Law & Order (1990) s11e08 Episode Script

Thin Ice

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.
Nicole, I'm tired of this.
We're late.
I'm coming, Mom.
You know, young lady, I don't think you appreciate the sacrifices I make on these weekends, and what it takes to be one of those girls who's up on that podium.
What? Oh.
My God! Go back to the car.
Yes, there's a man, he needs an ambulance.
Please hurry.
Russell Crider.
Age 37.
Found his wallet in his pocket.
Forty bucks.
Honda over here is registered to him.
Hell of away to start the weekend.
Or end one.
Looks like he got worked over pretty good.
Face is busted up.
Ribs and chest are bruised.
ED: Cause of death? I'm gonna guess internal bleeding.
Door was open when we got here.
Keys on the ground.
Carjack gone bad? Guy comes out of the elevator, catches somebody poking around.
Or he just pulls in.
You been through the car? There was a ticket for the garage clocked in at 5:48 a.
Loose change, CDs.
Doesn't look like they boosted anything.
Dust it anyway.
You got it.
Detectives, I have Bobby Williams, garage attendant.
You been on duty all morning? Since 5:00.
Didn't see nothing, though.
You hear any loud noises? Gate's two floors down.
I wouldn't have heard no shouting or nothing.
ED: ls there any other way out? Just the front gate.
I feel terrible.
Cat getting done like this, while I'm on duty.
Well, give your number to the officer.
BRISCOE: Any other witnesses? The lady who called it in said she didn't see anything.
What time was the call? About 8:30.
Thanks, Alma.
Guy stuck his car in a garage, thought he was safe.
He forgot the high cost of parking in Manhattan.
figures the assailant stomped him while he was on the ground.
His teeth and jaw were broken by blunt force.
Probably not a fist.
And no one heard anything? Third floor of a garage on a Saturday morning.
It's pretty deserted.
Any prints from the car? So far, no hits.
When did the M.
say this happened? Preliminary report puts it somewhere between 7:00 and 8:30.
On a Saturday morning.
So, what is this victim, an early bird or a party animal? His wife ought to know.
I keep thinking, "Who would do this to him?" So, there was no one who might've wanted to Everybody loved Russ.
Must have been some crazy person.
Why was your husband in the garage? He coached a kids' hockey team.
They had practice.
At 8:00 a.
? At 6:00.
It's hard to get ice time in the city.
And he usually drives alone? Yes.
Has anybody spoken with Jake Arnold? Jake Arnold? Who's that? Oh, Ruse's assistant coach.
Where can we find him? He works for the gas company.
His number's on the fridge.
So, uh, you were home this morning? (TEARFULLY) I should've made him stay home.
He had a cold.
Is there anybody we can call? No.
There's no one.
So, when's the last time you saw him? Uh, we left practice together, a little after 8:00.
Anybody else with you? Just us.
Then I went to take the train.
Why not ride with Mr.
Crider? Russ is in Queens.
My job's here.
What time did you get here? Quarter to 9:00.
You punch in? Of course.
Our boss was here.
He saw me.
Can you think of any reason why anybody would want to hurt him? He was a great guy.
He loved coaching.
You know, him and Carmen have a hard time having kids.
The hockey, it sort of made up for that.
Aw, geez, who's gonna tell the team? Guy leaving the garage at 10:00 says he parked on the same level at around So Crider was already dead? Or about to be.
Here's a woman heard a car alarm go off sometime between So, maybe somebody was jacking his car.
Well, I was having breakfast in the coffee shop down the street.
I go every Saturday.
I watch the girls skate.
ED: And, you were parked on the third floor? Yeah.
Near the steps.
I take them for the exercise.
When did you hear the alarm? After I parked the car.
It was one of those, "Burglar! Burglar! Burglar," things.
ED: Did you get a look at anybody? No.
No, I went downstairs, around to the front gate to tell the garage attendant about the alarm.
BRISCOE: And what did he say? Well, there was nobody there.
You sure about that? Absolutely.
And the gate was up.
