Law & Order (1990) s03e03 Episode Script


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.
Four months.
I don't know what I'm gonna do without you.
Now she'll have to wolf down all those pints of Cherry Garcia by herself.
I promise.
I'll eat ten gallons when I get back.
Now we have evidence of your pre-trip weight.
I forgot.
It's your present.
Oh, not another box of red, white, and blue condoms.
You wish.
Okay, I give up.
That's Chianti.
For those dark-eyed, swarthy Italian men.
Your type.
Northern Italians are blond.
My new type.
You'll have to fight them off.
This'll keep them away.
Oh, hold that thought.
Your mother is wonderful, the apartment's too small.
If we put her in a hotel, she'll feel rejected.
She's felt rejected since the day she was born.
Oh, suddenly this is about my family neurosis? Don't start a fight with me now.
Oh, my.
That woman.
I guess she couldn't get a place in the Plaza.
There's blood on her hands.
Eleanor, Eleanor, don't touch her.
Ma'am, are you okay? Oh, God! He hits her with a steel pipe then he leaves it here.
Why doesn't he toss it into a dumpster? It disappears into the land of garbage.
We're not gonna trace it.
We're working on gun control.
Pipe control's a ways off.
Hey, don't lose this on the way to Forensics.
I found these under a car.
We've got some ID.
Manattan College.
Beth Milgram.
That's her with her friends.
Hold on, fellas.
Same clothes as in the pictures.
She was with those girls last night, just before.
I hope to God she had a good time.
Well, we had five uniforms cover 50 square blocks.
There's no construction site with pipe laying around.
Crime of opportunity.
Could've been buried in garbage on the lot.
The pipe was spotless.
It's on a vacant lot, it doesn't get dirty? Guaranteed he had it on him.
Oh, I get it.
A mugger carries a six-pound piece of pipe looking for somebody to hit.
He took the time to wrap the jacket around her head.
Nothing taken from the body.
I'm thinkir maybe not a mugger.
We got three girls from the party.
She was, um, leaving today for Italy, an arts program.
I don't know why we're here.
Nobody would've wanted to hurt Beth.
Miss Rosenbaum, even ordinary people have enemies.
It isn't possible.
She loved the ballet.
She was at the Met every afternoon studying Caravaggio.
She worked at the homeless shelter.
Was she ever involved in drugs? This is crazy.
Detective, you don't seem to understand.
Beth Milgram comes from a very fine family.
Her grandfather was president of the River Club.
Excuse me, cops in Hewlett tried again.
Nobody at the Milgram house.
Oh, my God! Her parents were coming in to take her to the airport.
She was packing.
Maybe she's running errands.
On our way to London, she stopped for dental floss.
She does everything at the last minute.
I'm terribly sorry, we wouldn't be here if we werert absolutely sure.
Three more hours and she would've been gone.
Next year I would have made her transfer out of the city.
She would've given them her money.
We talked about it.
You don't challenge them and they won't kill you.
Uh, Mr.
Milgram, I'm afraid we're gonna have to examine those.
We're not sure that this is a random street crime.
What are you suggesting? That Beth was doing something illicit? With all due respect, when children go away from home parents can be out of touch.
But who would hurt our daughter? Where's Tommy? The boy Beth was seeing.
Beth said he wanted to ride with us to the airport.
Thomas Beltran, Governor for a Day, State of Texas youth convention.
Blue Ribbon award, Rio Grande High School, public speaking contest.
You save your high school prizes? Yeah, first prize.
Multiple dress code violations.
Excuse me, who are you? Sgt.
Cerreta, Det.
Are you Tommy Beltran? Bill Lynch.
Tommy's my roommate.
Do you know where we can find Tommy? Yeah.
I just saw him at the homeless shelter, next to St.
We're fixing it up.
What's wrong? You happen to know what time he came in last night? I have no idea.
What's this about? Mr.
Beltrars girlfriend was attacked last night.
Beth? Is she all right? Was he here? You don't think that Tommy Oh, I see, he's poor, he's Mexican.
Of course you'd think of him first.
He was her boyfriend.
We didn't know he was poor or Mexican.
He loves Beth.
Is she all right? What hospital is she in? She's dead.
Oh, God! Mr.
Lynch, about last night.
He was at the shelter.
We all do public service six hours a week.
Then you can't tell us what time he came in last night? Sometime after Letterman.
