Law & Order (1990) s09e13 Episode Script


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.
BOB: Graphite clubs.
I took five strokes off my handicap since I switched.
I don't know.
Nine iron isn't a nine iron if it isn't iron.
Come out and play a round tomorrow.
You'll see what I'm talking about.
Promised the wife I'd clean out the garage.
You want some smokes? I'm trying to quit.
Pop the trunk.
Oh, damn it.
What? BRISCOE: You'd think somebody gutted a pig in there.
Your victim took three shots to the abdomen, point blank range.
Probably a nine millimeter automatic.
Any blood on the seats? He was shot outside.
Then whoever did it dumped him in the trunk and let him bleed out.
Any ID? Yeah.
Douglas Bender.
BCI got a sheet on him while we were waiting for you.
Anything current? Conviction in '93.
Grand theft auto.
There's a Bellevue parking sticker on the rear view.
Yeah, DMV's running the plates now.
And, uh, roll his prints, just to make sure.
Department truck towed the Honda from a no-park zone at 55th and 11th.
We logged it in at 12:28 a.
Is this something you guys do on a regular basis, ripping off impounded vehicles? Or was last night a special occasion? We saw the trunk was open, we looked inside, we called you.
Just a couple of dedicated public servants, huh? We'll take your statements down at the station.
Guess who boosted cars for a living.
Maybe Bender tried jacking a ride and the owner disapproved.
Hey, the Honda's registered to a Millicent Sheridan, Hope Millicent knows a good car wash.
Sorry, I don't see a Millicent Sheridan on my employee roster.
Are you sure? Her car's got a parking sticker for the hospital lot.
Number N13947.
(COMPUTER BEEPS) Millie Bender.
She's a surgical nurse.
Fifth floor, ICU.
We were married after Doug got out of Green Haven last spring.
I I never got around to changing my registration.
You're sure it's him? We have a picture taken at the scene.
It's, uh I want to see it.
(GASPS) (SOBBING) Oh, God, no.
Oh! Mrs.
Bender, how long did you know your husband? Six years.
We have a son.
He's five.
So you knew him before he was arrested in '93? We were engaged.
We have to ask, um, was Doug seeing any old friends lately? What are you saying? He was involved in something? Not necessarily.
Maybe someone carried a grudge.
Doug has a good job.
He sees his parole officer every week.
BRISCOE: Well, we have to wonder, what was he doing on 11th Avenue last night? Going to work.
After midnight? He's been pulling double shifts since I got pregnant.
Oh, God.
Maybe it's possible that wasn't all he'd been doing to make money.
I I don't want to talk to you anymore.
(MILLIE SOBBING) SCAGNETTl: Can we do this after lunch? I only get an hour.
And they've been cracking down lately.
We'll buy you a hot dog at the corner.
Douglas Michael.
What are you looking for? Anything you got.
Bender's had the same job since he's been out.
Uh, no complaints from his boss.
No trouble at home.
He only missed one appointment in 10 months.
When was this? Yesterday.
He called in and said he had the flu.
That time of year, you know.
Look, guys, it's after 12:00.
I gotta eat.
Bender tells this guy he can't come in 'cause he's sick, but he tells his wife he's working a double shift? Stories for everybody.
Reminds me of me when I was drinking.
(MACHINERY WHIRRING) ALEX: Shot in his car? Man, that's rough.
I'm gonna miss the guy.
You were friends? Doug did his job, drew his pay, and never turned down overtime.
Around here, that made him Employee of the Year.
We heard he called in sick yesterday.
He was here in the morning.
He looked okay to me.
So he didn't stay the whole day? Nah, he took off early.
When was that? Around lunchtime.
He got a call.
Sounded pretty upset.
Yeah? About what? He said family problems.
I told him he could make up his hours on the midnight shift.
CURTIS: Who called him? His wife? Somebody named Max.
Usually we don't let our people take calls collect but Doug was an okay guy.
And that's all he said? He was having family problems? Good enough for me.
WOMAN: (OVER PA) Rudy, please report to the office.
LUDs on the warehouse phone show Bender's collect call came from a truck stop on the Jersey Turnpike.
This Max made two other collect calls before he tried the warehouse.
One to Bender's apartment, the other to his wife's work number at Bellevue.
