Law & Order (1990) s12e16 Episode Script

Born Again

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.
I'm just going to have his baby.
It's not like I want to marry him or anything.
Yeah, but you can understand why his wife might be a little jealous.
Oh, please.
I don't want him, I just want his genes.
(LAUGHS) Why does she even have to know? Oh, that's what I like about you, Sandra.
You're such a romantic.
What, you cramp up again? Sweetie? You okay? Hello? Is she I'm not sure.
She's ice cold.
Oh, my God.
She wasn't shot, stabbed or strangled.
There's no sign of blunt force trauma.
Suffocation? No petechial hemorrhages.
Do we know who she is? There's nothing in her pockets.
No ID.
Nice jacket, good shoes.
Definitely not a street kid.
Looks like she's about 10 or 11.
Any sign of sexual assault? Not that I could see.
They found this joint over by the seesaw.
It's barely smoked.
Looks like the party just got started.
The question is, whose party was it? Can you get this to the lab? Right away.
Little girl like this, what's she doing in the park at night? Kids grow up fast these days.
Not this kid.
ED: The M.
on the scene didn't seem to think she that was suffocated.
It's not your run-of-the-mill suffocation.
I'm thinking more like positional asphyxiation.
You know how a boa constrictor squeezes the life out of its victims? Same thing.
Thanks for the visual.
See where the ribs meet the breastbone? There were severe contusions at the costochondral junction.
Her chest was compressed, which impeded breathing and caused her to choke to death on her own vomit.
The story just keeps getting better.
In addition, I found edema in her nasal and laryngeal passages.
Swelling? Is that significant? Probably caused by some kind of trauma.
I'm thinking whoever did it may have tried to revive her.
When did all this happen? Between 6:00 and 8:00, maybe 9:00 pm.
There were also indications that the body was moved postmortem.
So, you're saying the girl wasn't killed in the park.
Well, it's hard to tell.
I mean, she could have been killed there and repositioned afterwards.
Or the perp could have come back later to admire his handiwork.
Was there any sign of sexual trauma? No.
And the tox screen came back negative, too.
So the joint didn't belong to the girl.
We sent it out for DNA, just in case we come up with a suspect.
Detectives, Missing Persons just got a hit.
Paula Weston, Reported missing by her mother this morning.
She lives on Columbus and 88th.
A block from the park.
Sometimes I hate this job.
ED: ls there somebody you want us to notify? No.
No one.
Well, what about her father? My ex-husband hasn't been in the picture in quite a while.
He lives outside of Philly.
It was just me and Paula.
When was the last time you saw her? Last night.
She did her homework, and then she watched some TV, went to bed.
The alarm went off around went into her room.
She wasn't there.
Then what? I called the police, and then I started to search the neighborhood, thinking that she would show up somewhere.
Does anybody have a key to your apartment? No, no one.
Cleaning lady? Nanny? No.
It's just us.
ED: Did Paula ever run away before? No, she didn't.
She didn't run away.
Did you notice your daughter was upset about anything recently? Just the normal kid stuff.
Last night, she wanted to sleep over at a friend's house, and I said no.
Weston, where does your daughter's friend live? That's across the park.
I called over there this morning and Alice's dad said he hadn't seen her.
My daughter was here with me all night.
We need to hear that from her.
She's not allowed out on school nights.
Danielson, please.
I was here.
On the computer.
When's the last time you saw Paula? DANIELSON: They walk part way home from school together every day.
Then Paula takes the bus.
Paula have any other friends at school? Anybody she likes to hang out with? The kids at Hamlin are kind of lame.
Did she mention anything to you about maybe sneaking out last night? No.
I hear there's a pretty cool playground over by 81st Street.
You guys ever go there? I'm not allowed without a grownup.
Danielson, we're not investigating a parking ticket.
If your daughter knows anything.
Alice, just tell the truth.
You won't get in trouble, I promise.
Sometimes on our way home from school we'd stop by the playground.
What'd you do? Swings, mostly.
Paula liked to go real high and close her eyes.
Then she'd jump off.
Did Paula ever go over there by herself? Maybe at night? No.
It was too dangerous.
We're thinking she snuck out of her apartment, came over here ran into a couple of bad guys.
I swung by here twice.
Park was empty.