So, I waited a few minutes, and then I left.
I figured the garage attendant heard the alarm and went up to check it out.
Look, you told us you were here all morning.
I hit the john.
You were gone over 20 minutes.
I don't remember.
Do you remember an assault conviction, Bobby? Oh, come on, man, that was five years ago.
Husband-wife thing.
You use this on her, too? I didn't use that on nobody.
So, you won't mind if we check it out with Forensics, huh? I just carry it around for protection.
I don't like walking around here so early.
Nobody around.
(CHUCKLING) It's kind of convenient, nobody being around.
Yeah, you could find out who didn't lock their car.
Maybe pick up a few souvenirs? Look, no, no.
You got it all twisted, man.
Then why don't you straighten it out? Okay, man.
Maybe you didn't mean to kill him.
Maybe it was just an unlucky thing.
Is that what it was? I I could lose my J-O-B behind this.
You could lose a lot more than your J-O-B, Bobby.
Come on, it's now or never.
I stepped out to a deli, on Broadway, to buy a lottery ticket.
Only there was a line already.
You got to be in it to win it.
You don't have to say anything to my boss, right? Thanks.
Williams purchased the lottery ticket at 8:29.
Could be he was setting up an alibi.
When exactly was our 911 call? According to the SPRINT run, it was 8:31.
VAN BUREN: What? Looks like there were two 911 calls.
ED: How come there's no callback number? The SPRINT run's just a summary.
They probably used a cell phone that's not FCC-compliant.
Some of these service providers have been too cheap to put in the technology.
Any way to retrieve the number now? No, but we got the caller on tape.
MAN: You got to send an ambulance.
OPERATOR: What's your emergency, please? MAN: There's a guy.
He's bleeding.
OPERATOR: Where are you calling from, sir? MAN: (HEAVY STATIC) garage, West Side Rink.
OPERATOR: Sir, I can barely hear you.
MAN: Look, I'm sorry.
(CLEARLY) West Side Rink.
He's dying.
Would ya just come? Just come already.
MAN ON TAPE: He's dying Would ya just come? Just come already.
Whoever it was saw it go down.
Or was the doer himself.
And there's no chance the garage attendant is connected to any of this? Nah, his nightstick came back clean.
I don't think the guy's sharp enough to fake an alibi.
(SIGHING) Well, it's a shame the tape is such a mess.
Well, we're getting a tech to clean it up.
I eliminated the inter-modular distortions.
Filled out the dropouts.
Hope this gets you guys what you need.
MAN: You got to send an ambulance.
OPERATOR: What's your emergency, please? MAN: There's a guy, he's bleeding.
OPERATOR: Where are you calling from, sir? MAN: Parking garage.
West Side Rink.
OPERATOR: Sir, I can barely hear you.
MAN: Look, I'm sorry.
West Side Rink.
He's dying.
Would ya just come? Just come already.
That's all she wrote.
ED: Can you tell us anything about the caller? A male, obviously.
You sure? Educated guess.
I mean, an average grown man has a pitch frequency of 130 hertz.
Teenage boy, post-puberty, is about 140.
This one's at 152.
How's that make him a teenager? People go up 10 to 15 hertz when they're screaming.
Anything else? There's a little bit of fuzz at the end.
He might've been talking to someone else, but I can't tell.
You got enough for a voice match? Oh, the caller is under extreme stress.
But, you get me a voice exemplar of him shouting the same words I'll give it a shot.
All right, we're gonna need a couple of copies of that.
Give me five minutes.
I'm sorry, I just can't tell.
Are you sure it was somebody on our team? Well, we know it was a teenager.
We're just trying to put two and two together.
Well, 'cause I called all the kids to tell them about Russ, and none of them seemed to know anything about it.
Well, none of them is likely to admit it.
Guess you're gonna need all their names? Addresses, phone numbers.
I got no idea.
Whoa! Hold up, champ.
What? We want you to be absolutely sure, son.
I told you, I have no idea.
You left practice a little after 8:00? That's right.