He must have wanted to get in touch with Doug real bad.
Bender's arrest record from that grand theft auto in '93.
Our guy had a partner in crime.
This partner's name happen to be Max? Max Sheridan.
As in Millie Sheridan? Bender's brother-in-law.
Sheridan's had multiple arrests from that GTA in '93.
No convictions.
Georgia state cops want him for jumping bail on a truck hijacking beef.
I got an APB from Georgia.
Well, maybe Max is headed north to visit his sister.
Yeah, here.
They had a possible hit yesterday.
A perp answering Sheridan's description robbed a convenience store in Delaware.
Georgia to Delaware to New Jersey.
We sure Bender picked Sheridan up in Jersey? No.
Find out more about this happy family reunion.
I haven't seen Max.
Neither has Doug.
Your brother called your husband from a truck stop in Jersey.
Doug left work and drove down there to meet him.
You don't know that.
We found a toll receipt from the Jersey Turnpike on the floor of your car.
Look, Millie, Max is family.
We understand that.
We're just trying to figure out what happened.
Doug needed money, right? What would he have done if Max offered him a job jacking trucks, like old times? Max was in trouble.
He wanted to stay with us, but Doug said no.
He gave him a ride into the city and some cash, but that's all.
Maybe they got in a fight over how much cash, and things got out of hand.
Your brother's on the run from a Georgia warrant and he's a suspect in an armed robbery in Delaware.
Max didn't kill Doug.
CURTIS: You sound awfully sure about that.
I know my own brother.
You know where he is now? No.
We were at the zoo.
Jackie got a These are the The police.
Uh, they're here about Doug.
Janet's my babysitter.
Yeah, we're looking for this man.
Any chance you might have seen him? Wow, that's some bear you've got there.
Who gave that to you, Uncle Max? Please, leave us alone.
I guess when family's in town, every day's Christmas.
Toll receipt in the Honda? If you don't tell her, I won't.
How much money you figure they gave him? With their take-home? He's probably running out of cash.
Let's check his sheet.
Maybe Brother Max tapped an old buddy for a loan.
(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING) I run a clean business.
Strictly to code.
No nudity, no hooking.
No fun.
What happened to Sin City? We're not here to shut you down.
You heard from Max Sheridan lately? Max Sheridan? You remember.
You and Max were busted in a hot Jag a few years ago.
Hey, I didn't know it was stolen.
Ignorance is bliss.
What about Max? Look, I already told the other cops.
The ones here this morning.
Don't you guys talk to each other? Well, pretend we don't.
Max came by last night looking for a place to crash.
I gave him some money, he took off.
End of story.
Where'd he go? Am I in trouble over this? You will be if we have to keep asking you the same questions twice.
(SIGHS) Lanie should know.
Max wanted company.
I gave him her number.
She likes to party.
Strictly between friends.
I'm no pimp.
Yeah, I know, you run a clean business.
Here, write down her address.
Other cops? I told your buddies, this guy called last night, and he said he wanted to party.
He was at some roach motel over on 23rd.
The Yarborough.
You get a room number? How many times do I have to go over this? I don't remember what room.
It was a real pit.
You gonna hit me, too? These buddies of ours do that to you? No.
I walked into a door.
They told you they were cops? They had badges.
John Smith.
Third floor, room 309.
Were there any other officers here looking for Mr.
Smith? You're the first.
Is Smith up there now? I got a bad bladder.
I don't always see who goes in and out.
Room key.
Police! Put the gun down! Drop the gun down! Put the guns down.
Put 'em down now.
Put your hands on top of your head! Do it! GRANADA: We're bail agents! DIFKA: We're on the job! CURTIS: Put your hands on top of your head! We got paper on the guy who rents this place.
We're bail agents.
Hey, Rey, looks like we've got a couple of real live bounty hunters here.
You guys search this place? We're trackers, not cops.
Lennie, look what I found behind the sink.
It's a nine millimeter.
Same caliber Bender was shot with.
Did a hooker named Lanie steer you guys here? Maybe.
What's it to you? You're busted, that's what.
What charge? Assault and impersonating an officer, moron.
Festov, your employees assaulted a witness.
You got this hooker's statement? I'd like to see it.
They represented themselves as police detectives.
They interfered with an investigation.
