Derek Stewart originally wrote this for himself and his friends -- then decided to share it with the rest of us. Our good fortune! This reads like an episode, which is why the description is kept to a minimum. Oh, yes, and Derek wants us to tell you that "In case you were wondering, the defense attorney, Maury Taitt, would be played by actor Steve Buscemi." Steve Buscemi as a defense attorney? Sounds good to us. Is anyone from Wolf Productions out there listening?
Wednesday, March 31, Lancaster hotel 4:20 AM
"Don't ya love it, Rey?" asked Detective Lennie Briscoe, riding up the elevator of the Lancaster Hotel. "City that never sleeps."
"Oh sure. But, I thought getting you as a partner -- grizzled vet that you are -- would mean no more midnight to eight AM shifts."
"Didn't you hear? NYPD is trying to work its older boys in blue to death. Saves on pensions."
A small bell tone announced that they had arrived at their destination, the twenty-first floor. A uniformed officer led them to the crime scene where four rooms were blocked off by yellow tape, two on either side of the hall. One door was open and the two detectives entered there.
"What have you got for us?" Rey Curtis called to the leader of the forensics team going over the room.
"Dead guy. Blunt force trauma to the throat. Not exactly a slow death, but it gets the job done. Not sure what did it yet, coroner'll have to figure that one out for ya."
"So why's he dead?" Piped up Briscoe rifling through the small fridge by the door. "Somebody else in the room got mad that they had to pay ten bucks for a bag of peanuts out of the honor bar?"
"Nope, this wasn't even his room."
"Who was staying in this room?" Rey asked.
"Four college kids. They're here with eight others. Spending spring break in lovely New York apparently."
"Well, at least they got to see one of our main attractions."
Lennie glanced down at the body of a burly young man in the doorway linking the two rooms.
"Yeah," Briscoe agreed, "Maybe they saw it first-hand. These two rooms know each other?"
"Lemme check," said the officer checking his notes. "Mmm... nope."
"So, Rey, why are these doors open?"
"What? You think he was breaking in?"
"I don't know. Let's see what the kids have to say."
As the two turned to leave they were called back by the forensics leader. "You might want to take this with you," he said handing over a clear plastic evidence bag containing another bag with a white powdery substance in it.
27th Precinct, Interrogation Room 3 5:56 AM
Lieutenant Anita Van Buren sat across a table from one of the kids who had been staying in room 2118, where the body had been found.
"Now Mike, you say you found the body when?"
"I don't know. Around 3:45, or something like that. He was just there. Dead."
"And where were you before you found him?"
"Um, I had been out shopping with John."
"Gee, Mike," Lennie Briscoe commented dryly to his partner from behind the one way glass. "What kind of stores are open at 3:45 AM?"
"Where?" continued Van Buren.
"You know around town."
"Uh-huh." She shot a glance to the glass. "Can you think of anything that might help us, Mike?"
"No. I just can't believe it."
"Okay," Van Buren said standing. "We're going to keep you boys here at the station until we get this straightened out. Try to get some sleep, all right?"
Van Buren left the room and exchanged looks with the two detectives.
" 'Around town' huh?" Curtis snorted. "I was around town last night too."
"Yeah, so were a few million other people. Think any of them saw him?" chuckled Briscoe.
"Well, we know one that did. Get that kid he was with in here."
"John, were you with your friend Mike when he found the body in your room?"
"No. I had run into Chris down in the lobby. I didn't get up there for another... ten minutes. You don't think he did it?"
"Not right now. Where were you two until four AM?"
"Where did you go?"
"I don't -- around."
Lt. Van Buren leaned in, "Around where? What did you buy?"
"I don't remember."
"Out until four AM and you can't remember why you were out there?"
"No. Look, I haven't slept for a long time. Can I go now?"
"You can go. But," she lowered her voice. "If you want to tell us what happened last night, just let us know."
Squad Room 6:00 AM
Lennie and Rey were sitting at their desks going over what they had of the fifteen suspects.
Okay," Rey said. "The victim was here with three of his teammates. They play football for Ohio State University. No big names, but these were big guys. The victim, Kurt Murphy, was starting center."