That's when I went to sleep.
I just saw her yesterday.
We had lunch.
We said good-bye.
Beth's parents say that you were supposed to meet them today.
I was going to visit her in Italy.
I started saving for it.
I wanted to go today.
Beth talked me out of it.
She was going away for four months.
She didn't want you to see her off? Her father.
Beth wanted to avoid a scene.
What kind of a scene? He didn't approve of me.
Beth and I We were engaged.
When he found out he hit her, twice.
Why do you think she was going to Italy? He was abusive.
I don't, I really don't want to talk about this now.
Beltran, can you tell us where you were last night? Did her father say that I did it? I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
I was here till Please ask Father Gregory.
He's at the church.
This is tragic.
It's devastating for Tommy.
I travel the country looking for minority students of exceptional ability.
Tommy's the exception of the exceptions.
Father, we appreciate the character reference.
You know what time Mr.
Beltran left the shelter last night? He leaves around 1:00 a.
, after the men have gone to sleep.
With his background, you'd think he wouldn't want to see homeless people.
He gets kids from the university to come.
Maybe we didn't make ourselves clear.
Did you personally see him leave? When things get quiet, I often sleep.
Maybe one of the residents remembers.
When the doors open at 9:00, you could ask.
So nobody else from the church was there.
And you have no idea when Mr.
Beltran left the shelter.
Uh, I never saw him leave.
I'm sorry.
I gotta go.
Cabbie! Was he just dancing very fast, or is he just not too bright? Let's see what Forensics has on the weapon.
Six blows to the top of the head, maybe more.
Killer struck from behind.
From the angle of the blows to the side of the head, the ME guesses he was taller than the girl.
Well, she was 5'9".
Tommy Beltran? Heavy plumbing pipe.
Rough waterproofing on the outside.
Maybe South American.
I don't think he went to Brazil for it.
Now, with rough surfaces, you expect two things: No useful prints, crude partials, and things get snagged.
Black polyester fiber.
From what? Give me a week, I'll tell you.
Car seat, knapsack, windbreaker I get it.
Something made out of black polyester.
Prints from the girl's purse, also, the envelope with the Polaroids, were the victim's and the set they sent us from Texas.
Thomas Rodriguez Beltran, fingerprinted for welfare.
He could've handled the purse at lunch.
And the envelope? Well, it's a plain white envelope.
The girl who hosted the party has no idea whether it's her envelope, or Beth Milgram brought it with her.
That's just terrific.
The boyfriend could've touched it the night of the murder or last Arbor Day.
It doesn't put him at the scene.
I heard a rumor I'm gonna be unappy.
Any given day, Phil, the odds are pretty good.
A little gift from the Nassau County Police.
Four months ago, Curtis Milgram and his daughter had a scream-out on the front lawn.
Neighbors heard it a block away.
Milgram busted her lip.
We all know.
Husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands.
Fathers do not kill daughters.
Milgram called, wants to know when we can break the seal on Beth's apartment.
Wants everything packed up and sent home.
She's dead a day.
What's he want, her teddy bears? He lost his daughter, he wants whatever's left.
Let's check out that apartment.
Vietnam and the black humor novel.
" B plus.
Tapes, computer disks, nail polish.
Look at this.
"Pinker than thou.
" Phil.
We're talking to the mother, she's sitting on the couch.
What's the father doing? He's at his daughter's desk shuffling stuff around, trying to pretend she's not dead.
Shuffling? Or looking? Federal American Life Insurance Company.
"Statement of life insurance for Elizabeth Milgram.
"Specified benefit: $250,000.
"Beneficiary: Curtis S.
Relationship to insured: Father.
" This is unbelievable.
It was an investment vehicle for Beth.
Life insurance.
With you as beneficiary.
I mean, she never heard of a money market account? Investment, not savings.
To teach her the miracle of compound tax-free interest.
I could sign you up for a seminar but hopefully, you have more important things to do like trying to find out who killed my daughter.
Milgram, we understand that you hit your daughter four months ago.
My daughter and I had arguments, like all parents and children do.
But we don't all leave our children bloody.
I loved my daughter more than anything else in this world.
Could you translate that for me, sir? Does that mean yes or no? I behaved badly.
The Beltran boy gave her a ring for their engagement.
He's a nice young man.
Whether he loved Beth, marriage would have not been the best thing for him.
