Law & Order (1990) s22e05 Episode Script

12 Seconds

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.

DOA was James Pell, 25.
He was a law student at Hudson.
Time of death?
Based on body temp,
I'd give it a two-hour window
between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.
Cause of death?
Best guess is, he was
struck with a blunt object.
Techs haven't found the murder
weapon, but take your pick.
Get a dive crew down here.
Have them search around the docks.
Who's got his cell phone?
He didn't have one on him.
Well, this had to be
connected to something.
It could be that the killer
tried to take his phone.
DOA puts up a fight, ends up a floater.
Who found the guy?
Maintenance worker. Name's Larry Brand.
I showed up to do repairs
on the dock at 7:30.
Dead guy was floating right next to it.
I called 911 right away.
- You recognize him?
- Nope.
All these Hudson kids
look the same to me.
Did you see anything unusual
when you got here?
Yeah. A dead guy.
Nothing else.
Yeah, well, if you remember
anything else, give us a call.
Had a lot going for him
Handsome, athletic, the best
law school in the country.
Who would want to kill a guy like that?
Today? Pretty much anybody.

Well, the boathouse cams were useless.
Paint crew moved them during repairs.
Dive crew struck out too.
Didn't come up with a phone
or a murder weapon.
Did you reach the parents in Ohio?
Yeah, I just spoke with them.
Told me how proud they were
their son had made it
all the way to Hudson.
It was his ambition since high school.
Did they know if anything
unusual had been going on?
They said they didn't speak
with him much.
Said he was super focused,
dropped ties with everyone
from his hometown
once he started law school.
Tale as old as time.
Someone just turned on Pell's phone.
I've got a location.
I'll get a warrant.
Hello, ma'am.
We're investigating a homicide.
We have a warrant
to search this apartment
for the victim's cell phone.
Do I look like I killed
someone and took their phone?
No, ma'am. But we still need to come in.
Sebastian, you know anything
about a missing cell phone?

Hey, Sebastian.
I know you're in here.
Let's do this the easy way, huh?

Stay down. Give me your hands.
I see you chose the easy way.
Like I keep saying,
I didn't do anything wrong.
Then why'd you run?
- I was scared.
- Of what?
The police.
You're scared of the police?
You know what it's like.
And you don't think
it had anything to do
with all those
stolen cell phones you had?
To be honest, we don't
care about the phones.
We care about murders.
We're homicide detectives.
What are you talking about?
One of the phones we
recovered from your backpack
belongs to a guy we found
floating in the river
up by Hudson University.
I got nothing to do with that.
Where were you this morning
between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.?
At home sleeping.
You can ask my grandma.
You're gonna have to do
a lot better than that, bro.
I had a girl with me Denise.
She lives on the sixth floor.
Okay, well, I'm gonna need
Denise's full name,
her phone number, and for your sake,
she better have been there.
Where'd you get all those stolen phones?
- You steal them?
- No.
I buy them off some dude over at Hudson.
Works at the boathouse down the river.

This the guy?
His name is Larry.