Does anybody else hear violins? I'm gonna start crying in a minute.
Go ahead, keep pushing your luck.
We got paper on Sheridan.
That gives us the right to do whatever we have to to pick him up.
You can't charge my guys, and you know it.
You're just mad 'cause we got there first.
No, we're just mad because your man-hunting technique seems to involve punching women.
Why? That whore says we roughed her up? CARMICHAEL: Okay, gentlemen, you're wasting our time.
Sheridan is the prime suspect in a murder investigation here.
What's your point? Our interest trumps your interest in apprehending him for a Georgia bail violation.
My interest is the $350,000 bond my outfit's Atlanta branch put up guaranteeing his appearance in court.
If we don't bring him back inside eight days, that bond goes away.
And we lose our bounty fee.
If you, or Mr.
Granada, or Mr.
Difka, interfere in this investigation again, I'll have you all held for obstruction ofjustice.
Do it.
We'll file suit for false arrest against your department, the D.
's office, and each one of you personally.
We're done here.
The law considers a prisoner on bail to be in the legal custody of his bail bondsman.
If he skips, bounty hunters have wide leeway to catch him.
And if they catch Sheridan before we do? Finders keepers.
Just find him first.
Welcome to the wild, wild west.
Ballistics came in on the nine millimeter we found.
It's not a perfect match, but there's a 70% chance it's our murder weapon.
Serial numbers were filed off.
Send it to the FBI lab.
Any prints? Not on the gun.
Plenty in the room, though.
Mostly Sheridan's.
A few from our bounty hunters.
And a nice clean set on a whiskey bottle from this guy.
Eddie Dow.
Works for a trucking outfit, and he's on parole for hijacking.
Well, seeing how hijacking seems to be Sheridan's line of work, maybe he got in touch with Mr.
Dow for a job.
Dow isn't here.
A couple of other detectives picked him up an hour ago.
That would be Detectives Granada and Difka? Oh, you work with them? We're members of a mutual admiration society.
(TELEPHONE RINGING) Sheridan called Dow before he left Atlanta.
We figured they connect up sooner or later.
BRISCOE: You know, you could have saved us a lot of time by telling us about Dow before this.
You don't pay my bills.
Where's Dow? Your bounty hunters hauled him out of his garage an hour ago.
I'm supposed to care about that? I ask for results.
How my people do their job is their business.
BRISCOE: Well, make it your business.
'Cause if we don't talk to Dow real soon, we're gonna have to talk to you, and it won't be in such cozy surroundings.
I've got a lawyer.
CURTIS: There are a lot of precincts in town.
He may have trouble finding you for a few hours.
Or days.
This is bull.
Call our bluff.
Give me a minute.
You know, I once had an idea about putting my money into a place like this.
So you could have a financial interest in keeping the crime rate up? That makes sense for a cop.
Granada and Difka dropped Dow off at his house five minutes ago.
Cooperation, Al.
It's the grease that makes the world go 'round.
I told you, I fell down.
From what, the Empire State Building? These guys broke your nose, Eddie.
Why are you protecting them? I'm not protecting anybody.
You're protecting Max Sheridan.
Yeah? Who's that? You were in his hotel room yesterday, remember? You had a drink together.
I drink with a lot of people.
I'm a friendly guy.
So what did you boys talk about? A job? I don't know any Max Sheridan.
Why would I talk to him about a job? (PAGER BEEPING) He's a driver and you boost trucks.
Sounds like a match.
You got a lot of pages here from the 718 area code.
Is that where we'll find Max? In Queens? In Brooklyn? You want him, you find him.
Those bounty hunters offer you a taste of their fee if you gave him up? Screw you.
I want a lawyer.
Either he sold Sheridan for a piece of the reward, like you said Which means our guy is already on his way back to Georgia.
or Eddie has a job for Max that's worth more than the reward.
The beating he took, my money's on Eddie holding out.
I talked with OCCB about Dow.
Word is, he was a driver on that Lufthansa haul back in the '70's.
This guy specializes in airports.
JFK and LaGuardia are both in the 718 area code.
Track down that number on Dow's pager, and book him for violating his parole.
He should be more careful who he drinks with.
Heads up.
(PAGER BEEPING) That's it.