He would have had difficulty fitting in.
Especially if you didn't want him to.
I have been as polite as I can be.
And you have been as rude as you can be.
Now would you get out of here? A lot of footwork about his sympathy for the boyfriend.
He's your hero.
Milgram doesn't have to like him.
He didn't want to tell us he was hitting his kid.
His daughter is dead.
We just implied that he killed her.
What do you expect him to do? Invite us to the club for lunch? Do you want to go to Hewlett? The wife, she's going to lie for him.
Not if he killed her child, she won't.
He worried about her all the time.
It's my fault.
I convinced him to let her go to school in the city.
We're trying to trace her movements the night she was attacked.
Did you speak with her that night? No.
I wasrt feeling well.
I went to bed a little after 9:00.
What do you mean, "trace her movements"? It happened just after the party.
Did your husband go to bed when you did? He was reading in the den.
Curtis would have told me if he talked to Beth.
Why don't you ask him? He's at his office.
I know most men wouldn't, but for Curtis, it's the best cure.
Do you mind if we look around? Beth's things are in the city.
We'd like to look around, anyway.
If you don't mind.
I think you'd better talk to my husband first.
Her husband wasrt home that night.
She knew it.
The old man didn't like the boyfriend.
If the boyfriend were dead, I'd say the old man had a motive.
I don't know.
$250,000, is that motive? If you wanted to talk to my wife, you might have asked me.
You're Cerreta and Logan? Jack Haviland.
Is my client a suspect? I'm Capt.
Donald Cragen.
Why don't we step into my office where we can discuss this calmly.
You are harassing my client.
Counselor, your client has an insurance policy on his daughter's life.
You think that amount of money means anything to me? I invite you to talk to my client's accountant.
Milgram earns more in three months than that policy is won'th.
Where were you the night your daughter was attacked, sir? Driving around.
I do it often, to think.
Anybody see you driving around? Yes.
The idiot policeman who gave me a speeding ticket in Riverhead.
Around midnight.
That's what, Detective? About 80 miles from where his daughter was killed? All you had to do was ask.
Sometimes we get a little carried away.
We had grounds to suspect him.
I'd like to get hold of that ticket.
But before we started digging his grave, you leave any other holes to fill? Fourth girl at the party.
Celeste What's her name? Adams.
She left a message.
Her parents wanted her home.
She'll call when she gets back.
She never called.
Make a call on her.
What could I have told you? She was killed by a mugger.
I was still at the party when it happened.
You don't know anything, you call and say so.
Anything I said you'd have taken wrong.
About a mugger? What could we take wrong about a mugger? Listen, we can have this conversation here or at the precinct.
The day of the party, she told Tommy maybe he should see other girls.
He got upset, so she got upset.
She was dumping him.
He took everything too seriously.
Miss Adams, anybody that's been dumped, they know the dance.
So? That's what Tommy said.
He wanted to lock everything down, the next 20 years.
Beth didn't want to know beyond the next 20 minutes.
Tommy called me after they had lunch.
He said he couldn't live without her, all that stuff.
And she couldn't live.
I knew you'd take it wrong.
What Beth said, it didn't mean anything.
It was her father talking.
Her father wasrt there, Tommy.
His daughter's been murdered.
I understand his grief.
It's natural for him to flail out at me.
But Beth and I, we were so happy.
So happy, she was running off to Florence to study art.
People are separated all the time.
It doesn't mean they don't love each other.
Tommy, you said the night Beth was killed, you left the church at 12:00? No.
I said I left at 1:00.
Oh, yeah, Tommy is a good kid.
I haven't seen him since Thursday when they served the beef stew.
Do you know what time he left? You're not gonna believe this.
I don't own a good watch.
What night? Thursday night, I can spell that for you.
What night was Thursday? Beef stew night.
Oh, beef stew night.
Yeah, he was here.
Until what time? All night.
Well, he must have gone home sometime.
Why? I'm upstairs to go to the can, maybe 3:00, he was going into the box with the priest.
You mean the confessional? I wouldn't know.
I'm a Buddhist.
Yes, I confessed him.
I don't recall the time.
Father, we spoke to you last week, you didn't mention the confessional.
You know, under church law and civil law, you can't force me to tell you what was said.
Which means something was said.
You can tell us what time he was here, without breaking your vows.
I'm sorry.