It was a slow night.
So what'd you do to earn the buck fifty? Braved the cold? Hey, wait a minute.
What about this illegally parked vehicle? right by the park.
A school bus.
What, is there a night school around here I don't know about? Uh, the driver said he dumped a bunch of kids off at the Planetarium.
He was just hanging around waiting.
Did he seem agitated? Only when I gave him the ticket.
Why didn't you just tell him to move? I didn't see him until I started writing.
He said he left for a minute to relieve himself.
He asked me to tear it up, but once I start writing it up, it's too late.
It's too late.
We're gonna need the number of that summons.
I got it right here.
You drove a bus last night for Roselawn Academy? Dropped some kids off at the Planetarium? That's right.
Around 8:30.
It was a laser show.
Well, there's a place right next to the museum.
Why didn't you just park the bus there? It was full.
You remember seeing this girl hanging around the park that night? No.
She a runaway? She's dead.
Little girl like that.
What'd you do between the time you dropped the kids off and picked 'em up? I was on the radio most of the night with my dispatcher.
He can verify that? She.
Hold on.
I had nothing to do with this little girl getting killed.
BRISCOE: We didn't say you did, Mr.
Yeah, well, I'm telling you anyway.
We checked your log from last night.
You were a half hour late getting back from the museum.
That's right.
You mind telling us why? I don't want to cause any problems for the school.
ED: Hey, man, don't worry about it.
We'll take the heat.
Seems the chaperone misplaced a couple of the boys.
I had to wait on 'em before we could leave.
LURIE: Our fourth field trip this semester.
We're lucky to have involved parents.
Yeah, we're looking for the kids who might have skipped out on that show.
Must be hard to keep track once the lights go down.
None of them were involved in this girl's murder, if that's where you're going.
BRISCOE: You seem pretty sure about that.
These are good kids.
So were Leopold and Loeb.
We need names, Mr.
Look, I'm new, okay.
No tenure.
I was responsible for chaperoning them that night.
I could lose my job.
Then you lose your damn job.
We got a mother who lost her only child.
KEITH: We were at the laser show.
We didn't go near the park.
BRISCOE: That ship's already sailed, Keith.
We got a witness that puts you there.
That's Paula Weston.
You ever seen her? Is this really necessary? BRISCOE: Why don't you ask your son that question? What about you? Derek, the detective is asking you a question.
We were just chilling out.
We didn't do anything wrong.
Then there's nothing to be afraid of, is there? MRS.
VOGEL: Derek? After we split the laser show, we went over to the deli on Columbus.
Did you get anything? Some sodas and some matches.
BRISCOE: The matches were to light the joints, right? What joints? ED: Yeah, you left one there.
Right next to her.
Did you know that? You know, if we match the DNA from that joint to the saliva on this pencil (GAS PS) We didn't kill her.
ED: But you did see her.
When we found her she was already dead.
Oh, my God.
Why didn't you go for help? Call someone? And what? Say we were out getting high? So what did you do? She was lying on her back, with like her arms folded on her chest.
That's not how we found her.
I pulled on one of her arms to try to get her up.
KEITH: At first, we thought she was sleeping.
But when I touched her face, it was all rubbery, like a Halloween mask.
I thought dead bodies were supposed to be stiff.
The clerk confirms the boys came in the night of the murder and bought some sodas.
What time? Uh, tape shows 'em coming in the door at nine 9:26.
The laser show in the Planetarium started at 9:15.
They wait till the lights go down, sneak out the building.
Yeah, take a couple of minutes to flip through some nudie magazines, they got their sodas, and they're out the door at nine to.
Meaning by the time they got to the park, according to the M.
, Paula Weston was already dead.
They said that they tried to sneak back into the Planetarium, but the door was locked, so they hung out in the other side of the museum.
What else do you have? Besides a whole lot of wasted time, not much.
Well, the boys did say that when they found Paula she was all gently laid out.
Like someone wanted her to be comfortable.
What do we know about the father? Well, he and Janet divorced way back.
He opened a bar near Philly.
Well, talk to him.
Maybe he got tired of paying child support.
BELMAR: We never should have gotten married.
Janet could be difficult It was three years of hand-to-hand combat.
What's your relationship like now? Oh, perfect.
We don't speak.
