Law & Order (1990) Episode Scripts

N/A - Loco Parentis

NARRATOR: 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.
My kid wants 60 bucks for one card.
Hey, we had baseball, they got Pokémon.
Hey, Thurman Munson never cost me 60 bucks.
Oh, man.
What's the matter? Thing weighs a ton.
Well, check it out.
Could be a computer or somethin'.
Whatever it is, I want half.
I don't think so.
(CHATTER ON POLICE RADIO) Male, 16.
Wrapped up in a blanket, then double bagged.
(SIREN WAILING) Slashed once on the neck.
ED: Damn.
BRISCOE: So who is he? School ID from Jameson High.
Name's Chris Skinner.
Mother called the precinct last night, reported him missing.
Here's his address.
Columbus.
About 10 blocks north.
Anybody see the bag get dumped? We're on it.
Could've been dragged from any one of these buildings.
Or somebody drove up with a delivery.
Is that Chris? Who called her? Not us.
What, she just showed up? What a coincidence.
Chris never came home for dinner.
I called his friends, looked around the neighborhood.
Then I called the police.
They didn't find him.
And now he's dead.
How did you happen to come to the murder scene Ms.
Skinner? A friend heard it on the news.
A dead boy on 56th Street.
Are you married, Ms.
Skinner? Boyfriend? No.
Why? These are just standard questions, Ms.
Skinner.
I would never let anyone hurt Chris.
(STAMMERS) I need a cigarette.
An officer will walk you out.
When did patrol get there last night? after she called 911.
They canvassed the neighborhood, searched his building.
And the apartment? Yeah, and the car.
Nothing suspicious.
Just a missing kid.
Fax from the kid's school.
Two years ago, he came in all beat up.
They called Children's Services.
Chris and his mom said he fell down some stairs.
May be this time he fell down on a knife.
I make time of death about 5:00 p.
m.
What's this on his arm? It's from yesterday.
I'm guessin' a grab mark.
Or from getting banged around in the bag? People don't bruise so easy when they're dead.
So you can't tell if he was dragged, carried or beamed down.
Any signs of abuse? Either that or he played serious contact sports.
Found some edema on his right shoulder and side.
He got popped a couple of weeks ago.
ED: Not like this time.
Interesting wound.
At least a six-inch blade based on the length of the cut.
And I'm guessing a blade with a wide curve.
What, like a scythe? Well, whatever it was, it hacked into his artery and he bled out.
All over that blanket.
Must've been washed recently.
No hairs, no fingernails, no fibers that didn't come from the blanket.
And the garbage bags are no good for prints.
Good enough for dumpin' a body.
Extra large.
Three-millimeter, heavy duty, high-density polyethylene.
Not something you'd find in your kitchen.
There were cigarette ash and tobacco particles on the outside of the outer bag, stuck to some dried blood.
What brand? American, menthol.
Can't give you more until we get it back from the lab.
Stuff could have been picked up on the sidewalk.
Or a smoke after to calm your nerves.
Sorry to hear the boy got killed, but I have to be at a divorce hearing in an hour.
I don't have time for this.
Make him wait.
You hear any commotion in the Skinner's apartment yesterday? Thick walls, okay? Only good thing about this building.
She have any boyfriends staying over? I'm not interested in the woman's sex life.
Uh, did you ever hear her get mad at her son? You think I stand in the hall with my ear to the door? We love nosy people.
We gotta ask.
Any idea what kind of cigarettes she smokes? I've seen her at the deli around the corner.
ED: Long brown hair.
She smokes.
She might have come in with her son.
I know them.
They walk by here to church every Sunday.
She ever buy cigarettes here? Yeah.
Uh, Deauville Lights.
Not exactly American menthol.
I saw 'em yesterday.
When? About 4:15.
He was out here with another boy, selling candy bars for school.
I sell candy too, so I told 'em to go away.
You know the other boy? No.
What did he look like? Spanish kid.
Uh, teenager.
I'm sorry I yelled at them.
Thanks.
Maybe the kid sold some bad candy.
(BELL RINGING) MAN: I just heard.
My God.
Uh, Chris was sellin' chocolate bars for the school.
The office pointed us in your direction.
Why? We figure he got killed while he was hawkin' candy.