"Now wait a minute, Rey. Have you seen these Hillsdale College guys? Not exactly Gold's Gym down there. I mean one guy looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the rest... Well, they aren't gonna overpower an offensive lineman for a Division I team."
"But, look at this. Two of the guys in the adjoining room, 2118, are from Michigan. Check the photos of these two," he said flipping two pictures across to Briscoe. "One is wearing a University of Michigan T-shirt and the other one a U of M hat."
He squinted at the pictures and said, "Yeah. So?"
"Well, the word 'hate' doesn't really cover that rivalry."
"Oh, sure. But you don't kill a guy because he plays for the other team."
"Ohio State beat Michigan this year. If Ohio'd have lost, Michigan would have gone to the Rose Bowl."
"Oh. What about these others? Room 2117 had one little quiet kid and three complete wackos. Sure, they quieted down when we brought 'em in, but before that I woulda pegged 'em as twelve, not twenty."
"Lack of maturity doesn't mean they can't kill."
"Part of your doctoral thesis? Let's just say I don't think the twins or the tall kid murdered anybody. We already talked to the other two, Mike Driscoll and John Bertolini, that were with the Michigan fans in room 2118. That leaves..."
"Room 2119: Jeremy Swanson, Seth Williams, Chris Fisher and Wyatt Bulgrien."
"Well, Bulgrien is from the same lot as those twins, I still say they aren't a murderous group. The red-head would've needed a sledge hammer."
"Yeah, but either of these other two could crush a guy's larynx. Especially Swanson. Say's here he's a Tae Kwon Do buff. And the other kid isn't exactly a ray of sunshine. Said something to me about this whole thing going on just to ruin his break."
Just then Van Buren approached them. "Just talked to John Bertolini. He's hiding something. I think those two may have been buying that cocaine forensics found."
"Did you press him on it?" Rey asked.
"Not tonight. I know that's the best way to get a confession, but I didn't want him to suddenly get nervous and call for a lawyer. You two get some sleep. We start all over in five hours."
"Ooh, yippee, Rey. Overtime."
Lancaster Hotel 12:13 PM
The hotel's front desk clerk shook his head, "No. I don't think so. The Hillsdale guys booked their rooms four months ago, the others only one."
"Did you ever see the two groups together?" Briscoe ventured.
"Yes. We were busy the night they checked in: ten minute wait to get to the desk. The big guys were, well... they were picking on the other ones. Started out laughin' at the two in Michigan clothes. Then just started yelling things like 'nerd', 'geek', and the like to the whole group. When a few of the bigger ones stood up, they backed off, but they were still chuckling at 'em."
"All right, thanks." The two detectives turned to leave the hotel and Curtis said, "Well, we've seen people killed for less than insults like that."
"Sure, but how do you explain the fact that he was in their room?" Briscoe asked. Then he added in a nasal voice, " 'Hey, c'mere a second. I think you'd enjoy this Star Trek episode with me on UPN. We can be pals!' "
"Yeah," Curtis agreed. "Hey how did you know what channel Star Trek's on, Lennie?"
Just then Curtis' cell phone rang. He answered it.
"Curtis. Okay... all right... got it. Thanks." He turned to his partner, "He was only hit once: circular contusion, about the size of a quarter. Medical Examiner says that we're probably looking for an average claw hammer."
"Okay. Doesn't sound like your average carry-on for a trip to New York. Let's check with maintenance.
As they headed for the elevator, Curtis chuckled, "You know, you haven't answered my question yet."
"Call it pleading the fifth. Let's go."
Basement 12:25 PM
"You were called up to the 21st floor last night?"
"Yeah. The AC in room," the Lancaster's on-duty maintenance man paused to glance across his clipboard. "2119 wouldn't shut off. Went up there at 11:45, just before my shift ended."
"Are you missing any tools? Say, a hammer?" Briscoe ventured.
"Well, I did leave my tool box up there. But I went up and got it this morning."
Briscoe looked at the man incredulously, "Didn't you notice the big yellow tape: 'Police line: do not cross'?"
