Trial Journal Entries Dear Journal essay

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A family had been walking along the water front when the mother noticed some animals running away from a brush pile next to the water. Upon further investigation, they saw what appeared to be a human hand sticking out of the pile. The family ran away and phoned the police.

It had been months since the wife, mother and teacher had disappeared and it looked like she had been dead since the night she first went missing. Since she had disappeared last winter, it looked like someone may have stored her body in some type of freezer and had then moved her to the water hore in the hopes that no one would discover her body until spring. This was one idea that the police had, at least.

Her body was remarkably intact, but it was clear that she had been murdered. The evidence showed that sexual intercourse had recently taken place just before her death. DNA samples were inconclusive and the defense argued that it was not common for the couple to be using condoms as a form of birth control, because the wife had been taking birth control pills. It stood to reason that if she had been having sex with her husband, his DNA would have been present. I could see where this theory was going next. The defense attorney held strong to the idea that the murder victim had been sleeping around on her husband. This made him even more of a suspect in her death, but it also meant that someone else could have been responsible for killing her.

The evidence also showed that she had been hit in the head at least three or four times with a blunt object, which the police had yet to figure out and then shot twice, once in the chest and once in the forehead. From what the police could tell, she had been stashed away in a freezer and had been moved this past winter. I'm getting tired, so I'm going to end this journal entry, but today, I'm siding with the prosecution.

January 9, 1992

Today we heard from some sort of police expert who talked a lot about the victim's injuries. He talked about the bullet that entered her brain. Even after the first bullet, which entered her chest, and the repeated blows to her head, she hadn't been dead. This second bullet hadn't killed her either, but it must have appeared to the attacker that it had, or whoever did it, simply didn't care. She died after being stuffed into the freezer, but I'm unclear as to how long she lived in there for.

It was rough for me hearing about her death today. I had heard details before earlier in the trial, but the way this man described her death made it more real for me. By now, I wasn't sure what to believe. I was aware of the fact that the defendant would be speaking on his own behalf soon and I looked forward to hearing about it. The prosecution did a good job making the defendant look bad, but the defense attorney did an equally good job in his arguments. At first, the information that was presented to me closer to the beginning of the trial seemed to do a good job at depicting the husband as a crazy, dark and brooding father who was abusive to both his wife and his daughter. The defense did a good job in explaining a lot of it away and I found myself seeing both sides.

January 14, 1992

Today, the defendant took the stand and I know we are nearing the end of the trial. I will need to make a decision and so will all of the other jurors. After hearing the evidence up until his interview, I felt like there was the possibility that he may not have committed the crime. Today, after hearing him speak, I wasn't so sure. I do know that this trial is going on longer than anticipated. I know it's a murder trial, but I thought it would be over sooner. I think attorneys will be wrapping up the trial soon, from what I can tell. They keep saying things like, "as we come to the close of the trial" and things of that nature.

The defendant is an interesting character. He is very believable. I considered the fact that it must be difficult taking the stand at your wife's murder trial. If you show too much emotion, people might think that you are playing it up in an attempt to sway the jury your way and make people think that you are not a murderer. On the other hand, if you show no emotion whatsoever, people will question this and assume that you are guilty.

Other Impressions Important to the Case

The defendant is an attractive man, I noted and he appears to have loved his wife. As he sat there talking about their life together, I found it hard to believe that he was a murderer is sitting before me. He rarely looked at the jury and it occurred to me that he hardly ever does in general. If I were standing on trial, I think I would want to occasionally make eye contact with the people who could free me or put my away.

I wanted to believe that he didn't do it, but something he said while he was on trial bothered me. I've been struggling with it all day and wondered if it bothered the other jurors as well. He said that his marriage was simple. What an odd thing to say. Still, not enough to prove that the man is a murderer. My mind is pushing me to believe that he is a murderer and that he did it, but I intend to listen closely to the end of the trial and will write again when it is over.

Evaluation of the Direct Examination

The direct examination was interesting. My observation of the defendant was that he was confident and much to relaxed; this bothered me. This is where the other witness statements and interviews came into play and a lot of questions were answered by the defendant. The prosecution went first, asking questions in an attempt to make his case stronger. He did a good job and his questions made me consider the prosecution seriously. By the time the prosecutor was done, I felt I had a clear understanding of the defendant and questions were raised in my mind regarding whether or not he truly had killed his wife.

The defense attorney went second and his case seemed weaker. The defense becomes weaker as this case goes forward and I'm beginning to lose faith in the idea that this defendant did not murder his wife. In fact, when it was all said and done, I believe he did murder her.

Throughout the trial, it is interesting to me how each attorney goes about their questioning. The prosecution is taking the strategy at not only proving that the defendant could have easily killed his wife, but in showing that he was angry, mean and had a dark side that few saw, but one that definitely existed. The defense has been taking the stand that the defendant isn't perfect and that his flaws are simply being highlighted because he is on trial. Again, the defense is weak and I am losing faith in their argument. His strategy that anyone could have done it is true, but at this point, it is my belief that the prosecution was able to prove that the defendant not only had motive to kill his wife, but that he could have easily planned it and that he had the strength and time to do it.

Impression of the Judge and Jury

My impression of the jury isn't much. I believe everyone believes the same as I do, that the defendant is guilty. I can see by the expressions on their faces that they aren't buying the defense. The judge says very little. Each lawyer is familiar with this court room, it seems, and the judge only has to speak up every once in a while. Everyone seems to be following what they are supposed to be doing. The judge is an older, distinguished looking gentleman that holds a lot of clout, I can tell. I would be nervous to stand before him. The decisions really will fall with the jury.

February 1, 1992

The Outcome

It has been days, maybe even weeks, since I last wrote. This will be my final entry, because the trial is over. I guess I kept up with writing in my thoughts while it was going, but as soon as it was over, I lost track of it and sort of went back to life. I know I should be better about this and should remember more, but I couldn't…[continue]

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