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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: October 22, 2020      Views: 13
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Chapter 26 of the book Pewter's Homecoming
Andrew's jury encounters conflicts.
"Chapter 9 - 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:

The jurors began deliberating at 2:00 the afternoon after Dr. McVey's testimony. Clyde Baxter stayed with Andrew Mooruff and his mother, Angela. Both stood outside the holding cell while lawyer and client played Go Fish through the bars.

"Do you think we have a chance?" Angela asked, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

"We have a shot at a hung jury," Clyde Baxter replied as he drew a card from the deck. "Hopefully, this county won't have the funds for another trial."

He grimaced as he studied his new card and added it to his hand. Angela dabbed her wet eyes again.

* * *

The game was wrapping up when a court officer approached the holding cell.

"The jury's back," he reported. "They say they have a verdict."

Angela gasped. Clyde Baxter stiffened. Inside the cell, Andrew just sat there, staring.

"You folks head in there," the officer said, waving towards the door through which he'd come. "He'll be in shortly."

He gestured through the bars at Andrew.

"Come on," Clyde Baxter encouraged, steering a shaking Angela.

"I love you, Mama," Andrew said.

"I love you too, Baby," Angela returned, looking back at him over her shoulder.

They walked out as Andrew gathered the cards.

* * *

A couple minutes after Clyde Baxter and Angela entered the courtroom, Andrew was brought out as usual. His handcuffs were removed when he sat down at the defense table and he stared straight ahead. Angela sat in the first row, surrounded by a few friends and family members.

Across the aisle, the victims' families sat with Sherriff Darden and several deputies, the rows behind them filled with supporters and the girls' classmates. Many people wore t-shirts with the girls' faces on them and some were crying. Others glared at Andrew as though the conviction and sentence had already been pronounced and he had no right to be alive anymore. Everyone knew more supporters were standing outside the courthouse, holding signs and chanting. The only reason they weren't in the courtroom was capacity limitations and related safety concerns.

The judge entered and then the jury took their seats.

"Mr. Foreman," the judge said." I understand you have a verdict."

The foreman, a thin man, an insurance salesman, if people remembered correctly, rose.

"We do," he said, "on some of the charges. We're encountering opposition on some of the other charges."

A low murmur erupted throughout the courtroom. It wasn't loud, but the agitation was clear.

"Order," the judge barked, banging his gavel. "Order."

Andrew stared at his attorney, bewildered. Clyde Baxter's face revealed no answers.

As the courtroom settled again, the judge returned his attention to the jury.

"Do you have any questions?" he asked.

"No, Your Honor," the foreman replied, quick to please. "It's just ... there are disagreements."

"Your Honor," Quince Martin said from the prosecution's table. "We ask that you question the jurors further to learn what these disagreements are."

The judge paused before looking at each juror for a solid second.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury," he said. "Are you sure you are unable to continue? It's barely been two hours."

"Not in a way we can see," the foreman replied. A few jurors murmured their agreement and some exchanged glowering looks.

"Very well," the judge said. "I shall meet with each of you individually in my chambers to ascertain the problem. Court officer, please escort them back to the jury room. Counselors, my clerk will contact you with an update when I have it. For now, court is dismissed."

"Your Honor," Clyde Baxter said, springing to his feet. "I would like to be present when you question the jurors."

"I'm denying your request, Mr. Baxter," the judge said without hesitation. "This has been stressful enough for these folks. I don't need lawyers breathing down their necks as I ascertain where we are in diliberations."

"Yes, Your Honor."

"Very good."

The judge banged his gavel.

"He wants this wrapped up today," Clyde Baxter muttered to no one in particular as he packed up his briefcase. "No one wants to be here through the weekend."

Andrew tried to count how many days they'd been here. He thought it was four, but he couldn't be sure. Being in the jail every night for so long was doing funny things to his mind. It became harder to keep the days right, but he supposed today was Friday.

"I'll come see you when I can," Clyde Baxter said as a court officer came to take Andrew back to the holding cell.

The book continues with Chapter 9 - 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.

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.

Angela Mooruff: Andrew's mother.

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