Father, a young woman is dead.
Now, if Tommy Beltran killed her If Tommy has anything to tell you, he'll tell you himself.
Suppose you're a priest.
A guy confesses he killed somebody, the cops ask, but you can't say anything.
What would you do? I'd wink.
I think he did.
The kid wanted to marry her.
She cut him loose at lunch.
Not probable cause.
He has no alibi.
He saw the priest three hours after she was killed.
A judge is gonna want more than that.
His fingerprints are on the envelope in her purse.
Could've been there for weeks.
Keep it to yourself.
I'll look in the kid's room.
Who you gonna get? Judge Morris.
Him? Are you kiddir? You'll get a warrant after the Second Coming.
Who's easier? Judge Fadem.
This kid has every expensive pen ever made.
Tiffany, Mont Blanc.
Every sweater they sell at Brooks Brothers.
Hey! Don't mind us.
We're just doing our public duty.
Do you have a warrant? Autographed by a judge.
Do you mind standing outside the room? TRV.
Nice bag for a scholarship kid.
It was a prize, a public speaking contest.
Is that illegal? Does he have a black bag? Does that look like black polyester? Midnight blue.
So I'm not a fashion consultant.
What color is it? Black and blue.
Very chic.
It's an expensive bag.
It's also the same fiber.
Let Cragen do the arrest papers.
I want the kid now.
Yeah, it's Logan.
We're at Forensics.
Tell Stone we're picking him up.
What? Change of plans.
The kid got good timing.
Or good information.
We're just about to nail him, he walks in the door.
I told you, you don't have to pressure him.
He's ready.
How'd you happen to come with him, Father? He called me, he asked me.
Where'd he call from? Does that matter? First of all, I want you to know I loved Beth.
She was very precious to me.
She was my whole life.
She was going away.
I thought I'd never see her again.
I don't remember it very clearly.
But it's all over now.
And it doesn't matter what happens.
It doesn't matter what happens to me.
Docket number 54289.
People v.
Thomas R.
The charge is murder in the second degree.
Miss Watt? Janice? Hello? Is legal aid representing this man? I just caught it.
I haver t been able to consult with my client on a plea.
I'll enter not guilty.
Your Honor, Father Gregory, S.
, would like permission to address the court.
As long as he doesn't pray.
Your Honor, we ask that you release Mr.
Beltran on no bail.
And we will provide a place for him until trial.
Robinette? The defendant confessed to a brutal murder.
The People ask for $300,000.
I have a soft spot for men of the cloth, Father.
It's a marvelous vocation.
But I'll be frank.
If he disappears, I can't penalize the church.
Maybe you can scrape up $20,000 for a bond.
What Tommy did is horrible, nobody denies that.
But why put him in jail for 25 years, waste a life? What would you consider a reasonable punishment? For today only, Father Gregory can speak for the defense.
Tommy talked with me about joining an order, a lifetime of doing good work.
Consider a plea, a minimal sentence.
Then he can enter the church.
Are you a lawyer, Father? Actually I took my JD at Fordham, before I went to seminary.
Then you know that society does not let us choose our own punishment.
This isn't the eighth century where you can give yourself over to God.
He's a young man, he thinks his life is over, he wants to give up.
We want to save him.
He can make a new life.
At least talk to him.
Look into his heart.
I didn't know the police were coming.
I confessed because I came to terms with what I did.
I was ready.
Why did you kill her, Mr.
Beltran? I only went to say good-bye.
I knew Beth didn't want to go.
It was her father.
I went to a party at his house one time.
They had two men parking the Rolls-Royces.
One of them asked me to go to the back.
He thought I worked in the kitchen.
Out of the blue she was going away.
Leaving me.
I guess we'll never know why I did it.
Where did you get the pipe? Tommy, you shouldn't answer that.
It's okay.
Because I don't know.
I guess I hit her a lot.
There was blood on her head.
And her hands She must've put up her hands.
They said look into his heart, it wasrt a pretty sight.
The jury might not be so observant.
The boy repents, Jesus forgives, the jury might do no less.
The Old Testament says only the injured party can forgive.
Repenting is not enough.
Tommy never said he was sorry.
He didn't even mention Beth.
Only her father's house, the Rolls-Royces parked in front.
The boy climbs a mountain, he falls off.
Any decent attorney will make it look like a Greek tragedy.
Or a daytime soap.
