I got to spend most of my week sitting in a courtroom. At least it wasn't me, anyway.
I had to work the Sunday night desk at the office, so I got Monday off. But starting Tuesday, I was assigned to cover a trial - I was to be there from start to finish. We don't get good criminal trials around here very often. Nearly every one is settled for a reduced charge. This one, though, the prosecutor wasn't letting go. And it was a doozy. Attempted murder, three counts of kidnapping and felonious assault.
On Day 1 (Tuesday) I arrived in the court room at the scheduled start time of 9 a.m. only to find that jury selection was under way. Yep, apparently they do that at the last possible moment. One of the people from our IT department was there as a prospective juror. She dropped a bombshell to get out of it. Said our company was changing hands at midnight and she'd be spending all night all week switching servers, etc. and would be too exhausted to pay attention. Well, that's certainly a way to find out that your company's been sold.
The trial finally got started at 10:30 a.m. with testimony from the victim - a 28-year-old blonde waitress. We got to see lots of pictures of her shortly after she'd gotten the crap beaten out of her, and she told the convoluted tale.
In as brief a version as possible:
She's having an affair with her married boss. They go on a catering job together. Go out drinking after. She gets mad because he's texted his wife. He gets mad because she's texted her other married boyfriends. They go to the little love nest they've rented - furnished with just an air mattress and a TV. He proceeds to beat the living crap out of her for several hours. She attempts to get away by breaking the toilet tank lid over his head. He beats her some more. Chokes her to unconsciousness once. When he thinks she's unconscious again, he texts his OTHER girlfriend - 256 times. Saying he's beaten this girl - he needs to kill her - he needs to hide the body - he needs to run - he needs to hide ... then oh, by the way, erase these texts. (No good there - prosecution just got the phone records from the phone company.)
So, slimebag calls his wife (yes, his WIFE) and tells her he's bringing the battered girlfriend home for her to take care of. (Which she DOES - taking beaten girl to buy a new cell phone too, after her husband smashed her other one when she tried to call for help).
Meanwhile, slimebag hooks up with OTHER girlfriend. They decide the knot on his head doesn't look bad enough, so they agree she's going to hit him in the forehead with a 2X4 piece of wood. So she does that...once Saturday....then again Sunday....then again Monday. (That whole "but she hit me first" with the toilet tank lid argument didn't work for the defense, btw - so he got a big headache for nothing.)
Beaten girl meets up with a friend from work who convinces her to take pics of her injuries and finally go to the hospital. She'd been driving around with her eyes almost completely swollen shut, after all.
So the trial went on through Day 1, and I was at the office until 7:30 writing the 43-inch story. Then on Day 2 I got to sit in court all day again, and slimebag actually HIT ON ME during a recess - yep, right after I've spent two hours looking at pics of the girl he beat up. Was in the office until 6:45 writing the 30-inch story.
Day 3, slimebag hit on me AGAIN, this time in front of my boyfriend (he was there to take pics for the paper), doing a brush up against my shoulder then actually putting his arm around me FFS! Needless to say, PB (my bf) was NOT happy. He happened to be standing right behind at the time, and he came up and told me, "If he touches you again, I'm punching him in the face."
On Day 3, the defense rested its case - surprisingly, since they had a list of "witnesses" a mile long, consisting mainly of local police officers who might or might not have had affairs with the victim. Guess they were deemed inadmissible or something, because it all wrapped up rather suddenly. Jury was deliberating for a few hours, and during the entire time, I got to sit outside the court room with the defendant and his attorneys. (At one point, his lead attorney asked me what I thought, since I'd been there through the whole thing. I replied, "I'm a reporter. I don't have opinions." :) )
The jury came back with a verdict of guilty on all five counts. Slimebag is looking at 10-44 years in prison. AND he's still got three counts of rape and one count of extortion over the same victim in a separate case coming up later.
I was in the office until 8 p.m. writing that one up. You should take a look at my hours for this week.