Oh, I hope it wasn't that.
Our Weightlifting Club just started a fundraising drive yesterday.
The boys were out selling Neptune bars to, uh, raise money for new equipment.
Somebody else from the club was with him yesterday.
Could have been Terry Sanchez.
When Chris joined the club a month ago, Terry kind of took him under his wing.
You know, help pushed him through his reps.
Terry show up today? I think I saw him.
We only sold like one candy bar in about half an hour.
Then the Korean guy ran us off.
Where'd you and Chris go? We split up.
Figured, why stand on the street when I could sell a whole box to my grandmother? And that's where you were at five o'clock? Yeah.
What about Chris? He was gonna sell door to door above 56th Street.
Why 56th? Said there was a big building with no doorman.
It'd be easy to get in.
You and Chris were buddies, huh? Yeah, I guess you could say that.
I shoulda went with him.
Maybe not.
BRISCOE: Is the doorman on a break? Yeah, since '96.
Co-op board decided they're too expensive.
I'm the super.
I'm Detective Briscoe.
This is Detective Ooh-hoo! Two o'clock! Hey, follow the shiny badge.
You see this kid yesterday afternoon? May have been going door to door with a box of candy? Uh, I wasn't here yesterday afternoon.
But I know that boy, all right.
A couple of weeks ago, right across the street, he was messin' with one of the kids from the building.
I ran after him.
Had him pushed up against the wall.
Who was the kid from the building? Uh, skinny kid.
Always wears black.
Ryan Velardi, 12C.
RYAN: I got home right after school.
But no one came around sellin' candy.
Where were your parents? At work.
Like they are now.
What about you? Is this about the dead kid? What makes you think that? He was found right down the street.
Yeah, you guys know him? Nah.
What school you go to? Jameson High.
Same school as Chris Skinner.
I knew who he was.
We just never hung out together.
How about a couple of weeks ago, when he had you shoved up against the wall? Where'd you hear that? Look, maybe you should come back when my parents get home.
ED: What's he got to hide? They'll be home from work around 10:00.
Why don't we call them? You can't reach them now.
We'll be back later.
Charming pair.
Parents work till 10:00? Maybe they're cops.
Hey, Lennie.
What the hell? They won't have bags that big up here.
Couldn't fit a large pizza box into one of these.
Yeah? How about this? Neptune Bars.
"Not for retail.
" I want my brother here.
Ryan, relax.
He's right across the hall.
Then why can't he come in? Don't worry about it.
Just me and you.
I didn't do anything.
Mmm, you lied about Chris Skinner.
I'm not lying.
Come on, man.
The two of you had beef.
He chased you.
I barely know the kid.
You saw him after school on Thursday.
I didn't.
So it was just a coincidence that he was sellin' candy on your floor at the same time he got killed? Yeah, I guess.
Don't play me! You really think you're gonna get up and walk outta here? You and your brother both are down with this.
You got him to help you drag the bag downstairs, didn't you? No.
Come on, man.
We're getting fingerprints off your door.
You're lyin' to me, you're goin' to Rikers.
I'm only 16.
Mmm-hmm.
And they got a place for little boys like you out there.
You think you're scared now, wait'll they get a hold of your little ass.
I'm not saying anything till I talk to my brother.
I wasn't even home on Thursday.
BRISCOE: What time did you get in? Like 6:30.
Your brother mention anything about Chris Skinner comin' around? He told you, he hardly knows him.
He was havin' problems with this kid, wasn't he? What kind of problems? Come on, Ricky.
We got a witness who saw Chris goin' after your brother.
I don't really get all involved in my brother's social life.
Maybe there's somethin' goin' on with him.
Like what? You gotta ask him.
What kind of knives do you and Ryan have? We don't have any knives.
(KNOCK ON DOOR) Mr.
Velardi's lawyer.
Uh, interview's over.
Unless you have some evidence I don't know about.
COVEN: Let's go.
We searched their apartment.
No blood, no bags and no prints.
We know the victim was up there.
His prints were on the candy box.
Could be coincidence.
Ryan had motive.
The dead kid was hassling him.
One witness, one incident.
Are you saying my son was bullying this boy? High school can be a rough place.
Sometimes you gotta act tough to keep the wolves at bay.
Chris wouldn't hurt anyone.