"Yeah, but I've gotta keep this place runnin' or I lose my job."
Curtis called from across the dingy room, "Hey, this your tool box?"
"Yeah. That's it."
"Guess what, Lennie."
"You got it," Rey said shaking his head. "Want to start looking now?"
"Nah, I'm hungry. Let's get lunch and then find where our aspiring carpenter dropped it."
Hotel Restaurant 12:50 PM
"Excuse me, detectives."
Lennie and Rey looked up from their plates to see the front desk clerk glancing nervously around.
"Can we help you?" Curtis asked.
"Yes. I have to show you something."
Back Alley 12:53 PM
"Ah, jeez. Who is this?" Briscoe grimaced and gestured at the bloody man lying in a heap next to a dumpster.
"His name is Eddie. Eddie... um, Schanski I think. Just the local crack-head. He lives -- sorry lived back here. Nice enough guy. Sometimes he'd help the maids with the garbage."
"Sounds like a model citizen. Who found him?"
"I did," one of the hotel maids spoke up from the doorway. "I tried to wake him up. I thought he might have hurt himself. When he didn't move, I called the front desk."
"All right, Rey --"
"Already calling the station," he said, cupping his hand over the receiver of his cell phone.
As Curtis called in the situation, Briscoe started poking through the dumpster by the body.
"Oh boy, Rey. You'll never guess what I found," he said putting on a rubber glove and reaching into the dumpster. He extracted a blood-smeared tool. "It's hammer time."
27th Precinct, Office of Lt. Van Buren 2:35 PM
"Well, we have the murder weapon, but it was wiped clean of prints," Rey Curtis reported to the lieutenant.
"Yeah," agreed Briscoe. "But, it wasn't wiped clean of blood. Homeless guy's was all over it. The gaping hole in the side of his head will do that."
"Okay," said Van Buren. "I talked to the rest of the kids. Fisher, Swanson and Williams were in the hotel bar almost all night. I called the bartender and he confirmed it. The twins and Butler were on the sixteenth floor hitting on a room full of high school girls from Iowa. Taylor says he was at a jazz concert at a club on Forty-second Street. That more or less checks out. As you know, Driscoll and Bertolini were 'out shopping'. Now here's our problem. Bradsher says he was in his room. Alone. No witnesses. The other Bulgrien and Stewart aren't talking. They were 'around.' "
"Geez," Rey snorted. "That's even worse than 'out shopping'."
"So now what?" Briscoe asked. "Try and turn 'em on each other?"
"Worth a shot," Van Buren granted.
Interrogation Room 2 2:51 PM
"Come off it Mike, we have the murder weapon," Rey leaned over the table. "The hammer is at forensics right now. What's gonna happen when we find your prints on it?"
Mike Driscoll just sat there open mouthed.
"It'll be a lot easier on you if you just tell us what happened Mike," Lennie intoned from the corner of the room. "We know about how those guys were talking to you. Get tired of it? Finally show him how tough you can be?"
"What? No!" Mike exclaimed. "I was with John! We weren't killing anybody!"
"No?" Curtis said incredulously. "Well, John is over with Lieutenant Van Buren. What if he's telling us different? What if he says you two weren't together? What if he says you did kill Murphy?"
"Now Mike," Lennie said moving behind Mike and putting his hands on Mike's shoulders. "If you want to tell us something different -- something that says where you were -- you'll be free to go."
"I... We..." He let out a sigh and dropped his head. "We were outside Times Square."
"And..." Briscoe prompted.
"We... We were at a strip club! Okay? Are ya happy?" Mike blurted out putting his hand on his forehead. "John's gonna kill me."
Squad Room 3:19 PM
"All right, Rey. Found the club they were at. The 'Hot and Ready Theatre' proprietor says he remembers them. Two quiet kids matching their description. They hung out in the back of the room, watched four acts and left."
"And the time frame?"
"Puts them either there or walking back at the time of the murder," Briscoe said. "That leaves Bulgrien, Stewart and Bradsher."
"Let's do Stewart and Bulgrien next," Curtis suggested.