So what's this all about? What about your daughter? Do you speak to her? My daughter? BRISCOE: Guess that answers my question.
No, Paula's not my daughter.
Janet adopted her the year after we got divorced.
Funny she never mentioned that.
She likes to play the victim.
Tells everyone that she and Paula were abandoned.
Truth is, it was her choice.
To adopt as a single parent? We talked about having kids, Janet couldn't have her own.
Anyway, we never got around to it.
Lucky we didn't, with what she went through.
Why do you say that? Just that she called me when she was waiting to get Paula.
Sounded like there were some big problems with the adoption.
Was the birth mother still in the picture? Birth mother.
Birth father.
Birth somebody.
It was the grandmother.
She'd change her mind every other day.
She didn't want to give up the child? More like the welfare benefit.
Where is she now? Died two years ago in a fire.
What about mom? She was 15 when she had Paula.
She thought the boyfriend would step up to the plate.
They always do.
One day she realized it was a lost cause bought a ticket to California.
ED: Hmm.
Leaving Paula with grandma.
How old was Paula when the adoption went through? Almost four.
Isn't that kind of old? It's hard enough placing the infants.
Nobody wants to take on somebody else's problems.
And there were problems.
ED: Like what? Paula wouldn't eat, she refused to be held, had violent temper tantrums.
Was Janet Weston aware of all this? She was a single woman in her late 30s.
She knew her choices were limited.
To be honest, we thought Janet was a dream come true.
Any mother too good to be true never is.
Except mine.
I'm thinking mama was in over her head.
If she was, she didn't let us in on it.
Maybe we should talk to somebody who saw this girl every day.
SORENSON: Well, Paula was a bright child, but she had some issues.
BRISCOE: Such as? Her temper was erratic.
She could be manipulative, deceitful.
The other students avoided her.
And if ever some brave soul would reach out to her, she would find a way to sabotage it.
It was actually pretty sad to watch.
Do you know if she was having similar problems at home? Well, from what I understand, worse.
So, Janet Weston discussed these problems with you? Yeah, pretty often.
She was frustrated, depressed.
I mean, bringing up any child on your own is difficult.
I'm sure Paula's issues made it that much more difficult.
Did Mrs.
Weston ever seem angry about the situation? Oh, at times, I'm sure.
She was a single mom trying to make a life.
When was all this happening? Oh, I guess it was getting worse the last six months or so.
That's when I recommended a therapist that I thought she could take Paula to see.
Do you have any idea who killed her? Well, that's what we're trying to find out.
So anything you can tell us would be a big help.
Paula suffered from Chronic Situational Depression, ADD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Well, that clears that up.
She had serious emotional issues stemming from traumatic events in early childhood.
That sounds like some pretty heavy baggage.
That's why the best approach would have been long term intensive therapy.
BRISCOE: Would have been? Paula's mother was looking for something more immediate.
A quick fix.
People today don't understand that problems which have taken years to develop also take years to resolve.
From what we heard, Janet Weston knew what she was getting into.
No, no, not possible.
She had no experience with a child like Paula.
No idea of the sacrifices it would entail.
BRISCOE: Sacrifices? Yeah.
She told me that the difficulties with Paula weren't letting her sleep.
They had cost her jobs, relationships with men.
She said she had no social life anymore.
She complained about her social life? Janet was getting older.
She didn't want life to pass her by.
Maybe she got tired of waiting.
We've seen mothers snap before.
Bathtubs, guns, yes.
But this little girl was squeezed so hard she choked to death on her own vomit.
If she was looking for an easy way out, she sure chose a crazy method.
Maybe this mother had help.
Well, what'd you get on the ex-husband? First of all, he's not the father.
Janet adopted Paula a year after the divorce.
The biological mother's off the hook.
She's been living in California for the last 10 years.
Which leaves us with Janet Weston.
Motive, Paula's problems had been putting a crimp in mom's style.
Shades of Susan Smith.
That's what we were thinking.
Well, what do you have to back this up with? A boyfriend? So far, only Paula's therapist.
She was in therapy? Yeah, till mom pulled her out after six sessions.
Now, the therapist is thinking maybe she was looking for a quicker solution.
ED: Mmm-hmm.
One with a guarantee.
Like murder.
