Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Corpus Delicti

In the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups, the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.
These are their stories.
That's beautiful, Lennie.
A real antique.
Oh, yeah? When that semi-auto of yours jams up, this antique will still be firing.
Sure, until it runs out of bullets.
All six.
It's not how many, Rey, it's where they go.
Come on, reel it in.
Check it out.
These goggles, the lenses are all distorted.
Curtis.
Yeah, okay, we got it.
Where the hell is CSU? You want to secure that door? What are you doing here? Investigating a homicide.
You called it in.
She called it in.
We responded.
Yeah, and you confirmed it.
Victim, Mr.
Wickets.
You got a first name? His first name is Mister.
He's a horse, Detective.
What is this, April Fools' No, we just thought it was funny.
We thought that dispatch would get the joke.
What joke? We said, " Mr.
Wickets, "four legs, What did you think it was, fat siamese twins? Come on, Lennie, let's get out of here.
Aren't you going to do anything? Look, miss, we're not the horse police, all right? Come on.
I saw a man in a green oilskin jacket walking out.
He turned his head, so I couldn't see his face.
Maybe he was the one who did it.
Did what? How do you know this horse didn't expire from horse disease? You see that manure? Lennie, can we go now? Well, wait a minute.
Yeah, all right, I see it.
So what? Solid fecal balls, and it's warm.
I'll take your word for it.
The only natural cause that kills a healthy young horse in its stall is colic.
That's a blocked bowel.
Mr.
Wickets wasn't blocked.
I only left him alone for an hour.
He was fine when I left.
He was a wonderful horse.
Miss, look, I'm sorry for your loss, but this is really a case for the ASPCA.
You two, call somebody? Okay.
And he was worth half a million dollars.
Does that make him important enough? Look, miss, I thought these horses were for giving kids rides in the park.
He was a show horse.
Our truck from the farm in Pennsylvania broke down on the way to Massachusetts.
He was only here for the night.
New York really is a rough town for tourists.
The girl who called 911, Susan Bauer, she's an assistant trainer.
Works for the owner, Richard Brandson.
I didn't become a detective to investigate dead animals.
Oh, come on, Wilbur.
Somebody killed a horse.
You're not gonna let them get away with it, are you? What am I, in some kind of trainee program? You've got your assignment, Detective.
Fine.
You want me to question the horse's friends and neighbors? Find out if maybe he was having some problems in his love life? It's a nothing case.
Say something one more time.
Rey, one beautiful afternoon at Belmont Park I wheeled an exacta, and a long shot named Nooch's Dream came in.
Paid $1,211.
So? So, after that, I took an interest in his career.
He retired to stud, and he died in a barn fire.
Killed for the insurance money.
It happens.
Do a background check before you see the owner.
Members of our association tend to be well-to-do.
Horse showing isn't a hobby for postal clerks.
How about a postal clerk with a great horse? How's he going to feed it? Train it? Transport it? Richard Brandson had the resources, and he thought Mr.
Wickets had the talent.
You mean a horse isn't a horse? Hardly.
This one had excellent confirmation.
Beautiful hip and shoulder angles.
Brandson bragged that he spotted him across a field on a farm in Putnam County.
He bought him on the spot for his daughter to ride.
Brandson is her coach.
Fine.
So they lived happily ever after.
Well, actually, no.
It turned out that Mr.
Wickets had a habit of dropping a leg.
Took down rails at the jumps.
Wasn't this maybe a little embarrassing for Mr.
Brandson? He predicted that Mr.
Wickets would take his daughter to the Junior Nationals.
He has other horses, but, still, he had to be disappointed.
I apologize for Ms.
Bauer calling you.
She must have been hysterical.
Actually, she seemed pretty calm.
Really? Well, how guilt-ridden did she seem? She was supposed to stay with Mr.
Wickets all night.
Instead, she went to dinner.
She felt guilty, so she made up this whole thing about the colic? Well, she's a junior trainer, not a veterinarian.
My horse died of natural causes.
Seem pretty calm about it yourself.
Well, I don't cry in public, but my daughter is devastated.
Losing Mr.
Wickets was like losing a member of the family.
Mr.
Brandson, Mr.
Bennett said he needs to talk to you before your board meeting tomorrow.
Yeah, later, Jennifer.
Anything else? We heard Mr.
Wickets had some problems.
He was young, he was inexperienced.
He was getting better every week.