Interrogation Room 2 4:22 PM
"Come off it Derek, we have the murder weapon," Rey leaned over the table. "The hammer is at forensics right now. What's gonna happen when we find your prints on it?"
"It'll be a lot easier on you if you just tell us what happened Derek," Lennie intoned from the corner of the room. "We know about how those guys were talking to you. Get tired of it? Finally show him how tough you can be?"
"I didn't kill anybody," Stewart said coldly.
"No?" Curtis said incredulously. "Well, Wyatt is over with Lieutenant Van Buren. What if he's telling us different? What if he says you two weren't together? What if he says you killed Murphy?"
"Now Derek," Lennie said moving behind Derek and putting his hands on Derek's shoulders. "If you want to tell us something different -- something that says where you were -- you'll be free to go."
"I said I didn't kill him," Derek insisted.
"Then where were you?" Curtis demanded.
Derek looked away, off to the left and said, "I wish to invoke my Fifth Amendment right."
Lennie chuckled, "You're not on trial here. That really doesn't apply."
"But it does tell us you have something to hide," Rey said.
"Okay, I watch TV," Derek said. "Am I under arrest?"
"No," Lennie admitted. "But --"
"Then I think I'm done here."
Squad Room 4:40 PM
"So now what? Arrest him?" Briscoe ventured.
"On what? And as soon as we do he'll have a lawyer in there and we're screwed." Curtis countered. After a long pause, "Hold on. Do we still have their luggage?"
"That homeless guy lost a lot of blood. There were no clothes thrown out with blood on them. Let's check Stewart's suitcase."
"Better yet, we do it in front of him."
Interrogation Room 2 5:02 PM
"Don't you get it?" Stewart spat out. "I'm not under arrest. You can't keep doing this."
"Well, let's see about that Derek," Curtis said lifting Stewart's black plastic suitcase onto the table.
"What are you doing with that?"
Rey didn't respond, instead just popped the locks on the suitcase.
"Anything you want to say before Detective Curtis opens that?" Briscoe asked.
Stewart looked pleadingly at the two detectives and finally replied, "You'll just find my clothes and some CDs."
Curtis opened the case and started rifling through it. Stewart grinned when, just as he said the detective found nothing but clothes and about thirty CDs.
"Okay, Derek," Lennie said to Derek. "This makes us look bad, but it far from clears you."
"Hold on Lennie," Curtis said holding one of the CDs. "Take a look at this." He flipped the CD over, revealing a dark blue underside.
"Um, Rey. My collection consists of 45s. You wanna enlighten me on what I should be seeing?"
"Well Lennie," He said turning to Derek. "Our friend Mr. Stewart is a bootlegger."
"Well, there you go," Stewart grumbled. "Wanna know where I was that night? Wyatt and I were trying to sell those. You can ask one the beat officers that works fifty-third street. He chased us off."
Office of Lt. Van Buren 6:15 PM
"So?" Van Buren asked.
"Story checks out," Rey said.
"All right, let's pick this up tomorrow."
Thursday, April 1, Squad Room 7:20 AM
Curtis sat at his desk going over his notes when Briscoe approached cradling a cup of steaming coffee.
"You know, Rey, I was thinking last night: why don't we just look through all of their bags? We got Stewart on the bootlegging thing, who knows what we'll find."
"Let's do it."
Evidence Lockers 7:23 AM
"Check this out," Briscoe said holding up a brown ski mask. "Think we caught some bank robbers too?"
"I don't know about that, but we have a killer."
Briscoe walked over to the suitcase Curtis had been going through and saw the bloodstained shirt. He tilted the tag on the handle to read the name and nodded to his partner.
Holding Cell 12 7:31 AM
The twelve boys were lounging in the large cell, talking and laughing when Detectives Briscoe and Curtis showed up. A uniformed officer opened the cell, and the two entered which silenced the cell.
"Oh, don't stop the festivities for us, boys. We'll only be a minute."
"That's right," Curtis said reaching down and lifting one of the boys to his feet. "David Bradsher, you're under arrest for the murders of Kurt Murphy and Eddie Schanski. You have the right to remain silent..."