She rejects him, he's heartbroken.
That and a bucketful of remorse adds up to man one, not murder two.
His only remorse is that Beth prevented him from entering her world.
He didn't fall off the mountain, he jumped.
I grew up in the slums.
I know what it takes.
I saw kids who didn't make it.
You say it's cause and effect? Try to climb out of poverty and kill when you don't get what you want? We can't ignore where he came from.
It's a reason, not an excuse.
What he does is plan everything.
I did it, too, it's how you get out.
He planned the murder the same way he planned his life.
It was premeditated.
We have a murder weapon, a confession.
He confessed to killing her, not murder two.
If we don't prove intent, it's manslaughter, crime of passion.
A crime of passion happens in the heat of the moment.
You don't carry a pipe to the scene.
Can you prove he carried the pipe? I remind you, in California, actress strangled by her boyfriend.
Westchester, eight, nine years ago.
Girlfriend killed in her bed.
Not to mention the fact that the boy takes the stand and tells the jury how sorry he is.
He confessed because he knew he was five seconds away from being arrested.
Then prove that he carried the pipe.
Prove that the confession was expedient.
If you can't, plead him.
Yeah? Curtis Milgram is here.
Stone, I'm not an easy man.
Many people find me cold.
But Beth was kind.
I should've let Beth deal with Tommy, do it her own way.
It might've ended naturally.
If you're blaming yourself, Mr.
Milgram, don't.
Stone, how good is your case? The op-ed page this morning, a lawyer said you ought to make a deal.
We haven't reached a decision.
Let me tell you something.
When I first met the boy, I liked him.
He was well-behaved.
He had all the right answers.
He snowed me.
He snowed you, he'll snow a jury.
I lost the only thing in my life that meant anything to me aside from my wife.
Now either you put him away or Mr.
Milgram, I want to remind you I'm an officer of the court.
Just see that he goes to prison for a long time.
He practically said he'd kill him.
What if it were your daughter? Who knows how far any of us would go.
They handed me this on the way in.
They formed a defense committee and posted bail.
They raised $20,000? They raised more than that.
Hired Cyrus Weaver as counsel.
Cy Weaver.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Listen to this.
The day the kid turned himself in, a call to Father Gregory from Beltrars room, 4:07.
The search warrant was served at 3:40.
So he got there just after the cops left.
And his roommate told him.
Beltran knew he was nailed.
That's not proof.
Cy Weaver fired his first round.
Motion to exclude the bag and the confession.
Well, at least he didn't nominate the boy for a Good Citizers medal.
The police searched Tommy Beltrars room illegally.
I thought there was a warrant.
Signed by Judge Fadem.
But it was fraudulently obtained.
Your officers, Cerreta and Logan, offered Tommy's fingerprints found on an envelope from the victim's pocketbook as probable cause.
You have a problem with that? They went out for over a year.
Even in the age of safe sex I'm sure the boy touched some of her personal belongings.
The envelope had pictures taken just before she was attacked.
The girl doesn't remember giving her an envelope.
So there's a chance she had it before she went to this party? No evidence of that, Your Honor.
No evidence contradicting it, either.
Did the officers explain this to Judge Fadem? He didn't ask.
So there was no probable cause for a search warrant.
And the results, namely the bag and the confession, are inadmissible.
The boy confessed freely.
The search had nothing to do with it.
Had you not grabbed the bag, he might not have been so motivated.
Your Honor, if the police can't rely on a judge's signature, they can't properly conduct an investigation.
They can if they pick a judge who isn't more interested in his four iron than the Fourth Amendment.
The bag is out, the confessiors in.
Without the bag, you lose premeditation.
Without premeditation, you can't prove murder two.
Save yourself some trouble here.
Do we look troubled? You feel no sympathy for this boy? He did what we told him to do.
He went for the American dream.
He got good grades, played by the rules.
He beat a girl's head in.
That's not in my rule book.
Put yourself on the jury.
They'll see a lost little boy with a mature young woman who used and abused him.
Man two, three years.
It's a gift.
It's not Christmas.
Man one, full 15.
You think you can prove intent? Six blows to the head with a pipe? Intent is in the mind, Paul, not in a piece of metal.
His body committed a heinous act.
Only God and your client knows what was in his mind.
And my expert psychiatrist.
You want to go to trial? I'm changing the plea.
Not guilty by reason of mental defect.