Well, look, if the problem was that serious, someone else had to know about it.
I heard them yelling sometimes.
Throwing things.
Throwing things? Once or twice.
An eleven-year-old kid, and you never called the police? I didn't think it was my place.
What about the night Paula died? Any fireworks then? No, not that night.
Are you sure? Yeah.
They weren't home.
How do you know? Well, I borrowed Janet's food processor a week before.
I knocked on her door to give it back.
Nobody answered.
What time was this? Once, when I got home from work.
Then again one more time, before the news came on at 11:00.
I can't believe you're doing this.
I haven't done anything wrong.
Except lie to us from the start.
I'm done in the bedroom.
What are you people looking for? A boa constrictor.
ED: Lennie? Any luck? Found this in the back seat of her car.
That's my upholstery.
Tech says it looks and smells like emesis.
What's emesis? Vomit.
A couple of months ago, we drove up to Vermont to see the foliage.
Paula got car sick.
She ride in the back seat the whole way? The front seat has an air bag.
I had nothing to do with Paula's death.
We know about the difficulties the two of you were having.
I did everything under the sun to help my daughter.
I'm telling you the truth.
Yeah, well, I guess there's a first time for everything.
You lied about being home the night of Paula's murder.
It's hard to hear someone knocking when the TV's on.
Except the TV wasn't on.
Your neighbor didn't hear it.
Weston, if things got out of hand and there was some kind of accident, now would be the time to tell us.
I've told you everything I know.
Do I need a lawyer? Look, if you want to tell us something that'll help you out, maybe a lawyer's not the way to go right now.
You have the right to a lawyer.
No one's telling you otherwise.
Maybe I should get one.
You advised the mother to retain counsel before she could tell us what happened? Ms.
Weston asked about a lawyer.
I just wanted to make sure she knew what her rights were.
If I erred on the side of caution, it was just to avoid a suppression hearing.
You sure you weren't being gun shy? She asked about an attorney, Jack.
What was I supposed to say? No? What do we have without her statement? I just got a fax from the lab.
They can't make a match to the vomit found in Janet Weston's car to a specific time period.
Which means a jury could buy her account of her Vermont foliage trip.
We still have the neighbor's testimony that Janet wasn't home that night.
A jury is not going to want to believe that a woman killed her own child.
I don't want to believe it.
What else do we know about this woman? She worked at a catering company in Midtown.
She's been divorced eight years, raised Paula on her own.
Is there a boyfriend? Anybody we can talk to? Well, according to everything we've learned, she never had time for a social life.
It was just work and the kid.
Which leaves us with just one option.
Talk to her employer.
Janet Weston? More interested in mothering than catering.
You think that's sexist? I didn't say that.
She came in here begging for a shot.
Said her ambition would make up for the demands on her time.
And it did for about three months.
Then what happened? The phone calls, the excuses, the headaches.
She had to leave early.
Couldn't make it to Hunts Point in the morning.
Her kid was sick.
I cut her slack I'd never give a guy.
Now, see, that's sexist.
A single mother with a messed up kid.
What was I supposed to do? Besides, she said she was getting it under control.
How? She'd gotten her kid into therapy.
A month or so ago she promised me it was getting results.
My information is that she'd taken Paula out of therapy.
I don't know why she'd tell you that.
Actually, she was pretty excited about it.
What'd she say? Unless it's food, I'm not interested in the details.
Yeah, Paula was in therapy right up until she died.
Something alternative.
I mean, it wasn't going very well, but Janet wasn't giving up.
I heard she had.
From who? Dr.
Diamant, Paula's therapist.
Diamant? No, that doesn't sound right.
Was this a new therapist? Yeah, it must've been, because Janet mentioned the name to me a few times, but.
No, no, it wasn't Diamant.
I dated a boy in high school named Diamant.
That name I'd remember.
I rechecked with Dr.
Diamant's office.
He wasn't seeing Paula as a patient.
So, if what her co-worker told you was true, she found another therapist.
Except Janet Weston's not talking now that she's retained counsel.
Did you check with her insurance company? Yeah.
They reimbursed her for Diamant, but there's no other claims for any other therapist.
Shrinks don't come cheap.
You'd think she would have submitted it.
Rochelle Diggs did mention alternative therapy.