Curtis continued mirandizing Bradsher as he led him out of the cell. One of the others yelled through the bars, "Dave did it? You've gotta be kidding."
"Yeah," replied Briscoe. "April fools."
Monday April 26, Office of New York District Attorney Adam Schiff 2:15 PM
Adam Schiff sat in his large, leather chair looking across his desk at his ADA, Jack McCoy, and Jack's assistant, Abbie Carmichael. "So, how did the bail hearing on the Bradsher case go?"
"Pretty uneventful. Bail was denied because it's a double homicide and the fact the defendant is from St. Louis. His lawyer, Taitt, didn't object too much, but he looked a little too complacent."
McCoy spoke up. "If this is the same Maury Taitt I remember, he's a weasel, both in appearance and manner. I'm sure he's got ideas. Calling some of the other kids as character witnesses is still puzzling me. At any rate, we go for murder two on both counts."
"Murder two for what everyone here knows were crimes of passion?" Schiff asked.
"Passion? Yes. Heat of the moment? I don't think so. I believe that he had time to plan them. It's too organized. Think about it, the hammer wasn't in his room, the murder wasn't in his room, but he did it. Then he goes and kills this homeless man and takes his little stash of cocaine. The ME found it in Schanski's system and traces of it in his mustache, but Schanski didn't have any on him, so Bradsher must have taken it. The first death was a slow and agonizing one and the second was brutal: two blows to the head, one breaking through the skull. Then he plants the cocaine in the room and tries to frame up his buddies? Stands up for nerds everywhere, but doesn't mind setting up some others for the fall."
"Well you make a strong case," Schiff said as a secretary opened the office door and handed a folded blue pamphlet to Carmichael.
After reading it she said, "It's gonna have to be stronger." She handed the paper to McCoy.
"Motion to suppress the bloody clothing," McCoy said looking to Schiff.
"Hmph," Schiff grunted. "The weasel has struck."
Office of Judge Mark Stevensen 5:04 PM
"Come on, Jack. I'm sure you've at least perused the Constitution. 'Unreasonable search and seizure' ring a bell?" Maury Taitt said sitting next to Jack McCoy in the Judge's chambers.
"The suitcase was in possession of the police. It was in the evidence lockers. They had the right to look through it."
"Oh, please, Jack! Are you arguing that possession is nine-tenths of the law?! That may apply in the fifth grade, but not here. Your honor?"
"He makes a point, Mr. McCoy." The judge allowed.
"But, your honor, in People v. Morrison, Morrison was originally an informant and while being housed at the police station his personal possessions contained evidence that he had committed a murder. That was allowed."
"That's completely different. Morrison gave permission when he agreed to police protection!" Taitt protested.
"So did Bradsher when he went stay at the station. He didn't give any more explicit permission than Morrison," McCoy argued.
"I'm not going to argue with precedent, Mr. Taitt, especially when it means that evidence police found, damning evidence in your case I'm afraid, will go before a jury. Your motion to suppress is denied."
Outside Chambers 5:10 PM
McCoy left Judge Stevensen's office and met Carmichael in the hall.
"How'd it go?" She inquired.
"Great. We still have everything we had going in."
"That's not gonna be enough, Jack," intoned Taitt approaching from behind. Even if Judge Stevensen is anti-defendant," McCoy began to protest, but Maury cut him off. "Save it. He is and you know it. Anyway, I still think I can get Bradsher off. And when I do I'll have a celebratory dinner." He turned to Carmichael and raised an eyebrow, "Care to join me?"
"Gee, I dunno. I'm not a big cheese fan."
He reeled in mock shock, "Jack! I believe your partner just accused me of being a rat!"
"Yes, she did. That was out of line, Ms. Carmichael. We've discussed this." McCoy chastised. She turned and gave him a confused look. "I believe that Mr. Taitt is a weasel, not a rat."
With that he turned and the two of them left.