You think he was insane? My expert witnesses will have the jury calling for extra crying towels.
It doesn't buy you a "not guilty by reason of insanity.
" No, but it will buy me pity, which I can trade in for diminished capacity.
And since the menu doesn't include manslaughter, my friend will walk.
The weekend before he killed her, he must've called her a dozen times.
He was upset because she was going to Italy.
He doesn't know what Mr.
Beltran was thinking.
The jury will disregard.
As far as you could observe what was your daughter's attitude toward Mr.
Beltran? A year ago, she talked about him all the time.
In the few months before she died, she talked about other boys.
She wanted to get away from him and he couldn't accept it.
Milgram, please.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
Your witness.
Milgram, why was your daughter going to Italy? As I said, to get away from an unealthy situation.
Your daughter was a 20-year-old college student and Tommy was 21.
Was was that unealthy? He was obsessed with her.
It wasrt normal.
She wanted to be rid of him.
She wanted to be rid of him? Like last year's party dress? No longer fashionable Objection.
So, Mr.
Milgram, your daughter took Tommy's engagement ring and then got rid of him.
Was that healthy? Don't you understand? He didn't fit in.
He never would.
He knew it.
It made him Were you gonna say crazy, Mr.
Milgram? Objection.
Beltran said he was sorry.
He said he couldn't remember killing Beth Milgram.
In your professional opinion, was he telling the truth? In my opinion, Mr.
Beltran knew what he was doing and he hasn't forgotten.
Miss Milgram made him feel he fit the world he wanted to join.
When she pulled away, his identity was threatened.
He was angry and he killed her.
Did he know he was wrong? Yes.
And under any clinical definition, was he incapable of forming the requisite culpable intent? No.
He was very angry.
Thank you.
No further questions.
So Tommy's identity was threatened? If he was between identities It was not a crisis of identity.
Beltran thought that violence was an acceptable response to rejection.
Isn't that mental illness? No, it's a character flaw.
If Mr.
Beltran was simply angry, as you allege, what explains his remorse, his anguish, his regret? He told me he feels guilty.
But he goes on to blame Beth Milgram.
He blames her parents, everyone but himself.
He blames Beth Milgram? Isn't that evidence he's lost track of reality? No.
It's evidence of self-pity.
She held him off.
At worst he dented our fenders a little.
Father might as well wear a white hood with a burning cross.
That is irrelevant.
Legally, yes.
Pragmatically, who knows? I know where he got the pipe.
I checked through Cerreta and Logars notes.
When they first talked to him, he was painting the shelter.
A permit for plumbing work was issued four days prior to the murder.
I tried the contractor, he's on vacation.
His office is closed.
Adam, I want a search warrant.
Call Judge O'Doyle.
Call a Catholic judge to tear open the walls of a shelter run by the church.
This isn't a match, we're gonna look ridiculous.
This isn't a match, there's no premeditation.
It looks like it.
Feels like it.
Is the water turned off? Yep.
How long have you worked at Sudie Enterprises, Ms.
Hagadus? Eight years.
Five in R and D.
The last three as Regional Sales Manager.
This pipe, which is labeled "People's 13", was removed from the homeless shelter where the defendant works as a volunteer.
It's manufactured by your company, isn't that correct? Yes, I handled that sale myself three months ago.
But have you sold similar piping to other contractors working in Manattan? It's our biggest seller.
There are hundreds of buildings using that particular type.
Are you familiar with the work at the Cowan building? Yes.
I sold them piping.
The same kind as that.
Where is the Cowan building? That's just one block from the site of the attack.
Tommy was drilling wallboard in the middle of the night.
When I approached him, I could tell something terrible had happened.
What did he say to you? At first incoherent rambling.
I thought he was on some drug.
So he seemed clearly to be out of his senses? Objection, leading.
What did you do, Father Gregory? Tommy thought that his life was over, that everybody would abandon him, hate him.
I told him that whatever God heard him confess, he would forgive.
I promised him that I would forgive him.
I would support him, no matter what he had done.
And then he asked that I confess him.
No further questions.
Thank you.
Father Gregory, your promise to support Tommy no matter what he did enlisted you to a role in his defense, right? Yes, of course.
Before he had your assurance of support, did he ever mention confession? It was clear to me that he wanted to unburden his soul.
In exchange for enlisting a priest in his defense? When you examined Mr.