I'm sure of that.
BRISCOE: Our M.
E.
Said he was all bruised up.
He was? BRISCOE: Did he mention being in a fight? Ever get a call from the school? Detention? Anything like that? MARCIA: No.
But Chris wasn't doing all that well when school started.
I just thought he didn't like his teachers.
When you say he wasn't doing well He didn't really talk to me.
But the last few weeks, he seemed a lot better.
Around the time he joined the Weightlifting Club.
Chris was lifting weights? He'd never done that before? No.
BRISCOE: Anything else unusual going on? I found a pamphlet on his desk about conflict resolution.
I thought it was just something that they gave everybody at his school.
(CRYING) I meant to ask him about it.
I was just so busy lately.
Are you going to be okay, ma'am? I don't know.
So the student has a problem, he sits down with a group of peer counselors.
They try and talk it out.
And if that doesn't work, they grab their guns.
(LAUGHS) I hate to disappoint you, Detective, but Jameson's a magnet school.
We don't really have the violence prevalent in bigger city schools.
If a kid requested intervention, would you know about it? I'm supposed to.
Chris Skinner? Uh, no.
Chris was in my math class, but he never came here.
He had one of your handouts.
Any sense of what was bothering him? There's a lot of tension between the various cliques, you know? The jocks diss the freaks.
The hip-hop kids diss the nerds.
Any fights? Uh, not that I'm aware of.
The psychological torture can get pretty nasty.
It can drive a weak kid to self-destruct.
Or to destruct some other kid.
Was Chris in one of the cliques? I'm not sure.
What about a kid named Ryan Velardi? I don't recognize that name.
Dark greasy hair, black clothes.
Mascara, black nail polish? He'd be a Goth.
Just black clothes.
Oh, then he'd be with the freaks.
I just lost my appetite.
ED: We just have a few questions.
This has gotta be about Chris Skinner.
It's about Ryan Velardi.
He hangs out with you guys, right? Sometimes.
He's got a PlayStation and some ill video games.
He ever have any problems with Skinner? Aside from Chris being a geek? It sounds like you and Skinner didn't get along.
We didn't have anything to do with him.
He didn't have any classes with you? Ask Jon.
He's in Special Ed.
(LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY) Shut up.
We didn't hate him or anything.
He was just shallow.
Practically a skater-oid.
A what? BOY: A skater.
You know, baggy pants, no brains.
Ah, that would make him stand out around here.
Thanks.
I bummed a cigarette off Chris a few times, but he didn't really hang out with us.
Did he ever say anything about Ryan Velardi? He was kind of quiet.
Maybe Chris had a grudge against him.
Is that what the freaks told you? We think Chris was pickin' on this Velardi kid.
GIRL: Doesn't sound like him.
Chris was in my Modern Lit class.
He was like, you know, sensitive.
Sensitive? He was.
When we did poetry, he recited a Kurt Cobain song in class.
When did he start pumpin' iron? Serious? Chris Skinner lifting? I guess you don't really know what anybody's really like inside.
So there's nothing between him and the freaks? We would've heard something.
Thanks for your help.
Chris asks about counseling, he starts some weight lifting.
I don't see the bully.
I'm seein' the I just wonder who kicked sand in his face.
Chris started showin' up to work out like a month ago.
BRISCOE: Why a sudden interest in body building? Said he wanted to get cut.
Then maybe the jerks in school would leave him alone.
Which jerks are we talkin' about? Hey, man, in this place? Take your pick.
Between you and me, what do you think? I don't know.
Who you protecting? The kid who killed your buddy? I think Chris was having some problems with the freaks.
Who in particular? There's like 10 or 12 of them.
We need the names.
You talked to my son at school already.
BRISCOE: Look, we just need to ask a couple of follow-up questions.
Uh-huh.
You think Jon's involved? I'll take care of it, Sandra.
The boy's body was found just down the block from here.
It's probably a coincidence but we need to check it out.
Well, what do you want to know? We'd rather talk to him.
Right now, you'll have to talk to me.
Where was your son Thursday afternoon? He needs an alibi? That'd be a start.
(STAMMERS) Well, I think I'd like to see a lawyer first.
I gotta tell you, you're not helping your boy like this.