Tuesday June 10, Supreme Court Trial, District Courtroom 1:16 PM
The twelve members of the jury glanced back and forth from the defendant, David Bradsher, and the witness on the stand. Taitt paced in front of the stand, stopping and continuing the questioning of one of Bradsher's friends.
"Mr. Swanson, would you say that my client is a violent person?"
"Not really, I've seen him get angry, but everybody gets angry."
McCoy listened and tried to determine where the testimony was going. This was the first of Taitt's character witnesses; witnesses that McCoy couldn't understand. If Taitt thought he could get Bradsher off by saying "everybody gets angry" then he wasn't the Taitt Jack remembered.
"Does Mr. Bradsher ever take part in any kind of... violent-like acts?"
"Well, yeah. Some of the video games we play are pretty bad."
"Bad? Bad like how?"
"Well, there is this one where you command armies. I've seen Dave send in twenty guys only to have 'em all cut down. Another one he plays has him run down pedestrians, or shoot scientists."
"Objection," McCoy said, getting to his feet. "Relevance?"
"State of mind," Taitt quickly countered.
"Overruled. But let's get to the heart of it," Judge Stevensen said.
"All right. What was one of the more popular game types Mr. Bradsher played?"
"Well," Swanson seemed to consider. "The kind called 'first person shooter' is really popular. It's like you're looking through the person's eyes on the computer. We all play those. The most popular way to play is against other people. It's called 'deathmatching'."
"And in this deathmatching, what happens if your character is killed?"
"Uh, he just comes back somewhere else."
Taitt turned to the jury as Jack finally saw the course of the questioning. "They just come back somewhere else. Mr. Swanson, do you think this could affect someone's concept of death?"
"Objection!" McCoy interrupted. "Mr. Swanson is not a psychological expert."
"I'll rephrase. Mr. Swanson, do you believe that these games have affected my client's view of death?"
"Your honor," McCoy spoke up again. "He cannot testify to Mr. Bradsher's state of mind."
Taitt held up a hand, "Okay. Has playing these games affected how you see death, Mr. Swanson."
Swanson paused for a while, finally replying, "Not personally. But I see how it could."
Office of New York District Attorney Adam Schiff 6:12 PM
"It's not valid, Adam. I could get ten psychiatrists to counter every one of his character witnesses saying that this avenue is crap!" McCoy said to a morose Adam Schiff.
"Doesn't matter," Schiff grumbled. "If one juror thinks he didn't know what was going on, what murder meant, then Taitt will convince them it was manslaughter. Then he gets off."
"Wait a minute," Carmichael said. "Ten character witnesses? Why not eleven?"
McCoy glanced at his notes, "He didn't call Stewart. That's the one the police busted for bootlegging." McCoy paused and looked up at Carmichael. "I wonder why? Find out."
27th Precinct, Interrogation Room 3 7:22 PM
Carmichael sat across the table from Derek Stewart and his lawyer.
"Why do you think Mr. Bradsher didn't call you as a witness?"
"How should I know? Maybe he didn't want a criminal testifying on his behalf."
"You're sure," she prodded.
"Look, Dave is my friend. Why are you talking to me?"
"Because of the defense his lawyer is using. Do you know about it?"
"Yeah. I heard it."
"What do you think of it, Derek?"
"Sounds fine to me."
"Ms. Carmichael," Stewart's lawyer spoke up. "If you're finished my client will get his hearing, pay his fine, and go home. He has nothing to do with your case."
"Well, that's not exactly true," Carmichael replied. "He is my case. I'm authorized to seek the maximum penalty against your client."
"Maximum penalty?" Stewart's lawyer scoffed. "That's five thousand dollars."
"Or five years in prison."
"Prison?!" Stewart blurted.
"Hold on, Ms. Carmichael. This is a first time offense, he's a kid, there's -- "
"Doesn't matter. Unless Mr. Stewart has something to say about the validity of his friend's case. Then we might be able to drop all the charges."
Stewart snapped his head around to look at his lawyer who slowly nodded. Stewart slowly turned back to Carmichael.
"Okay. Put me on the stand, I think I know what you're going to ask me."