Beltran, Dr.
Goldman, what conclusion did you reach about his emotional and mental condition? Mr.
Beltran is burdened by extreme self-hatred.
He's a working-class young man in a society that doesn't admit it has classes.
Miss Milgram eased his greatest fear of being nobody and meaning nothing.
In your opinion, when Mr.
Beltran attacked Miss Milgram, is it possible that he was not aware of the consequences of his acts? I would say it's more than possible.
It's a virtual certainty.
Thank you, Dr.
No further questions.
Goldman, when would a young man bludgeoning a young girl to her death not exhibit emotional distress beyond his control? Well, if he were a hired killer, for example.
You mean anyone who kills, unless they are a hired killer is not responsible for their actions? I didn't say that.
Then give me an example of someone who would be responsible for bludgeoning a young girl to death? Well, if he were a hired killer or a coolly methodical killer who did it for a specific motive.
Like revenge? Yes.
Like Tommy Beltran? Taking revenge because Beth Milgram rejected him? We moved from place to place wherever there were crops to pick.
We lived in shacks on the edge of the fields.
How did you study? How did you learn? My mother taught me at night.
Until she got sick.
And then what happened? It was so hot in the shack.
She was lying there and there was nothing I could do.
I remember music coming from the big farmhouse.
People out on the porch, laughing, drinking lemonade.
My mother died.
What did you feel? I felt anger.
Inside me.
It was so strong I was afraid.
But I fought it and I held it in.
Why did you kill Beth? I didn't want to.
I loved her.
Then why? When she told me I should see other girls, that she was going to see other men, it was like the night my ma died.
Something just exploded.
It was like a fire blazing in my head.
No more questions.
Beltran, when did you pick up the pipe? I don't remember.
And what were you thinking when you first struck Beth Milgram with the pipe? I don't remember.
And then you struck her again and again and again.
I don't remember.
Because the fire was blazing, right? Yes.
But there was no fire blazing when you picked up the pipe.
Why don't you remember that? A bird in the hand.
It's a toss-up.
What do you say we both come up winners? He shattered a girl's skull.
You can't prove it wasrt a spontaneous act, a crime of passion.
You should understand where he's coming from.
Yeah, I do.
I also know where he's going.
Just tell Ben I'm willing to talk, okay? Man one, we might as well throw him a party.
Since when do you back off? Since I looked into the jury's eyes.
They're on the edge, but I don't know if we have enough left to bring them to us.
You sure you're gonna lose? I'm not sure I'm gonna win.
That kid deserves some time in prison.
Cyrus, he does 10, you got a deal.
Ben, I spoke out of school.
My client has decided against a deal.
I'll take my chances with the jury.
When Thomas Beltran was 5 years old, they took his father away.
And then he lost his family home and his rage was born.
His mother survived doing stoop labor until he was 12.
And then she was gone.
And his rage began to grow.
An orphaned wetback, a beaner, a greaser His rage grew.
And then, by enormous effort, he was here.
A world of country clubs, Cadillacs, and park-front condos.
And Bill Lynch and Father Gregory said: "Tommy, you can be a part of this world.
" And Beth Milgram said, "No, you can't.
" And Tommy couldn't control his rage.
It's easy to feel sympathy for Thomas Beltran.
He's overcome hardships.
He's had problems.
And he sits here before us, day after day, polite, well-groomed, and telling us how sorry he is.
While we, the people, bring in witnesses to describe his crime.
But the most important witness isn't here.
Beth Milgram.
A pretty, happy, lively And on a dark street three months ago Thomas Beltran approached her with a pipe in his hand and he struck her in the head.
Again and again and again.
Again and again.
Six times, shattered her skull, and he says he doesn't remember doing this.
Would you remember doing it? I think you would.
I think he does.
But he would have us believe that the accident of his birth killed Beth Milgram.
But many people are born into poverty and they never kill anyone.
Thomas Beltran wanted to live in Beth Milgram's world.
He couldn't, so he killed her.
Don't kill her again by forgetting her.
Would the defendant please rise? Has the jury reached a verdict? Yes, we have, Your Honor.
As for the sole count of the indictment, murder in the second degree, how does the jury find? We find the defendant guilty.
You did good.
You got them to vote past their guilt.
What guilt? The guilt we all feel for the Tommy Beltrans, for the other America.
State pays for it.