Looks like the kid
was telling the truth.
His girlfriend, Denise,
backed his alibi.
What about Larry Brand?
We check his alibi?
Yeah, he was on the BX19 bus,
got off at 7:30.
- Video confirms that.
- Okay.
So he's not the killer, but he just
steals stuff from dead guys.
Hey, any luck on getting info
off of Pell's phone?
He really cares about security.
There are multiple firewalls.
Well, that's odd.
I mean, for a law student.
- Anything else?
- Yeah.
I just got access to the keycard records
at the boathouse.
Pell swiped in at 5:00, but he
wasn't the first one there.
This is Jordan Tyler.
He swiped in 20 minutes before Pell.
Looks like a choirboy.
He is, literally.
I didn't see James this morning.
I was on the water before he got there,
and I left before he came back.
You seem pretty sure about that.
It's not a coincidence.
He rode at the same time every morning,
and I did my best to avoid him.
Why's that?
I don't like to speak ill of the dead,
but James wasn't someone
I wanted to associate with.
How come?
We used to train together,
but there was something off about him.
Off? Off how?
The first sign was,
he'd put all his rowing times
on social media.
And for some reason,
he felt the need to lie
and make them better than they were.
One day he showed me some photos.
They were intimate pictures of a woman
who had broken up with him.
He said he was going
to post them online.
Revenge porn.
Do you know this woman's name?
I don't know her last name,
but she works at the bar.
Excuse me. April Parks?
We'd like to talk to you
about James Pell.
- I've got nothing to say.
- Wait. Hold on a second.
I just want to ask a few questions.
I told you, I've got nothing to say.
Which means you got a lot to say.
You're right. I do.
I hate that son of a bitch.
Is that why you, uh,
you broke into his apartment
the other night?
We read the police report.
There a problem here?
You margaritas are too sweet.
You're right.
I tried to break into his apartment.
Like I told the cops who arrested me,
he had naked photos of me on his laptop.
I I wanted to delete them.
Can you tell us what you
were doing this morning?
What's this all about?
James is dead.
Someone killed him.
Where were you this morning around 6:00?
- You can ask my roommates.
- Yeah, we will.
How long were you and James together?
Two months.
During that time,
did you hear about anybody else
who might hate James as much as you did?
April Park says that
you got into a little scuffle
with James Pell a month ago.
By which you mean
I tried to shove his face
through a plate glass window?
Well, now that he's dead,
can't press charges, right?
Wow, that's cold-blooded
Cracking jokes about a dead guy.
It's karma, man.
Why don't you have a seat
and tell us why
you tried to shove Pell's head
through a window?
Because he was named editor-in-chief
of the "Law Review."
- And that made you angry?
- Yeah.
'Cause he didn't deserve it.
- Says who?
- Says me.
He stole that vote.
He manipulated the outgoing editors.
Pell was an average student.
I mean, he shouldn't even
have been in the mix.
But this professor Ezra Nichols.
He's like a legend around here.
He went to bat for him.
He convinced the editors
they needed to pick Pell.
And why do you think Ezra Nichols
would do something like that
for someone like Pell?
Well, there's obviously something
going on between them.
Do you think they were having an affair?
It seemed that way.
Do you have any proof
other than this editor thing?
Yeah, I saw them walk into
Nichols's office a few times.
Nichols shut the door both times
the second they walked inside.
No professor does that these days.
So Pell is messing around
with his professor.
Things go south.
He threatens to go public
with the scandal,
and the professor kills him
to keep things quiet.
- I mean, it's possible, but
- But what?
Ezra is married to a woman
and has an impeccable reputation.
I got some bad news for you, James.
Sometimes people lie,
even law professors
with wives and impeccable reputations.
Yeah, well, thanks
for the life lesson, Frank.
But this is not just some professor.
This is Ezra Nichols.
He's the reason I became a lawyer.
He argued against the voter
suppression laws in Arizona,
got all the way to the Supreme Court.
And before that, he's out
there fighting for gay rights,
- minority rights, the disabled.
- I get it. He's a saint.
Doesn't mean he didn't kill James Pell.
James was truly talented
and a good person.
We've talked to a few other
people who feel differently.
I can't speak to that.
How well did you two know each other?
He was in two of my classes.
And he worked as a research assistant
on one of my most recent books,
so we knew each other reasonably well.
How would you describe the
nature of your relationship?
I'm not sure I know what you mean.
Were you two cordial?
Were you pleasant with one another?
I suppose.
Anything else between you two
you'd like to share with us?
Excuse me?
Were you two romantically involved?
Of course not. [STAMMERS]
Why on Earth would you think that?
We just keep hearing
how fond you were of James.
Everybody we spoke to
at the "Law Review" board
said that you strongly advocated
- for him to be editor-in-chief?
- I did.
He was an exceptional student.
Who was ranked 83 out of 230?
Numbers don't tell the whole story.
I agree, but I still find this odd.
Out of all the students you have here,
out of all the gifted, diverse
men and women at this school,
you still pushed for a white kid
in the bottom 2/3 of the class.
Make it make sense.
I think we're done here, fellas.
Where were you yesterday
morning between 5:00 a.m
I told you we're done here.
I'm no longer willing
to answer questions
without a lawyer present.
I can assure you, Detective,
I know my rights.
So, please, direct your gaze elsewhere.