(PHONE RINGING) Hello, Eddie? Hello, Eddie, you there? Hello? Eddie, I can't hear you.
Hello? Hello.
You're our lucky caller of the day.
What's this all about? BRISCOE: Why don't you tell us? What? We already talked to Eddie, but we'd like to hear your side of it.
I don't know what you mean.
Well, the way Eddie tells it, this hijacking was your idea.
He says you came to him.
He said that? This isn't just a local beef, John.
Crimes on airport property are covered by the Interstate Commerce Commission.
That's the Feds, Johnny.
CURTIS: Foreign cargo You might even have to do time in the country of origin.
How's your Turkish, John? Look, why don't you help yourself out? Tell us what you had going here, huh? I work night maintenance at Terminal Seven.
Eddie gave me 500 bucks to keep the gate open and to help his driver load a truck.
He tell you the driver's name? Max.
What time's this supposed to go down? Hope you don't have any dinner plans.
WOMAN: (OVER PA) Container 12 to gate 36.
Container 12 to gate 36.
Sheridan's late.
I'm beginning to lose my faith in man's inherent dishonesty.
Got a radio call.
Your Lieu wants you back in the city.
Multiple victim shooting.
Tenant's name is Janet Tuckman.
Millie's babysitter.
Two DOA's, one wounded.
Medics don't know if he'll make it.
They called it in.
They say they have papers on one of the victims.
CURTIS: Get their version? SERGEANT: Yeah, they say self-defense.
Guy they were here to pick up pulled a gun.
BRISCOE: Who's dead? Neighbors ID'd a Janet Tuckman.
Drivers license on the other one says "Millicent Sheridan".
Her name was Millie Bender.
Lennie Always eating our dust, huh, Briscoe? Don't even think about it! Take it easy, take it easy.
He was hiding under the bed.
We're real sorry this happened, but Sheridan pulled a gun.
The guy's.
38? Never fired.
You cowboys emptied two shotguns.
What, we should let him get off a few just to even the odds? You got a beef with anyone, it's him.
Detectives Briscoe, Curtis.
Mark Branson.
Branson is counsel for Correctional Assistance Services.
They own Mr.
Festov's bail bonds.
We're not the enemy, Detective.
We're allies.
How do you figure? CAS is as much a part of the criminal justice system as you are.
CURTIS: Bail bonds? Mmm-hmm.
BRANSON: Prison administration, inmate transportation, jury consultants.
And they say crime doesn't pay.
Difka and Granada were in lawful pursuit of a fugitive.
If we turn up evidence that your clients acted without sufficient regard for potential loss of life, we'll hit them with everything we have.
BRANSON: Bottom line, are they under arrest? No.
Then assuming Mr.
Sheridan survives his injuries, we'll be in touch.
One more thing.
How did you find Sheridan? You beat it out of Eddie Dow? That's it? Two dead and one shot, and they walk? Sheridan could have surrendered.
It was his choice how this was going to play out, not Granada and Difka's.
They had to go in with shotguns? Against an armed felon who killed his brother-in-law, who was ready to kill them.
How much firepower would you have walked in with, Rey? I don't know what I find scarier, Abbie, clowns like these having a free pass to break the law, or one of our own A.
's taking their side.
Max Sheridan is the bad guy here.
He's alive.
His sister and the babysitter are dead.
CARMICHAEL: It's overkill.
But Max Sheridan is a coldblooded murderer.
Like it or not, Granada and Difka did us a service by catching him.
A service? They're outlaws.
I'm going to check on their weapons permits.
I don't care if they forgot the period after their middle initial, I'm having their permits yanked.
And I'm putting Festov's business license under a microscope.
ADAM: Are we done? Our righteous indignation satisfied? We're not charging these guys.
What about Sheridan? He'll live.
Get him arraigned.
JUDGE FEIST: On the record.
Counsel are present.
The charges are three counts of Murder in the Second Degree.
How does the defendant plead? Not guilty, Your Honor.
People on bail? Remand, Your Honor.
The defendant is wanted on an interstate warrant Yes, yes.
The defendant is remanded to custody.
Court is adjourned.
Carmichael, I read the ballistics report.
Odds are almost one in three that Sheridan's nine millimeter isn't the weapon that killed Bender.