Maybe it wasn't covered.
In which case she would have had to go out of pocket.
Did you check her credit card statements? Totally maxed out.
And her checking account's overdrawn, too.
She's broke.
Yeah, but take a look at the charges, Jack.
I mean, amidst this alleged poverty, she splurges on a hotel.
Stoneybrook Suites.
Transaction date is December 17th.
That's just three weeks before the murder.
See if we can find out what she was doing there.
Janet Weston.
Three days, two nights.
Room service both nights.
Yeah, a lot of women do that when they travel.
There's a service charge for two people.
Well, there's, uh, no one else listed on the registration.
But, uh, there is a request for a roll-away.
She brought her daughter.
Do you have any idea why she was here? Oh, that time of year we get a lot of conventions.
Could you check? Sure.
Conference of Therapeutic Associates.
Now, that one was a doozy.
One of those wonks actually gave me a lecture on the virtues of hug therapy.
(LAUGHS) ls there any information on the conference? Oh, yeah.
I think we still have some literature.
"A Parent's Guide to RAD: Tools for survival with Difficult Children.
" What the hell's RAD? Reactive Attachment Disorder.
It's believed to be caused by a child's inability to bond or attach with his or her parents.
Seems like every month there's new syndrome to diagnose.
Yeah, this one's legit.
It's listed in the DSM-4, right along with Oppositional Disorder, ADHD and Autism.
How common is it? It's fairly rare.
You see it mostly in kids who've suffered some sort of severe abuse or neglect early in childhood.
What about treatment? The psychiatric community's made some strides, but the child needs to be provided with effective tools for dealing with the behaviors.
Which means the parents have to put in the work and learn therapeutic techniques they can use at home.
Work Janet Weston wasn't willing to do.
Which is why I suspect she went to this conference.
She was obviously looking for some kind of non-traditional therapy.
Janet Weston wanted something that promised faster results.
What were her choices? Well, there's rage reduction technique, where they deliberately trigger anger so it can be released in a controlled environment.
Of course, it can be pretty dangerous under the supervision of an unlicensed therapist.
You're saying anyone can do this? Anyone with a shingle and a dream.
Check the list of speakers at this conference.
Let's narrow down what alternative Janet Weston might have chosen.
Stahl did speak at the conference but she's not here today, and I can't give out information about a patient.
I just want to know whether or not Paula Weston was a patient.
Look, Dr.
Stahl's doing really important work with these kids.
If you want to give her a hard time because you don't understand, I won't help you.
We already know that Janet Weston attended a seminar given by Dr.
Stahl at this conference.
If it turns out that you know something about her daughter's death, I won't be able to help you.
Paula got a few treatments a few weeks ago, okay? What about the night that she died? She was here.
But I left.
I don't know anything about what happened.
How come you never came forward? The papers said that she was attacked in the park.
I didn't think that Who was here when you left? Just Dr.
Stahl, Paula, and her mother.
Paula came in for a session, I checked her in, set up the equipment, and then I left for my class.
What equipment? A tape recorder.
Stahl tapes all her rebirthing procedures.
Rebirthing? It's a fringe treatment where the patient acts out the birth experience to symbolize a fresh start in life.
How does it work? According to Skoda, the patient's placed in the fetal position, then wrapped in a covering to recreate the womb.
What type of covering? Depends on the therapist, but probably some blankets and pillows.
Apparently the therapist applies pressure to simulate contractions as the child struggles to be born.
This is supposed to be some sort of catharsis? It's allegedly designed to simulate an actual birth.
The child emerges from the blankets, and a new bond is supposedly formed.
What do we know about how Paula's rebirthing went that night? Dr.
Stahl's intern mentioned setting up a tape recorder before she left.
Oh, could we be that lucky? No.
She checked while I was there.
But if there is a tape of that session, it's not in Dr.
Stahl's files.
No, if things went wrong, she wouldn't keep it in her office.
Why don't we get a warrant for her home? This is outrageous.
You have no right.
Oh, yeah, we do.
With this warrant.
Now, if you know anything about the circumstances of Paula's death, now would be a good time to cooperate.
CORDOVA: Detective Briscoe? Check this out.
Fleece blankets? And a stack of pillows.
Planning a pajama party, Doc? I use these in my practice.