I found security footage
of Nichols and Pell
walking out of Nichols' office
last week around 11:00 p.m.
So they were having an affair.
No. I don't think so.
I've gone through Pell's laptop,
looked at every communication
between them,
and there's nothing
the least bit affectionate.
I hate to break it to you, Vi,
but not all men are good at intimacy.
Never noticed.
But that's not what's going on here.
This wasn't about two
closed-off dudes hooking up.
What do you mean?
Pell's emails were
increasingly aggressive
and demanding.
"I'd hate to see
your reputation tarnished."
"I'm done asking.
It's time for you to deliver."
So Pell was threatening him.
Which means sex or no sex,
he had leverage over him.
I think I know what it was too.
Pell sent this clip
to Nichols ten months ago
when the threats started.
It's from a dinner at the law school
honoring Malcolm Sanders
The first gay person to be nominated
to the Supreme Court.
I guess even I'm not
diverse enough to be
on the Supreme Court these days.
Not enough to be Black, gotta be a f
Need I say more?

- Too.
- Shh.
Turn it off now.
But I only played 12 seconds.
I know what I said.
And we know who heard it
James Pell.
He was working there that night.
He was coordinating the event.
Which explains how he caught
your comment on video.
And then he wanted you
to know about it, didn't he?
Which is why he sent you
the clip ten months ago.
That's when you started
helping him out, right?
Look, Professor,
we know plenty of good men
have lost their reputations,
their careers,
for saying stupid things
Things they didn't mean,
things they used to say
on the playground
when they were ten years old.
And we understand the type of stress
that something like that can cause.
I mean, you probably woke up
every single morning
wondering if today was
the day this poor guy
sold you out, leaked it on Twitter,
called "The New York Times."
And that kind of pressure
can cause really smart people
to make really stupid choices.
I appreciate your concern, Detective,
but I'll cut to the chase.
I didn't kill James Pell.
But if you did, we'd understand.
Gentlemen, I presume Professor Nichols
is not under arrest?
Then please, get the hell out
of my office.

I gotta be honest.
This is a little surreal for me.
Why's that?
Ezra Nichols
Always a big inspiration for me.
I just he's the guy
that made me want to be
a lawyer in the first place.
I just can't believe
he's mixed up in all this.
Right now, he's just a guy
who used a word he wasn't supposed to.
Which is depressing enough.
Yeah, a bad word, no doubt, but
But what?
Nobody's above having a bad day.
The only difference between you
and him and anybody else is,
he got caught on camera.
We found something in the doormat.
What? Dirt?
Dried mud, and there's
cattail fluff in it.
Those grow by the riverbank.
That would put him by the boathouse.
He came in through the
back entrance, which means
he didn't want to be seen.
Maybe he had blood on his clothes.
Do we know where the laundry room is?
Already checked it. Nada.
So if he didn't wash his clothes,
maybe he threw them away.
So where does he keep the trash bags?
Over here.
Check it for blood.
Check the inside flap.
Bingo. We've got some blood here.
Get that to the lab.
Hey, the lab says the blood is Pell's.
And the mud on the doormat
matches the riverbank
- at the boathouse.
- Hell of a start.
But we still can't place him
near the crime scene
or even prove that he left
his house that morning.
He's right.
I've scrubbed all the video
I could find.
But we still got the dead guy's blood
at the Nichols' house.
They can't walk that back.
It's not impossible.
Let's keep digging.
- They got kids, right?
- Mm-hmm.
A 14-year-old and a 5-year-old?
- Yeah.
- And both parents work?
- Yeah.
- That means
- They have a nanny.
- Yeah.
Let's track her down.
Find out what she knows.
I can't get involved.
I'm applying for a visa right now,
but I'm a little behind
on the paperwork.
We're not ICE, Magda.
We're not gonna report you.
We just need to know if you were working
at the Nichols' house that morning.
Yes. I got there at 5:30.
Michelle called me.
Said she needed me
to watch their youngest.
And when you got there, was Ezra home?
Yes. He was asleep upstairs.
You sure?
He came down around 7:00.
I made him breakfast.
And Ezra didn't leave
the house before that?
No. Like I said, he was sleeping.
Where was Michelle?
If I say anything that
gets the Nichols in trouble,
I could lose my job.
Magda, this is a murder investigation.
We need to know what you know.

