Chapter 28 | Inadmissible Evidence
“All rise for Judge Shepherd!” The bailiff shouts.
I slowly stand up, using the table as something to lean on. I feel weak.
I look behind me, to see the seats of my parents empty. They are still at the hospital with Jacob.
I spot Jax, and he gives me a comforting smile, though I can’t find the energy to return it. Instead, I only nod and turn back around, facing the Judge.
A few feet away, Jared stands at his table, with his same emotionless expression.
It is taking every single fiber in my being to not go over there and strangle him in front of everybody in this courtroom for what he has done to not only me, but to my family.
Instead, I refrain from doing so in hopes that the justice system is on my side. If everything works out in my favor, Jared will be behind bars once this trial is over.
Today is Friday, and I’m sure the trial will continue through the beginning of next week after the weekend.
“Thank you, please take your seats.” Judge Shepherd announces. “Today we are continuing the trial of a one Addilyn Bishop vs. Jared Winston. Defendant, please call your first witness.”
“Your honor, we would like to call Jaxon Reed to the stand.” Jared’s lead lawyer announces.
Everyone is quiet, as Jax gets up and uses his crutches to help him over to the stand. He’s sworn in, and the bailiff places Jax’s crutches beside the stand as Jax sits down.
“Please state your full name for the record.”
“Jaxon Thomas Reed.”
“Mr. Reed, where were you on the night of Jared Winston’s house party?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“I showed up alone, and I met up with Angelica and Addilyn later on.” He states.
“Did you and Addilyn spend time together during this party?”
“Not really. We said our hellos and then I went to dance with Angelica, my girlfriend.” He replies easily.
“I see, so you weren’t aware of what happened to Addilyn during Mr. Winston’s party?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“No, we didn’t even know Addilyn had left the party until Angelica heard from her the next morning. After the party, we found out that there was a fight between Jared and another guy, but we didn’t have all of the details.” Jax explains.
“So you yourself, never witnessed or heard of anyone else witnessing Jared attack Ms. Bishop?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
Jax looks mad.
“No.” He answers firmly.
“I see.” Jared’s lawyer slightly smirks.
“Now, let’s fast forward to the night you were allegedly attacked.”
“Allegedly? Did you not see my leg or this dazzling cut on my lip?” Jax replies angrily, and I honestly see a few of the jurors crack slight smiles.
“Very well. Do you remember who initiated this attack against you?”
“Yes. Jared Winston.” Jax replies, which causes the jury to shake their heads in pity as they shoot glares toward Jared.
“Was Jared present during this attack?”
“Then who’s to say this wasn’t done by someone else? Do you have any other enemies we should know about? Maybe you set this entire thing up yourself just to pin it against our client.” Jared’s lawyer starts spewing out ridiculous accusations while Jax tries to remain calm.
“I know who did it. I do not have any enemies, other than Jared Winston. Why would I purposely hurt myself? That is single-handedly the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. All five of the men who jumped me, were in all black and sported lovely ski masks. The leader of the pack told me specifically, that Jared wanted me to get Addilyn to call off this trial. I said no, and my fate was met.” Jax explains to everyone in the courtroom.
“It is the same reason he kidnapped Addilyn, it is the same reason he hurt Rebecca, and it is the same reason he got the same men to jump Shane. Jared wanted nothing but to keep this trial from happening, because he didn’t want his reputation or life ruined. He is a sociopath. He thinks he is untouchable because his parents have money. He thinks he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.” Jax rants as the jury’s eyes widen.
“Order, order!” Judge Shepherd shouts as he hits his gavel against the desk. Jax’s rant causes a bunch of the people in the courtroom to begin speaking amongst themselves. Apparently, Judge Shepherd doesn’t like the ruckus.
I look over to Jared who is fuming. His face is so red. It looks as though he’s been sunburned.
I smile as I watch Jax take in deep breaths. I love that I have friends who will go above and beyond for me.
“Mr. Reed, though you say that the man who jumped you gave you Jared’s name, there is still no legal evidence that proves the fact. At this point, everything you are saying is merely speculation.” Jared’s lawyer states, though his facial expression shows he’s a little dumbfounded.
Jax looks a little defeated after that, until he remembers our recording of Jared and immediately looks at me. I only nod, and he smiles as he brings his eyes back to Jared’s lawyer.
“Actually, I do have evidence.” Jax replies.
Jared’s lawyer looks shocked as I hand my lawyer another USB drive. My lawyer looks at me with a raised eyebrow and I whisper, “Last one.”
My lawyer hands the USB drive to the bailiff and the bailiff plugs it into the laptop while turning up the speakers.
As the recording begins, you can hear Jared’s front door swing open.
“Addilyn, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
Everyone in the courtroom looks at Jared as they recognize his voice.
“I want to talk.”
Now all eyes are on me as they hear my voice.
“Pretty sure we aren’t supposed to talk outside of the courtroom, doll face.”
“Oh Jared, since when have you ever followed the rules?”
I can see everyone in the courtroom murmuring amongst each other.
“Touché, come inside. My parents are out to dinner. My lovely butler Roscoe is looking after me.”
“Please, take a seat.”
There is a muffled noise as I sit on the couch in Jared’s living room.
“So, what can I do for you?”
“I want to talk about why you sent men to beat up Shane and Jaxon. Your beef is with me, why are you attacking my friends?”
You can hear gasps coming from the jury as the recording proceeds to play.
“What makes you think that I sent men after them?”
The jury looks taken aback by Jared’s attempt at being discreet.
“Isn’t it obvious? Both encounters, your men specifically tell Shane and Jaxon to get me to drop the case. Besides, those were probably the same men that you had kidnap me.”
I can see Jared’s fists clenching against his lap.