Do you have a business card? Detective Green, um, I'll call you when Jon's ready to be interviewed, all right? Good night.
Bingo.
Maybe somebody up here bought a Neptune bar.
I was home all day Thursday.
Why? Anybody come to your door around five, six o'clock sellin' candy? No.
You know the Telfords? Who, the family down the hall? Not really.
Those Bronco Menthols? Yeah, man.
You want one? Yeah, for later.
You ever smoke out here in the hallway? My wife won't let me smoke in the apartment.
Yeah? Where do you go? She makes me stand out here.
BRISCOE: You always leave your butts on the floor? I know, I know.
Super's been on me about it.
Says he always has to mop up after me.
I throw him an extra you know.
You hear anything unusual goin' on out here Thursday afternoon? I'm a percussionist.
I've been workin' on some new material, man.
I wouldn't have heard a cannon go off.
The cigarette ash we found in the stairwell matches the tobacco residue on the outer garbage bag.
The Telford kid dragged the body down the stairs and onto the street.
Plus, the kid won't give us an alibi.
Or his father won't give him a chance.
What do we have for motive? The Telford kid's clique at school was giving Chris Skinner a hard time.
He started pumping iron so maybe they'd stop hassling him.
I'll talk to Carmichael.
It sounds like enough for a search warrant.
BRISCOE: Where's your son's bedroom? Jon's doing his homework.
Police! Unlock the door, Jon.
Bust it.
Please, don't hurt him.
Don't say a word, Jon.
Homework, huh? "Biker Sluts Rock Vegas.
" Must be the new math.
No place like home.
He's a teenage boy.
Oh, yeah? What's this? A zit remover? Murder in the second degree.
How does the defendant plead? Not guilty.
People request $500,000 bail.
GRANICK: They're dreaming, Your Honor.
CARMICHAEL: We have a weapon that matches the fatal wound.
No blood was found on this weapon or in the defendant's apartment.
CARMICHAEL: There's evidence the victim's body was dragged through the defendant's stairwell.
GRANICK: Tobacco residue that could have come from a million places.
All they've got is coincidences.
You get enough coincidences, they start to add up.
Yes, they do.
To $20,000.
Can't fault Judge Fraser on bail.
Can you put Telford and Chris Skinner together on the day of the murder? Nobody saw them together.
And how'd he manage to clean up all that blood? He got an A in Home Ec.
Or maybe he had help.
I never saw Chris or Jon that day.
You stickin' with that? It's the truth.
Then you're under arrest.
You said you were just gonna talk to him.
And he's not talking.
So that makes him an accomplice to murder.
So you and Jon are going upstate together.
For a couple of decades.
COVEN: Oh, please.
My son didn't do anything.
Except set the whole thing up.
Jon killed Chris because he was bullying you, right? That's your case? A second-hand motive? RYAN: It wasn't even like that.
That's the only theory we have so we're runnin' with it.
I never even told Jon about Chris pushin' me around.
I didn't want him to think I was a wimp.
So what did you tell Jon? He talks to you, you forget about this accomplice nonsense? We'll see.
(WHISPERS INAUDIBLY) I saw him on the street that day.
All I said was Chris was in the neighborhood sellin' candy.
Why? I knew Jon liked messin' with him.
VAN BUREN: Messin' with him how? RYAN: I don't know.
Just givin' him a hard time.
What did Jon say when you told him about Chris.
Nothin' about killin' him.
Then what? He said, "I hope that faggot comes to my building.
" Not exactly a death threat.
He was lying in wait for Chris Skinner.
Because he has a sweet tooth.
He enjoyed hassling the kid.
Why not try out his toys on him? His parents know that he had these weapons? They were hanging on his wall.
He ever threaten anyone else? So far, none of the kids are talking.
And the people who aren't kids? Teaching creative writing is like being a therapist.
Some of the stuff they write would freak you out.
What kind of stuff did Jon Telford write? Very disturbing.
I saved one of his stories.
"I sent my enemy's gibs flying through the air.
" Gibs? Body parts.
"I spammed him with my pill, threw my grenade.
"I fragged another fresh beer, "made another easy kill.
" Anthony Burgess would be proud.
I wish Burgess was the inspiration.
It's from a computer game called Terror.
Jon told me he plays it on the Internet five, six hours a night.