- Michelle Nichols.
- What is this?
You're under arrest
for the murder of James Pell.
What? Babe
Going to take care of this, baby.
You'll be home in no time.
Promise you.
Don't say a word. Understand me?
Tell them you want a lawyer.
Now! Say it out loud!
I want a lawyer.
Watch your head, ma'am.

Calling docket ending in 8733,
People v. Michelle Nichols,
charging murder in the second degree.
How does the defendant plead?
Not guilty, Your Honor.
- People on bail?
- People request remand.
We have evidence that proves
the defendant was aware
the victim, James Pell,
was blackmailing her husband
and that she murdered him to stop it.
Your Honor, Mrs. Nichols
is anything but a flight risk.
She serves on the boards
of the Children's Defense Fund,
America Reads, and the
Riverdale Country School.
She's never had so much
as a speeding ticket.
Given her significant
financial resources
and extensive international connections,
she may be accumulating funds
in order to flee the country.
Okay. Enough.
Bail is set at $500,000,
and Mrs. Nichols
is to surrender her passport.
Motion to exclude.
The video clip of my client's husband
expressing his displeasure to her
is protected by marital privilege.
The jury shouldn't be allowed to see it.
Privilege doesn't apply
in this situation.
Professor and Mrs. Nichols
were in a public setting,
which means there was no
reasonable expectation
of confidentiality.
Ezra Nichols was sitting in front
of a microphone, for God's sake.
The comment was made after
the speeches were finished.
The microphone was disconnected
from the public address system.
He was completely unaware
he was being recorded.
Michelle Nichols literally shushed him.
- That proves that
- That proves nothing.
My husband shushes me in my living room,
the doctor's office.
Based on the facts, it's clear that
this was meant to be a personal
and private conversation.
Motion granted.
We need some sort of evidence
to establish motive,
something to make the jury understand
why Pell was blackmailing
Nichols in the first place.
Yeah, that's what I've been working on.
I think I might have
found something too.
- See Ezra Nichols' wine glass?
- Yes.
When Ezra moves the glass,
he's motioning to a waiter for a refill.
Play it one more time.
If the waiter was close enough to pour,
they would have been
close enough to hear
what Nichols said to his wife.
Can you tell us where you last saw
Ezra and Michelle Nichols?
I was a server at their table
at a law school dinner.
And can you please repeat the comment
that you heard Ezra Nichols
make to his wife
about Supreme Court Justice
Malcolm Sanders?
Objection hearsay.
It's not being offered for the truth
- of the matter asserted.
- Overruled.
Then it's protected
by marital privilege.
Privilege doesn't apply when
there's a third party present.
I agree.
Mr. Price, ask your question again.
Ms. Zinkow, what did you hear
Ezra Nichols say to his wife?
He was talking about Justice Sanders,
and he used an offensive word.
What word?
It starts with F,
and it refers to gay people.
Do I have to say it?
No. No. I think we get the idea.
Did you tell anybody what you heard?
Yes, I told one
of the student coordinators,
James Pell.
How did Mr. Pell respond?
He thanked me for telling him this.
Then he took the video card
out of the camera
that was recording the speakers' table.
Thank you. I have nothing further.
Are you familiar
with who Ezra Nichols is
Of all he's done
for the LGBTQ community?
- Not really.
- Ah.
Then let me educate you.
- He is one of the most
- Objection.
Professor Nichols' résumé
in this regard is irrelevant.
Sustained. Move on, Mr. Seaver.
The room was filled
with people, correct?
Yes, there were about 80 people there.
So there was lots of noise.
People were eating, drinking.
So it was obviously hard to hear.
I suppose.
So you can't be sure what Mr. Nichols
said or didn't say, correct?
No. That's not true.
[CHUCKLES] I heard him use that word.
I'm positive.
Nothing further.
Mr. Price?
Nothing further, Your Honor.
Witness is excused.
The people call Magda Chezlak.
Is Ms. Chezlak here?