Monday June 14, Supreme Court Trial, District Courtroom 10:54 AM
"Mr. Stewart," Jack McCoy addressed Stewart on the witness stand. "You have heard or read the testimonies of your companions about this case."
"That's right," Stewart said.
"Mr. Taitt is telling the jury that his client didn't comprehend what killing was when he murdered the people at the hotel. He says that it's because he has played too many violent video games. Tell me, do you play these video games?"
"Would you say that you play them as much as the defendant?"
"Oh, I'd say a lot more."
"Do you understand what death is?"
"As much as anybody can."
"In your experience, have you ever known the defendant to confuse video games with real life?"
"No, no. Dave was one of the most down-to-earth of all of us."
"The two of you attended college together. What if any classes did you have in common."
"Well, we both had the same computer programming class, at different semesters though. And, um, we had the same philosophy class."
"Really?" McCoy said. "What were some of the topics of that class?"
"Ethics, motive for human action, and..." Stewart swallowed. "Death."
"Thank you Mr. Stewart. Nothing further."
Taitt rose to his feet, "Your honor, I would like to request a recess."
McCoy turned as he returned to his seat, "The State has no objection."
"Very well," Judge Stevensen said. "We'll break for lunch and reconvene at 1:00. We're adjourned."
Meeting Room 11:03 AM
"Clever, Jack," Taitt said.
"More than clever, Maury. If you were hoping for a hung jury with that little ploy of yours, I would bet I just nullified that."
"Don't bet too much, Jack."
"Are you willing to bet your client's freedom?"
"What do you mean," Taitt said narrowing his eyes.
"I'll drop the murder two charge. Man one."
"Makes me think you have a weak case."
"No weaker than yours. I'd say I have about a seventy-five percent chance. What I'm going for is a hundred percent."
After looking to his client, Taitt replied, "Voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing recommendation and he serves his time in Missouri."
McCoy nodded once and looked at Bradsher. Bradsher sighed and spoke to the tabletop.
"I was trying to get some sleep. This was earlier in the night when Adam, Aaron and Brhett were still in our room. I couldn't sleep there so I went next door, but those guys were still too loud. I went across the hall to Derek and Ben's room. Their vent was making a loud rattling noise because it was bent out of shape. I remembered seeing a toolbox in Wyatt's room when I had been in there so I went and got the hammer from it and pounded the cover back into shape. I finally got to sleep and not ten minutes later the TV in the next room was turned on and it was really loud. So I opened my door that joins the two rooms and knocked on his. He opened it and recognized me from the lobby and picked up where he left off. 'Poor nerd wants to get some sleep?' and so on. The hammer was laying on the dresser. I picked it up and took a swing at him. I -- I just wanted to hit him good once. Back him off, shut him up. Next thing I know he's staring at me, grabbing his throat. He falls down there, and --" Bradsher stopped to compose himself. "I just watch him. I don't know how long I stood there. Then all I could think was that I had to get rid of the hammer. I went out through the lobby and found the alley. I was about to toss it in a dumpster when I see this ratty guy staring at me. I panicked, didn't know what to do. For some reason I thought that if I knocked him out, I'd be okay. I ran at him and hit him in the head. I don't know if it was because he was cracked up or what, but he didn't get knocked out. He jumped up and I quick swung at him again. This time I got him right in the temple. It wasn't until I looked down and saw all the blood that I realized I'd hit him with the claw end. They were accidents. I can't believe I killed two people."
Office of New York District Attorney Adam Schiff 9:35 PM
"Well, right now Bradsher is ready to head back to Missouri to serve four to six," McCoy said.
"Yeah," Schiff replied. "Kid gets tired of bullies, finally fights back and doesn't know his own strength. It's unfortunate."
"You don't think he should serve time?" Jack asked.
"Of course he should. He killed two people. But, it's a shame that when one of these kids stands up for himself he gets sent to prison. Not the message to send to little Billy when Bruno takes his lunch money," Schiff said putting on his coat and hat.
"Come on, Adam. Even if he hadn't killed that guy, it wouldn't have stopped bullies."
"I know. I used to be one."
Schiff hit the light switch and they left the office.