Ballistics put the likelihood of a match at 70%.
Let's take those odds to a jury.
Without Sheridan's prints on the gun, you can't prove it's his.
So whose was it, the hotel maid? Two words.
Reasonable doubt.
As for the gunfight at the O.
Corral, I hear ballistics might never sort it out.
You'll be lucky to get an indictment.
Correctional Assistance Services filed a Federal habeas corpus petition in District Court.
They want to take Sheridan back to Georgia.
First their bounty hunters treat our city like a shooting gallery.
Now they want to take home the Kewpie doll? JUDGE MELLON: Am I missing something? This writ of habeas corpus looks a lot like an extradition request.
We are simply requesting that the court enforce the lawful contract between my client and Mr.
What contract, Mr.
Branson? In return for my client bonding Mr.
Sheridan's bail, Sheridan agreed to appear before an Atlanta court.
Counsel is demeaning the writ of habeas corpus, the last refuge of an accused.
This amounts to a motion of replevin.
Now there's a term I haven't heard in a long time.
Branson would have you believe the issue is his client's right to enforce his contract with Mr.
But this is really an attempt to treat Mr.
Sheridan as property.
As if he were repossessing a car.
The property in this case happens to be a human being.
The district attorney is muddling the facts, Your Honor.
The fact is that the defendant is facing a hijacking charge in Georgia, verses three homicide counts here in New York.
Who has the more serious claim, counselor? Georgia has backed its claim with an indictment, Your Honor.
Has New York? We arraigned him this morning.
Under the statute, you have five days left to indict.
If you haven't done so by then, Mr.
Sheridan will be on the midnight train to Georgia.
We need to connect Sheridan to that nine millimeter.
What are the police waiting for? For the FBI lab to get back to them about the serial numbers.
Lean on them.
We fought to hold onto Sheridan.
Let's make sure we can put him away.
We got a serial number from the Feds.
The gun's registered to a Teri Barak, address upstate, near Troy.
Counting the nine millimeter, he's got 22 weapons registered.
Most of 'em handguns, all on Federal permits.
If Canada ever invades New York, this guy's ready for a fight.
So how'd the nine millimeter get from Barak to Max Sheridan? Maybe he sold it.
Maybe he lost it.
Maybe you ask him.
I never owned a pistol.
And the only Max I ever knew was Schmeling.
The boxer? Ah, well, you call him a boxer.
I call him a Kraut pantywaist.
You know, I fought that Nazi bastard He never laid a glove on me.
"Teri Barak, the Rooster from Brewster" I thought your name sounded familiar.
So none of the weapons registered under your name actually belongs to you? Oh, you're pretty fast on your feet, huh, kid? Nice TV set.
Where'd you get it? I think his son brought it.
Come on! I don't have a son.
A fan give me that.
Yeah, all he wanted was some autographs.
You happen to remember this fan's name? His name? Yeah, uh, it began with a With a "V".
I forget.
You people will have to leave.
I have to give Mr.
Barak his bath.
Come here.
You say I got a gun.
And I say, "Great, give it to me.
"There's an orderly around here I want to shoot.
" Barak barely knows what day it is.
He knows he went Max Schmeling.
JACK: In 1937.
So who supposedly sold him this gun? Well, according to the paperwork, a dealer named Armand Libretti.
He has a Federal license but no gun shop.
It cuts down on overhead.
So this Libretti sells a nine millimeter to Max Sheridan, a felon with a sheet, and uses Barak's name on the permit? He'll never admit it.
I don't know any Max Sheridan.
You don't remember the felons you sell guns to? I don't keep those kind of records.
The ATF does.
They traced the gun licenses you arranged.
A 72-year-old paraplegic.
A blind grandmother in Queens.
And my personal favorite, the guy who died three years before you sold him two.
38's and a Magnum.
He's the best-armed corpse in Greenpoint Cemetery.
Look, I give you the names of the people I sold to, what do I get? We drop local charges and hand you over to the ATF, with you as a cooperative witness.
I want to walk.
CARMICHAEL: That's not gonna happen.
This is a limited time offer for 10 seconds only.
You've already used eight.
You want me to write this down? You gonna to record it, or what? Start with Max Sheridan.
I told you, I don't know the guy.
You sold him this gun sometime in the last five days.
