Law & Order (1990) s16e11 Episode Script

Bible Story

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.
Officer, officer.
Whoa, whoa, street cleaning, lady, I already started writing the ticket.
Look, look what I found, from a Chumash.
It's a shanda, I tell you, a shanda.
Yeah, I'm sure it is.
People say it can't happen again, but look at this! You've got to do something! Look, lady, why don't you call the precinct, and somebody might Oh, looks like blood on there.
Where'd you get these? There's one! There's some, there's some! Get it, get it! What the hell? Stop him! Are you crazy? Gently, gently, treat them gently.
Get them all.
Get all of them! Those pages are from a holy book.
Central, this is 2-7 Charlie.
Let me get some Traffic Control down here at Hester and Eldridge.
Stay right there.
Central, 2-7 Charlie again.
Make that a bus and a supervisor, forthwith.
I checked his Vitals then I called for a supervisor and a bus.
Well, was anybody around the building? Are you kidding? There was like a mob of people out here chasing those pages.
What the hell happened to them? They scattered when the RMPs showed up.
And nobody said anything about what happened? They wouldn't even give me any names.
They were really pissed off, though.
I live right around the corner from the shul.
I walk by here every day.
And when you came by here this morning, did you notice anything suspicious? The pages! Thrown all over the ground where everybody can walk! Well, did you see anybody fighting around here? Nobody fighting.
We need more police in this neighborhood, so things like this never happen anymore.
Yes, ma'am.
The sergeant will make sure you get home safe, all right? Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Blunt force trauma to the head.
Looks like a fractured skull.
When? About an hour or two.
He's still warm.
Any ID or a wallet? Nothing in his pockets.
Uh, I didn't want to move him till you had a look.
Okay, let's roll him.
It's Hebrew.
Wow, must have been some special book.
Fasten your seat belt.
Ah, this is a Polish edition of the Hebrew Torah.
The Old Testament.
Looks like it's 60 or 70 years old.
And all that damage was done recently? Yeah, the tearing is fresh.
Uh, see, paper is organic so when it oxidizes Beck, Beck“.
How fresh is the blood on these pages? It's brand-spanking new.
Matches the victim's.
But the test on the saliva won't be back for a few days.
Saliva? Somebody spit on it? Uh-huh.
Ls that a crime? Murder is.
Okay, but how do you know if the dead guy was trying to protect the book or rip it up? Your John Doe's in his late 20s, fit.
From his tan line, it's probably a good bet that he works outdoors.
Any prison tats? Aryan Brotherhood stuff? No, clean as a baby.
According to the Old Testament, it's blasphemy to mark your body.
Well, somebody marked him, with something heavy.
It shattered his temporal bone, subdural hematoma killed him.
These bruises on his shoulder Yeah, he's got half a dozen defensive wounds on his arms, too.
Fending off whoever was waling on him.
You mind if I take a look? Knock yourself out.
Well, there's one clue.
Our John Doe is not circumcised.
My constituents want answers, information.
This was blasphemy! And I'd be happy to work with you, Councilman Have you seen what's going on Delancey Street? Orthodox men are blocking traffic! Our Hate Crime Task Force and Community Affairs have already been notified.
You better get some boots on the ground before there's a riot out there.
You know what, Councilman? It's also your responsibility to keep the people calm! Easier done if their concerns were taken seriously by the police, the FBI We're not ready to call this terrorism.
What is it, then? Have you spoken to the Palestinian man working at the Laundromat on Grant Street? Fadi Abu Libdeh? He harasses the congregation walking to that synagogue on Saturdays.
He says things to the children! Look, him being rude doesn't tie him to this desecration.
There was an arson at the Cultural Center on Forsythe Street last year.
The police called him in for questioning.
Was there an arrest? No! These people have lived in peace on the Lower East Side for 100 years.
The Arabs opened up businesses, now there's graffiti on the temples, insults, a fire! We'll talk to them.