Could you tell us, sir, was the horse insured? Hudson Casualty.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
People who kill horses for insurance money used to use barbiturates.
Then we developed a test for that.
They switched to insulin, we got a test for that.
What now, letter bombs? Ping-pong balls.
They shove them up a horse's nostrils so he can't breathe.
He kicks, thrashes, gasping for air.
It can go on for 10 or 15 minutes.
Or there's electrocution.
You wire them up with one end up his rectum and the other down his throat, and throw the switch.
It's less painful, and it looks like colic.
Do you think somebody threw the switch on Mr.
Wickets? With the lawsuits today? We're not allowed to operate on the basis of what we think, only what we know.
The horse's remains are going to the Cornell Veterinary College in lthaca for a necropsy.
My father called me with the news.
Took me an hour to stop crying.
Where'd he call you from? Our farm in Pennsylvania.
We were both going to fly to Boston today.
The show starts tomorrow.
He was going with you? Yes.
I never compete without him there.
Why? Well, we just need to make sure of the facts.
Mr.
Wickets was very valuable.
Well, they told me it was colic.
Were there any signs that he was sick? No.
I should have noticed.
Mr.
Wickets and I, we communicated through our bones.
When was the last time you rode him? The day before he died.
He seemed fine.
I'm sorry.
I guess It's just kind of hard for me to realize that he's gone.
Well, I have to get to class, so So you think Brandson really killed her horse? He figured he was doing her a favor.
She was in love with Mr.
Wickets.
Mr.
Wickets was a loser.
So kill the horse and put her on a winner.
Well, if he did it, he ought to be shot.
Not for what he did to the horse, but for what he did to her.
He did it.
She just told us he was gonna be with her at the horse show tomorrow.
His secretary said his big board meeting is tomorrow.
So what were you gonna do, conduct your meeting on a cell phone from the horse arena? Or are you so rich you can be in two places at once? You knew the horse would be dead, that's why you didn't worry about the schedule conflict, right? Thanks for coming by, gentlemen.
I really am very busy.
Well, you're gonna be a lot busier.
You and your defense attorney.
Now why would that be, Detective? There's no possible crime here.
I believe insurance fraud is against the law.
So what? I'll withdraw my claim.
As soon as we started snooping around, Brandson calls the insurance company and says he doesn't want the money.
Necropsies are expensive, so they called it off.
No necropsy, no proof Mr.
Wickets didn't die of natural causes.
You think the department would go a couple of grand to find singe marks on a horse's ass? To investigate no crime? I can't even get pencils with erasers.
So the guy has a zillion dollars.
He just buys his way out of a beef? Unbelievable in the United States.
You know, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud is still a crime, even if Brandson backed out.
That's a tough case, Lennie.
Not if we find his accomplice, and the accomplice rolls over.
We got the records from five different insurance companies that have dead horses on the books.
Now, the farm where Brandson discovered his horse has had two colic deaths in the last 18 months.
Plus, two more found in horses that came from there.
It's owned by a guy named Lyle Christopher.
Excellent work, Detective, for a nothing case.
Of course I know Richard Brandson.
He's bought several horses from me.
I was hoping to see him again when I go up to my farm this weekend.
I'm surprised anybody in the horsey set gets anyplace near you, Christopher.
You're a regular Typhoid Mary.
I beg your pardon? Mattawin Dancer, died May 1994.
Lord Dan, died August of '94.
Nathan's Folly, died July 1995.
Mr.
Wickets Mattawin Dancer and Lord Dan had serious health problems, and Nathan's Folly, well, his owners were sloppy.
Fed him moldy hay.
And Mr.
Wickets? What, Brandson couldn't afford the fresh stuff? That was a tragedy.
Horses die.
Yeah, eventually.
Just seems like the well-insured ones seem to go a little sooner when they're around you.
I think we're done now.
Yeah, almost.
You want to tell us where you were on Sunday night? In the bar at the Hampton Hotel, killing dry martinis, not horses.
You know how many bars won't let you smoke cigars anymore? Yeah.
Not enough.
Well, Mr.
Christopher, he enjoys his Havanas.
Was he enjoying them here on Sunday night? Yeah.
Yeah, he closed me up.
Was he alone? No, he's not the solitary type.
There was a lady with him for a while, then she went home.
Then some friend of his shows up.
Maitre d' had to lend him a sport jacket.
Why? What was he wearing? I don't know, something Field and Stream.
Green? Yeah.
It was totally inappropriate.
We pulled some LUDs.
