Hubs and I were watching a true crime show on Friday night. I think it was 48 Hours. Might've been Dateline. Anyway, the evidence seemed pretty clear cut to me. (Hubs, too.) Even though it was circumstantial. Neither of us wanted to stay up for the end, so I googled the case. And discovered that the first trial had ended in a hung jury...
Let me back up a little. This particular case was 30 years old. A woman was found by the side of the road, barely hanging onto life. She couldn't tell anyone what happened and she never would. Her head was caved in. There wasn't a great deal of physical evidence. There were no witnesses. There was only the man who found her. Or rather, the man who said at the time that he'd been driving down the road and had seen what he thought might be a body, so he whipped a u-turn, and when he realized the woman was still alive, went down the street knocking on doors, looking for help.
Then, after some further investigation, the man who 'found' her said that actually she'd been in his car with him, but she'd fallen out of his car on a turn. Except the body was 200 feet from the nearest curve. Except the woman only had the head injuries - no road rash, no messed up clothing. Even her shoes were with her and she was wearing clogs.
But they had no real evidence, so the case went cold...
Flash forward thirty years. Her daughter, who was only a baby when she died, had badgered the local authorities into opening the case again. Interviews of whoever was still around ensued. Evidence - what little there was left of it (a lot of the case file had disappeared) - was reviewed. It all boiled back around to the man who 'found' her. Turns out he was a bouncer in the bar where she was last seen. Turns out he had a new story that still didn't match the evidence - this time she'd fallen out of his car and hit her head on a mailbox pole. (There was no mailbox anywhere near where she was found.) It was all just a horrible accident.
Now, I've probably left out a bunch of stuff. The guy, for instance, had been a model human being for the past thirty years. The woman's boyfriend had been in and out of jail for the past thirty years. A butterfly was probably flapping its wings off the coast of Chili. None of that really mattered when you looked at the facts.
The facts were that the last person this woman was with had lied. Repeatedly. The evidence showed that her head was bashed in. There was no evidence of anything that would resemble a fall from a moving vehicle. And there was only one person in the vicinity who could've ended this woman's life - however you put together the pieces.
If you strip away all the unnecessaries, the equation is simple.
But, the first jury was hung. The defense introduced theories to cloud up the simple equation. The prosecution introduced theories which clouded up the simple equation. 2 + 2 = 4 turned into (6 divided by 2 -1) + (the square root of 4 plus 0) equals X.
The next jury got it right. Guilty. 15 to life. (Which is apparently the most you can get in the state where this occurred.)
My theory? He offered her a ride home and tried something. She said no. She tried to get away and he whacked her in the back of the head, knocking her down, then he hit her a couple more times in the side and the front of her head. Then he panicked. He got in the car to drive away, but realized she wasn't dead, so he went back and tried to make it look like he was a concerned citizen, in case she woke up and identified him as the one who beat her. I don't know for sure. It's just a theory.
No way, in any theory I could think of - and I thought about this a lot as I was trying to fall asleep that night - did 'accidental' come into the equation.
Something to think about if you're ever sitting a jury, I guess. Try to boil out all the unnecessaries and look only at the facts. Make a decision based on those. I'll probably never get to sit on a jury - not if the attorneys ask me any questions during jury selection. Which reminds me... I'm still on the jury pool here in MO until next month. I wonder if they'll call me up.
Have you ever been on a jury?