I was afraid you were gonna say that.
Lennie, I found these in her desk back there.
Rebirthing sessions.
Paula Weston, January 7th.
I don't think I should say anything else until I talk to my lawyer.
I think this tape says everything for you.
That's from a therapeutic session.
You've got to put it into context.
Oh, I wouldn't worry about it, Doc.
That's what juries are for.
I can't breathe.
Paula Weston.
STAHL: That's right, a baby can't breathe in the womb.
PAULA: Please.
JANET: You're doing fine, honey.
PAULA: Get off me! I can't breathe.
(PAULA GASPING) I'm gonna die STAHL: That's okay.
Go ahead and die, Paula.
You need to die before you can be reborn.
Turn it off.
PAULA: Please.
How could any mother do that to their daughter? She thought she was making her sick child better.
I won't condemn this mother because she chose an alternative therapy.
God knows the AMA has its own set of problems.
What this therapist did defied common sense.
Well, how do we prove that the mother knew that going in? From everything you've told me, she had no idea she was putting her child in danger.
Well, maybe if she'd stuck around she would have found out.
Janet Weston was only there for 25 minutes.
Then she left, while the session continued.
She left? When she expressed her discomfort at what was happening, Dr.
Stahl asked her to step out because her ambivalence was undermining Paula's progress.
So, maybe her discomfort was telling her something was wrong, but a therapist told her to leave.
And also asked her to help cover up a crime.
In her mind, it was an accident.
I'll charge her with obstruction.
But I'm not going to take the position that a parent has to second guess a doctor in order to avoid a homicide prosecution.
Except this wasn't a doctor.
She calls herself one.
That said it's not our job to tell people what medical or psychiatric treatments are appropriate.
But it is our job to make sure whatever treatment they do chose conforms to the law.
We've prosecuted HMOs, traditional physicians.
Giving a therapist a pass just because her therapy is considered alternative holds her to a lesser standard not a greater one.
The depraved indifference statute was passed for cases like this.
Charge the therapist with Murder Two.
This is a witch hunt, Your Honor.
Anything that falls outside the parameters of traditional medicine People can try an alternative approach if they think it helps.
But the cardinal rule of medicine is "First, do no harm.
" Dr.
Stahl violated that rule.
And when the jury hears that tape, they're going to find that she violated the law as well.
Well, there's no way they're going to hear it, because I'm moving to suppress.
JUDGE: On what grounds? In order for a jury to hear that tape the prosecution has to establish foundation.
They can't do that without my client's testimony.
How do you plan to authenticate the tape? Paula Weston's dead, Dr.
Stahl's the defendant.
You can't compel her to incriminate herself.
The mother was there We can get it in through her.
She was only present for the first 25 minutes.
She still would be able to testify to who was there and identify the voices.
She can't testify that it's a complete and accurate account of the events.
She wasn't there the entire time.
Not to mention that there's a gap in the recording.
JACK: Someone turning the tape over.
No one knows how much time elapsed or what transpired during those events.
The integrity of that tape is zero.
Olson has a point.
You can't establish foundation for either the accuracy or the completeness of that tape.
I'm sorry the tape's excluded.
Where are we without it? We need to tell the jury what really happened in that room, and there's only one other way to do it.
Janet Weston.
I can't testify against Dr.
You want my client to make your case? Drop the charges against her.
She should consider herself lucky we haven't charged her with criminally negligent homicide.
She lost her child.
Isn't that enough? Not when her own conduct contributed to the loss.
Not after she tried to cover up what happened.
I thought Dr.
Stahl was helping Paula.
But surely you can't think that now.
I questioned it, I did, you know, when I didn't see any improvement in Paula.
But Dr.
Stahl told me that after the rebirthing procedure, everything would be okay.
How could you have just accepted that? I went to Dr.
Stahl because I believed that she was helping my daughter.
But once you were in that room and heard your child's cries for help, you knew that wasn't true.
As long as you defend what Dr.
Stahl did, you don't have to blame yourself for taking Paula to see her in the first place.
Is that it? I thought I was doing what was right for Paula.
Then do what's right for her now.
You've been protecting this therapist at the expense of your own daughter.
You made one bad decision, Ms.
Don't make another.
JANET: Paula was curled up in a fetal position on the floor.
