Youth

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Chapter 69

Monday

We sit in the courtroom and I’m sworn into the stand once again. I take a deep breath and tuck my hair behind my ear as Reynolds prepares to question me.

“So, if the jury remembers from the last time we met, Gianna shared with us some memories of her dramatic past. I’d like to build on that,” He walks around his table and looks at the notes gathered neatly on the side he’s sitting on.

“Although your past, Gianna, it seems you have a good head on your shoulders. That’s not normal, especially for kids your age with the same experiences as you. Do you think you could tell me why you’re different?”

“Never have I said that I have a good head on my shoulders. I’m a teenager, I’ve made mistakes and I’ve made irrational decisions. I know my rights from my wrongs and I do have morals. Heck, I’m even religious. But I still make mistakes and I don’t find myself to be any different than any of the other kids in the Foster Care system.”

“That’s a very good answer, thank you for that. So, you may not have a completely good head on your shoulders but it’s plain for the world to see that you’re a smart girl. Those logs, from the alarm on the home you resided in, as Sandra mentioned record every time something in the home is opened that leads to the outside.”

“That’s right,” I say, casually watching as he calculates what he’s going to say next. I can see the puzzled look on his face but then he looks up at me, a small glint in his eye.

“Would you be able to say that when your foster brother supposedly left, you could’ve gone with him? Or left at the same time?”

“Yes that could’ve happened but it didn’t,” I can see he’s getting nowhere. His arguments just keep going in circles and anyone can see that his interrogation skills are imploding.

“Would you be able to say that the next time the door was opened, which was later in the morning, could’ve been you?” Reynolds paces back and forth like he’s about to make a point. I get easily distracted though as someone walks into the court with a yellow envelope in their hand. They hand it to security and they bring it to Sandra.

I look back at Reynolds who clears his throat, waiting for my answer,“Yes it could’ve been, but it wasn’t.”

Sandra pops up from her seat and interrupts, “Your honor, may we approach?”

The judge beckons them over and Sandra shows whatever she just received in the envelope.

“I’ve just been brought solid evidence that Gianna did not leave the home that night,” Sandra looks at me, a small smirk resting on her face. A smirk that’s practically all-knowing.

“Your honor, I haven’t even finished questioning Gianna,” Reynolds looks agitated, clearly this is evidence he doesn’t know about.

“You can go ahead and finish while we prep this video file,” The judge says, handing the video off to the man next to him.

They both back away from the judge and Reynolds looks at me, determination clear in his eyes. He wants to take me down, once and for all.

“What you’ve been telling us Gianna is that as a fourteen-year-old, you knew how a gun worked? You admit that you could’ve left at the same time as your foster brother and that you could’ve returned the morning after?”

“I never said I knew how the gun worked, he just had me hold it, but I’ll say yes to the other questions,” I sit up in my seat and retuck my hair.

He nods his head, seeing that he isn’t getting anywhere, “Prosecution rests.”

“Redirect, your honor?” He nods and Sandra stands up from her seat, buttoning her jacket, “Gianna, do you remember your neighbors across the street from your old residence, the Walters?”

“Uh very vaguely, I remember they had a son about my age, he never came outside though,” My mind races with tons of questions, what’s the point of her asking about my old neighbors? They have nothing to do with this.

I can tell Sandra is having trouble containing herself, a small smile breaks its way onto her face,“Were you aware that they had a more high tech security system? The Walters had cameras set up all over their house and even outside, facing your residence.”

“No, I was not aware.”

“Well,” She picks up a remote from her table and flicks the TV on, “They would be constantly recording their home and even your home. As you can see in the video, you have a full frontal view of Gianna’s home. Can you point out which bedroom is yours and which was your foster brothers?”

I point at the one on the left side, “That one there is my room,” I point at the other window, not too far from mine and name it as David’s.

“As I fast forward through the video you can see all the way until 5:47 PM the light in David’s room is on. Gianna’s is still on, you can even see the light through her pink curtains,” Sandra says, watching the tape. She stops the time exactly at 6 o’clock and on the paused frame you can see David

coming out of the house.

“Just like the recording said,” Sandra turns and faces the jury. As we continue to watch the tape, we see David close and lock the front

door, Gianna opens her curtains and looks outside, and soon after close her curtains and turn off the light presumably to go to sleep. We can now witness on the video that nobody has left or returned to the house during the time Zachary was murdered and we did not hear a peep from Gianna until the next day when she was leaving in the morning for school.”

I look over at the jury and they’re all unreadable, this video entirely proves my innocence. So if this doesn’t convince them to vote not guilty, then I don’t know what will.

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