It was a case to sap the strength of Criminal Defense lawyer Jason Doe, as the witness in the dock seemed to have prepared for the ordeal. The lawyer stared at the witness, and sweeping his heard backward, strolled deliberately to the defense table.
Pretending he was fumbling over some documents, he extracted one and with echoes of his shoes lightly hammering the floor, he looked and frowned at the witness.
“Your step son is Bob Alison?”
“Yes,” the woman, whose husband’s body had recently been discovered, lifted her head and squared her shoulders. She clasped the white handkerchief in her hands. The preliminary case was reaching its climax, and she was called by the defense to answer to some questions, her circumstantial involvement in the husband’s death.
The lawyer allowed the low echo of her response to filter through the courtroom and some of the spectators strained to catch her response.
“You testified,” the lawyer said with a smile, “that Bob Alison was never happy the day he found out that his now deceased father had married to you?”
“Yes,” the widow said, “he made his position to me in so many ways as I earlier testified.”
“And one of the ways,” the lawyer continued, “was that he wanted you to leave his father and marry to him?”
“And this proposition that you told the court was because the witness, who is now the defendant, was willing to do anything to have you?”
“And what gave you the understanding that he was interested in you?”
“When I admitted in our conversation to him that I appreciated his remarks about how beautiful and charming I was, I realized he had a different agenda.”
An echo of laughter filled the room, and the lawyer, frowning at the witness’ response, said, “And you testified that that agenda was partly due to his plot against your husband and his father?”
“And at some point you decided to avoid him?”
“How then did you invite him to a party, where you discussed some issues that you testified earlier to be an issue of concern?”
“The discussion came during our meeting.”
“But you suspected that that he had an ulterior motive about you?”
The witness folded her arms across her chest and lifting up her chin, said, “I loved my husband and we were doing fine but concerning the meeting with Bob Allison it was purely on personal basis.”
“But at the meeting with him,” Jason Doe pushed further, “you asked him to sit near you and he objected to the kind of interest you showed him, did he not?”
“What did you offer him?”
“I did not think about it but I offered him a reward,” the widow said, mopping her tear-filled eyes, “I am a woman, at the verge of adventure. I am a woman who married a nice man who cared for him. I am a woman who is now so weak…” her voice deserted her, and she wiped her face with her handkerchief. The emotional outburst was charged and the district attorney jumped in to soften the tension.
“Your Honor,” he said, shaking his hands, “how much more should this woman endure the unnecessary intrusion into her life?”
Judge Dennis Duo Samson lifted his glasses beyond his nose and glared at the district attorney, “The Court cannot allow any form of an emotional outburst to intrude in the search for justice.
“If the DA has any objections he may raise them and the court will address them appropriately.”
District attorney Boye Lawrence felt the blow from the judge’s stinging remark, and bowing, said, “Your Honor, I am aware of the intricacies of the case but I am forced to admit that counsel is applying his usual tactics to overpower the witness.”
“Even if that is the case,” the judge said, “the court will expects the district attorney to raise necessary objections and the court will act upon them.”
“Thank you, Your Honor,” he said, and in a show of defiance, lifted his chin and swept his face from the defense council.
Counsel Doe’s smile was triumphant when the judge asked him to continue with his cross-examination. The shocking death of former Monrovia businessman and banker Jeremiah Alison took the city of Monrovia by shock and particularly since it was just two years after his controversial marriage to Monrovia actress and music diva Jocelyn C. C. Yellow, now Jocelyn Alison. The new Mrs. Alison turned twenty two at the time of his death, with both material and cash assets in the tone of USD10 million.
Jason Doe kept the frown on his face, and said, “The death of your husband was the most painful experience in your life?”
“And his death has caused you a lot of pain?”
“Yes it has caused me lots of pain.”
“But in this pain you want to punish the person who allegedly caused his death?”
“His death was caused by his son and the answer is obvious yes.”
“And that is the reason you are making all efforts to ensure that he is found liable and punished?”
“I know he is guilty.”
The lawyer considered her answer for a moment, and said, “You also agree that as one of his sons, he deserves what his father left behind?”
“Well,” the witness said, “as his legal wife I must determine what belongs to him or anyone else.”
“Therefore,” the lawyer said with caution, “if someone testifies that you gave a huge amount of money to someone one week before your husband’s murder and it was meant to get your husband killed…”
The district attorney was on his feet, shouting, “That is a conclusion of the matter with no proper foundation established.”