You better! Or I'm going to raise hell like you've never seen before.
With all due respect, Lieutenant, what does a Arab have to do with a dead white guy? Well, this wasn't some random murder.
It's connected to that book.
Figure out how.
Who's saying these things about me? Do you yell insults at them or not? I have no interest in these people.
Arabs, get out of here! Get out of here! I can see you're all good friends down here.
This is our store, I do laundry, that is all.
Well, what about the fire last year? I was cleared, 100%! Isn't this the flag of Hamas? It is a wall calendar.
What does it mean to you? Tells me what day it is! And maybe how you feel about Jewish people? It's just a calendar.
So it wouldn't spike your blood pressure if I threw it in the gutter? I may have a political disagreement Yeah, what's u p? With the people who illegally invaded my homeland, whose soldiers slaughter If you have any involvement with the dead person at the synagogue, let's get in front of it now.
He's no one I know.
I heard it was a white guy.
Okay, thanks.
His name's Jeffrey Kilgore.
For Jeffrey Kilgore, Alhamdu-Iillah.
But I have nothing to do with this.
Excuse me.
Jeffrey Kilgore? Yeah, the prints came back.
His last known was Patchogue, in Suffolk County.
He did a bullet a few years back for commercial burglary.
Let's put a pin in this guy and see if anyone at synagogue knows Kilgore.
Detectives, this is Father Royce and Imam Adjani.
They came to offer their support in this terrible time.
We were hoping that we can ask you some questions privately, Rabbi.
If you need anything, Rabbi.
Let's all pray that cooler heads prevail.
Rabbi, this is the man that was killed outside your synagogue.
His name is Jeffrey Kilgore.
I've never seen this man in my life.
Why would he come here and defile our shul like this? Our more immediate concern is why somebody would murder him.
But surely it's no coincidence that he died holding a book from our sanctuary.
This goes to a much larger issue! Would you mind if we saw the place where the book was kept? After the incident, I found several torn pages scattered about here.
Exodus, Chapter 3.
Moses and the burning bush.
Are you a religious man, Detective Green? I was raised that way.
So, what can you tell us about this bible? It's a Chumash, it's a copy of our Torah, which we read from during the services.
It's the lifeblood of our people.
This one belonged to Barry Speicher, who's the president of our congregation.
He kept it on the bamah, right by his chair.
Was this sanctuary in use yesterday morning, Rabbi? Morning prayers ended about 8:30.
No one else in the building? Oh, there were quite a few people upstairs.
Teachers, children, the girls in the synagogue office are on, too, but not down here.
The man easily could have walked in here without anybody seeing him.
So anybody could just walk through the front door? We don't lock up until after evening service.
We had a guard about five years ago, when that neo-Nazi shot at the Jewish school children in California.
Thankfully, that's not what this is about.
But it was a man sending a message.
We must always be vigilant.
My father smuggled that Chumash out of the Warsaw Ghetto.
He would have been shot on sight if he was caught with it.
He hid it in a hayloft while he was on the run from the Nazis.
Thirty-five years later, he went back to Poland, he found it right where he left it.
My father passed away eight years ago.
I've read from that Chumash almost every day since.
Listen, do you know this man? His name's Jeffrey Kilgore.
No, is he the one who destroyed my book? You haven't seen him around the neighborhood at all? No.
Have you talked to the man who shouts insults? The Palestinian? So far we can't tie him to Kilgore.
How about to everything else that's happened in this neighborhood recently? It's enough already.
Our congregation has been on the Lower East Side since 1928.
Maybe it's time to move on.
Well, we'll let you know if there's any new developments, all right? So, where's the smart money? Somebody inside the building who caught Kilgore in the act? Or somebody in the neighborhood who saw him coming out.
What do you suggest, Detective? I say due diligence on Jeffrey Kilgore before we point any more fingers.
You a relative? Girlfriend.
We're sorry for your loss, Miss Uh, Kayla Watson.
