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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: October 25, 2020      Views: 14
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Chapter 32 of the book Pewter's Homecoming
Andrew's sentencing hearing begins.
"Chapter 11 - 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 rest of Saturday and the following Sunday seemed to rush by. On Monday morning, everyone was back in court for Andrew Mooruff's sentencing.

Clyde Baxter scored one victory during the hour of preliminary discussions in the judge's chambers that morning. He managed to prevent the inclusion of Marcy Sellers in the proceedings as what happened to her did not factor into the capital murder conviction, the sole item for which this second hearing was allowed to take place. Though the jurors had sat through the four-day trial the previous week, they would not hear a rehash of what happened to the comatose teenager, now at a hospital in El Paso. Her family wouldn't be allowed to speak during the penalty phase and the coroner, whom the prosecutor intended to put back on the stand, could only talk about the injuries inflicted on Lilian Harvey, including the cause of her death. Clyde Baxter doubted anyone had forgotten the descriptions of what happened to Marcy Sellers, but there was nothing he could do about those memories.

So, Quince Martin presented three witnesses. First, Lilian's mother, Sophia, sobbed as she told the jurors about her daughter.

"She was so full of life," the woman said between sobs. "She made everybody happy."

Lily's father, Jordan, came next, looking stoic as he gave similar testimony.

"What was Lily's favorite hobby?" Quince Martin asked at one point.

"Clothes ... fashion," Jordan replied, managing a smile as the remark was met by a wave of chuckling throughout the courtroom.

Jordan Harvey was followed by the coroner, who again described the injuries the popular blonde teenager endured from the rape, torture, and murder. Photographs of the cuts, bruises, and bitemarks were again passed around the jury box, still receiving shocked and disgusted reactions. A few jurors again looked up and glared at Andrew.

Clyde Baxter declined to cross-examine any of these witnesses and the gruesome spectacle lasted two hours, after which the judge adjourned the court for lunch.

That afternoon, Clyde Baxter presented his only witness.

"The defense calls Angela Mooruff," he announced.

He had the good sense not to call Dr. McVey back to the stand and his limited budget prevented him from finding another expert to explain Andrew's cognitive limitations to the jury. Unfortunately, he had no clear evidence that his client was so unable to understand the nature of these proceedings that he'd be ineligible for execution. So, like his prosecutorial counterpart, he'd tug at the jurors' heartstrings.

Like Sophia Harvey, Angela sniffled as she sat in the witness stand, her eyes already wet.

"Your son is Andrew Mooruff, correct?" Clyde Baxter asked.

"Yes, Sir," Angela replied.

"Where's his father?"

Angela swallowed a lump in her throat.

"He died in a car accident before Andrew was born," she explained. "A hit-and-run. It's been Andrew and me his whole life."

"I'm sure that wasn't easy," Clyde Baxter said. "Where do you live?"

"A little house just outside of Pewter. It's on Shyanne Road. It isn't much, but it's been our home."

"Did Andrew have any friends out there?"

"He played with some of the boys on our street. He never had any close friends. The other boys didn't understand his delays."

"His cognitive delays?"

"Yes," Angela confirmed with a nod.

"When did you first notice there was a problem?" Clyde Baxter queried.

"It was little things. His teacher and I saw them. He would have trouble speaking and remembering things. Sometimes, he'd throw these awful tantrums. And, he wasn't keeping up with his classmates as they were learning more complex math problems."

"Has Andrew ever been violent?"

"No. Never."

"Before his arrest for these crimes, has he ever been in trouble?


Clyde Baxter paused.

"Angela," he said, "what would you like this jury to do?"

Angela turned in her seat to look at the jurors, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Please, she said, her voice breaking. "Please don't send my son to Death Row. He's a good boy. Please don't kill him."

Watching his mother cry, Andrew felt like crying himself.

"Thank you," Clyde Baxter said. "I have no further questions. Your witness."

"Mrs. Mooruff," Quince Martin said as he stood up, " you love your son?"

"Yes," Angela replied, glaring at him.

"You'd say anything to save his life?"

"I say it because it's the truth."

"We can appreciate that, and we can value what you've told us. But, are you truly aware of what your son has been convicted of doing?"

"I was here when the jury read the verdict."

"Are you aware of how your son ambushed sixteen-year-old Lilian Harvey, stripped her naked, and held her down?"

Angela paused, looking to Clyde Baxter for guidance. None came.

"I wasn't there," she said.

"True, but you've heard the testimony offered throughout the trial," Quince Martin pointed out. "Are you aware of how your son raped Lilian Harvey?"

Angela gulped, this time looking towards Andrew for strength. Tears were coming again.

"Do you know that girl cried?" Quince Martin asked. "Kind of like you now. The coroner found her own tears on her cheeks. Lilian Harvey cried as your son brutally raped her. I mean, she couldn't have cried when he bashed her head against the wall three times, because those were quick and successive blows, the third one killing her. And, he wouldn't have sat around with her between the rape and the murder. That would have given her time to fight, but she was never given such a chance. So, she cried during the rape ... while your son was violating ..."

"Stop it!" Angela cried. She glared at Quince Martin, gritting her teeth. Her heavy breathing was audible throughout the courtroom.

"He didn't do that," she said. "My son is innocent. This is a mistake. He shouldn't even be here, listening while you people make him out to be some kind of an animal."

She paused, realizing the damage her outburst had done. But, it couldn't be taken back. And, it was the truth.

Quince Martin nodded.

"You say your son's a good boy," he said. "But you haven't even come to terms with his conviction, proof that an accumulation of facts convinced twelve ordinary men and women like yourself that he is guilty of rape and guilty of capital murder."

Angela glanced at the jury again. Twelve white faces were staring back at her. Were they really like her?

"No further questions," Quince Martin said and sat down again.

"Any redirect?" the judge asked.

"No, Your Honor," Clyde Baxter replied in a defeated tone.

"You're free to go," the judge said.

Angela rose to her feet and left the witness stand. She walked slowly across the room, shuddering and crying with every step.

"I love you, Mama," Andrew said as she walked past him.

Angela stopped, the words registering in her mind. She turned her tear-streaked face to her son and managed a smile.

"I love you too," she said.

"Any more witnesses, Mr. Baxter?" the judge asked as this exchange concluded.

"No, Your Honor," Clyde Baxter replied. "The defense rests."

"Then we'll recess for an hour and come back so you both can give closing arguments. We're adjourned."

The judge banged his gavel as Angela sank into her seat behind Andrew, wiping her eyes.

The book continues with Chapter 11 - 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.

Sophia Harvey: Lily's mother.

Jordan Harvey: Lily's father.

Angela Mooruff: Andrew's mother.

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