One week later...
Last Wednesday the judge had a family emergency so they changed the date to continue the trial today.
Different people sit in the gallery and when I turn around to peek at who’s sitting back there I see Lukas, Avery, Adrian, Mason, and Madeline are all behind me.
I turn back around and smile slightly, I miss them all a lot. I should be able to go home by the weekend though.
“So, Mrs. Montgomery, on the night in question, how did you come upon the scene?” Reynolds reads off his notes and then looks up at Lydia who tucks her hair behind her ear.
“I went on a jog like I do every Thursday night,” She replies, unfazed by his intimidating stature.
“In the 911 call, why did you neglect to mention that not even minutes before the shooting, the man was stabbed repeatedly?”
Reynolds leans against the stand and she shrugs a little before saying, “I was in shock. I mean I was in shock when he got stabbed but when he got shot the sound the gun made, it snapped me out of it for a second and I was able to make the call.”
“That sounds sensible, I mean it’s not unheard of, you know, for the witness to leave out details. Especially in a case like this,” He faces the jury and they all have their eyes on him, “That female you mentioned at the scene, even though you repeated it many times that you couldn’t see, could you at least tell me that she looked somewhat similar to the person on trial today?”
“If she has a limp, loose curls and is five foot three then yes.”
Reynolds hums in response, “You seem to be getting quite defensive Mrs. Montgomery, is there a reason as of to why?”
“Yes, there actually is sir. You’re questioning my integrity. I’ve been telling the truth since the second I’ve stepped into this stand. Gianna Bassett was not at the crime scene that night. Whoever this Nicole character was and she’s this guilty one.”
“You see, the only issue I’m having with this is where is Nicole? Why isn’t Nicole apart of this court?” Reynolds turns to the jury, “If this ‘Nicole’ was somehow apart of this, then wouldn’t they have found some type of indication that she and her two large friends were there? But no, a gun with Gianna’s fingerprints was found at the scene. A strand of hair that fell from her precious little head, was found at the scene. I mean, where does all of the evidence point to?” He turns and makes eye contact with me and raises an eyebrow, “Nothing further.”
Sandra stands and confidently says, “Defense would like to call Gianna Bassett to the stand,” My heart drops and I feel like I can barely breathe. I take a deep breath and stand up from my seat. I’m sworn in and I sit down in the witness stand.
“I’m going to try and make this as comfortable as possible for you Miss Bassett, I understand how nerve-wracking this must be,” I nod in response to Sandra’s words, “Now on the night in question, can you please tell me what you were doing?”
“I was in my bedroom all night. I had gotten home from school and I was studying for a test I had the next day,” I reply, recalling the events of that night.
“Was anyone else home? To prove that you were home?”
I shake my head, “My foster parent, Will Waverley, was at work and my foster brother, David, had left a little while after Will did.”
“Alright, well, I had considered all of this and I talked to your foster parent at the time. He revealed to me that the home had a security system that documented every time a door or window opened. Evidence exhibit A,” Sandra takes a laminated paper and passes it to everyone in the jury, “This is the logs from that night, the last time any of the doors were opened was at 6PM, the killing was estimated to be around midnight or later.”
“Now, Gianna, when you were interviewed by Detectives Reece and Klemper?”
“I was interviewed a few days or so after June 10th. They brought me in because of the evidence found at the crime scene,” I say, watching as Sandra leans on the witness stand.
“This wasn’t formally documented though, it took a lot of work but I found the original document that Detective Klemper filed but mysteriously disappeared from the system,” She leaves the stand and walks back over to her table and grabs another stack of laminated papers, “Evidence exhibit B,” She hands them out to the jury and also the judge.
She pulls the document up on the screen in the room and reads some of the elements aloud. They’re all details I don’t remember telling the detectives.
“Is this, what you told the detectives, Gianna?” I shake my head and Sandra raises her eyebrows, “Interesting. Do you think you can tell us what you did tell them?”