Now, was the coach still there when you left? He was with Mr.
And then, he started talking to some other kids.
Who were the kids Coach Crider was talking to? Couple of guys from Walcott.
Walcott? Walcott High School.
They got names? Josh Felder, Keith Taylor, Bobby Ruiz.
Any idea what they were talking about? It might've been about playing time.
Playing time? You see, the coach always played everybody.
Even the kids that weren't so good.
And, I guess the guys from Walcott weren't too cool with that.
Felder, Taylor, and Ruiz.
The Three Amigos.
You had trouble with them before? Yeah, I'd say we've had our fair share of headaches with these three.
What kind of headaches you talking about? Felder and Ruiz aren't too bad by themselves, but, when they're with Taylor, they sort of run in a pack.
Pushing kids around, mouthing off to teachers, that sort of thing.
Well, it says here Taylor got a week of detention for abusive behavior toward freshmen boys in the cafeteria.
Keith wanted their seats, they refused, he got physical.
He also got suspended for fighting in the hallway.
You think he's capable of worse? I wouldn't have thought so.
But, with Keith I think he sees hockey as a way out for him.
You know, with colleges.
And somebody gets between him and that, who knows? Is he that good? According to him, he is.
(SCOFFS) You know how jocks get.
Like they own the world and nobody better get in their way.
I was in the chess club.
(SCHOOL BELL RINGING) So, we think these kids killed their coach because they weren't getting enough playing time? Hey, an NBA player chokes his coach.
NHL player hits a guy in the head with his stick.
How long before the kids do it? Taylor showed pretty aggressive behavior in school.
Plus, the tech says the caller might've been talking to somebody else in the background.
Yeah, but it doesn't make sense.
Why would these kids kill the coach, and then turn around and dial 911? Got scared.
Or, maybe one of them still has a conscience.
You say this guidance counselor makes Taylor the ringleader? No question.
Okay, bring him in.
With a parent.
I really don't understand what this is all about.
We just need to get some information.
Well, I think his father should be here.
I I tried to call him.
You can go ahead and make another call if you feel like it.
In the meantime, we'd like to know what you and Coach Crider were talking about after practice? Just some stuff.
I really don't remember.
Was it about playing time? He said he doesn't remember.
Yeah, I heard.
Are you people accusing my son of something? We would just like to know if Keith walked Coach Crider out to the garage.
No, no, I, uh I hit the subway.
ED: When was that? I don't know.
After we talked.
About playing time? Yeah.
'Cause we heard that you left practice with your buddies, Josh and Bobby.
What are you talking about? We have a tape of a 911 call.
ED: Keith, who made the call? Was it Josh? Bobby? You? Well, Josh and Bobby weren't even there.
BRISCOE: Meaning you were? PATTY TAYLOR: He didn't say that.
ED: There's only one question here, Keith.
Who's going down for this? Hey, if you made the 911 call, you're the good guy here.
You were trying to save your coach's life.
Yeah, help yourself out.
He's not saying another word.
Your mom's not gonna do the time kid, you are.
Unless you get smart, real quick.
That's enough.
I'm his mother.
I have the right to stop this, right? Mrs.
Taylor PATTY: No.
This stops.
Right now! Well, what do you think? He was definitely there.
You want us to charge him? Let Mrs.
Taylor make that call to the father.
In the meantime, with what he just said, and the 911 call, it ought to be enough to get a search warrant.
So, let's call the D.
and hold him here until we see what we can find.
RAY TAYLOR: You got no right.
I called my lawyer.
I told you, we have a warrant to search your home.
Is that your son's room? You know, you talked to my boy without me being there.
His mother was there.
Yeah, she called me.
She told me what you two did.
Scaring him! Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to ask you to calm down and stand aside.
I want to see the warrant.
What are you people looking for? Hey, Lennie.
These belong to your son? I guess.
Take a look at the top of this one.
What is it? My son did not do anything.
Looks like it could be blood.
Judge, DNA taken from this boy's hockey stick matches that of the victim.
