Law & Order (1990) s01e03 Episode Script

The Reaper's Helper

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.
Upstairs neighbor complained about the smell.
Don't worry, Max.
It's just three more flights.
Didn't somebody find the coffee yet? Max: whew.
Yo, Profaci! Hey, Mikey.
Holland, Bobby.
Shot in the back of the head.
Probably two days.
Ask me, it was probably a dealer.
weapon? Still looking.
who shoots in the head besides dealers? A robber who gets surprised? A burglar so surprised he leaves behind a full wallet? Man: It needs a paint job.
The guy's dead.
If they had a decent door downstairs.
I'm below him.
In 2A.
Did you ever talk to him? He listened to sad music.
Piano stuff.
Left early.
Came home late.
You see anybody with him Saturday night? Saturday night, about 1:30 I'm coming back from Symphony Space.
This guy tears past me.
You get a good look at him? down the steps in this city? I've learned not to look.
Brownstones, they're invitations to get robbed.
How many sets of prints have you got? I've got partials from about a dozen people.
It's what you'd expect.
Unless somebody wiped the place down.
You run them? No match.
None of his friends had records.
Neither did he.
Man: What'd they used to say? "Live fast, die young, leave a beautiful corpse.
" whoever shot this one, didn't care about beautiful.
You should have seen the apartment.
It was more trashed than the victim.
Not to boil your coffee or anything, but a guy fights with a burglar.
He gets banged up.
Not the late Mr.
Not a bruise, not a mark, not a scratch on the body, just a nice, clean .
38 entrance wound.
Close range? A foot, maybe 18 inches.
Powder burns, stippling.
Check both hands? They're clean.
Not a trace of powder.
The guy didn't shoot himself.
That's dead certain.
Holland: Bobby was big.
He- when he was born he was over 11 pounds.
He was- he's always been big.
They- don't attack big people.
I read it in "The Post.
" Could you tell us about your son's friends, places he used to hang out? He- he- He kept to himself a lot.
He didn't have a lot of friends.
I should go get his mail.
Bobby have any brothers? Sisters? After Bobby, we didn't have anymore.
He was a very difficult birth.
I'm- I had- well, there was just- I've no more children.
And nowwe've lost him.
Holland: we lost him when he moved over the bridge.
Max: Personal possessions.
Things they found on him when he was brought in.
would you sign for them, please? Took the watch, huh? An Omega, big heavy job.
High school graduation, it cost me a week's pay.
The band? It had links.
Steel, too.
He wore it to work without worry.
when he first moved to the city I bought him a gun.
A pistol? A.
38, it was licensed.
I told him, "Keep it next to the bed.
" why didn't he defend himself? You got a big tough guy, big enough to toss most people around like a pillow.
There's always somebody bigger.
The apartment looked like Beirut.
And our vic, not a bruise or a cut.
You fight with a crackhead, you'll get hit, something.
A bullet in the head is not something? How'd the perp get in? Fire escape.
One door, no fire escape.
Then, maybe we're talking about a friend here.
A friend with a grudge? You got something better? Maybe you should go out, shake up the ground a little, see who he knew.
workman: Drop that rope! Mark it down-side off.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Right there! Hold up! I hope to God you get who did it.
Bobby was a good man.
women problems? Bobby didn't cat around.
Gamble? Not even a football pool.
Bobby Holland hang out after work? Didn't even come to union meetings.
Massacio, come on, he must have hung out with somebody.
Go ask Suarez- Angel.
Sometimes they had lunch together.
Angel Suarez? Detective Logan.
Sergeant Greevey.
I already heard about Bobby.
were you a friend of his? I knew him.
Real broken up, huh? If I knew who did him I'd let you know.
where were you Saturday night? In San Juan, visiting my parents.
I got back Sunday night.
You want to see my plane ticket? we're talking murder, here.
Look, the night Bobby got it he was having a drink with a friend- Lois Rivera.
She has a gourmet sandwich cart on the Upper west Side.
If you guys find the killer and wanna save the state the price of a trial, gimme a call.
That night, before I met my sister, I had a drink with Bobby.
we talked a while about nothing really.
I just told him he should go back to school.
City College, part-time.
Bobby was real smart.
He knew a lot about music.
He read a lot of books.
