johnson brought up several more so-called expert witnesses. Each provided more boring evidence than the one preceding him.

Finally, Brick called Marlene Hopper to the stand. She hippity-hopped her way up to the witness chair.

"When did you first meet the defendant?"

"It was September 26th, 2006. I'll never forget it. It was the day my husband was murdered!"

Gasping galore.

"Could you tell me about that encounter?"

"Mr. Griffin was mighty mean. He ridiculed and mocked my homosexual son and our religion. I'm a good Christian lady, and it's not like myself to get all up in a temper, but after talking to Mr. Griffin I couldn't help myself. I said a few mean things myself, which I have reptented a thousand times for since."

"What else do you know about him?"

"Well, I've never once seen him leave for church on a Sunday morning."

The spectators let out a gasp, or maybe a wheeze, I couldn't tell.

"No more questions, your honor," Brick announced.

"Mr. Pratt, do you wish to cross-examine?" the judge asked.

Tim stood and said, "Yes, your honor." He walked over to the witness stand. "Mrs. Hopper, did you see who killed your husband?"

"No, sir."

"What exactly was your husband out doing the day he was supposedly murdered?"

"I don't rightly know."

"He didn't tell you why he left?"

"No, sir."

"How long had he been gone?"

"I'm not sure, a few days I suppose."

"So your husband left for a few days without telling you anything about his trip?"

"That's right."

"Mrs. Hopper, isn't it true that Bob was having an affair and you found out, so you killed him and framed Mr. Griffin whom you had just recently met?"

"No."

"No it's not true or no it is true?"

"No, it's not true."

"So you admit you killed him then?"

"No. Mr. Griffin killed him."

"But why would my client care that he was having an affair?"

"He wasn't having an affair. Bob would never cheat on me."

"Because he knew you'd kill him if he did, right?"

"No, because he was a good husband."

"Are you aware that's an oxymoron?"

"You, sir, are an oxymoron."

Tim seemed hurt by the statement. He looked as though he would start to cry. Sniffing he said, "No more questions," and sat down.

"Mr. Johnson, next witness?" the judge said.

"The prosecution rests, your honor," Brick responded.

TO BE CONTINUED...

3 comments:

Master Yoda said...

Hmm...in suspense I am. Wonder what will happen next I do. Difficult for me the future of your trial is to see.

randy said...

hmmm... your writing needs a little work. the most interesting thing is the yoda comment, from which i found out that senator palpatine has kept a blog for quite some time. oh, and stop stealing my characters.

Clayburn Griffin said...

Brick Johnson isn't a character, he's more of a lack of character. Besides, the writer you were writing about created him!

By the way, Senator Palpatine is in another closed session, but will let out soon and his top aides inform me that he'll be remodelling his web log extensively.