Miss Watson, what did your boyfriend do for a living? He was a mason.
Stone walls, patios, stuff like that.
This doesn't make any sense.
They said on TV that Jeff tore up a Jewish bible.
Did he belong to any clubs or political groups? Political groups? People who might not think too kindly of Jewish people.
Jeff didn't have anything against them.
I mean, the ones he worked for would try to get out of their bills and say that he didn't do the work right.
But not all of them, just sometimes.
Like the rich ones in the Hamptons.
What was he doing in the city on Tuesday? I don't know.
Did he have any friends or family there? No.
He hated New York.
He wouldn't even go there to collect from a client.
Some guy owed him money, and he sent me to pick it up.
Who did you pick up from? I don't know his name.
I just met him on a corner, he gave me cash, $2,500.
What did this guy look like? Shorter than Jeff, in his 30s or 40s.
A Jewish guy.
How do you know he was Jewish? I heard him talk, he was definitely a New York Jew.
So, did this man Kilgore belong to some anti-Semitic organization? We have no evidence of that.
Rabbi, we're going to want to speak to the people that were here at the time.
Why? You think somebody saw this and didn't come forward? The man was killed on your doorstep, Rabbi.
You're saying you think it was someone here? Actually, we're going to need the names and the addresses of all the members of your congregation.
That's out of the question.
We're not going to supply the government with a list of people who worship here.
We're investigating a murder, Rabbi.
What the Rabbi's trying to say is we're not authorized to disseminate personal information like that.
You either help us solve this crime, or we're going to bring it to the attention of the District Attorney's office.
Go ahead.
You're just here looking for a scapegoat.
Michael, I'll call you back.
This was just faxed to me from the mayor's office.
It's a subpoena duces tecum to the Beth Tefiloh Synagogue for the names and addresses of any and all current members of the congregation.
We needed to provide the police with a finite list of suspects.
It's a demand for a list of Jews, Alexandra.
Sure, but if the murder scene was at a church, we'd be asking for a list of Christians.
Well, how about exercising a little historical sensitivity? These aren't storm troopers, Arthur, they're police officers investigating a homicide.
I'm getting calls from here to Tel Aviv on this case.
I want you to back off, withdraw the subpoena, and tell the detectives to come up with Plan B.
The synagogue's newsletter says that there's over 100 families in the congregation.
Whose names we have no access to, thanks to the D.
's office.
And they won't get us a search warrant for the synagogue.
And the Rabbi has decided not to let us back into the building.
We're hitting brick walls left and right.
Well, are you sure Kilgore was paid to do this? When are we absolutely sure of anything? The only political cause Kilgore had were some posters from NASCAR.
And nobody owed him that kind of money from masonry.
Okay, but why would someone retain his services for this? Well, maybe someone who had something against the congregation? Or a particular member.
Well, the book holds sentimental value for the congregation's president.
So, if it's not political, maybe it's personal.
Talk to Barry Speicher, again.
Barry's downtown at a Preservation Committee hearing.
I'm his partner, Eric Speicher.
You're his brother? Cousin.
Are you guys here about Uncle Daniel's book? Well, and the murder.
What a thing, huh? Makes me sick.
The whole congregation's up in arms.
Was your partner here on Tuesday morning? He got in around 10:00.
Why? He seem okay to you? Yeah.
Everything was cool.
Did he have any ongoing problems with anybody? Business disputes? Uh, tenant-landlord types of thing? We hire a management firm for that.
Keep it arm's-length, so it's pretty low-key here.
Ben-Daniel's a family company, as you can probably tell from the name.
Ben and Daniel are your fathers? Yeah.
It's a little old-fashioned, but we'd never change it.
How about Barry's personal life? Fine, as far as I know.
Uh, Barry did have some issues in his first marriage, but that was years ago.
What kind of issues? His first wife couldn't have children.
But Rachel's made him very happy.
Five rug-rats, unless I missed one.