“They asked me about the gun. I told them that while my foster brother was cleaning his weapons that he had, he asked me to hold one. A 9 millimeter I think. I told him no at first but he forced me to, told me that it was important that I held onto it for him,” I recall that night so easily too. I stare off into the distance and it’s like I can see the memory so clear.
“Why do you have those David?” I slowly walk into his bedroom where he has a trunk full of guns.
He looks up at me cooly, his hair slightly falling into his eyes, “To protect you. Baby, I can’t risk you getting hurt.”
“Nobody is going to hurt me David, you don’t need these,” I sit down next to him on the bed and rub his arm soothingly.
“You don’t know the bad people out there Gia, you just don’t know,” He shakes his head as he picks up a handgun. He starts wiping it off with a cloth and with the cloth still wrapped around the front of it, he asks me to hold it.
“I’m not touching a gun David, that’s scary,” I shove my hands between my legs so he’s not able to grab them.
“Take the gun or I’m going to tell Will about us. You know what will happen if I tell,” I look him dead in the eyes and I can see he’s serious, “Take the gun Gia, hold it like you’re gonna shoot it,” I still don’t budge and he sighs loudly, rolling his eyes, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.”
I move one of my hands and he shoves it into my palm. He gets in front of me and carefully places my hands in position on the gun. He grabs his own and shows me what to do.
“Alright, turn the safety off,” With that, I flick the safety off just as he does it, “Now slide the top,” I copy him and the top slides and pops right back into place, “Put your finger on the trigger and don’t pull it, just place it on the trigger.”
I do as told and he smiles slightly, “Good girl,” He takes the gun away with the cloth still wrapped around the top and tucks it away into his jacket. He kisses my lips softly and stands up from his spot, “Thank you baby girl, you did amazing.”
“Gianna? Are you alright?” Sandra waves her hand in front of my face.
“Yes, I’m fine, I’m sorry. Uh, he told me exactly how to hold the gun and when he got me to do what he wanted, he took the gun away from me with a cloth.”
“Thank you, for sharing Miss Bassett,” Sandra says, nodding her head slightly.
“May I say something?” The words tumble out of my mouth before I can catch them. Sandra looks at me, surprised, but she nods.
“When I was younger, probably 8, I was placed in my first, nice foster home. I remember one day, after dinner, Susana took me up to my room and told me she found my food stash in my pillow. Literally it was disgusting. I used to sneak all the food I could and stuff it in my pillowcase cause I never knew when they were going to take my eating privileges away,” I look at the jury and make eye contact with some of them as I talk, “She told me that night that no matter what happened to me in the past, I couldn’t let it effect me in the present. She said life had a way of twisting you around so far that it hurt, but I, myself had to be a big girl and find a way to untwist it. Right now, I’m going through all of this, this trial, this investigation, and I’m trying to untwist it. I’m trying to figure out why. I’ve only hurt one person my entire life and that person is me. Believe me or not, but I know who I am and I know that I didn’t do this.”
Sandra smiles and nods, “No further questioning, your honor,” She turns and walks away.
“Prosecution?” The judge says, waiting for Reynolds to stand.
“Not at this moment, your honor. I’d like to request a recess,” The judge nods and grants him a ten minute recess.
“You really touched the jury with that story. You’re doing well Gianna,” Jessie rubs my back and I wipe the tears I didn’t even know I had from my cheeks.
I continue wiping the tears that are falling and soon enough the orange sleeve of the jumpsuit is a darker color, “Thanks Jessie, you guys are honestly the greatest people ever. Thank you for believing in me.”
“We stand with the innocent,” Sandra says confidently, nodding in my direction, “When we get back Reynolds is most likely going to call the cops who interviewed you the very first time to the stand.”
“Alright, I can handle that,” I nod, looking over the notes that Sandra and Jessie have been taking. It’s all information that all the witnesses so far have provided.
“Good because Reynolds is probably going to go hard,” Sandra sighs, taking a sip of her water.