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2012-04-21 10:40 PM
The more the jury talked, the more people came around to feeling we should convict Spike on the two counts of vandalism. There were a couple of sudden conversions, when a point made by one person would click with another. The hardest part for some was reconciling in their own minds the things we didn't hear in testimony.
Why, they wondered, didn't Lucy and Casper see Spike at the scene, if Satchel did see him? They were, after all, in the living room when the commotion started, and Satchel was upstairs asleep. We found the reason for this contradiction within the evidence. Lucy said she had been drinking wine and had fallen asleep on the couch. Casper had been wandering back and forth between the TV and the garage.
If we believed what Satchel said, he had raced downstairs at the sound of the first two tires exploding, and reached the front window in time to watch Spike pop the third one. It's not as if he took a lot of time, because he said he'd gone out on the porch in his boxers before running back upstairs to get dressed and chase down the suspect.
And if we didn't believe Satchel, it didn't matter that the others didn't see anything. Lucy wasn't fully awake, and Casper had only recently moved in. He had the least history with Spike and probably didn't know what he was facing if he were to confront him. We pictured Casper in the garage, as he said, but hiding rather than tinkering. The testimony showed that there was a lot of confusion in the house that night, and that's something we could all believe.
To those who thought the people in the house might have schemed to set Spike up with a frame job, we had an easy response. If they were going to make up a story, why wouldn't Lucy and Casper say they had seen Spike? If they were working together, why didn't they get it straight before appearing in court?
From what I'd seen of the prosecution witnesses, I didn't believe they were capable of constructing the plot in the first place, much less using all these contradictions to make it seem more plausible. I didn't think the fuzzy-headed confusion was an act at all. The vagueness actually made Lucy and Casper more believable, at least to me, and it gave me more reason to disregard Satchel altogether.
We also spent some time talking about what car was parked in the garage. Both Casper and Satchel had told us only one car could fit inside. Casper had said his car was there, and he'd been working on it that night. Satchel said he had to pry open the damaged garage door to get into his SUV to chase Spike. We couldn't believe both, so you know which way we went.
Anyway, if Satchel wanted us to believe he had left within a couple of minutes of the crime, then returned seven to nine minutes later, we didn't think he had time to open the garage door by hand. If we had to guess (and we did guess, whether we were meant to or not), it made more sense if his SUV had been parked on the street. We could have dreamt up an even more elaborate story, but the point was, we didn't need Satchel to be telling the truth. He thought Lucy and Casper were upstairs the whole time, and we didn't believe that, either.
By the time we had hashed this out for a couple of hours, disposing of the lingering doubts one by one, the vote was now 9 to 3 in favor of returning a Guilty verdict. One woman still stated emphatically that she couldn't be pressured into changing from Not Guilty to Guilty. No one had actually put any pressure on her. If anything, we leaned backwards in the other direction, honoring her feelings and letting her know that we respected her reluctance.
Maybe some people grumbled to their families about how long the trial was taking, but nobody even hinted in the jury room that they were getting restless. We were coming back for another day. By now it was late in the afternoon, and we were sure of it.
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