I lived in Philadelphia when my husband and I first met.
We married nine years ago.
Wow, you do have a lot of kids.
Uh, do you remember what time your husband left the house last Tuesday, Mrs.
Speicher? Uh, he was gone by 7:30.
He always goes to morning services.
That takes, what, about an hour? Except for Tuesdays, he stays for a Talmud study with Rabbi Geller.
Now, do you have any ideas who would want to destroy this prayer book? Why would I know about any of this? Wasn't it somebody off the street? Has your husband had any difficulties recently? Maybe with his first wife? I wouldn't really know.
Barry's a good provider.
Our life was fine until that man mutilated Did Barry tell you where that Torah was from? I don't want my children to know that kind of hatred.
Tell me you guys have something for me.
Barry Speicher's financial records, so far the guy's a Boy Scout.
But we can put him at the temple at the time of the murder.
His charge accounts look spotless, there's contributions to a half-a-dozen Jewish charities every month, and flowers to his wife every Friday.
He's either a saint or a sinner.
Hey, check this out.
This is his personal bank account.
$400 withdrawals from the same ATM every Thursday night, like clockwork.
Cash for the weekend, the Orthodox don't bank on their Sabbath.
No, but the location's not Speicher's normal stomping ground.
It's 545 West 23rd.
homicide at a hotel next door.
It's a "gentleman's club.
" Four Benjis buys a whole lot of lap dances.
Or something even better.
A regular girl.
We're missing a piece on Barry Speicher.
Catch him away from his rabbi, we might be able to fill it in.
Is Barry here yet? Barry who? Barry Speicher.
He asked us to meet him here.
Never heard of him.
Maybe we should take this conversation out front so everyone can see how much you're enjoying yourselves.
Barry had to make a shiva call.
This is about his Chumash, isn't it? Our holy book was defiled.
Someone should be held accountable.
What do you know about it? Just that it happened.
And the goy responsible is dead.
So why did Barry miss this little celebration? I'm serious.
He's really making a shiva call.
And he wouldn't skip this obligation to cry on his girlfriend's shoulder? There's no girlfriend.
He just comes in to relax, like the rest of us.
The rebbes say, a happy husband makes a happy marriage.
Which Barry has.
His only flaw is being too trusting.
Should learn to put a lock on his building so things like this don't happen.
His building? The synagogue? He owns it.
Him and his cousin.
It's not a secret.
Our congregation rents this property from the Speichers' company.
Ben-Daniel Realty? They've been charging us the same rent since Daniel and Ben bought this place in 1952.
Which is what? $800 a month.
For the whole building? We couldn't afford to operate here if we had to pay market rent.
The Speichers could get a hundred times that.
Evicting your own synagogue must get you in trouble with the man upstairs.
It's forbidden by the Talmud.
It's quite a mitzvah that Barry is doing for us.
How about Eric? Eric After his Uncle Daniel died, Eric stopped coming to services, he doesn't even buy a seat on the High Holy Days.
I tried talking to him about it, he's not interested.
Look, I already told you everything I know.
Yeah, like you said you were still a member of the congregation.
I never said that.
You led us to believe that.
Are you accusing my husband of misleading you? We're accusing him of lying.
I think we should continue this conversation at the precinct.
Then let's go.
Eric Look, don't worry, baby.
This is all just a big misunderstanding.
Let me go clear it up.
Why did you make it seem like you gave a damn about that book? You think I don't care? My Uncle Daniel and my father were Holocaust survivors.
This is the holiest book in our religion.
Which you don't even use anymore.
I'm sorry, are you attacking my beliefs now? Don't get all high and mighty with us, sit down.
Now, we know you don't go to synagogue, and we know how you're living.
You'll like this.
Oh You want to tell us about the home that you own in Southampton? Home of the Muffies and the Maxwells? That was 20 years ago, okay? There are plenty of Jews there now.
And I'm sure they all used the same ex-burglar that you used to build your patio.