Now, as soon as he heard his horse truck broke down, Richard Brandson called Lyle Christopher.
Christopher hangs up and calls a hotel in Massachusetts near the horse show.
He talks to a guest named Mr.
Brown.
Now, five hours later, just enough time for somebody to drive down from Massachusetts to New York, Mr.
Christopher calls a hotel here and talks to a Mr.
White.
The same man? Mmm.
Their descriptions match.
Two hours later, Susan Bauer sees a green jacket walking away from the dead horse.
Thirty minutes after that, a man in a green jacket joins Christopher for a drink.
To Mr.
Wickets, rest in peace.
So Christopher's the middle man, and the guy in the jacket is the hit man.
And Brandson's the one who set the whole thing in motion.
It's going to be fun nailing his ass.
I hate to spoil your party, Lennie, but the big fish here is Christopher.
He's linked to four dead horses, plus, his out-of-state records just came in.
Indictments for fraud in New Jersey and Virginia, dropped when he made restitution to the victims.
So they won't talk.
Well, if he ran two cons, he ran 100.
Check the lawsuit indexes.
See who Christopher hasn't settled with.
My late husband was so careful to be sure I'd be provided for.
My money was in bonds, but interest rates were dropping, and And Mr.
Christopher had a suggestion? Yes.
He sold me a retired thoroughbred he said was a promising jumper.
It had a fraudulent identification tattoo on its lip.
So when you checked it out, the record of another horse came up? A much better one.
Before I figured that out, I was on Lyle's farm one day, it really is a lovely spot, he was showing me a maiden mare.
He said she had a sister who had produced extremely valuable foals.
Just then, a man showed up, demanding $50,000 Lyle owed on her.
Lyle told me he had a cash flow problem.
He was desperate to keep that horse.
He said he'd make me a full partner.
I wrote the check.
It's an old game, Mrs.
Fairchild, because it works.
The District Attorney in Putnam County told me it was a civil matter.
Probably going to lose my house.
I was such a fool.
Well, we talked to three other people, ma'am, they were fooled, too.
Women? You see, Lyle and I were going to be married until he took all my money.
Then he said he'd fallen in love with somebody else, that they were engaged.
God help her.
Do you know who she is? Ruth Thomas.
I understand her late husband provided for her very nicely.
Mrs.
Thomas? She's not home.
Do you know when she'll be in? Three weeks.
She's on a cruise around the world.
She left two months ago.
Would you ask her to call us when she gets back? I'll give it to her.
Thanks.
Just got engaged, and she goes on a three-month cruise without her fiancé? With this fiancé, she's better off in a long-distance relationship.
You know, if she figured that out for herself, maybe she knows something about him we can use.
And maybe she'd want to tell us.
Time to haul out the signal flags, matey.
Yeah, the New York City Police Department.
We're looking for Ruth Thomas.
I'll hold.
It's amazing.
You're talking to some guy cruising off of Bora Bora.
We used to get dressed up just to talk to my uncle in Buffalo.
Are you sure? Well, this is very important.
Will you check again, please? They can't find her.
Maybe she's on the poop deck.
They looking for her? Yeah.
Okay.
All right.
Thank you.
She never got on the boat.
A man called their office the day it left New York and said he was her nephew, said that she was sick and she wasn't going to make it.
They put someone in her cabin at the next stop.
Who you calling? Hello, is this Mrs.
Thomas' housekeeper? Yeah, this is Detective Briscoe again.
Yeah, can you tell me how to get in touch with Mrs.
Thomas' nephew? Well, thank you.
Thank you.
Mrs.
Thomas doesn't have a nephew.
I don't understand.
If Mrs.
Thomas isn't on that boat, where is she? We don't know.
Now, did she call you after she left here that day? No.
Has she been in touch at all? She send you a postcard? Mrs.
Thomas wouldn't write to me.
How do you get your pay while she's gone? Your money for household expenses? Mrs.
Thomas's lawyer.
He takes care of everything.
Exactly when did you see her last? The day the ship sailed.
The limousine driver came to get her, and she walked out that door.
I had this lady in my car two months ago? That's what your dispatcher says.
Do you know how many people I've carried in the last two months? You picked her up on East 56th.
You might've taken her to the passenger ship terminal.
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, the cruise-ship lady.
Yeah, she talked my ear off about the Panama Canal.
She said the boat was going through the Panama Canal.
But did you see her actually get on the ship? I don't wait around.
I'm not driving a school bus.