“Hm, I don’t seem to know what you’re talking about at all, Addilyn.” I cringe as I hear him say my name.
The judge eyes me suspiciously, but I plead for him to wait until the end of the recording through just a look.
“Don’t give me that. You know what you did and I want to know why!”
“I think you need to calm down Addilyn.” You can hear the edge in the tone of his voice shift.
“I think you need to answer my fucking questions.”
“My, Addilyn. Feisty. I like it.”
I practically gag at the thought of his winking face.
“Don’t start with that. Give me an answer, or are you only tough when you have back up?”
“Don’t test me Addilyn.”
“I’m not testing anything. I just think it’s funny how you act so superior to everyone else, yet if only they knew what an actual coward you really are.”
You can hear the muffling sounds of movement, indicating we were both standing now.
“I’m not scared of you anymore, Jared. I know who you really are. You’re nothing.”
“Keep it up Addilyn, and it won’t just be my men coming after you. I have an entire army of people who will do whatever I tell them to do.”
The jury’s eyes widen, as does Judge Shepherds. I can see Jared cracking his knuckles, as if he wants to hit something.
“So you did send men after Shane and Jax?” You can hear the recording still.
“That was just the beginning, love. There’s still time to back out of this trial.”
Chatter begins to erupt in the courtroom, as everyone comes to terms with what they’re hearing. I can see the one male who didn’t really look like he would be on my side, and even he is shooting Jared a nasty glare.
The bailiff shuts the recording off after that, not needing to hear the ending.
“Objection your honor!” Jared’s lawyer shouts at the top of his lungs.
“On what grounds?” Judge Shepherd asks.
“The evidence is inadmissible! Addilyn went over to Jared’s residence even though she was under strict rules to have no contact whatsoever with Jared during the duration of this trial. This evidence cannot be used as Addilyn broke the rules by getting it.” Jared’s lawyer states confidently.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Bishop, but he’s right. Sustained. Jury, please disregard everything you have heard from the recording just played here today.” Judge Shepherd announces as he hits his gavel against the desk.
I notice Jax let out a sigh as he places a hand over his face in defeat.
My eyes widen in disbelief. Here is pure evidence and a recording of Jared confessing to having men jump Shane and Jax, but because I got the recording by breaking the law, we can’t use it.
I guess I should have known that this would be the outcome, I just thought that maybe since he openly confessed on the recording, the Judge would surpass everything and allow it.
My lawyer softly nudges me.
“It’s alright, Ms. Bishop. The judge may have disregarded that recording, but the jury still heard it. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will be on your side after today.” He smiles down at me.
I smile back at my lawyer and then look back at Jax who is giving me a sad smile as he leaves the stand to take his original seat. I mouth, “it’s okay” as he passes me, and he nods in understanding.
“We will take a short recess, and everyone will report back to this courtroom in exactly one hour, thank you.” Judge Shepherd hits his gavel against the desk one last time before getting up and leaving the courtroom. The bailiff takes Jared back into a room where he is to remain until after the recess.
I slowly stand up, but grip onto the table to keep myself from falling over.
“Are you alright?” My lawyer asks. “You look awfully pale.”
“I’m fine. I just need a snack.” I say.
After visiting the vending machine, I force myself to eat an entire bag of chips plus a Snickers bar. I need to at least stay conscious until after today is over. Today should be the end of it all.
Jax went home since his testimony is over, but I thanked him with a hug first.
My dad shows up, with no news on Jacob. I keep my emotions locked inside and only nod.
My dad states that my lawyer called him in, and couldn’t tell him why. I thought that it was weird, but quickly let it leave my mind as images of Jacob enter.
| Flashback to the evening before |
“Jacob!” My mother screams as we near the school.
We see nothing but two paramedics rolling Jacob onto the ambulance, as he lay motionless on the gurney.
My mother flies out of the car and I swear I have never seen her run as fast as she did to get to the ambulance.
“Let me in! I’m his mother!” My mom screams while hitting the doors to the ambulance before they could pull away. The doors open and my mother jumps inside, shouting that she will call my dad. The ambulance doors close and eventually leaves to the hospital.
My dad walks over to speak with Jacob’s teacher who has tears in her eyes. Clearly, she is hysterical after the events that just took place.
“What happened?” My dad asks as a pained look appears on his face at the thought of his only son.
“I-I don’t know! We were all having lunch and Jacob pulled out a brown paper bag, but I didn’t think anything of it. I should have noticed that it didn’t look right since he usually has his spider man lunch box.” The teacher sobs into her hands.
“He was eating a sandwich and all of a sudden, he collapses onto the floor. I didn’t know what was wrong with him, so I tried CPR. I had one of the other students bring me the classroom phone and I called 911. I just hope I didn’t call too late.” She sobs even harder as my father reaches out to give her a hug.
“You did everything you could have. Thank you so much Mrs. Roberts.” My dad tries his best to sooth the hysterical teacher.
Meanwhile, all I can think about is the fact that somehow, someway, Jared poisoned my little brother’s lunch. I don’t know how he was able to do it; maybe he got one of his men to deliver the lunch to Jacob during recess before lunchtime? He could have easily sneaked past Mrs. Roberts. Right?
| End of flashback |
“Addie?” My dad says, nudging my arm. “Are you okay? You look really pale.”
“I’m fine. Let’s get back inside.” I say with no expression on my face whatsoever.
My dad and I walk back inside of the courtroom just as they bring Jared out of the holding room. He gives me a sly smirk and I immediately look away from his gaze. I will not let him win. I will not let him get away with everything he has done to me.
As my dad and I walk towards the front of the courtroom, I can’t help but feel fuzzy.
I feel myself trip over my own feet and I try to grip onto my dad’s arm for support, but it’s too late.
I fall flat on my face and welcome the darkness that soon surrounds me.