We're going to bring in Kilgore's girlfriend from Long Island.
Maybe you've met her before? I might have, I know people in construction.
Last week, at 86th and Columbus? Okay, okay.
I paid Kilgore to go to the synagogue and mess up the book.
Why? The synagogue got tagged a few times.
There'd been a lot of problems in the neighborhood with the Arabs.
Barry's been threatening to sell the building and move the congregation, but he won't get off his ass and do it.
You used this as a prod to get him to sell it? You know what we got offered for that building recently? $15,000,000.
So you paid somebody to destroy the bible? It's a book! It's a book you just said your cousin's father saved from the Nazis! Oh, please! You know, Barry's religion is all about him.
He loves to sit up there on that bamah and feel important.
Every Rosh Hashana, he'll brag to anybody who'll listen about how he's leaving the business and moving to Israel.
Yeah, well, guess what? After five years of hearing that crap, I got tired of waiting.
So you sent Kilgore there to get his head beaten in? It wasn't supposed to happen like that.
How'd you work this out with Kilgore? Barry's in a study group on Tuesday mornings.
I called his cell phone to tell him there was an emergency at work.
So he'd be the one to find the book.
I had no idea anybody would get hurt.
Beside your cousin? Beside my cousin.
You're interrupting, Detectives.
We have a warrant, Rabbi, we need to see Mr.
We're in the middle of Ma'ariv, can't this wait? No.
What happened? We had a talk with your cousin.
We found blood on the umbrella stand in the coatroom.
That bastard did this, didn't he? You're under arrest for the murder of Jeffrey Kilgore.
Can we please take this outside? Too much has happened in here already.
"Docket number 57503.
People v.
Barry Speicher.
Charge of Murder in the Second Degree.
" How do you plead, Mr.
Speicher? Not guilty.
Co-owner of a real estate firm, president of his congregation, he looks like a pretty good bail risk to me.
But he does have contacts in Israel.
You want to hold that against him? Mr.
Speicher had an obvious motive and an exclusive opportunity to commit this crime.
The police recovered an umbrella stand from Beth Tefiloh with traces of the victim's blood and the defendant's fingerprints all over it.
Along with God-knows-who else's.
Let me remind the court that the so-called victim in this incident was a burglar who desecrated the holiest Judaic text.
License to murder him in the street, Mr.
Malloy? Whoever killed Mr.
Kilgore was obviously responding to the severest form of provocation.
Perhaps justifiably so.
Uh, for the record, my client intends to testify at the grand jury.
I'm sure Ms.
Borgia can arrange that.
L won't set a parade for you yet, Mr.
Turn over your passport, I'll set bail at $250,000.
Barry Speicher made bail right after arraignment.
I booked some time in the grand jury to present the case.
Your sense is that Speicher's grand jury notice isn't a bluff? It sounds like a prelude to some kind of justification defense.
"L was protecting a book.
" More like, "I was protecting our faith.
" From his cousin's blasphemy-for-hire.
You weren't in the courtroom, Jack.
This isn't playing like a family dispute.
Speicher's some kind of hero.
Speicher's justification defense won't hold water.
Inside the courtroom, maybe.
Have we had any plea discussions with Malloy? None.
Well, set something up.
What are you looking for? Man one.
Sentence somewhere near the minimum.
I don't know if that'll do it for me, Arthur.
These cousins have done a lot of damage.
Well, you don't have to tell me! That's why we need to do some fence-mending.
I got my best suit dry-cleaned! I was expecting to be at the grand jury tomorrow with my client.
You may still have a chance to wear it, Mr.
Malloy, but I thought we should explore whether there's any common ground before we throw down the gauntlet.
The only common ground for my client is a dismissal.
Do you think you should walk away soot-free, Mr.
Speicher? I'm not a criminal.
You beat somebody to death.
Are you a religious man, Mr.
McCoy? That's beside the point.
I don't think you can fully wrap your head around what happened here.