Anybody want to hurt him? No.
Nobody I could think of.
where'd he go after he left you? It's Lois, right? Listen.
Somebody blew your boyfriend's brains out with a.
38, okay? He went to a bar downtown, Paradise Lost.
Look, I really wasn't Bobby's girl.
Just a good friend.
Bobby was gay.
You couldn't miss the guy.
Logan: Why not? The kind of crowd we get.
You know, average guys.
Construction workers.
Grad students from NYU.
Easy mix.
So here's this character dressed kind of charivari.
Black t-shirt, gray silk jacket.
You know the look, "I'm cool and you're not.
" You ever seen him with Holland before? Bobby doesn't come in a lot, lately, more like after work for a Michelob.
The silk jacket and Bobby were sitting over there.
Couldn't hear them, then they were gone.
Silk jacket- want to know the truth? I thought he was a hustler.
Something about him.
I don't know.
I don't know.
Logan: So he was rough trade.
So they do their thing.
Silk Jacket does it all.
Kills the guy.
Then trashes the place looking for something to take.
Yeah, and the odds on finding him? About as good as finding true love at Paradise Lost.
Max: I don't know.
His parents, his boss, his coworkers, his neighbors- no one knew this guy was gay.
They're out there, I don't see them either.
Think a lot of cops are gay? No way, man.
Department's got a special test.
They look you in the eye, if your left eye blinks before your right eye they know you're gay.
They say one in 10, Max.
That's a lot.
They just fade in.
Silk Jacket? Five to one he's not in any of these.
Good news and bad news.
The good news is somebody just walked in and confessed? The good news is they found the gun.
Empty lot, six blocks away.
Bad news, wiped clean.
Registration? You're gonna love this.
Your vic, Bobby Holland.
Bobby was always popular with the girls.
He was a halfback on the football team.
He was on the student council.
He was king of the prom.
He hid his magazines under the mattress.
" My son was not homosexual! She knows.
She just can't admit it.
Can you? Bobby had everything going for him.
Any girl he wanted.
His friends would come over, hang out in the yard- just to be around him.
Have him throw the football, like that.
when he dropped his high school girlfriend Beauty.
She was a beauty.
He moved to Manhattan.
I go to visit him in the city.
Sometimes I- I just stare.
He looked like everybody else.
He talked like everybody else.
Max: Do you know if he brought people home a lot? I told him, "You don't knowwhat kind of nuts you're meeting.
There's all kinds of loonies out there.
" That's- that's when I bought him the gun.
Logan: What about boyfriends? He ever tell you anything about any of them? what'd I want to hear? want to rub my nose in it? He mentioned one guy.
A- Angel.
Angel somebody.
Denny Massacio in there, what do you think he'd say, you told him Bobby was gay? Or that you are? He'd never believe it.
He'd laugh.
And that's how I want it.
what about you and Bobby Holland? I used to hate being gay.
I used to make fag jokes all the time.
You know, the way blacks call each other nigger? Anyway, Bobby would never let me get away with it.
I was in love with Bobby.
So you take a weekend out of town, and he picks up somebody else, huh? Six, eight weeks ago he started seeing somebody new.
we were over.
I don't know what this guy had for him, but they met at the gym.
You know his name? He lives somewhere on the East Side.
I don't know his last name.
Gray silk jacket named Jack.
A bullet to the head.
This case, I heard about it before.
what are you a psychic now.
A month ago, maybe two.
The same kind of killing.
Gay bashing? I read about it.
"Time," "Newsweek," last week or the week before.
You sure you didn't read about this in your dreams? "California.
" "Redwoods.
" "Michelle Pfeiffer.
" One of them interests you.
" And murder.
Max: No prints here either.
Gun was found in an empty lot, wiped clean.
Burglary? Uh-huh.
Ripped the place apart.
A week later, another one just like it in LA.
The vic's address book? Can you fax it? Yeah, all right.
He's faxing it.
Call Sheriff's Homicide in LA.
Lead investigator's name is Sam white.
They're not as friendly in Los Angeles.
Too much sun makes 'em crazy.
Am I sure it's a similar case? I'm as sure as I can be, not looking at the bodies.
The victim had no address book.
Just a lot of phone numbers on scraps of paper.