Blood on a hockey stick doesn't prove a thing.
Which is precisely why we're seeking the voice exemplar, in order to establish a digital match between Keith Taylor and the 911 caller.
My client has a right against self-incrimination, Judge.
Which is exactly what giving a sample of his voice could be.
Your Honor, courts have compelled incriminating evidence from suspects based on far less than what the People have provided here.
We take blood, hair samples, fingerprints, all the time.
We compel line-ups.
I just don't see the difference.
I agree.
And I find the limited intrusion far outweighed by the probative value.
Your client is ordered to provide a sample of his voice, under such circumstances as required.
(POUNDS GAVEL) Look, I'm sorry.
West Side Rink.
He's dying Would ya just come? Just come already.
He's gonna have to do it louder.
Greer, I'm going to ask you to direct your client to approximate the volume on the 911 tape.
Do it louder.
(SLIGHTLY LOUDER) Look, I'm sorry.
West Side Rink.
He's dying.
Would ya just come? Just come already.
He's got to scream.
It's the only way to get an accurate spectrographic analysis.
Louder, Keith.
(LOUDER) Look, I'm sorry.
West Side Rink.
He's dying.
Would ya just come? Just come already.
It's dead on.
All I'm saying is, the kid's 16 years old.
Doesn't excuse what he's done.
Crider was the adult in the situation.
Meaning what? Meaning, young lady, he's the one who should've avoided the confrontation.
Hard to do when someone is swinging a hockey stick at you, Counselor.
The stick was only used in self-defense.
Your client pursued the deceased to his car.
Look, a man and a boy get into an argument.
Pursued or not, the man's supposed to be mature enough to end it before it gets physical.
What exactly are you asking us to do? If you have to charge him, give him youthful offender.
Supervised probation for five years.
I'm not committing to anything until I have a full understanding of exactly what happened here.
Your client didn't get caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
He killed a man.
This thing about the hockey was something long-standing between the two.
I can produce at least two other boys on the team who'll attest to that.
And the boy's father.
I'm not sure any of that's relevant.
It goes directly to establishing a beef, between my client and the victim.
So, a man loses his life over Little League hockey? All I'm saying is, we should all be considering the possibility of self-defense.
RODGERS: The fractures in his jaw and cheekbone were the result of being struck with a blunt object.
The hockey stick.
The abrasion exhibits a patterned injury which matches the butt end of the stick.
So, it wasn't swung at him? No, probably used in a jabbing motion.
Well, how exactly did he die? Apparently he was knocked to the ground, then kicked repeatedly.
One of the kicks fractured a rib, which punctured his lung, causing hemothorax.
Basically, he bled to death internally.
So he was down on the ground, when the fatal blow was delivered? From the angle of the bruises to his sternum and rib cage, I'd say yes.
Then, self-defense is out.
Not necessarily.
Crider had some abrasions on his knuckles, which to me means he threw a punch.
Now, whether it was thrown in anger is anyone's guess.
JACK: So, self-defense is a possibility.
It's at least triable.
Which is why I pulled Crider's coaching file.
I thought this was a club league.
It is, but Crider coached at a junior college before he got involved with the younger kids.
And? And there's nothing blatant.
But, he was ejected twice for arguing a referee's call.
Which the defense will use to attack his character.
Right, put the victim on trial.
It's worked before.
Lawyer said there was bad blood between these two.
Maybe it's time to find out how bad.
I'd be a hell of a lot more comfortable if we had a lawyer here.
One of the other parents told us what happened to Keith.
Felder, Josh isn't a target of our investigation, okay? Nothing he says will be used against him.
I think we should just get this over with.
(SIGHS RESIGNEDLY) Josh, I've been told that there was some trouble between Keith and Coach Crider? They argued about stuff.
What sort of stuff? Coach kept telling us winning wasn't everything.
(SCOFFS) Obviously, the man wasn't living in the real world.
JOSH: Like last year, we were so close to making the playoffs, but Coach Crider wouldn't sit the scrubs.