You mind if I borrow that? I called Jon's parents about it, but his father hung up on me.
I didn't know what else to do.
(SIGHS) You know, I still can't believe that Jon actually killed that boy.
"Then I laid a gash in the neck of Superfly Jones.
" Character from the game.
We seized his computer this morning, and I found these video games on his hard drive.
The violence looks so over-the-top.
That's what sells.
Terror 2's the best on the market.
The Marines use games like this to train their newbies.
Must be a male thing.
My nephew has the old version.
It gets to you.
So you like this junk? Lighten up, Abbie.
He got me to try it one night.
Three o'clock in the morning I was still hypnotized.
Anything else interesting in his computer? I downloaded a bunch of e-mails for you.
Anything useful? Let's see.
Telford e-mailed somebody named DoomMaster.
"Did you notice Skinner's faggot haircut?" Here's one about some kid named Leo.
Telford was trying to figure out a way to put urine in his locker.
CLAYTON: I'm just glad he didn't kill Leo.
Did you have problems with Jon? Not really.
Oh, come on, Leo.
It's no big deal.
He'll barely talk to me about it.
Maybe you'd feel better if you got it off your chest.
Well, I'll tell you what I know.
Last year in study hall, Jon put a dead rat in Leo's backpack.
This year, he scratched the word 'faggot' on his locker.
Did you complain to the school? Leo didn't want me to.
He was afraid it'd make it worse.
One of his friends told me about the locker.
I decided to go see Telford's father.
And how'd he react? He said I had no proof, and if I called the school he was gonna sue me.
You sure it was Jon? CLAYTON: Leo says Jon's the only one who calls him "faggot.
" Look, it's no big deal.
And it did not end there.
Three weeks later, he locked him in a bathroom stall.
Come on, Dad.
I called Telford's father.
He said Leo should learn to tough it out.
Sounds like you were having a pretty rough time.
Let's face it, I'm short, I'm nerdy looking.
Bullies like Jon are going to pick on me.
Did he ever threaten you? If he did, I need you to tell me.
It's really nothing.
Look, Leo, maybe it's okay to keep what happened to you a secret, but Chris Skinner was murdered.
Jon once took out a knife and tried to pull me into his building.
What happened? He said he had a room in his basement where he was gonna use me for sword practice.
Then I ran away.
Why didn't you tell me? What were you gonna do, Dad? Call his father again? Which one is your storage room, Mr.
Telford? Why should I help you? You're tryin' to lock up my son.
You son is a predator.
Why? Because he plays video games? BRISCOE: This is it.
Give us the key.
I don't have to.
ED: You're right.
What the hell is this? I brought it home from the store where I work.
Couldn't you get any live volunteers? You knew about this? What's the big deal? Jon was practicing.
Looks like he was gettin' pretty good at it.
The People's motion should be denied in its entirety, Judge.
What evidence are you seeking to introduce, Mr.
McCoy? Jon Telford's practice dummy.
Evidence of his Internet fantasies.
Prior instances of his bullying.
It's prejudicial, Judge.
It's an attack on his character.
He sliced up a mannequin in the exact manner Chris Skinner was murdered.
It goes to modus operandi.
Modus operandi implies a prior crime was committed.
There's no law against defacing a mannequin.
There are laws against possessing these kinds of weapons.
Yes, and you're free to introduce the fact my client broke those laws if he takes the stand, which he's not.
So Mr.
Granick can portray his client as a choirboy? If he opens the door, Mr.
McCoy it all becomes relevant.
Now, until then, I'll permit you to introduce this What do you call it? Kama.
This kama.
You can argue it's a unique weapon that inflicted a unique wound.
Now, that's legitimate circumstantial evidence.
The other stuff is out.
Van Ness excluded all our bad acts evidence.
He may as well have dismissed the case.
We have Ryan Velardi's testimony.
Not unless you can talk some sense into his mother.
Ryan didn't see his friend Jon like he said.
When he spoke to Ms.
Carmichael, he was confused.
He didn't seem confused to me.
You threatened him with a murder charge.
He was just sayin' what you wanted to hear.
Did somebody get to him, Mrs.
Velardi? If there's been witness tampering, we can make it stop.
It's not that.
So what's going on, Mrs.