Nine millimeter HK.
I don't handle a lot of these.
If this is one of mine, I didn't sell it to this Max what's-his-name.
Then who did you sell it to? Gil Freeman.
Couple of months ago.
Where do we find him? Where you put him.
He's in Rikers.
Yo, I didn't shoot anybody.
JACK: Not lately.
You've been here six weeks.
We want to hear how your gun ended up in Max Sheridan's hands.
What good's it gonna do me if I talk to you guys? We'll talk to the A.
Handling your case.
Now, what did you do with the gun? Well, ask the bastards who grabbed me for jumping bail.
They took it when they broke my arm.
Were these police officers? (SCOFFS) Son of a bitch bounty hunters.
You know, I'm gonna sue.
You gotta love 'em.
After you called, I went back over the CSU reports and the crime scene photos.
When the shooting started, Millie was in this position and the babysitter was here.
Sheridan was in the hall doorway leading to the rear bedroom.
And Granada and Difka? Judging from the dispersal patterns, they fired from a point two feet inside the room here.
Putting the women between them and Sheridan.
Would Sheridan reach for a gun with his sister in the way? Well, the women could have moved after the shooting started.
So we're back to square one? Not quite.
I examined Sheridan's.
Bullet damage to the grip and blood spatters are inconsistent with Sheridan holding it in his hand when he was shot.
But if it was still in his waistband? Well, that would fit.
The gun could have fallen out after he was shot.
Sheridan never even drew his weapon, Adam.
They shot him and killed Millie Bender and the babysitter in cold blood.
And they did this carnage to cover up the fact they shot Douglas Bender.
Why kill Bender in the first place? Weren't they after Sheridan? When we have them in custody, we'll ask them.
Is your expert absolutely sure that Sheridan still had his gun in his waistband? No.
But she considers it most likely.
Sheridan has confirmed this scenario? We spoke to his lawyer.
He says Sheridan can't remember what happened.
So you have him and his faulty memory.
You have a prisoner, this Freeman fella, with every reason to implicate the bounty hunters who arrested him.
And you have a crooked gun dealer.
Some witness list.
JACK: It's a good beginning.
Your opinion.
Arrest the bounty hunters.
If they don't know what kind of case you got, maybe one of 'em will be dumb enough to talk.
What's this Bender guy got to do with us? You and your partner killed him and dumped him in his car, Andy.
I realize you've busy since then, blowing babysitters away, so it probably slipped your mind.
Never happened.
Oh, yes, it did.
And we can put you together with the gun that shot him.
You know squat.
You got squat.
We've got a murder weapon that might as well have your name on it.
We've got proof Sheridan never drew his gun.
We have motive for a conspiracy to commit murder.
Still sound like squat to you? Smells like it, too.
I'm a good judge of people, Andy.
You worked security in a department store before you went into this line of work.
What happened to Bender and those two women must've made you sick.
Not like your partner.
If this was his idea, you don't have to go down with him.
I'm done here.
I want a lawyer.
I got nothing to say.
You want to charge me, be my guest.
Granada wants a lawyer.
They're not buying our bluffs.
Let's bring 'em up for arraignment.
Docket 8763, People v.
Andrew Granada and Ronald Difka.
Two counts each Murder in the First Degree, one count each Murder in the Second Degree.
One count each Attempted Murder in the Second Degree.
Busy boys.
Let's have your pleas.
Not guilty.
Not guilty.
Bail application.
The People have the honors.
The evidence against Mr.
Granada is rock solid, Your Honor.
People ask for remand.
Your Honor, Mr.
Granada is a bonded agent.
In that case, he shouldn't have any trouble raising bail.
I think one million dollars has a nice ring to it.
As to Mr.
Difka, the People consent to ROR.
Any objection, counselor? Your Honor, I'm not sure that Yes or no? No objection, Your Honor.
Defendant Difka is released in his own recognizance.
Buy yourself a lottery ticket.
Seems to be your lucky day.
(GAVEL POUNDING) BAILIFF: Docket number 27665.
People v.
Pete Nepston.
Wait a minute.
I want I want to talk to you.
BAILIFF: One count Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree.
What kind of game are you playing here? Why was his co-defendant released? That's not a question I'm prepared to answer, counselor.