I mean, the kids that weren't any good.
They missed the playoffs.
I'm sorry, but I thought the whole idea was for them to learn about competition.
So, Keith wasn't happy about missing the playoffs, is that it? None of us were.
Look, Keith just wanted to win, that's all.
He had a lot riding on hockey.
What do you mean? Keith's dad was gonna get some college scouts to come see us play.
That's why Keith got so pissed about getting kicked out of practice that morning.
He was kicked out of practice? For checking this scrub I mean, this other kid.
Keith was hitting everyone in sight that morning.
Heads up, Jason.
Stay onside.
We'd warned him before about the rough stuff, so Crider tossed him out.
Suspended him for the next game.
Why didn't you tell the police about this? Because I never imagined kicking a kid out of a hockey practice could lead to a man getting killed.
Okay, how angry was he when he left? Keith's a hothead.
He takes after his father in that regard.
His father? Well, we had an incident with his dad at one of the games.
What kind of incident? Him and one of the other kids' fathers got into it.
Physically? I had to go into the stands to separate them.
(BLOWS WHISTLE) It's an open league, which means everyone's supposed to play, regardless of how good they are.
Taylor didn't quite get that.
And, you explained it to him.
I called Crider and told him I thought that he was letting some of the other parents bully him about playing time, and I didn't think that, that was right.
And, what was Mr.
Crider's reaction? He was pretty good about it.
He apologized.
Said it wouldn't happen again.
So, how did you and Mr.
Taylor get into an altercation? I went to the next game, just to make sure everything was okay.
Um (CHUCKLES) Eric got on the ice, lost the puck.
Some kid on the other team picked it up and scored.
Taylor and some other parents start screaming at Eric, you know, cursing at him, and at Crider.
I mean, they were merciless.
So, you did what? My son's 14 years old.
I went up to Taylor and I told him to sit down and shut up.
You know, I'm not proud of what happened, but I Look, I got the whole thing on tape.
And, you wouldn't believe these people.
(INDISTINCT SHOUTING) (ARGUING) Not exactly a cover photo for Parent magazine.
Well, according to the assistant coach, this type of behavior from the parents happened at most games.
Taylor was apparently the worst offender.
Yeah, he's been in quite a few scuffles.
What else do we know about him? The parking attendant identified him from a photo array as having been in the garage that morning.
Which places him at the scene near the time of the homicide.
It also means the son lied to the police about how he got home that morning.
So, the boy's protecting his father.
The question is, from what? Could be he's trying to spare his father from being a witness against him.
Or, they both did it.
Or, the father killed Crider himself.
Well, when I spoke to the M.
, she did say that Crider threw a punch.
But, when Keith Taylor was being interviewed by the police, there wasn't a mark on him.
If we find out the father did it, I want him charged with murder two.
We could charge them both, see if the apple falls far from the tree.
We could end up prosecuting a kid because of some twisted loyalty to his father.
Well, no defense attorney's going to let the father make a statement, loyalty or not.
Maybe we don't need his statement.
Set up another meeting with Keith Taylor and Greer.
Only this time, let's have the father in there as well.
Without his own lawyer? He isn't charged.
The law favors having a parent present when a child's being interrogated.
The father wanted in so bad the first time, let's give him his chance now.
We just have to be careful not to direct any questions specifically to him.
JACK: I thought it'd be appropriate to advise you in the presence of your client and his father that the District Attorney's office has decided to charge Keith in the death of Russell Crider as an adult.
As an adult? What about a plea? There's not gonna be an offer.
What the hell is going on? Your client's going to stand trial for murder, Mr.
If he's convicted, he'll do hard time.
Why are you people doing this? CARMICHAEL: We think you know why.
What are you talking about? We're talking about a father's disappointment, his anger at seeing his son miss a game after he arranged for college scouts to see him play.
Ray? He doesn't know what he's talking about.
But you know what happened, Keith, don't you? Would you leave my boy alone? I'm afraid I can't do that, Mr.
Not with the evidence we have.