Did she stop or talk to anybody when she got out of your car? I have no idea.
I have access to one of Mrs.
Thomas' accounts to cover her mortgage and maintenance and so on, but I wasn't expecting to hear from her again until she got back from her trip.
Which, as far as you knew, she was on? Yes.
This is very disturbing.
Were you handling any unusual legal matters for Mrs.
Thomas before she left, besides paying her bills? Well, she had talked to me about a civil matter, but I'm afraid that's all I can tell you.
Even though she's missing? Well, especially since she's missing.
If she were here, she could waive the attorney-client privilege.
So, you and us, we're going to go around in some circles, aren't we? There's nothing I can do.
All right, how about this? If what she saw you about involved a man named Lyle Christopher, you scratch your ear.
You're interested in Mr.
Christopher? Should we be? Well, I don't think it would be violating privilege to tell you that Mrs.
Thomas has a very close friend with whom she spoke about the events of her life.
Her name is Judith Grayson.
Oh, God, he killed her.
Mrs.
Grayson, all we know so far is she's not on the boat.
Do you know why she booked that cruise? To get away from Lyle Christopher.
He threatened her? No.
She threatened him.
Oh, God, it's my fault.
What is? After Ruth's husband died, she didn't go out for years.
She'd been so devoted to him.
I told her that she had to have a life.
She was still a young woman.
And she took your advice? And met Lyle at some horse show.
Boy, did he see her coming.
Bogus investments? And candlelit dinners, romance, and expensive horses that belonged in the glue factory.
When did Mrs.
Thomas catch on? About three months ago.
She wasn't a stupid woman.
She told Lyle she wanted every penny back, or she'd go to the police and sue.
She gave him until she got back from the cruise.
And how did Lyle take the news? He had an explanation for everything.
This horse had a rare glandular condition.
That one Ate moldy hay? Whatever.
She was his one great love.
He was still trying to convince her the night before she sailed.
He took her to dinner.
He took her to Gaucheron.
Fixed price dinner, $100 a head.
Yeah, and they argued through at least 98 bucks of it, according to their waiter.
But Christopher took her home afterwards? Hey, why not? He knew where she'd be the next morning.
The limo driver drops her off, she still has a hundred yards to go to get on the boat.
And Christopher's there in the crowd for a surprise farewell.
Probably brought her flowers.
"My darling, please forgive me.
Let's go sit in my car for a minute and talk.
" It's beautiful.
No one's expecting to see her for the next three months.
Yeah, then he calls the cruise line with some cock-and-bull story.
And by the time Ruth Thomas doesn't come home, the trail is cold.
And that's where we are.
We'll heat it up.
Now you're taking interest in my personal life? Are you engaged to Ruth Thomas? Yes.
Why? Have you heard from her lately? Is that your business? Yes, it is.
She's missing.
Well, just because she's not at home doesn't mean she's missing.
She's taking a cruise on the Royal Star.
Without you? Do you mind telling me what this is all about? What it's about, Christopher, is that she's not on the ship.
Don't be ridiculous.
Have you heard from her? No.
Your fiancée goes away for three months, and she doesn't write? We were having a separation.
We had some problems.
What do you mean, she's not on the ship? We called.
She's not there.
There must be some mistake.
There's a Venezuelan couple living in her cabin.
Now, do you mind telling us what you did the day she left? I went sailing myself.
I have a small sloop.
I was very upset that she had gone, and being on the water, that's my place to get away, to think.
And where do you think Mrs.
Thomas is? I told you, we had some problems.
She must have changed her plans.
Ruth's a wealthy woman.
She could be anywhere.
Mr.
C.
Only used his boat a few times last season.
I remember that day.
It was blowing up a storm.
He went out in a storm? Small craft warnings.
He go out alone? Yeah, I think so.
Remember anything else? Yeah, he asked me if I could open the security gate so he can drive his car onto the dock, so he could get it right up next to his slip.
Is that unusual? Usually he parks in that lot across there and just walks inside.
Why did he want to be next to his boat that day? He said he had some heavy gear to load.
Did you see what it was? No.
I asked if he wanted some help, you know, to build up a little goodwill toward the season-end tip.
Yeah, and? He told me not to bother.
You wouldn't, by any chance, have any evidence? He goes sailing in a storm with a heavy load he doesn't want anybody to see.
The same day the lady disappears.
That doesn't prove anything.
Christopher had damn good reason to want Mrs.
Thomas dead.