Velardi? He's scared.
Scared of what? If you don't help us, I'll prosecute you for tampering.
Oh, first you threaten him, now you're threatenin' me? He's a witness in a murder case.
I need his testimony to convict the killer I don't care.
I'm not puttin' him in danger.
We can protect him.
You'll have to find somebody else.
Mrs.
Velardi, he's the only one who heard Jon Telford threaten to harm the victim.
Please, Mr.
McCoy.
Mrs.
Velardi, I'll subpoena him and put him in front of the jury.
And he'll say he made a mistake.
His lawyer says he doesn't have to talk to you.
We have nothing else to say.
CARMICHAEL: Ryan Velardi was the lynch-pin of our case.
Can you put the victim at Telford's building? The cops have been through it three times.
Nobody saw him.
ADAM: There was a blanket.
Freshly dry cleaned.
No hairs or fibers except for the victim's.
This teenager commits the perfect crime.
I know.
It's hard to believe.
CSU luminoled every conceivable spot in the Telford's building.
They didn't find a drop of blood.
We have the splatter games, the violent behavior, the illegal weapons.
But there's no way to get it in.
ADAM: Where'd he get the weapons? Mail order.
Paid for with his father's credit card.
(LAUGHS) Kid gets off, father buys his son a bazooka.
(SIGHS) Charge the father.
With providing the instrumentality? With murder.
On what basis? Depraved indifference.
Hold the father responsible for the criminal acts of the son? You don't think he's responsible? Morally, maybe.
It's good enough for me.
It's about time we knocked some sense into these parents.
You're wielding a pretty big stick.
They don't do the job, puts it on us.
Does it? Nobody's ever tried it.
That ever stop you two before? What do you think? It makes me nervous.
I don't know.
Telford encourages Jon's aggressive behavior, he arms him to the teeth.
Jury might buy it.
That's what makes me nervous.
We try them together.
All Jon's prior bad acts become probative.
We don't get the father, at least we get the kid.
Bombs away.
You're arresting me for what? For the murder of Chris Skinner.
Why are you doing this? Turn around, Mr.
Telford? Not until my lawyer gets here.
You sure you want to do this in front of your son? Hey, get away from me.
Get your hands off me! Come on.
Jimmy, go to your room now! I don't believe this! No, I didn't expect you would.
Give him Miranda.
You have the right to remain silent, which you should take us up on.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law Judge Fraser in arraignments didn't think our case was worth bail.
His problem.
Our problem is how to make a case against Telford.
Make sure the jury knows he dropped the ball.
And we get a conviction for bad parenting.
He gave his son a sword, sent him out to practice neck chops.
Ah, bad parenting in the first degree.
His indifference created the risk.
Only a matter of time before that kid attacked somebody.
Okay, suppose we pull it off.
Who's next, Adam? What did Potter Stewart say about pornography? "I can't define what it is, but I know it when I see it.
" Right.
Telford could have stopped his son.
The way I read the law, it makes him a murderer.
Maybe you should try the case.
(LAUGHS) I have to do all the work around here? Do you think he's innocent? I don't.
Well, I'm sure you'll do fine.
JACK: The People will prove that Jon Telford buried a martial arts weapon called the kama into the neck of Chris Skinner.
The evidence will show that this crime would not have happened had it not been for the total indifference of Jon Telford's father.
Had Robert Telford opened his eyes to what was going on with his son in his own home, Chris Skinner would be with us today.
I'll be frank with you, ladies and gentlemen.
We're entering uncharted waters here.
Once you bring a child into this world, there are obligations attached.
Parents have a commitment to love and care for their child, to nurture his growth, and they also have a commitment to us, to society, to make sure that their child obeys the law.
You're going to hear evidence that Robert Telford dishonored both commitments.
He nurtured his son's brutality and anti-social behavior.
Warned that his son was aggressive, a bully, a boy obsessed with images of cruelty and violence, he shrugged it off.
He armed his son with instruments of death, and then he let him loose on Chris Skinner.
I don't have to prove to you that Mr.
Telford was a direct cause of Chris's death.
If he could have foreseen that his son would use his weapons to harm another person, and if he set that chain of events in motion through his inaction, the law says he committed depraved indifference murder.
And in that case, the sins of the son should be visited on the father.