Copies? Oh, an open homicide investigation?! what do you think we're doing, getting cats out of trees? Look, we link the victims, we got a case, okay? Now if you can just send us- Nobody's asking for the originals! Just fax us whatever you got, okay? what? Fax you, okay? "In an open investigation we do not release evidence under any circumstances.
" You know how some people gotta give you a hard time just to feel like they're alive.
Let's give 'em a hard time back.
Look, do they want an arrest or what? You put the fire out and I'll settle this thing.
Yes, Captain.
Yeah, if it's their collar.
Of course we understand.
Detective Logan has been under a little pressure on this case.
Pressure? Yes, yes, we would appreciate that very much.
A courier? well, the city is bankrupt, but yes, I think we could "spring" for a courier.
No, no, no.
Thank you, Captain.
You believe that? They don't want to lose even a copy of this stuff.
what's with them? You know, fellas, at what this courier is going to cost the city, I hope this works.
Logan: You can cross out Jack E.
in San Francisco.
He still lives there, hasn't left town.
That's all the Johns, Jays, Jacks.
All the last names with no first initials.
Anybody in San Francisco, LA or New York.
I got San Francisco, start with Holland's address book.
Read me off the last four digits of any of the ones with telephone numbers.
wait a minute, hold it.
That's Holland's "J.
" San Francisco's got "John C.
" who lives in New York, and has the same phone number.
And LA's got "J.
" New York.
Same number.
You got the odds on three murder victims knowing the same guy? He was in San Francisco and LA when the others were killed.
Same days? And one on either side.
And all three of them had his name in their address book? Not to mention Bobby Holland's new boyfriend's name is Jack.
Enough? Pick him up.
Bust the door and then stand back.
My partner and I will go in first.
It's our collar.
That's funny.
I figured Def Leppard.
Maybe Motley Cr e.
Ready? Go.
Police! which one of you is Jack Curry? I'm Jack Curry.
You're under arrest for the murder of Bobby Holland! Put your hands on your head! But I didn't- Max: Now! Check it out.
Get up! Spread your legs! You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
Hands down! Get your hand down! You have the right to an attorney.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you at no cost.
Let's go.
Max: His lawyer's already here.
Julia DeBakey.
what? who's she? Probably the toughest civil rights lawyer since william Kunstler.
Paul Robinette.
Julia DeBakey.
Your cops put my client in a holding cell with a bunch of drug addicts.
Jeez, we tried to get him a private suite.
Eh, he looks like he survived.
Counselor, this case, it isn't exactly your ballgame.
Oh, howwrong you are, Mr.
we're building a whole new ballpark with this one.
I'll allow my client to answer questions but I may cut this off at any time.
Logan: Let's start with the wristwatch, Jack.
Engraved to Bobby Holland on the back.
Bobby gave it to me as a present.
Just before you blew his head off? To thank me for helping him to shoot himself.
You want to run that by us again.
Bobby wanted help- to commit suicide.
Look, he had AIDS.
He wanted it to look like a robbery so his mother wouldn't know.
And when you went to visit Uncle Joe in Los Angeles? And Aunt Millie in San Francisco? You know about them? Look if you commit suicide you don't get the insurance.
Those men- Forest? Dodge? Yes, they pulled the triggers themselves.
And you just wipe the gun clean? My client has nothing to say about those cases.
what about Bobby Holland? Do you know what AIDS looks like? Have you seen Kaposi's Sarcoma? Do you know what pneumocystis does? what it's like when you can't breathe? Dodge won a silver metal in Seoul.
Forest, used to be a professor out at UCLA, PhD in Linguistics.
The last month of his life he forgot how to tell the time.
Did you shoot Bobby Holland? Bobby didn't want to waste away.
who pulled the trigger? I held the gun.
Bobby wrapped his hand around mine.
He said he wanted to die.
I helped Bobby do what he wanted.
I didn't- I didn't wanna do it, but I wasn't considering myself.
It's called Mercy Killing.
You have 48 hours to arraign him or let him go.
Ask the medical examiner if Holland did have AIDS.
You'll get answers faster than I will.
And if Holland did? Find out about the victims in LA and San Francisco.
what if they had AIDS, too? we'll need answers to questions we haven't even thought of.