(SIGHING) He had nothing to do with it.
Any of it.
Dad, don't.
It's enough.
Don't do this.
I got a conflict here.
But I'm still gonna advise you not to say anything until you talk to a lawyer.
What if he tells you what you want to know? That depends on his participation.
RAY: And if there was no participation? I'd dismiss, providing he's willing to testify.
I won't, all right? Dad, I won't.
Please, listen to me.
(SIGHING) It's not your fault.
You understand? Come on, look at me.
It's gonna be okay.
Is your client prepared to make a statement? (SIGHING) Ask him what you want.
Who was with you the morning Coach Crider was killed? You gotta tell him, Keith.
My dad.
(SIGHS DEEPLY) My dad was there.
(SOBBING) Looking through the court papers, wasn't his son a suspect in this homicide? Apparently, they've switched targets, Your Honor.
It happens, when a defendant's willing to hide behind his child.
As to bail, it's the People's position the defendant's actions constitute a depraved indifference to life.
We're requesting remand.
I appreciate the seriousness of the allegations, Ms.
Nonetheless, you did switch defendants, which leaves this court no choice but to question your aim in the first place.
Bail's set at 100,000.
(POUNDS GAVEL) Judge, I'd like the record to reflect I'm serving notice pursuant to CPL section 250.
10 of our intent to offer psychiatric evidence upon a trial of this matter.
So noted.
Carmichael, you'll advise the court of your decision to have the defendant examined by your own psychiatrist? Yes, Your Honor.
JUDGE: Okay, then, next case.
(POUNDS GAVEL) Sports rage? (READING) Evidence of a mental disease will be offered to show that at the time of the offense, the defendant lacked capacity to appreciate the consequences of his conduct.
Basically, he's saying he was angry.
(SCOFFS) I don't know what's worse, this, or the Twinkie defense.
The Twinkle defense worked.
And Archer's no fool.
Any claim of self-defense went out the window the minute Taylor tried to hide behind his son.
Insanity's his best shot.
We're having Skoda do the pre-trial psych exam.
When my niece was younger, she used to play soccer.
I remember all the parents screaming on the sidelines, and insanity was a pretty good description of their behavior.
It's not a legal excuse.
You were present in the garage, the morning Coach Crider was killed? Yes.
Who else was there? My dad.
Tell us what happened.
He was waiting to drive me home.
And I came out and I I started to tell him everything.
About how Coach kicked me out of next game.
And he just flipped.
And that's when we saw Coach Crider.
What did your father do? He went up to coach.
What then? I guess they got into a fight.
Who hit who first? (CLEARLY) Who hit who first? I don't know.
I I couldn't see.
Your Honor, I'm going to ask the Court to remind this witness any change from his grand jury testimony jeopardizes his agreement with my office.
You understand what it is he's saying to you? My dad hit Coach first.
And what, if anything, did you do after you saw your father hit Coach Crider? Well, he was hitting him, my dad was, and I grabbed him, and I I still had my stick.
And he took it, and he And he hit Coach.
He He jabbed him with it.
And Coach fell.
What did your father do after that? (STUTTERING) Well, he kicked him.
And he He kept on kicking him.
Blood was coming out of Coach's mouth, and (KEITH SIGHS) Originally, you lied to the police about this case? Tried to take the blame? Yes.
Whose idea was that? That was my idea.
My dad wanted to say what he did from the start.
But he didn't, did he? Nothing further.
The D.
offered you a deal to get you to testify against your father, isn't that right? Yes.
Now without it, they would have charged you, isn't that right? Yeah, but my father didn't let them.
Now, your father rides you pretty hard about hockey, doesn't he, Keith? He wants to make sure I take it seriously.
And the morning that Coach Crider was killed, you told your father that you'd been benched? Suspended from the next game? Yes.
And, did your father get angry? Yeah.
Had you ever seen him that angry before? No.
Did it scare you? Yeah.
And, that's when you saw Coach Crider? Right.
Now, you say during the melee, you tried to grab your father? Well, I was yelling for him to stop.