That's motive.
Christopher's right.
She's a rich woman.
She could be anywhere.
The limo driver dropped her at the pier.
Where she could have grabbed a cab.
To where, Xanadu? Christopher must have grabbed her between the sidewalk and the ramp.
Must have? Are you going to testify as a psychic? How about we at least get a search warrant? To search what? Earth? You're telling us there's no way we can get this bastard? Those lawsuits against him, the bogus horses, the swindles.
Yeah, but some D.
A.
Told one of his victims those are all civil matters.
Individually, yes, but put them together, you've got a scheme to defraud.
He probably jaywalked a couple of times, too.
Pick him up.
For a low-grade felony? Either we play it this way, gentlemen, or we don't play it at all.
" Docket 85694, People v.
Lyle Christopher.
"The charge is scheme to defraud in the first degree.
" Do we have a plea? We move to stay this proceeding, Your Honor, pending resolution of litigation that is the basis of the indictment.
And what litigation would that be, Mr.
Linde? Several civil matters that the People, for some reason, are trying to criminalize.
The defendant beat us to that, Your Honor.
His crimes are specified in our complaint.
They're good-faith business disputes.
We're in the wrong courthouse.
Sorry, Counselor, but it's the People's ball.
They get to decide where to play.
Then we plead not guilty.
At last.
I was beginning to think you get paid by the word.
Bail's $25,000, cash or bond.
Next.
Is this prosecution an appropriate use of your time and my budget? It gives us some leverage.
What, to cut a deal on a minor felony, he's going to plead to the murder of a woman you don't even know is dead? You're reading your law journal upside down.
Simultaneous with his arrest, we got search warrants for Christopher's car, apartment, boat and farm, and seized all his records.
Wonderful.
"Dear, diary, killed Ruth Thomas today and threw her body into a cesspool.
" You think he's that stupid? No.
But I'm sure Claire will dig up something.
There's blood.
In Lyle Christopher's Mercedes and on his boat.
Mrs.
Thomas' Her type.
We're getting hair from one of her brushes to run a DNA match.
And in the meantime? Christopher's horse-training records are insanely complicated.
He covered his tracks.
He wasn't so cautious about his mating rituals.
Should I be taking notes? If you want to go broke.
Roses, lingerie, three-star restaurants.
All for Mrs.
Thomas? Most of the goodies went to a Susan Merriman, starting three months before Mrs.
Thomas disappeared.
But Mrs.
Thomas was his one great love.
One out of two.
I don't understand.
Why are you persecuting Lyle? Mrs.
Merriman, a lot of people have made charges against Mr.
Christopher.
Some people want life guaranteed.
They buy a horse, it doesn't work out, they think they have a right to blame somebody.
Did Mr.
Christopher tell you that? Yes, but it's true.
He's a very smart man.
I was lucky to meet him.
Did he ever mention a Ruth Thomas to you? Yes, of course.
He was involved with her before he met me.
He told me all about it.
Well, Mrs.
Thomas seems to have been under the impression that she and Mr.
Christopher were still engaged.
Well, that's impossible.
Lyle is very honest with people.
Since he's so honest, have you invested with him? He never asked me to buy anything.
Never asked? I happened to be on his farm one day.
He was showing me a promising mare that he was planning to breed, and a man showed up and And demanded payment on her, and Mr.
Christopher was having a cash-flow problem.
I resent your implications.
Lyle is only in this business because he loves horses.
I was with him on his farm the day that Lord Dan died.
Lord Dan? That was a horse that died of colic? Lyle cried like a baby.
Was there anyone else on the farm that day? Just us and friend of his from Chicago.
Do you remember his name? No.
What could that possibly matter? The weekend Lord Dan mysteriously died of colic, there were five calls from Christopher's farm to a Mr.
Black at a local motel.
He must have been the friend from Chicago.
You think he's the same as Mr.
White and Mr.
Brown and the guy in the green jacket? Makes sense.
The motel took his license plate when he registered.
The car was rented by a Tibor Nichols of Sarasota, Florida.
It looks like it's his real name.
If Christopher didn't want to get his own hands dirty killing horses, so he hired this guy, what do you think he'd do when he wanted to get rid of Ruth Thomas? There were two calls between Christopher and Nichols the week she disappeared.
Want to take a trip to Sarasota? I'd love to, but Nichols isn't home and the local police don't know where to find him, and all I've got is his pager number off Christopher's phone records.