Logan: The guy's jive.
I'm telling you.
A jury might not think so.
what's a jury going to think when they hear Holland never even touched the gun? No powder residue on his hands.
Holland had AIDS.
So did San Francisco and LA.
So Curry's telling the truth.
Or part of the truth.
You say it's a mercy killing, you don't do 15-to-life.
Because somebody has AIDS, doesn't mean he can't be murdered.
where's that get us? He's killing these AIDS patients for kicks? I hated Bobby being that way.
I hated it.
People he hung out with - I hated the way he lived his life.
But this guy, Curry, you shouldn't put him in jail.
He shot your son.
You read the articles? Newspapers? Not an easy way to go.
Bobby wanted to die.
You can't be sure of that.
Yes, I can.
Bobby asked me to shoot him first.
I knew Bobby was gay.
we just couldn't talk about it.
I'll never have that chance now.
That bastard, Curry killed my son.
You have to put that man in jail.
The defense is going to make a very strong case that your son intended to die.
I've been getting Bobby's mail.
This letter.
"Gay Men Allied Against Aids.
" Bobby had an appointment with someone to talk about taking AZT.
My son wanted to live.
Judge: The charges are: murder in the second degree; j conspiracy in the first degree; manslaughter in the first degree; criminally negligent homicide; promoting a suicide attempt; and reckless endangerment in the second degree.
Does the defendant wish to enter a plea? Yes, Your Honor.
Not guilty on all counts.
Do the people have a bail recommendation, Mr.
Stone? This case is a homicide, Your Honor.
Despite the circumstances we feel that some bail j is necessary.
Personally, I'm uncomfortable releasing any homicide defendant without substantial bail, but I do not feel that this defendant is a major flight risk.
Short date.
Our government is killing us through neglect.
The mayor, the governor, the president, they have blood on their hands.
While we're dying, they're prosecuting Jack Curry.
Take the money from the District Attorney and give it to the Health Department.
Gordon, do you think the prosecution has hustled the people with AIDS? If Bobby Holland was dying of Alzheimer's and Jack Curry wasn't gay, would they charge him with murder? Every gay activist in the country is going to be after us.
I understand, Adam, but gay?straight is not the issue, murder masquerading as assisted suicide is the issue.
Let's say we drop the charges and go for a misdemeanor, we're not ignoring the gay?straight question, we're making it the only question.
And you knowwhat that is? Good politics.
Yes, and bad law.
It's not compassion.
It's pity for gay people.
And pity is one step away from ridicule.
Nowwhat if Bobby Holland wanted to die? How does anybody knowwhat went through Bobby Holland's mind five minutes before he died? Or two minutes? Or 20 seconds? Or one second? And Jack Curry, who's done this twice before, did he talk him into it? Can't change the fact that Holland was gay and Curry is gay.
what I can't change is that Jack Curry didn't bring pills and leave them.
He didn't bring a gun and leave it.
He pulled the trigger.
Bobby Holland didn't need an angel of death.
I mean, he wasn't that sick yet.
Did he want to die? Look, you're HIV positive, if you think you'll hang around till you get sick, you'll start to feel lousy, it's hardly unusual to think about suicide.
Bobby wanted to kill himself.
I told him not to.
And? He said he'd think about it- going on AZT, trying experimental drugs.
I saw Conrad Gordon on TV.
Anybody want to call Jack Curry a hero, I tell 'em to look at me.
I was diagnosed with AIDS when it was still called GRID, for God's sake.
I'm still here.
Curry had no right to shoot Bobby Holland.
You're saying Bobby Holland might have reconsidered.
If he'd reconsidered, my client wouldn't be here.
You don't know that.
I don't know that.
And even you don't know that, Mr.
You were involved in those cases in California, do you have a stake in getting these people to die? No, Mr.
Stone, I don't.
Did you try to talk Bobby Holland out of it? Several times, over several hours.
He didn't want to turn into a zombie.
what if it were your son, Mr.
Stone? If it were my son? I'd take him to every hospital in America and try to save him.
we'll plead to promoting a suicide.
Stone: You'll plead to manslaughter one.
we'll drop the other charges and make a sentencing recommendation.
Bobby Holland intended to shoot himself.
Manslaughter one is an admission my client intended to shoot him.