And it was like he He couldn't hear me.
So, I grabbed him.
But, you couldn't stop him, could you, Keith? No.
And that's when he took your stick, and he struck Mr.
Crider, isn't it? Yes.
And after Coach Crider had fallen to the ground, your father continued to attack him, didn't he? Didn't he? Didn't he continue to attack Mr.
Crider after he fell to the ground? Yes.
(STUTTERING) He He was kicking him, and he kept on kicking him.
And then, there was blood coming out of Coach's mouth.
And, I yelled at him I said, "Dad, stop, he's bleeding.
" That's That's when he stopped.
That's when he finally stopped.
What happened then? He walked to our car, and that's when we That's when I dialed 911.
Your father say anything on the ride home? No.
It was like nothing had happened.
"Like nothing had happened.
" Thank you.
ARCHER: Doctor, is it your expert opinion, that at the time of this crime, my client suffered a mental defect, which precluded his capacity to appreciate that his conduct was wrong? Yes, it is.
And what was the mental defect he suffered? Rage.
Would you explain that to the jury? It's one of the oldest theories of aggression.
Rage is borne of frustration.
In this case, Mr.
Taylor was trying to reach goals through his son he couldn't attain on his own.
He saw Coach Crider as frustrating those ambitions, time and time again.
The suspension of his son was simply the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
And, as a result of this, what happened to him? The rage triggered a psychological dissociation.
The rational part of his brain split off from the action part.
And, why do you say that "in this case"? Well, several factors.
The first of which was his failure to hear his son's pleas to break off his attack.
And, there was also his aberrant demeanor post-mortem.
Acting as if nothing had happened.
Anything else? I also considered the vicious nature of the attack itself, which was more consistent with a primordial response, than a rational one.
So all of this led you to conclude what, Doctor? That, at the time of the attack, Mr.
Taylor could not appreciate the nature and consequences of his actions.
Thank you.
I'm sorry, Doctor, I wasn't aware that rage was recognized as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Community.
It's been proposed.
An inability to control one's anger as a mental illness? We see examples of it every day.
Road rage.
Sports rage.
People acting on their anger in ways which we didn't see 20 years ago.
Well, what if the defendant was just plain mad as hell? Would he be responsible for his actions then, Doctor? I can't answer that.
It would depend on whether there was also any evidence of dissociation.
So, evidence of dissociation is the linchpin of your opinion? Yes.
And, isn't it fair to say that a person could become dissociated after committing a violent act? Yes, of course.
And you have no way of knowing when Mr.
Taylor's dissociation first occurred, do you? Whether it began before he acted, or was simply a reaction to what he'd done.
Isn't that right? I based my conclusions on what the defendant told me.
What he told you? What if he lied? In your expert opinion, Doctor, if the defendant's dissociation began after the fatal blow, would he be responsible for his crime? Yes.
He'd be responsible.
Nothing further.
So, what did Dr.
Skoda say? That just because someone gets real mad doesn't mean they're insane.
And he'll testify to what about the timing of the dissociation? I'm not putting a psychiatrist on the stand.
Come again? Two competing psychiatric opinions turns the trial into the battle of the experts.
Once that happens, Archer accomplishes what he set out to do in the first place.
So their expert goes unchallenged? Calling an expert plays into the hand we dealt him.
I assume you have an alternative? Skoda interviewed him.
There's enough there.
I'll use his report to cross-examine.
I'll convict the defendant with his own words.
I see we have more than one ego in that courtroom with a penchant for winning.
Guilty as charged.
Now, let's hear a jury say that.
The first thing I'd like to do today is apologize to Mrs.
I know what I say today can't change anything.
I want you to know how sorry I am.
So, how do you explain what happened? I can't.
All I can say is that when Keith told me about missing the game, knowing that the scouts would be there, it was like something went off inside my head.
You gotta understand, I never had the chance Keith had.
Never had an old man looking after me the way I am for him.
I pulled a lot of strings to try and get these scouts to come and watch my boy play.