Let's talk about what's really going on here.
The People's case against Jon Telford is a handful of circumstantial evidence.
Mr.
McCoy wants to hold this pathetic bit of evidence together by one proposition.
He's going to try to prove to you that Jon is a bad boy.
He's asking you to convict Jon not on the evidence, but on his character.
And he wants you to believe that Jon was so mean, so out of control that his father should be held legally responsible.
The prosecution of Robert Telford is a ploy to admit bad character evidence against his son.
Mr.
Telford never heard of Chris Skinner.
He was miles away when this happened.
He didn't have a thing to do with this murder.
Follow the ball, ladies and gentlemen.
They can't prove a case against Jon directly, so they'll do it by innuendo.
And for lack of an explanation for this terrible crime, they'll blame the parent.
If you let them do this to Jon Telford, you'll be next.
Thank you.
The tobacco residue we discovered in the Telford's stairwell was identical to the residue on the garbage bag where we found the victim's body.
And when you made that discovery, Detective, what action did you take? We obtained a search warrant, and we recovered a kama in Jon Telford's room.
People's three.
Was there any kind of forensic test conducted on this weapon? Yes.
It was consistent with the fatal wound in the victim's neck.
CARMICHAEL: No further questions.
Was any of the victim's blood found in the Telford's apartment or stairwell, Detective? BRISCOE: No.
How about on the kama? No.
You have children, don't you, Detective? Objection.
JUDGE: Where are you going, Mr.
Granick? The prosecution has raised the issue of parental responsibility.
I'd like a little leeway to address their argument.
Fine, Judge.
But with this Detective? I'm going to give it to him Ms.
Carmichael.
You're the ones pushing the envelope.
Answer the question, Detective.
I had two daughters.
One of them was murdered.
Because she turned state's evidence in a drug case? She was going to testify against a dealer.
So she was selling drugs herself? Objection.
Overruled.
Yes, she was selling drugs.
And as her father, under Mr.
McCoy's theory, shouldn't you be held criminally responsible for her drug dealing? Criminally responsible? No.
But I didn't give her the pills and teach her how to sell them.
No further questions.
CARMICHAEL: Beside the locker incident, what other things did Jon do to you? LEO: Locked me in the bathroom.
What else, Leo? He put a knife against my neck and tried to get me in his basement.
He called me names.
Like what? Do I have to say? It's okay.
Faggot.
Homo boy.
CARMICHAEL: Did you ever ask him to stop? Yeah.
He just laughed at me.
I told him my father was going to call his dad.
He said, "Go ahead.
Big deal.
" Thank you, Leo.
Does your father let you play with video games at home? Yes.
Like what, Leo? Well, uh, I have Death Match and Cyber Mafia.
GRANICK: Did he ever buy you a toy gun or a knife? A Swiss Army Knife.
Hmm, did you ever do anything bad? I don't believe it.
Not one thing? (LAUGHS) Well, I broke my sister's glass animal collection.
(LAUGHS) All right, you know the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, right? LEO: Yes.
When he did something wrong, he took responsibility for it, right? That's what the story's about.
And when you broke your sister's things, you took responsibility, right? Right.
You didn't say it was your father's fault, did you? No.
It's a truth so simple, even a child can grasp it.
Thank you, Leo.
I'm a delivery dispatcher for Bloomingdales.
My wife Sandra manages the produce department in a supermarket.
And what kind of hours do you and your wife work? I work a lot of overtime.
Sandra works a regular shift but sometimes it's nights.
Did you receive any complaints about Jon from school? Just a call from that teacher that time.
Oh.
Well, she testified that you hung up on her.
Look, maybe I was a little thick.
You know, she was talking about Internet this, Internet that.
(LAUGHS) I don't know much about it.
(LAUGHS) Well, do you know about the video games your son plays? I know they're violent.
When we were a kid, we used to play combat and blow up the Nazis.
You know, the way I see it, kids are the same.
Just the technology's different.
GRANICK: How did Jon get involved in martial arts? I took him to karate lessons when he was little.
And is that why he had these weapons? Uh, no.
He quit the lessons.
But he was gettin' picked on at school by some of the football players, so I just thought this might help him with his confidence.
GRANICK: Nothing further.