What does your client want to say? SPELLMAN: Mr.
Granada isn't making any statements until we get an explanation Ron tell you I shot that guy in the car? Mr.
Granada No.
I'm not letting that nut job pull me down.
I'll tell you what you want to know.
Off the record.
Until we work out a deal.
You have the floor, Mr.
I didn't shoot Bender.
Ron did.
Why? It was sort of an accident.
We thought he was Sheridan.
Ron, he's got a short fuse.
It's what got him kicked out of the Marines.
Dumping the body? Planting the gun? Whose idea was that? It was all Festov.
Ron called him after Bender got shot.
Did Festov tell you to shoot Sheridan? No.
Sheridan pulled a gun.
Festov just said bring him in, dead or alive.
BRANSON: Murder two? This is nonsense.
Three dead.
That's nonsense to you? Two were shot in self-defense.
We've already been through all of this.
They were the unfortunate bystanders in an attempt to frame Max Sheridan for the murder of Douglas Bender.
You're dreaming.
Anyway, it's got nothing to do with me.
Difka, at least, was acting on your orders.
We have his cell phone records.
He called you minutes after Bender was shot.
You told him to cover it up.
McCoy, I'll say this again.
This is nonsense.
I'm filing a motion to have all charges dismissed.
On what basis? Why would my clients cover up something that wasn't a crime? Doug Bender's shooting an accident? Mistaken identity.
They took Bender for Sheridan.
It happens.
Nothing overtly criminal about that.
Why was it so important to Festov to make it look like Bender was killed by Sheridan? I see an accident, I think lawsuit.
Could be Festov was worried about a civil action.
Well, if the accident was foreseeable, it's wrongful death.
What exactly got Difka kicked out of the Marines? Call the Pentagon.
Find out.
McCoy's theory is that my client conspired with Mr.
Granada to conceal a shooting that wasn't criminal.
That's only the half of it.
They concealed it because Mr.
Festov was afraid of a lawsuit arising out of Doug Bender's killing.
That's ridiculous.
What lawsuit? Festov hired a man with a record of violence, handed him an arsenal, and gave him carte blanche to capture fugitives dead or alive.
Difka was a disaster waiting to happen.
The man has no criminal record.
He has a military record, Judge.
He was an MP in the Marine Corps, until a dishonorable discharge in 1991, following a court martial for a near-fatal assault.
The second in Corporal Difka's career.
This isn't relevant.
It is relevant because Festov knew about it.
He received a copy of Difka's record in response to a routine personnel check.
How does that make Mr.
Festov responsible for Difka's accidental shooting of Doug Bender? The shooting was foreseeable.
It's depraved indifference homicide.
That's why they burst in on Mr.
Sheridan with guns blazing.
What Mr.
McCoy sees as nefarious and criminal is simply standard and legal operating procedure for bail bondsmen.
Three murders are standard operating procedure? Difka and Granada were acting as bail agents in pursuit of a fugitive.
They were entitled to use deadly force.
Difka was acting at the behest of Mr.
He told Difka to kill Sheridan.
Well, if you have any real proof of that, bring it on.
I have Mr.
Granada's statement.
Ambiguous at best.
I want to hear it from the horse's mouth.
We figured on Sheridan making for his family, so we went to his sister's place and waited there.
At around 9:00, we saw him get into a blue Honda.
We gave pursuit.
Did you catch him? We lost him downtown.
We did a grid search looking for the car.
Ron Mr.
Difka, he was pissed 'cause we were driving all night.
How angry was he? He said when we caught up with Sheridan, he was gonna rip his arms off.
Go on.
Around midnight, we saw Sheridan headed north on 11th Avenue.
Ron cut him off, yelled for Sheridan to get out.
The guy gets out, reaches for his pocket, Ron shoots him.
The guy's dead.
Only it wasn't Max Sheridan.
We checked his ID It was Doug Bender.
When Bender reaches for his pocket, why didn't you fire your weapon? It was drawn, wasn't it? I wasn't sure he was reaching for a gun.
What did you do then? Ron called Festov.
We dumped the body in the trunk and took off.
Why did you do that? Ron said Festov said if we report it to the police, it would tip off Sheridan that we were on to him.
Back at the office, Festov told us to find Sheridan, plant the nine millimeter on him.