There was a sheet wrapped around her so she couldn't move, and some blankets.
JACK: A sheet? Yes, a bed sheet.
Stahl asked me to bring something familiar for Paula.
It was gathered and twisted over her head, and that's where she was supposed to come out when she was reborn.
Where were you during this time? Dr.
Stahl had me help hold Paula down.
We were pushing on her with pillows to simulate birth contractions.
What was Paula doing? At first, she was confused.
She was asking what she was supposed to do, and then she startedcrying.
And begging for us to let her out.
JACK: Did you? Dr.
Stahl said that Paula wasn't trying hard enough.
That we should put more pressure on her with the pillows.
How long did this go on? About 25 minutes.
And then Paula started saying that she couldn't breathe and that she was dying.
That's when I took a break.
You left the room at that point? Dr.
Stahl said that my ambivalence was undermining the therapy.
That I should step outside.
I play I play that moment over in my head, every day.
If I hadn't left the room How long were you gone? About half an hour.
When I came back in, Dr.
Stahl was sitting on the couch.
Paula wasn't moving.
I ran over, but she wasn't breathing.
JACK: What did you do? JANET: I was in shock.
And that's when Dr.
Stahl said that she was gone.
That Paula was dead.
JACK: Why didn't you call 911? JANET: It all happened really fast.
And Dr.
Stahl was saying that the police wouldn't understand, you know, that it was an accident.
That we would both be sent to jail.
So you placed Paula's body in the park? We laid her down in her favorite spot by the swings, where she used to feel like she was flying.
Weston, while you were in the room and Paula was begging for air, when she said that she was dying, how did Dr.
Stahl respond? She told Paula that everything would be all right.
That she should go ahead and die.
What did you do when you heard Dr.
Stahl tell Paula to go ahead and die? You left the room.
I mean, that's how seriously you took that statement, because you knew it was all part of role-playing, and she didn't mean it literally.
That's what I thought at the time.
Because if you believed for one moment that Paula was in any danger, that she was being suffocated right in front of you you would have stopped it.
Of course.
Isn't it possible that Dr.
Stahl didn't realize the gravity of Paula's situation either? Objection as to what Dr.
Stahl did or did not realize.
This goes to the heart of my client's state of mind, Your Honor.
I'll allow it, if the witness knows.
She's the professional.
She should have known.
I trusted her with my daughter's life.
Based on Janet Weston's testimony I assume you'll be dismissing the charges.
Her testimony established your client's depraved indifference.
Were we listening to the same witness? Janet Weston didn't say anything to show that this wasn't an accident.
The jury can infer recklessness from your client's actions.
They heard Janet Weston testify that she herself did not appreciate the danger.
She pleads to Manslaughter.
Five to 15.
I can't believe this.
I've devoted my life to helping children.
Well, you helped this one right into her grave.
The offer's a gift.
Negligent homicide.
Two years.
Once we start our case, no deal.
It's no deal right now, Mr.
Mainstream medicine has failed so many of these kids.
You see the results of their rage on the news, in the schools.
The techniques I use are helping them.
Which techniques did you use with Paula Weston? I started by employing holding therapy where I held her tightly in a cradling position and confronted her verbally.
The goal was to provoke her to express her rage in a setting where she could feel supported.
And what was the result? It's not something that can be measured like that.
It's a process the child has to go through.
And after several sessions I felt she was ready to take the next step.
Which was? Rebirthing.
How many rebirthing procedures had you conducted prior to Paula Weston's? Close to a hundred.
All without incident? Yes.
What happened was a terrible accident.
You placed your entire body weight on a 72-pound girl, pressing on her with pillows, as she gasped for air? It's called a breakable wrap.
Not too tight, like a cocoon.
Obviously she couldn't break this wrap, otherwise we wouldn't be here.
For almost an hour, Paula Weston begged you to stop, told you that she couldn't breathe.
Paula was told beforehand to act like a newborn baby.
Kick and scream and fight all she wanted.
I thought that's what she was doing.
You told her to go ahead and die.
I didn't believe she really meant it.
Oppositional kids claim they're dying when they're asked to do things like clean their room.
You say, "Okay, go ahead and die" to defuse the oppositional element.
Everything I did was according to procedure.