Then talk to me, Mr.
Imagine finding someone defiling the place where you pray.
Mutilating the cornerstone of your faith.
I would be very upset, but that doesn't Spare me the sanctimony! We all know Mr.
Speicher isn't a Boy Scout.
This isn't just about faith, this is about family! Kilgore trashed his father's legacy.
If that's your defense, you're doing a disservice to your client.
The justification statute doesn't cover a bible, or a memory.
It's about defending an actual human being.
But I think that we can all agree that Mr.
Speicher acted in the heat of the moment! He hammered Kilgore with the 10-pound marble base of an umbrella stand and left him to bleed to death! And I admit that, but he had the book.
So, what does the bible you defended deem appropriate, Mr.
Speicher? A free pass? Of course not.
Because maybe the book is more precious than a human life! So if I'm found guilty, how much time could I do? On murder two, 25-to-life.
I have a wife, I have five children whose bar mitzvahs I'll miss, weddings A plea to manslaughter would solve most of those problems.
You'll recommend the minimum? Five years, straight time.
Today only.
I guess that's fair.
When do you want to calendar Speicher's sentencing? Give him a month or two to get his affairs in order.
She insisted on speaking to you, Alexandra.
I'm Barry Speicher's wife.
I know, what can I do for you, Mrs.
Speicher? My husband told me he's going to jail for five years? He agreed to it, it was a plea bargain.
My husband is a good man, a family man.
I'm sure that he is.
And now, because he can't work, we have to sell the synagogue.
I'm sorry about that.
What about the congregation? I don't know what's going to happen.
But his cousin, yeah, he got everything he wanted.
First, he sent that man into our shul, paid him to use our Chumash like toilet paper.
That's our religion, Miss Borgia.
And for doing that to his own people, you know what Eric gets? $7,000,000! That's all I want to say.
He hired a man to mutilate a book.
That doesn't translate into a homicide! Kilgore died because Eric Speicher's actions placed him in peril.
It's manslaughter.
He could foresee that his cousin was going to fly into a violent rage? That was his stated purpose.
Without the homicide! You were out of the fire, now you want to jump back into the frying pan.
Kilgore's dead because Eric Speicher aimed the most powerful gun he could find at him! Religious fervor.
The nitroglycerine of the 21st century.
That's what makes me so nervous.
A Torah's been desecrated, and the only people who are going to jail are Jewish! What Eric Speicher did is unconscionable.
If we can't go after the bad guys, what's the point? I'm all for going after the bad guys if we've got a legal theory to hang our hat on! I'll tell you what, I'll handle the law if you'll handle the political fallout.
Then we can remind ourselves how noble our motives were, as we're both sitting around waiting for outplacement counseling.
Manslaughter? Oh, you are pulling this one so far out of your It's textbook recklessness.
Your client should have considered the consequences when he retained Kilgore to burglarize a synagogue and desecrate a family bible.
Look, I admit I did a terrible thing.
Never mind that a man was killed, you nearly started a race riot.
I never thought it would turn out like that.
Have you read the front page of a newspaper lately, Mr.
Speicher? You used religious paranoia to shake down your cousin.
And the bottom line is you acted out of greed! You think it's that simple? From where I sit, it's about $7,000,000.
I've been treated like garbage, because I won't buy into what they believe.
My father had to pay my Uncle Daniel to make me a partner.
My holier-than-thou cousin, he wouldn't even come to my wedding! His family won't eat what my wife makes, they bring their own food and paper plates Eric Why? No! Why do I have to live my life by their rules? You can live any way you want to, Mr.
Speicher, you don't have to savage other people's values! All this self-righteous hand-wringing, "Oh, my father's sacred book, "he saved it from the Nazis.
" Please.
Okay? My Uncle Daniel was a handler, a businessman, he survived on his wits.
In the Warsaw Ghetto, he would have traded that book for three potatoes! And desecrating your cousin's bible was going to get you your three potatoes.