And then Crider, he just He wouldn't listen.
So, what happened that morning, Ray? I saw him.
And then, it was like I was watching myself.
Like it was in slow motion or something.
And, when I reached him, I just swung.
There were Fists were flying.
I can feel him, me hitting him.
Jesus, I am so sorry.
Well, now, what do you remember? Do you remember striking him with the hockey stick? You remember kicking him? Honestly do not.
Well, what do you recall? Seeing the blood.
Driving home.
My wife.
She asked me what had happened, I guess 'cause of how I looked.
And, what did you tell her? That I didn't know.
That I didn't know what had happened.
Thank you.
Your witness.
Is it that you forgot, Mr.
Taylor, or that you want to forget? I have very little memory.
Little memory of a man you beat to death? I told you.
It was like I was in a trance or something.
But, you do remember punching Mr.
Crider? I believe you testified that, "Fists were flying"? Yes.
And you do remember the blood? Yes.
So, when did this trance begin? I don't I don't know.
Well, it has to have been somewhere between punching Mr.
Crider and driving home to your wife, isn't that right? I guess so.
Was it before or after you saw the blood? Before.
Before or after you gave your son your cell phone? I don't know.
But, you did have the presence of mind to do that, didn't you? I guess so.
And to leave the scene of the crime.
You never told the detectives about this trance? No.
Even after they threatened to arrest your son? Objection.
Goes to recent fabrication.
I didn't think he'd go to jail.
I was scared.
It was wrong not to speak up.
Then you knew what you did was wrong? But only after.
But, you didn't go to the police then either, did you? You act the same way whether you know something's wrong or not? While driving on the freeway, a mother of four is cut off by another driver.
She speeds up, swerves into the offender's lane, kills him.
A businessman boards a plane to New York and brutally beats a flight attendant because she refuses his request for an upgrade.
And here we have a a man without any prior criminal record, who savagely attacks the coach of his 16-year-old son's hockey team.
Road rage.
Airport rage.
Sports rage.
How do we make sense of all of it? And the truth is, we can't.
But, just because we don't understand something doesn't mean we should dismiss it.
Battered-wife syndrome.
Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Each of these took years for juries to accept, during which time people who shouldn't have been convicted, were.
Ray Taylor didn't appreciate what he was doing that morning, because at that moment, he was suffering from a mental defect, a rage, which prevented him from doing so.
And in our criminal justice system, we don't hold people responsible for conduct that they can't control, even if we don't understand it.
(INDISTINCT SHOUTING) Road rage, airport rage, sports rage.
Add to that parent rage, office rage, employee rage.
It might be nice to think of all this as the result of some new mental illness.
But, the truth is, this kind of behavior has become ordinary, and to ask you to excuse it through the fiction of a new mental illness is just that, a fiction.
Because it certainly is not the law.
The law says your right to rage stops at the other guy's nose.
The defendant's right to be angry stopped the moment he raised his fists.
It stopped the moment he struck Mr.
Crider, beat him, then left him for dead.
You've just seen the video of this defendant at one of his son's hockey games, heard testimony of incidents in which the defendant allowed his anger to explode into violence.
Are we to hold him responsible for none of this? Are we really prepared to create a society in which no one is responsible for controlling their anger, and teach those lessons to our children? The victim in this case worked with kids, devoted himself in his spare time to the bettering their lives, while the defendant lived his vicariously through his son, and, in his anger, forgot a basic reality, the same reality his lawyer hopes you'll forget.
That he is an adult.
And we hold adults responsible for what they do, no matter how angry they get.
Don't let Mr.
Taylor off the hook.
Don't create an excuse where there is none.
Has the jury reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.
On the charge of Murder in the Second Degree, we find the defendant, Raymond Taylor, guilty.
Dad, please.
It's gonna be okay.
(CRYING) It's gonna be okay.
You think his son ever gets over having testified against his father? Or having seen his father take another man's life? He worked so hard to see his boy succeed, ends up having to watch it all through prison bars.
Nothing like winning.