JACK: Procedure? A child dies in your office, and instead of calling body in the park? OLSON: Objection.
JUDGE: Overruled.
That was wrong.
But I didn't call the police because I knew how'd they react.
The same as you're reacting now.
I just couldn't do anything to jeopardize my work with these kids.
You mean jeopardize your own freedom.
You just didn't want to go to jail.
I don't take lives, Mr.
McCoy, I save them.
What did you do to save Paula Weston once you discovered that she wasn't breathing? There was nothing I could do.
So you made no effort to revive her? When I removed the wrap, she was already dead.
Did you check her pulse? Of course.
Did you try CPR? I told you there was no pulse, no heartbeat, her lips were blue.
She was already gone.
Look, it was an accident.
I took every precaution.
It was just too late by then.
It was too late the minute that little girl walked into your office.
OLSON: Objection.
JACK: Withdrawn.
The jury was shooting daggers at her after your cross.
Whatever sympathy they may have had went out the window the minute she tried to cover up what she'd done.
Still seems like getting an ambulance wouldn't have been much help.
Something bothering you? The swelling inside her throat.
When Rodgers did the autopsy, she attributed it to attempts to revive Paula.
But Dr.
Stahl just testified that she didn't make any attempts to revive her.
Why would she lie about something like that? It just makes her look worse in the eyes of the jury.
Unless she didn't lie.
Then something else had to have caused the swelling.
Let's pay Rodgers a visit tomorrow.
If attempts to revive this girl didn't cause those injuries, I want to know what did.
Girl found in the park with positional asphyxiation, chest compression edema was consistent with attempts to revive.
I jumped to a conclusion I shouldn't have.
And now that we've ruled that out? Well, when you called me with Stahl's testimony, I ran additional tests.
SOUTHERLYN: What did you find? She had an elevated histamine level.
What would cause that? Mast cells release histamine when they react to an allergen.
You're saying Paula Weston had an allergic reaction? I'm saying she died of one.
An allergy to what? You tell us it's urgent and you bring us down here to look at plastic gloves? We're withdrawing our plea offer.
No way you can do that Janet's cooperated completely.
I testified against Dr.
Your plea agreement indicated that if you withheld any material fact, the deal was off.
I didn't hold anything back from you.
But you did from Dr.
Stahl, didn't you? EPPS: What's going on here? That's the medical history your client provided Dr.
Stahl shortly before the rebirthing procedure.
What is the significance of this? In it she fails to disclose her daughter's allergy to latex.
Latex? What does that have to do with anything? SOUTHERLYN: Paula suffered from an acute sensitivity to it.
Which your client was well aware of.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Paula's school records.
Two years ago, she was rushed to the emergency room in anaphylactic shock.
She was blowing up some balloons for a classmate's birthday party.
I still don't see what this has to do with anything.
Your client provided a bed sheet for the rebirthing procedure.
EPPS: It was never recovered.
SOUTHERLYN: You destroyed it, didn't you? Don't answer that, Janet.
She doesn't need to.
We had the pillows that were used in the procedure retested.
The lab found traces of cornstarch.
EPPS: Cornstarch? SOUTHERLYN: The latex gloves Janet uses at her catering job are coated in cornstarch to reduce friction.
Cornstarch also absorbs latex particles.
SOUTHERLYN: You know about that because of the brochures the hospital gave you when Paula had her reaction to those balloons at school.
All you had to do was rub those gloves on that bed sheet, knowing once it was put over Paula's head she'd go into respiratory failure.
You never intended her to be reborn that night, did you, Ms.
Weston? Nothing was working, do you understand? Nothing.
So you killed her to make it easier on yourself.
Do you have any idea what it's like to come home and have your little girl say, "Go away"? For everything to be such a struggle? To never get any sleep? I spent every penny I had on private schools and doctors.
They all had advice, but none of them understood.
I thought that I'd have a little girl who'd love her mom.
I'm 42 years old! I was entitled to a life! She was 11.
What was she entitled to? So we've reduced the charges against Dr.
Stahl to assault for Paula's chest injuries during the rebirthing? Janet Weston's act in introducing the latex was the proximate cause of her daughter's death.
That adoption agency thought Janet Weston was a dream come true.
Complete with pillows and blankets.
She turned out to be that little girl's worst nightmare.