I thought maybe they'd get scared and move.
And a part of me just wanted to lash out against Barry.
But I I never expected This.
So, what can you do for us, Mr.
McCoy? The same thing we do for a drunk driver who causes a fatality.
Reckless manslaughter.
Six years.
But I didn't kill anybody! That's why we have trials.
We'll call you to the stand last, Mr.
We'll put in all the pieces with our other witnesses, but then you'll tie it all together.
You'll have to be totally truthful about what you did to Jeff Kilgore.
I have no problem with that, as long as I get to say what Eric did.
We'll get most of that in through the other witnesses, your testimony is primarily to establish Eric's motive.
Can I tell how he hated our religion? Facts, Mr.
That the only reason he ever set foot in Beth Tefiloh was so my father would give him a piece of the business? We want to focus on your strained relationship.
Can I testify about the time that son-of-a-bitch threatened to kill me? Look, Mr.
You can't come off like a hothead.
The whole idea here is that even though you've killed somebody, you've also been victimized by your cousin's actions.
It wasn't just me.
Can I tell about all the arguments we had over the synagogue? Let's go over these things one by one.
Jeff asked me to go into the city and pick up some money some guy owed him.
Did he say what for? A job.
He was supposed to get $2,500 up front.
What instructions did Jeff give you for the meeting? Just to go to the corner of 86th and Columbus.
The guy would know what I'd look like and he'd give me the cash.
And did you go there? Yeah.
Do you see the man you met that day in the courtroom? Yeah.
The defendant.
Did Mr.
Speicher say anything to you at that time? To make sure I tell Jeff that the job needs to be done on Tuesday at 9:30 or else he wouldn't get the rest of the money.
He set up my boyfriend to be killed! A group of men from our congregation meet every Tuesday morning at 8:45 for Talmudic study.
Barry Speicher was one of the group.
How long do these sessions last, Rabbi Geller? An hour.
So Barry Speicher would leave every Tuesday at 9:45? Usually.
But this morning, he had a call on his mobile phone, at 9:30.
He said it was an emergency, and he had to leave.
People's D.
Do you recognize this book, Rabbi? Yes, that was Barry's Chumash.
He kept it in the sanctuary.
Are you aware of the history of this book? Yes, it belonged to Barry's father, Daniel, who was also a member of the congregation before he passed away.
And how did his father come by this book? You traveled with Daniel Speicher to Poland to retrieve this book, didn't you? I traveled with Daniel to Poland in 1978, yes.
Could you please elaborate, Rabbi? We drove to a village near Warsaw called, uh, Glogowek.
Daniel had passed through there in 1943 as he was running away from the Nazis.
We went to find where he hid the Chumash.
Daniel had wrapped it in canvas, so he was very sure that it would still be there.
But when we drove down that road, the farm was gone.
It was a tire factory.
Why didn't you ever mention this before, Rabbi? I've wrestled with this since the Chumash was destroyed.
I know how hard it's going to be.
But with everything that's happened, I think it's finally time for the congregation to know the truth.
So where did this book come from? It was purchased in a bookshop in Warsaw before Daniel and I left Poland.
No one knew about this till now, not even his own family.
Why did you go along with this deception? How do I explain this to you, Mr.
McCoy? The bible is full of stories that may be apocryphal.
Do we believe that Methuselah lived 900 years? Or that Moses parted the Red Sea? Their truth is in the inspiration that we gather from them.
And this particular book inspired a lot of people.
Even if it isn't the same book, it's just a symbol of our survival.
And I don't see what's wrong with that.
Big surprise in there, any second thoughts, Jack? None.
Your client was acting under the assumption the book was genuine.
Look what this religious stuff does to people.
Wasn't it enough that my uncle survived? Why'd he have to come home with a fake book? I don't know, Mr.
Speicher, but none of it justifies what you did.
As I was leaving the synagogue that morning, I saw the torn pages of a Chumash on the floor.