Do you think he'll return a call from the office of the District Attorney? He killed a horse for Richard Brandson.
He'll probably take a call from him.
Can we cut the crap, Mr.
Brandson? You know what you did, we know what you did.
The police went through all this.
There's no proof that my client's horse didn't die of natural causes.
Oh.
You're aware we've indicted Lyle Christopher for fraud? We saw it in the papers.
We've got a strong case against him, too.
He's looking for a deal.
So? Would I rather convict a two-bit con man like Christopher or use his testimony to convict half a dozen society-page millionaires? Are you saying that Christopher's implicating me? He's a liar, for God sake.
That's why you indicted him.
We can let Mr.
Brandson's friends at the Horse Association decide who's lying.
If you're suspended, you'll never get near another show horse again.
It won't look good for your daughter, either.
What do you want from me? Richard.
No, no.
I worked 10 years to establish her ranking.
Is there some kind of deal here? Lmmunity.
All we want you to do is talk to Tibor Nichols.
Who? The man who killed your horse.
Mr.
Brandson? You know, I saw your daughter ride at Devon.
She has a wonderful seat.
Thank you, Mr.
Nichols.
Please, call me Tibor.
I wish there were another way to take care of this.
He's been a very fine horse for me, until now.
Trust me, sir, the horses don't feel a thing.
I'd like to shoot 120 volts through his rectum and see what he says then.
He's at my trainer's barn in Mendham.
I want it done off my property, like last time.
Yeah, Mr.
Wickets went smooth as silk, sir, until that crazy bitch started yelling murder.
That's enough.
Take him, Rey.
Hey, let me get another bourbon here.
He's had enough.
Tibor Nichols, you are under arrest for conspiracy to commit fraud.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you Man, things must be pretty slow around here if you got the time to put the sting on me.
Pretty good job, don't you think? Doesn't leave you much room to wiggle.
You know what I think? I'm not your boy.
And your gloomy friend there is here to explain my options.
Lyle Christopher, or you do four years.
Hey, you want him, you got him.
I like fresh air.
Complete cooperation.
No problem.
Where do you want to start? Princess Louise? She's the first horse I did for him.
1989.
We'd rather talk about Ruth Thomas.
Oh.
I never met the lady.
You and Christopher talked the week before she disappeared.
Every other time you two talked, a few days later, something died.
Yeah, he talked to me about her.
See, she was going to scream bloody murder about some horses he sold her, and he was into a new lady with 10 times the dough.
He didn't want his boat rocked.
And? And he asked me to take care of her.
I told him I draw the line at animals with less than four legs.
So how can we be sure you didn't just make this one exception, Tibor? The weekend that lady disappeared, Sunnytown Farm in California, Conundrum died of colic.
That was me.
Pretty good.
I got better.
Claire just called.
You have a preliminary DNA match on the blood in Christopher's car and boat.
I guess it's not a low-grade felony anymore.
Go get the bastard.
Police.
We're looking for Lyle Christopher.
We're busy right now.
Lyle! Now what? Oh, please, let me take that.
Lyle Christopher, you're under arrest for the murder of Ruth Thomas.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney Well, I'm sure Mr.
Wickets' friends and relatives will be very pleased to hear you've built an airtight case against his killer.
Keep reading, Adam.
We've got Christopher for the murder of Ruth Thomas.
You've got the word of a horse hit man.
And her blood in his car and boat, his solo sail the day she disappeared, a very strong motive.
And no body.
She vanished.
It's part of our case.
Well, today's juries, you better be able to prove that she wasn't abducted by aliens.
At the conclusion of the RFLP typing procedure, I prepared these autoradiographs.
The DNA fragment patterns are identical.
What are the odds that the blood you found in the defendant's car and boat could have come from someone other than Mrs.
Thomas? At best, one in 170 million.
Thank you, Doctor.
Dr.
Sefansky, when did those blood drops land on Mr.
Christopher's car and boat? I can't tell you that.
You mean all your scientific tests and experiments can't attach a date to those specimens? No.
No more questions.
What exactly did Mr.
Christopher ask you to do? Make the lady disappear.
He said I could grab her before she got on the boat.
Disappear.
What did you understand him to mean by that? He wanted me to kill her.
Thank you.
No further questions.
Did Mr.
Christopher tell you Mrs.
Thomas had broken their engagement? Yeah, because she said that he Just yes or no, sir.
Yes.
Was he upset about that? Well, I don't think he would have asked me to kill her if everything was hunky-dory.
