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It was too late to repair the damage that had been done. "No cross," the District Attorney said.

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'Then I would like to call Abraham Wilson to the stand."

"Your name?"

"Abraham Wilson:'

"Would you speak up, please?"

"Abraham Wilson."

"Mr. Wilson, did you kill Raymond Thorpe?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Would you tell the court why?"

"He was gonna kill me."

"Raymond Thorpe was a much smaller man than you. Did you really believe that he would be able to kill you?"

"He was comin' at me with a knife that made him puny tall."

Jennifer had kept out two objects from the goodie box. One was a finely honed butcher knife; the other was a large pair of metal tongs. She held up the knife. "Was this the knife that Raymond Thorpe threatened you with?"

"Objection! The defendant has no way of knowing-"

"I'll rephrase the question. Was this similar to the knife that Raymond Thorpe threatened you with?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And these tongs?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Had you had trouble with Thorpe before?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And when he came at you armed with these two weapons, you were forced to kill him in order to save your own life?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Thank you."

Jennifer turned to Di Silva. "Your witness."

Robert Di Silva rose to his feet and moved slowly toward the witness box. "Mr. Wilson, you've killed before, haven't you? I mean, this wasn't your first murder?"

'I made a mistake and I'm payin' for it. I-"

"Spare us your sermon. Just answer yes or no."


"So a human life doesn't have much value to you."

"That ain't true. I-"

"Do you call committing two murders valuing human life? How many people would you have killed if you didn't value human life? Five? Ten? Twenty?"

He was baiting Abraham Wilson and Wilson was falling for it. His jaw was clenched and his face was filling with anger. Be careful!

"I only kilt two people."

"Only! You only killed two people!" The District Attorney shook his head in mock dismay. He stepped close to the witness box and looked up at the defendant. "I'll bet it gives you a feeling of power to be so big. It must make you feel a little bit like God. Any time you want to, you can take a life here, take a life there . . :"

Abraham Wilson was on his feet, rising to his full height. "You somabitch!"

No! Jennifer prayed. Don't!

"Sit down!" Di Silva thundered. "Is that the way you lost your temper when you killed Raymond Thorpe?"

"Thorpe was tryin' to kill me."

"With these?" Di Silva held up the butcher knife and the pair of tongs.

"I'm sure you could have taken that knife away from him." He waved the tongs around. "And you were afraid of this?" He turned back to the jury and held up the tongs deprecatingly. "This doesn't look so terribly lethal. If the deceased had been able to hit you over the head with it, it might have caused a small bump. What exactly is this pair of tongs, Mr. Wilson?" .

Abraham Wilson said softly, "They're testicle crushers:"


The jury was out for eight hours.

Robert Di Silva and his assistants left the courtroom to take a break, but Jennifer stayed in her seat, unable to tear herself away. When the jury filed out of the room, Ken Bailey came up to Jennifer. "How about a cup of coffee?"

"I couldn't swallow anything."

She sat in the courtroom, afraid to move, only dimly aware of the people around her. It was over. She had done her best. She closed her eyes and tried to pray, but the fear in her was too strong. She felt as though she, along with Abraham Wilson, was about to be sentenced to death.

The jury was filing back into the room, their faces grim and foreboding, and Jennifer's heart began to beat faster. She could see by their faces that they were going to convict. She thought she would faint. Because of her, a man was going to be executed. She should never have taken the case in the first place. What right had she to put a man's life in her hands? She must have been insane to think she could win over someone as experienced as Robert Di Silva. She wanted to run up to the jurors before they could give their verdict and say, Wait! Abraham Wilson hasn't had a fair trial. Please let another attorney defend him. Someone better than 1 am. But it was too late. Jennifer stole a look at Abraham Wilson's face. He sat there as immobile as a statue. She could feel no hatred coming from him now, only a deep despair. She wanted to say something to comfort him, but there were no words.

Judge Waldman was speaking. "Has the jury reached a verdict?"

"It has, Your Honor."

The judge nodded and his clerk walked over to the foreman of the jury, took a slip of paper from him and handed it to the judge. Jennifer felt as though her heart were going to come out of her chest. She could not breathe. She wanted to hold back this moment, to freeze it forever before the verdict was read.

Judge Waldman studied the slip of paper in his hands; then he slowly looked around the courtroom. His eyes rested on the members of the jury, on Robert Di Silva, on Jennifer and finally on Abraham Wilson.

"The defendant will please rise"

Abraham Wilson got to his feet, his movements slow and tired, as though all the energy had been drained out of him. Judge Waldman read from the slip of paper. "This jury finds the defendant, Abraham Wilson, not guilty as charged."

There was a momentary hush and the judge's further words were drowned out in a roar from the spectators. Jennifer stood there, stunned, unable to believe what she was hearing. She turned toward Abraham Wilson, speechless. He stared at her for an instant with those small, mean eyes. And then that ugly face broke into the broadest grin that Jennifer had ever seen.

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г) Побудительные мотивы и формы научного прогресса | Robert Di Silva rose to his feet and began his opening statement. | Name the crime 1 | The court system. Speaking | The county courts | Text 2 true-false statements |

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