- What's going on?
- I don't know.
We talked to her last night.
The Nichols' nanny skipped town?
Her roomie thinks
she flew back to Poland.
- Can you confirm that?
- No.
We checked all the flight logs.
There's no record of her on any of them,
and she's not answering calls
or texts, either.
- So she's in the wind?
- Sure looks that way.
Well, the woman
was terrified and thought
ICE was gonna grab her up.
Or Seaver convinced her
that was the case
and arranged for her to get out of town.
Which is obviously witness tampering.
It sure is, but good luck
finding a paper trail.
So now what?
And the nanny was the only witness
who could establish Michelle was at home
the morning of the murder.
That's not true.
We have another witness.
Just make sure that this one shows up.
Detective Cosgrove, in the
course of your investigation,
did you meet Magda Chezlak,
- the Nichols' nanny?
- Yes.
Did Ms. Chezlak tell you
that Michelle Nichols
left the house the morning
of James Pell's murder?
Objection, hearsay.
Ms. Chezlak's statement
falls under an exception
to the hearsay rule.
It's a declaration
against pecuniary interest.
What exactly is Ms. Chezlak's
pecuniary interest?
Her job.
She told Detective Cosgrove
she was afraid
she'd be fired if she said anything that
got the Nichols in trouble.
Objection overruled.
Yes, Magda Chezlak told me
that she saw the defendant
leave the house at 5:30 that morning.
And what time was James Pell killed?
The medical examiner determined that
it was between 5:00 and 7:00
in the morning.
Did Ms. Chezlak say anything else
about the defendant
leaving home so early that day?
Yes, she said that was highly unusual.
She seemed in a hurry
and extremely upset.
Thank you, Detective Cosgrove.
I have no further questions.
How many years have you been
with the New York City
Police Department, Detective?
And in those years, how many times
have you been called as a
witness in a criminal case?
I I wouldn't know the exact number.
Public records show that you were called
to testify in 208 cases.
Really? That many?
In how many of those cases
was the defendant
African American?
- Objection, relevance.
- It goes to bias.
Overruled, but be careful, Mr. Seaver.
I don't keep track.
Maybe you should
Over half,
and 85% of those cases
resulted in convictions.
That is well above
the statistical average.
Did you know that?
Like I said, I don't know
the exact numbers.
You should. It's in the public record.
It seems whenever a person
of color is on trial,
you always seem to bring in
some extra evidence
to the equation.
Are you trying to say I make things up?
Because that's not how it works.
Quite the contrary It's simple math.
And it adds up to you having
a racially-motivated axe to grind.
There's no other way to explain it.
I'm pretty sure there is,
but I'm not a sociologist.
I'm a homicide detective.
I follow the evidence,
and I arrest bad guys
regardless of their race.
That's what I do.
And in this case, the evidence
points at Michelle Nichols.
A Black woman.
No. A murderer.
Says the man who only
arrests Black people.
Objection. The defense is out of line.
No further questions.
Witness is excused.

Mr. Price?
The People rest, Your Honor.
Mr. Seaver, call your first witness.
Defense calls Ezra Nichols.
Where were you on the morning
of James Pell's murder?
I got up early and went
to the Hudson boathouse.
Why did you go to the boathouse?
Because I knew James would be there.
And what did you do
when you found him there?
I killed him.
Request to meet in chambers, Your Honor.