He didn't shoot him full of penicillin.
we're finished here, Jack.
Look, Mr.
Stone, I hope you never have to face these choices yourself.
I hope you never see anybody dying, the way I've seen people dying.
But if you do, I hope you have the courage to do whatever has to be done.
DeBakey: What is your position at the hospice, Mr.
Wellman? wellman: I counsel people with AIDS.
Over the past year, how many people have you counseled? Short term, over 100.
Long term, perhaps two dozen.
And how long have you worked there? And everyone you care for is dying? we're all dying, Ms.
I mean, the people in the hospice are terminally ill.
Most of those who come to us will die within a year.
Isn't it true that many cancer patients j experience excruciating pain? Yes, that's common.
You ever counseled anyone to commit suicide? Objection, relevance.
This trial isn't about the right to die.
It's about whether the defendant shot Bobby Holland.
The issues surrounding "right to die" are murky in this state, Mr.
The testimony seems to me relevant.
The witness will continue.
I've counseled people on suicide, yes.
We call it, "Letting yourself be snowed under.
" And what do you counsel them? we suggest they go to England where doctors have the right to assist in dying.
Thank you.
wellman, have you ever given to anyone in your hospice lethal chemicals, a gun- any device that might help them commit suicide? No? Why not? I've been told it's against the law.
Gordon: We've established a hotline to answer questions about AIDS.
How many of those calls have you answered personally? Thousands.
I volunteer three nights a week.
I've been doing it seven years.
Do the callers ever ask you about suicide? Frequently.
And what do you tell them? That dying of AIDS is a difficult death.
And that they have the right to take their own life when the pain becomes too great.
Your witness, Mr.
Now, Mr.
Gordon, as a gay activist, you're familiar with the current state of treatment for AIDS? Reasonably.
And you're aware that AZT and other drugs have prolonged the life of these patients? Yes.
And that people have lived with AIDS for several years? Yes, I know that.
But I also know that in the end it's a gruesome death.
People with AIDS do not "go gently into that good night.
" You also know that some gay men, out of embarrassment, might not seek treatment and commit suicide instead.
Are you in favor of that? I'm in favor of gay men taking power over their lives.
No more questions, Your Honor.
Excuse me.
Are you Ben Stone? Yes, sir.
You gay-bashing son of a bitch! Leave us alone to run our own lives and deaths.
Adam: It could get worse.
what, you think I need a police guard? why, you think it's a joke? Gay activists don't shoot people.
I wouldn't be so sure you're safe, Ben.
Jack Curry has AIDS.
Julia DeBakey just released it.
It's time to bail out of this.
Stone: It just seems like revenge at this point.
Find us something.
Tonight? Go back over the evidence.
Give us a reason to drop the charges against Curry.
Anybody got any idea what we're looking for? Remeasure everything- distance of the body from the bed, blood markings.
all of it.
And redust for prints.
Make a map of where you get every print.
How's the jaw?.
It only hurts when I prosecute- so keep me out of court until the swelling goes down.
Two bookcases were turned over.
Pushed from behind.
Yeah, we redusted.
Full palm prints on the back of both.
Max: Both sets of prints belong to Bobby Holland.
Curry's prints weren't on them.
which means Holland trashed the place himself to make it look like a burglary.
which means he wanted to die.
well, maybe to us.
Max: Meaning? It's convincing emotionally but not legally.
The prints could have been put there a year before.
And as to state of mind, he could have changed it the microsecond before Curry pulled the trigger.
But does it convince you? Curry's already under a sentence of death.
That's as much payment as anyone could ask for.
Drop it completely? It's the right thing to do.
He pleads to promoting a suicide? He does no time.
Yeah? You got a copycat.
A woman from Queens just shot her retarded son.
She says she got the idea of a mercy killing from the Holland case.
Well? I've got no choice.
we keep going.
This morning I was just another ruthless DA, now I'm running the Inquisition.
Gordon: Mr.
Stone, why do you want to put a dying man in jail? Mr.
Stone, if you were dying of AIDS would you want someone to end your misery? Mr.
Gordon asks, do I want to put a dying man in jail? The answer is no.
But we're asking a more important question.
Does Jack Curry have the right, all by himself, to put a dying man in his grave? DeBakey: You allow regular customers to charge their drinks? Bartender:.