How did your son get this, Mr.
Telford? Jon showed me how to order the karate gear on a computer.
I gave him my credit card number to buy the stuff.
This karate gear, as you call it you can't buy it in New York state, can you? ROBERT: A brother of mine lives in Virginia.
We had it shipped down there.
So you enabled your son to buy illegal weapons.
Boys like that stuff.
Didn't you ever have a slingshot when you were a kid? Made out of a tree branch.
It wasn't contraband from an 'adults only' website.
It taught him how to defend himself.
Without any kind of training or supervision? He was practicing on his own.
Only he was practicing to be a bully, wasn't he, Mr.
Telford? When he was 13, some punk held a knife to his throat and took his money.
He came home crying.
So this is your idea of parenting? To send him out with this, and this, and this? Listen, it's a different world than when you and I grew up.
A kid throws a punch now another kid pulls out a gun.
JACK: How about teaching him not to fight? ROBERT: What, so they could rob his money again? I wanted him to stand up for himself.
To be a man.
They laugh at you when you say that now.
But yeah.
What's wrong with that? Was he being a man when he tortured Leo Clayton in school? ROBERT: Jon wouldn't do that.
When he held a knife against his throat? I don't know the story on that.
JACK: You knew he was carrying a knife.
ROBERT: I knew he had one, but he knew not to use it.
Well, he did use it, Mr.
Telford.
Isn't that what you taught him? No.
To relieve his feelings of helplessness with aggression? That's just more PC crap.
Or to retreat into his fantasy world on his computer.
He's not the only kid playing these things.
You stood there and watched while your son turned into a killer didn't you, Mr.
Telford? That's ridiculous.
I wanted my kid to protect himself.
You were proud when he dished it out at school, weren't you? I wasn't proud.
You know what those football players called him? Fluff boy and Is that what this is about, Mr.
Telford? You were ashamed? Where do you get off tryin' to tell me how to raise my kid, huh? You think it's easy? I love my boys! I did the best that I could! You did not! JUDGE: Sit down, Mrs.
Telford.
It's not true! He ruined him! JUDGE: Mrs.
Telford.
(JUDGE POUNDS GAVEL) I want a mistrial, Judge.
Let's step outside.
I'll instruct the jury to ignore the outburst.
(LAUGHS) Oh, gimme a break, Judge.
How can my clients get a fair trial after that? The defendant brought it on himself.
The People oppose a mistrial.
And you're not getting one, Mr.
Granick.
I'm not wasting two weeks' work.
Judge That means you have a problem.
We'll recess till tomorrow.
JACK: Jon admits to murder, I'll consider man one.
And my husband gets off? Man two.
Reckless homicide.
I didn't kill the kid.
You got Jon.
You really need a pound of flesh from Mr.
Telford? I'm not taking any deal.
JACK: We'll see you tomorrow.
SANDRA: What if I give you evidence? Will you make a deal with Jon? What are you doing? What I should have done all along.
What kind of evidence, Mrs.
Telford? About the blanket.
Shut up, Sandra.
Please, Mrs.
Telford.
And I'll testify against my husband.
About what? About what you've done to us all these years.
(CRYING) The weapons, the fighting.
I've watched it long enough.
You want me to go to jail? I see what you did to Jon.
You're not going to do it to Jimmy.
Tell Mr.
McCoy what happened, Jon.
No, Mom.
That's right, Son.
Don't say a word.
Tell him or I'll tell him about our blanket.
Damn you, Sandra.
It's over, Jon.
Please.
Say what you did.
I made Chris come into our apartment.
I was just going to take his candy money, I swear.
But he punched me in the stomach hard, and The kama was on the wall, and I grabbed it, and I swung it at him.
(CRYING) Man one, How can you do this to me? I didn't kill that kid.
Man two, two-to-six.
Or I put your wife on the stand.
Would you rather risk a murder conviction? Take it, Dad.
Oh, now you're tellin' me what to do? I'll do what I said, Robert.
It's a fair offer.
(SIGHS) Now or never, Mr.
Telford.
Fine.
Sandra Telford had her husband served with divorce papers at Rikers.
Sacrificed her marriage to save her sons.
She spoke up sooner, she might have saved Chris Skinner.
Want to put her in jail, too? Don't tempt me.