Then I heard pages ripping, then I saw a man tearing apart my father's book.
What did you do? I screamed at him, "What are you doing?" He ran toward the door with the book in his hands, I picked up a Umbrella stand and went after him.
What then, Mr.
Speicher? He got outside, and I started swinging at him.
I hit him several times and he fell to the ground.
Which is where you left him? Lying on the book.
I Took the umbrella stand and put it back in the coatroom.
And I got in a cab.
Without telling anybody or getting help? I was too angry and scared to think straight.
Did your cousin Eric know how much this book meant to you? Mr.
Speicher? I killed Jeffrey Kilgore, not Eric, I did.
I'm going to prison for it.
This trial shouldn't be happening.
At the time of this incident, how was your business relationship with your cousin? It was fine, really, not bad at all.
Weren't you having a heated dispute about the building which housed the Beth Tefiloh synagogue? Objection, leading.
Did Eric ever threaten you because of this? Objection! No, he never did.
Could we have a 30-minute recess, Your Honor? Take an hour, Mr.
McCoy, I think you're going to need it.
What's going on, Mr.
Speicher? You're committing perjury! You're trying to put Eric in jail, I'm the one who did this.
You know perfectly well he set everything in motion.
You've blamed him yourself! Well, I don't anymore.
Not now.
Because the book isn't real? Because my father lied to me.
Your cousin didn't know that when he hired Kilgore.
He used your religious faith as a weapon against you! Ha, well, I'll say one thing about Eric, he was smart enough to put his faith into something that he could get his hands on.
You're better than that, Mr.
Speicher! No, I'm not.
I wouldn't sell the building to teach him a lesson.
We're exactly alike, we ripped each other's throats out over a lie.
I killed a man.
For what? Now, see, I just can't go through with this now.
It isn't your decision, Mr.
A man was murdered, and everyone who was involved has to be held responsible.
But it's too late.
The people who are really responsible are all dead.
Can I go now? Without Barry Speicher's testimony, you can't prove motive.
What little case you had jumped the paddock fence.
I still have enough to go to a jury.
Well, I'd dismiss the manslaughter count, salvage a burglary conviction.
And forget that Eric Speicher masterminded the events which led to a man's death? It was a reach from the outset.
One supported by the law.
There are other concerns besides the law.
Politics? Credibility with a jury.
Which reminds me, I intend to file perjury charges against Barry Speicher.
No, you won't.
We're not going to prolong this battle royal with the Speichers.
This isn't a vendetta, Arthur.
We're lucky that the only casualty here was an accomplice! Well, sometimes criminals get lucky.
And we don't charge them with what almost happened.
And when the next provocateur desecrates a mosque To make a political statement or insult a family member? It doesn't matter why you yell fire in a crowded theater.
In this day and age, you can't use religion as a provocation! This is exactly the kind of situation where you need to send a message.
Not everything fits your little orthodoxy, Jack.
Interesting choice of words.
You're practicing your own form of fundamentalism! Now, I gave you some lead, it's time to reel it in.
Arthur! Or do I have to tear up a copy of McKinney's to make my point? Your Honor, due to the recantation of crucial facts by this witness, I move to withdraw his previous testimony and have it stricken from the record.
Is that true, Mr.
Speicher? Yes.
I take it you won't oppose this, Ms.
Quaid? Of course not.
Motion's granted.
But we will proceed to verdict with the burglary charge.
Ladies and gentlemen, have you reached a verdict? We have, Your Honor.
Please rise, Mr.
On count of burglary in the third degree, how do you find? We find the defendant, Eric Speicher, guilty.
Can I have one second? I'm sorry.
With the hate enhancement on his burglary conviction, Eric Speicher's facing the same time as his cousin.
I suppose there's some rough justice in that.
Very rough.
They're asking the judge to send them to the same correctional facility.
Talk about family values.
It took a shredded bible and a homicide to bring this bunch together.
And a lie.