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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: October 21, 2020      Views: 17
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Chapter 23 of the book Pewter's Homecoming
Andrew's defense begins.
"Chapter 8 - After Homecoming" by teols2016
Five years later, a closed homicide gets a second look.

Previously in "Pewter's Homecoming":

Marcy Sellers starts her junior year as a new student at Pewter Public High School in western Texas. She meets Lily Harvey, who shows her around. A few weeks later, both girls are attacked. The police quickly arrest a suspect, but, five years later, Roland Davis, a lawyer from Dallas, is given a chance to review the case.

Three Years Ago:

After Jose Ortis testified and the court reconvened following a lunch break, the afternoon consisted of Sherriff Darden describing his interrogation of Andrew Mooruff. From the prosecution's perspective, it was unremarkable, offering no surprise information that suggested the defendant's possible innocence. After the sheriff spoke for three and a half hours, Clyde Baxter declined to cross-examine and the judge adjourned court for the day.

"The prosecution rests," Quince Martin announced the next morning once the jury was seated.

"Call your first witness, Mr. Baxter," the judge instructed.

Clyde Baxter rose to his feet.

"The defense calls Dr. James McVey," he announced.

For the first time, Andrew relaxed in his seat. He remembered Dr. McVey. They'd met three times while he was in jail and the doctor seemed nice. For one thing, he wasn't accusing Andrew of anything.

Dr. McVey, a short, thin, white-haired man, made his way down the center aisle of the courtroom. He was sworn in and took the witness stand. He and Clyde Baxter first talked about him going to school in Michigan and the doctor's credentials and expertise were soon accepted.

"Have you examined the defendant, Andrew Mooruff?" Clyde Baxter asked.

"Yes," Dr. McVey said, pushing his glasses up his nose. "We met several times over the past year."

He spoke in a high pitch that sounded like a bird chirping. But, unlike most birds' chirps, this wasn't appealing to the ear.

"What was your impression of him?" Clyde Baxter asked, pushing forward.

"Very friendly and cooperative," Dr. McVey said, "but he has a limited understanding of the world around him."

"So, you'd consider him cognitively impaired?"

"Objection," Quince Martin spoke up. "Leading the witness. Mr. Baxter is not a trained therapist and is in no position to suggest such a prognosis."

"Sustained," the judge agreed with a bang of his gavel.

"Dr. McVey," Clyde Baxter rephrased. "What conclusions did you draw about Andrew's mental capacities?"

"I concluded he is cognitively delayed," Dr. McVey said. "As I explained, he has a limited understanding of the world around him. Sure, he can function at his job, but he was extensively trained to accomplish his assigned tasks there. He would require such extensive training if he were to succeed at any other aspect of his life."

"You described him as 'friendly'. Would you say that is a general demeaner Andrew displays to people he encounters?"

"Objection," Quince Martin said. "Dr. McVey cannot testify about every one of the defendant's encounters."

"I am asking the witness to give his opinion on my client's general demeaner based on their interactions and Dr. McVey's professional experience and training," Clyde Baxter countered.

The judge paused to consider the arguments.

"Overruled," he said, banging his gavel. "The witness will answer."

"Yes," Dr. McVey said. "One thing Andrew does understand is making people happy. He understands people are happy when he does what he is supposed to do, like at his job. He also understands people are happy when he is friendly towards them."

"Thank you. No further questions."

Clyde Baxter sat down, and Quince Martin jumped to his feet.

"Dr. McVey," he said, "how often did you meet with the defendant?"

Dr. McVey paused, seeming to conjure an acceptable answer.

"I can present the jail's visiting logs," Quince Martin offered. "They indicate every time someone comes or goes from that facility."

"Andrew and I met three times," Dr. McVey said with all the confidence he could regain.

"How long was each visit?"

"About an hour."

Dr. McVey had no choice but to give a prompt answer and everyone knew it.

"Three times for an hour each?" Quince Martin asked. "The 'several times' you testified about earlier were a total of three hours across a year?"

"Well," Dr. McVey said quickly. "I also spent time reviewing his records from school and the like."

"How much time?" Quince Martin asked. "We'll accept a ballpark answer, Doctor."

Dr. McVey looked at his feet.

"Four hours," he said in his weakest bird's chirp.

"Seven hours?" Quince Martin asked. "You spent a total of seven hours on this defendant's records and with the defendant himself and we're supposed to believe your description of him?"

Everyone knew an answer wasn't expected. Dr. McVey stayed quiet.

"Have you heard about all the allegations about the defendant's inappropriate behavior with young women?" Quince Martin asked. "Not young women ... girls? Underage girls the same age as Lilian Harvey and Marcy Sellers?"

"Yes," Dr. McVey said. "I have heard about this."

"Draw any conclusions?"

"Andrew admitted he liked to look at pretty girls and women. He told me he glanced at such girls at the school, but he swore to me he would never act on such feelings. It was extensively explained to him that such behavior was inappropriate. He swore to me he never acted on his attractions."

Quince Martin snorted.

"And here we are," he remarked. "One girl dead and another in a coma, likely to never wake up. I have no further questions."

He sat down again.

"Any redirect?" the judge asked.

Clyde Baxter declined, wanting to get the doctor out of the courtroom as quickly as possible.

"Call your next witness," the judge instructed as Dr. McVey left the courtroom and probably Alter County, if not the state of Texas altogether.

"We have no more witnesses," Clyde Baxter said. "The defense rests."

Andrew looked at him. He wanted to speak and tell everyone the truth. He opened his mouth. Clyde Baxter shook his head and waved his hand.

"The defense rests," the lawyer repeated to ensure certainty.

"Then we'll take a long lunch and reconvene at 1:00," the judge said. "You gentlemen will then give your closing statements."

He banged his gavel.

The book continues with Chapter 8 - Present. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
These chapters are, for the most part, divided into 3 sections: "Before Homecoming", "After Homecoming", and "Present". There will be a couple exceptions to this structure in the last few chapters. The "After Homecoming" section also has the largest time shift throughout the chapters,.

Pewter is a fictional town in fictional and rural Alter County in western Texas.

Cast of characters:

Marcy Sellers: a new student at Pewter Public High School,, starting her junior year. Was raped and left comatose in the girls' locker room after the Pewter Homecoming game.

Lillian "Lily" Harvey: a junior at Pewter Public High and a cheerleader. Was raped and murdered in the girls' locker room after the Pewter Homecoming game.

Andrew Mooruff: custodian at Pewter Public High. Convicted and sentenced to death for the locker room attack. Awaiting execution on Texas's Death Row.

Keith Darden: sheriff of Alter County. Personally investigated the locker room attack.

Clyde Baxter: public defender assigned to represent Andrew at his capital murder trial.

Quince Martin: Alter County District Attorney who prosicuted Andrew for capital murder.

Feedback, specifically suggestions for additions/subtractions/alterations, is always welcome. Enjoy.
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