Did he say why? Not to me.
Did he give you any other instructions with regard to Mr.
Sheridan? Just said to bring him in, dead or alive.
What did you take that to mean? What it means.
Dead or alive.
Either way, we get our money.
We get paid.
Now, Mr.
Granada, the police determined that Sheridan's gun was still in his waistband when he was shot.
Did you see him reach for his gun? No.
Ron saw him.
He yelled, "Gun" and started shooting.
So did I.
And Millie Bender and her babysitter? Everybody was running and screaming.
We didn't know who was packing what.
We couldn't, we couldn't take that chance.
And all this because Mr.
Difka yelled, "Gun"? Yes.
Granada, do you have any regrets about the deaths of Doug Bender, and his wife, and their babysitter? I don't know.
Bender looked like he was going for it.
Ron said that Sheridan We couldn't take that chance.
I just don't know.
Granada, do you know a man named Phil Warner? Used to.
He's dead.
He was a bail agent.
I used to work with him.
And he died apprehending a fugitive in New Jersey? Shot three times.
Point blank.
Because he hesitated.
The guy got the drop on him.
How long have you been a bail agent, Mr.
Granada? Three years.
Are you licensed by the state or Federal government? Drivers license and a gun permit.
That's all I need.
And before you place someone in custody, are you required to identify yourself, as the police do? No.
Why give up the element of surprise? Do you read a person his rights? They give us a name, we take him in.
Ever kick in a door to get your man? Part of the job.
Ever kick in the wrong door? Sometimes you get a bad tip.
And have you ever been investigated by any state or local authority for any behavior arising out of a bad tip? A few times.
Delaware, Pennsylvania.
Once in Indiana.
They decided we were within our rights.
And based on your experience as a bail agent, do you think you and Mr.
Difka were within your rights when you shot Doug Bender, Max Sheridan, Mrs.
Bender and Ms.
Tuckman? Within our rights? As a bounty hunter.
I guess.
Nothing further, Your Honor.
In Taylor v.
Taintor, the Supreme Court says that bounty hunters, they may pursue into another state, and if necessary, break and enter the subject's house.
For better or for worse, the bounty hunter may use force, including deadly force, to effectuate a just recapture.
Doug Bender's shooting was lamentable, but not criminal.
Ron Difka's zealousness just doesn't rise to the level of homicide.
A shooting in anger? Covering it up by killing unarmed women? Mr.
McCoy is using the first shooting as evidence of a criminal motive for the other two.
Yet the first shooting was in no way criminal.
Branson's position would give these men unfettered discretion They're bail agents.
The Supreme Court gives them just that discretion.
Taylor and its progeny are nearly a 100 years old.
And they've never been overruled.
Your Honor, the bail bondsman and his agent serve a legitimate societal need.
Without the bail bondsman, most criminal defendants could not post bail.
And without the bail agent, the bail-jumper would threaten the existence of the entire system.
A properly trained and regulated bail agent may be a necessity, but as it stands, there are no regulations.
A society that tolerates or turns a blind eye to this kind of behavior is one step from barbarity.
BRANSON: The point remains, bail agents can do most anything without fear of prosecution.
I don't say it, Your Honor.
The Supreme Court does.
McCoy, your theories of the crimes make sense, given the motive that you ascribe to the defendants.
Unfortunately, you can't substitute theory for evidence.
This court shares the People's outrage at the conduct of these bail agents.
It seems that the Fourth Amendment's protection that persons should be free from unreasonable search and seizures, ought to apply equally to them as to police officers.
But what little law there is on the subject indicates otherwise.
The Supreme Court has given its imprimatur, however long ago.
And the legislature, in its wisdom, has not seen fit to eliminate this scourge.
As to the shooting of Doug Bender, the depraved-indifference homicide charges are dismissed.
Insofar as the allegations that Millie Bender, Janet Tuckman, and Max Sheridan were shot as part of a conspiracy, this court sees insufficient credible evidence to sustain the indictment.
(GAVEL POUNDS) No crime, no cover-up.
Three people dead, and no one's accountable.
Justice on a budget.
What'd you end up charging 'em with? Tampering with evidence.
An "E" felony.
We arraigned them, they posted bail.
And they walk away from three murders.
We can always hope they jump bail.