But he didn't ask you to kill her, did he? Not in those words.
He said he'd be happier if she would disappear.
That's right.
The woman broke their engagement, quite possibly broke his heart.
Couldn't he have just been expressing his pain at seeing her again? I don't think so.
Really? Did you kill Mrs.
Thomas? No.
Mr.
Christopher ever tell you he killed her? No.
Thank you.
Mr.
Nichols, why would you think Mr.
Christopher was serious when he asked you, of all people, to kill someone for him? Your Honor, may we approach? No way, Jack.
The District Attorney is seeking to smear my client by eliciting irrelevant testimony about other alleged criminal behavior.
This witness will testify that the defendant frequently asked him to make horses disappear, and he killed them.
It shows a pattern.
It's relevant to intent.
Horses and Mrs.
Thomas? It isn't even apples and oranges.
Why don't we let the jury decide? Because it would be grossly prejudicial to let the jury hear anything about this.
He's right, Mr.
McCoy.
Your Honor The objection is sustained.
Now, move on.
I have no more questions for this witness.
What did Mr.
Christopher do after he parked on the dock, sir? He opened the trunk, and he loaded something onto his boat, but I really couldn't see what it was.
And he wouldn't let you help him? Nope.
Thank you.
No further questions.
When Mr.
Christopher finished unloading his car, he spoke to you, didn't he? For a few minutes, yes.
What did he talk about? Well, some of the boat owners were organizing a petition to protest the rise in slip fees, and Mr.
Christopher wanted to sign it.
He was worried about slip fees.
Did he appear otherwise agitated? No.
Disheveled? Bloodied? Scratched? No.
Do you recall a time last July, sir, when Mrs.
Thomas went sailing with Mr.
Christopher.
Yeah, yeah.
They set out about 9:00 a.
m.
, and they came back in less than an hour.
Do you know why they came back so soon? Seasick.
She was green.
The minute the boat hit the dock, she jumped off and put her head between her knees.
Did she say anything? She said this was definitely the last time.
And she said she'd never go on a boat again.
When Ruth figured out that he'd made her fall in love with him just so he could cheat her, she was furious.
She felt betrayed, humiliated.
Did she tell you what she planned to do? Objection.
Asks for hearsay.
Mrs.
Thomas was furious, what she said qualifies as an excited utterance.
Overruled.
The witness may answer.
She said unless he took his worthless nags back, she'd take every penny he had and send him to jail.
And since she supposedly left on her cruise a few weeks later, have you heard from her? Not a word.
And I would have, if he hadn't killed her.
Move to strike! Mrs.
Grayson, please control yourself.
No further questions.
Mrs.
Grayson, didn't Ruth Thomas disappear for two weeks in 1986? She didn't disappear.
She was in Bermuda.
Yes, but no one knew that, including her husband.
He came back early from a business trip.
The housekeeper was on vacation.
He called the police.
It was a misunderstanding.
Ruth was fine.
Of course she was.
You said Mrs.
Thomas felt humiliated by what Mr.
Christopher had done to her.
Is she a proud woman? She was a dignified woman.
The kind of woman who would be embarrassed to face people after she'd been made a fool of by a man who pretended to love her.
Objection.
Calls for speculation.
Sustained.
The kind of woman who might run and hide from her devastating humiliation.
Objection.
Withdrawn.
By the way, Mrs.
Grayson, that time Ruth Thomas went to Bermuda, did she take a boat? No, she flew.
Seasick.
He's got the jury thinking that she came face to face with a cruise ship and backed out.
Cruise ships have stabilizers.
I'll put on a witness.
Can you find one saying that Mrs.
Thomas didn't disappear for two weeks? Are you even sure that the woman is dead? It's tough to prove a negative, Adam.
This book here, prove to me you haven't opened it in the last month.
The police ever find a murder weapon? A witness? Anyone on the boat who saw Christopher and Mrs.
Thomas at the dock? They're trying.
These passengers are scattered all over the world.
It'd take months.
If I had more time You should have thought of that before you arrested Christopher without sufficient evidence.
He knew we were on to him.
He might have flown the coop.
And now, after he's acquitted, he'll just stroll.
I've got the addendum to the forensics report on Christopher's car.
Did you give it to Linde? I just got it, Jack.
Claire, help me here, please.
I'm sorry, my transporter beam was down.
Great.