“Sustained,” Judge Samson said.
Jason Doe turned swiftly, and returning to the witness, said, “You are aware that one of the men who received part of the money you recently donated resembled a shadow character of a man witnesses saw leaving the scene of the murder.”
In what appeared as a violent surprise, Mrs. Alison said, “I did not have any idea of what you are referring to.”
“But you testified earlier that you made a huge donation?”
“It was to help the needy.”
“But the night of the incident,” the lawyer said, “police found William Watt with USD25, 000.00 and during investigations later revealed the money came from you.”
“It was a business deal I had with Mr. Watt.”
“And that deal worth as much as USD25, 000.00?”
The witness shifted in her position and looking gloomily at her hands, said, “I am a successful actress and a musician even before I met my husband.
“Paying a man with such an amount may sound too much for people who hardly earn much for their sustenance and therefore my relation with Watt does not have anything to do with the death of my husband.”
“But is it not strange that Watt would die, two days after police interviewed him about this particularly case?”
“It is strange, though.”
“And Watt was one of the friends was a beneficiary of the money you gave?”
“But when he died two days after he was interviewed…did it mean anything to you?”
“He might have been killed for what the police say was due to a robbery attempt against him for possessing such a huge sum of money.”
The lawyer smiled.
“So,” he told her, “if Watt were to be here today, and refuted your statement, will that make any difference?”
The witness said, “The dead cannot return to the world of the living, and you know that.”
“But just suppose William Watt is not dead?”
The witness said, “I will believe you when I see him.”
The courtroom elicited a brief laughter at the witness’ response, and Jason Doe walked leisurely to the defense table, and indicated to someone in the spectators to come forward.
“Your Honor,” the lawyer said, returning to the witness, “I’m going to introduce a young man. His name is William Watt, who was supposedly killed, two days after Mrs. Alison’s husband was killed.
“This man is also the same man who received a cash of USD25, 000.00 from the plaintiff, the widow for a particular job that she has testified to this court was a business matter.”
Just then a man in his late thirties walked across the courtroom, with toothpaste smiles to stand by the lawyer. The lawyer grinned, and turning to the witness, said, “Mrs. Alison, do you know this man?”
“Well, he looks like someone I know.”
“And is it not this man not that you admitted paying USD25, 000.00 for a business deal?”
The witness hesitated and then in a burst of shock, said, “I thought it was true that he died…”
“He did not,” the lawyer said, “and now before I put this man to the stand, it will be a good idea for Mrs. Alison to explain the circumstances of her husband’s death to the court.”
Suddenly, the three bailiffs rushed to the witness in the stand as the witness rushed from the witness stand towards William Watt, muttering, “You son of a bitch, you son of a bitch. I know you will ruin all I have done.”
Smiling, Jason Doe strolled to the defense table and took his position, as Judge Samson, gathering his nerves said, “This is an interesting development of an angry widow against an older son of a man who was killed by his own. When such a relationship comes between a highly rich man and a young woman who is living above her means, the inherent danger is too clear.
“While it is not wrong for young women to determine their future of whoever they want to share their lives with, it is imperative that those who take interest in such women understand the challenges that assail this adventure.
“Our society is filled with those who would go the extra mile to advance their interest and with the current case before the court, we are convinced that whatever case Mrs. Alison has against the defendant, it is a case in which money played an influential role in determining how long her husband should live.
“The court therefore orders the defendant released and the plaintiff held for prosecution and therefore the court is adjourned.”
Jason Doe, followed by a large entourage and the former defendant trooped out of the courtroom and outside reporters from Monrovia newspapers snapped pictures for the next day’s edition. As cameras repeatedly flashed the lawyer and his entourage, Jason Doe said, “We need to get out of here.”
“How did you know that William Watt was not dead?” a reporter shouted at the lawyer.
Grinning, the lawyer said, “I knew because he was alive.”
“Did she send someone to have killed Watt?”
The lawyer said, “When Watt realized she was determined to kill her husband he took the money and contacted police, who sent officers to apprehend her.
“On their way, the police cruiser ended up in a ditch and when they managed to get the car back on track another man that she had paid to complete the job, mistakenly killed someone who he thought was Watt.”
“So she didn’t know that Watt was alive?”
“No,” the lawyer said, “she thought he had been killed which encouraged her to persist in her devilish crime and to deny my client a share of his father’s wealth.” The lawyer and his group took the first taxi.
“What a case,”’ the reporter said with a smile.