Well, not exactly charge.
You got to make a payment on your tab every once in a while.
Did Bobby Holland pay his bill regularly? He ran a tab, on and off for the last two or three years.
Paid a little on it now and then.
Never let it get much over a hundred bucks.
Did that change, M r.
Roland? A couple a couple of weeks before Bobby died, he comes in and he lays $120 on the bar and says this is for the bill, plus a tip for me.
I said, "Bobby, what? You hit the lottery?" He said, "No- I just wanna pay my bill.
" And after that, he paid cash.
Your own son he handed you the gun what did you say? I told him I didn't think I could go through with it.
And what did he say? What words did he use? He said, "Dad if you ever wanted to do anything for me do this.
" Thank you.
No more questions.
Holland, I know this is difficult, so bear with me.
You testified that your son wanted to shoot himself.
He had a gun, why didn't he? were his reasons religious? No.
was he worried about the pain he'd cause other people? No.
Then why do you think your son was unable to take his life? He said he was afraid to die.
Thank you, sir.
Robinette: Ben! Ben, DeBakey's putting Curry on the stand.
Tough to win the hearts and minds of a jury by cross-examining a guy dying of AIDS.
It's still a trial.
DeBakey: And early in the disease what symptoms have you personally witnessed? Exhaustion, dizziness, the inability to hold down food, loss of weight would be the most visible symptom.
Later in the disease? A friend of mine- I'd gone to college with him- he went blind.
And then he got pneumonia.
Have you ever heard what it sounds like when somebody is drowning? That's what he sounded like.
For six weeks.
You have been diagnosed with AIDS, is that correct? Yes.
what do you hope for? A cure.
And if one does not come along soon enough? Hope I'll be lucky enough to find someone who'll help me commit suicide.
No more questions.
Your witness.
Curry who pulled the trigger on the gun? Answer the question, please, Mr.
It was me.
Did Mr.
Holland have his hand on the gun at all? N- no.
No more questions, Your Honor.
Judge: You may step down, Mr.
Your Honor, on the basis of new information the defense would like to call an unscheduled witness.
Detective Michael Logan.
Stone? No objection, Your Honor.
She has very good sources.
I'd like to know who they are.
Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help you God? I do.
State your name.
Michael Logan.
Your Honor, I would like Detective Logan treated as a hostile witness.
So noted.
Tell the jury your profession, please.
I'm a detective with the New York City Police Department Detective Logan, shortly after this trial began, did you have a conversation with Assistant District Attorney Ben Stone about this case? Yes, I did.
Tell us the substance of your conversation.
Do I have to answer that, Judge? Yes, you do, Detective.
Judge: Answer the question, Detective.
Stone said that he thought continuing the prosecution seemed like revenge to him.
DeBakey: And what was his solution? Mr.
Stone directed myself and Sergeant Greevey to find a reason for him to drop the charges against Jack Curry.
will the defendant please rise? Judge: On the first count of the indictment the charge of murder in the second degree, how does the jury find? Not guilty.
On the second count, the charge of conspiracy in the first degree, how does the jury find? Not guilty.
On the third count, manslaughter in the first degree, how does the jury find? Not guilty.
On the fourth count, the charge of criminally negligent homicide, how does the jury find? Not guilty.
On the fifth count, promoting a suicide attempt, how does the jury find? Not guilty.
On the sixth count, reckless endangerment in the second degree how does the jury find? Guilty.
I'll catch up with you.
Adam: Some people aren't gonna be happy.
Depends on what you want- vengeance or justice.
Curry: Stone.
Did you really think that I was guilty of murder? we bring the charge when they should be brought and let the people decide.
I may not have a very long life left but it is my life.
This wasn't a prosecution, this was a warning, wasn't it? To anybody else thinking about a mercy killing.
what gave you the right to use me? Unfortunately, you did.
Not once, not twice, but three times.
Thanks, Adam.
DeBakey: After all that, misdemeanor.
Six months suspended with probation.
No judge will put Jack Curry in jail.
If you'd gone only for manslaughter one, the jury probably would have found him guilty and he'd have done time.
I wonder who told a secretary in your office to call me about your conversation with Logan.
I'll have to look into that.