I've got Adam all over my back, I've got a killer who's about to bluff his way into an acquittal with a wink and a smile, and you chose this moment to go into your wiseass routine? Excuse me? Forget it.
Ruth was opening a bottle of Chardonnay, corkscrew slipped, she bled on the deck.
I thought I cleaned it all up.
And this emergency-room admission form, is this the one Mrs.
Thomas filled out when you drove her from your boat to the Westchester Hospital? Yes, it's dated June 9th.
Months before Mrs.
Thomas disappeared.
That's right.
Before you saw him in this court, were you acquainted with Tibor Nichols? I've done business with him for years, I see now it was a mistake.
What do you mean? His reputation in the horse world is unsavory.
I had always thought people were against him just because he wasn't of their class.
But you did speak to him about Mrs.
Thomas? I had to talk to him about a horse auction.
I mentioned Ruth.
I had just learned that she was leaving me.
I was very upset.
I was talking about Ruth to waiters, to taxi drivers.
Did you in any way suggest Mr.
Nichols harm her? Harm Ruth? Because of a disagreement over a couple of horses? Of course not.
Has anyone, except Mrs.
Thomas, ever been dissatisfied after buying a horse from you? Yes, people seem to need to blame somebody when an investment doesn't work out.
And those people that blamed you, did you kill them? No, I gave them their money back.
Thank you.
No more questions.
You couldn't afford to pay Ruth Thomas back, could you? Over time, I could've, yes.
Over time.
But she gave you a 90-day deadline.
She's very emotional.
Our business difficulties were all mixed up with our personal difficulties.
We were in love.
Then why were you sending expensive presents to Susan Merriman? My relationship with Mrs.
Merriman was strictly friendly until it was clear Ruth was leaving me.
Mrs.
Merriman is a rich woman, isn't she? She's comfortable.
So how did you think she would have reacted to Ruth Thomas publicly charging you with fraud and deceit? Objection.
Calls for speculation.
Your Honor, may I answer the question? If you wish.
Ruth's charges have surfaced now, haven't they? And worse, and Mrs.
Merriman and I are still very close.
But you couldn't have known that she'd be that gullible.
Objection.
Sustained.
She still doesn't know about all the other women you swindled, does she? Objection.
The witness testified on direct that he had other dissatisfied customers.
Dissatisfied, not swindled.
The objection is sustained.
The jury will disregard the District Attorney's choice of language.
Mr.
McCoy, watch yourself.
Mr.
Christopher, your little story about Ruth Thomas bleeding on your boat, how did her blood get into the trunk of your car? Did she take a nap there while you drove her to the hospital? No.
Her hand was wrapped in a towel.
After we got to the hospital, I threw it in the trunk.
But the blood wasn't on the trunk floor, it was on the top lining, where a body might have touched it.
So would a towel, if it had landed on top of my golf bag.
Your golf bag? Your golf bag just happened to be in exactly the right place? Isn't that convenient? It's true.
Ruth Thomas still had some money left after she was done being swindled by you, didn't she? Objection.
Sustained.
No more, Mr.
McCoy.
So her threat to ruin you was something you had to worry about, wasn't it? Ruth never threatened me.
Sure she did.
And she had the resources to back it up, unlike your other victims.
Your Honor, approach? I move for a mistrial in view of the District Attorney's persistent mentioning of alleged prior bad acts.
You were warned, Mr.
McCoy.
They're obviously relevant.
I said they weren't.
Then you can instruct the jury to ignore them.
The jury's heard too much.
You can't wipe it out with an admonition.
If Your Honor would only Never mind, Mr.
McCoy, we're finished here.
A mistrial is granted.
I think Simmons will take a plea, and I want to postpone the Horowitz trial.
The fish market case has to come first.
Okay.
What about Lyle Christopher? I hope you've been putting your extra time to good use.
The cruise ship's manifest.
The German police talked to a man named Burckhardt Klemstein in Hamburg.
He says he thinks he remembers seeing a man looking like Christopher holding the arm of a woman looking like Ruth Thomas.
Yes? Thank you, I'll tell him.
Your lucky day.
A fisherman just dragged Ruth Thomas' body out of Long Island Sound.
Don't celebrate yet.
Christopher's lawyer is gonna rake you over the coals.
If he can show that you provoked the mistrial to get a second shot at his client, the case gets thrown out no matter how many bodies you dredge up.
Not unless I deliberately provoked a mistrial, Adam.
If I just got carried away You did want more time, Jack.
It wasn't like that at all.
You know how emotional I get.