We've already
established that Ezra Nicholas
was at home asleep
when James Pell was killed.
The defense is clearly
using his testimony
to create a false narrative.
The People have no legal basis
to exclude his testimony.
Ezra Nichols' so-called
confession is an act
of perjury designed to create confusion
in the minds of the jurors.
Creating confusion is what
defense lawyers do, Mr. Price.
That's not a basis to exclude a witness.
No, but creating a mockery
of the criminal justice system is,
or at least it used to be.
Watch yourself, sir.
Ezra Nichols is free to testify.
And you, Mr. Price, are free
to accept his confession
if you so choose.
Court is adjourned for today.
Is there a chance Ezra Nichols
actually committed the murder?
Sure. It's possible.
Just like it's possible someone
not named Lee Harvey Oswald
killed Kennedy.
What does the evidence say?
That Mr. Nichols was at home sleeping
when the murder was committed.
I don't maybe we should
just accept his confession,
charge him with murder.
At least somebody will go
to prison for this.
I assume you're just venting.
- [SCOFFS] I am.
- Then let's move on.
Let's view this confession
for what it is,
a stunt designed to distract the jury
and create reasonable doubt,
nothing more.
So let Nichols spin his tale
Then bury him on the cross
and expose his lies.
Pell started out by asking me
for a few thousand dollars.
Then he wanted me to make sure
he was named
editor-in-chief of the "Law Review."
He was using your reputation
and influence
to bolster his own résumé.
And I succumbed to his demands.
Why is that?
Because I'm ashamed
of what I said, deeply.
It's not who I am.
If I'd heard another man say that,
I'd be the first person to speak up,
denounce his homophobia.
So I was terrified.
I knew the significance of the tape
and the greed and ambition
of the man in possession of it.
Can you elaborate on that?
Tell us why you were so terrified?
Because we live
in a society where people
The press want to crucify
public figures
for making a mistake.
There are no second chances.
One bad moment, one wrong word,
and your career is over,
no matter who you are
or what you've accomplished.
It's become a sport, a game.
Who can we cancel next?
So I gave James Pell
everything he asked for
to protect myself and my family.
Were there any other demands?
He wanted to clerk
for the Supreme Court.
That's where I drew the line.
How come?
Those clerks go on to be professors,
judges, politicians.
They become thought leaders
for the next generation.
I wasn't giving James Pell
that kind of access.
And how did Mr. Pell react
when you told him that?
He said he'd release the video.
And what did you do?
I told Pell we needed to talk in person.
So I met him down
at the boathouse that morning.
I told him he needed to stop
what he was doing,
that I was done
with his demands, his threats.
And how did he react?
He laughed in my face, said he owned me.
That's when I lost my composure.
I picked up a pipe,
and I swung it at his head.
Where was your wife at this time?
She was home with our children.
She had nothing to do with this.
Thank you, Professor Nichols.
No further questions.

Mr. Nichols
When you allegedly killed James Pell,
where did you strike him?
On the side of his head
above his right ear.
Do you recall what Mr. Pell
was wearing that morning?
A light blue athletic shirt
with dark blue markings
on the sleeves.

Side of head, above right ear,
light blue athletic shirt,
dark blue markings on the sleeves.
Professor Nichols, have you
read the crime scene report
for James Pell's murder?
No. I have not.
Yet, your so-called memories
are word for word identical
to what is written here.
- Objection.
- Sustained.
Professor Nichols,
do you love your wife?
Of course.
And you would do almost
anything to protect her,
including lying about a murder
to stop her from going to prison.
- Objection!
- Sustained.
You now claim you killed James Pell,
even though you were at home
the morning of the murder.
That's not true.
But no one else can verify
your account of events, correct?
That'snot true.
My wife and two children
were home having breakfast
when I returned from the boathouse.
They saw you return home that morning?
And what time was this?
Approximately 6:45 a.m.
They saw you

Thank you.
No further questions at this time.
You're excused.
Subpoena the son.
The kid already told the police
he left home at 6:45 a.m.
He said he didn't see
his parents that morning,
didn't even know if they were home.
Which means one of them is lying.
I know which one my money is on.

Your Honor, given that this witness
is the defendant's son, I'd ask
that you declare him hostile,
allow me to ask leading questions.
Where were you the morning
of James Pell's murder?
I was home.
I left home for water polo
practice at 6:45 a.m.
And did you see your mother or father?
I saw my mother.
She made me breakfast.
And I saw my father, too, briefly.
He came home at 6:30,
right before I left home
for water polo practice.
Really? You saw him come home?
That's correct.
But you originally told the police
that you didn't see either
of them that day, correct?
Yes. I I was confused.
But you're not confused now?
So your father wasn't in his
bedroom sleeping that morning?
That's right.
Well, that morning when you
saw your mother, when she
She made breakfast for you?
How did she appear?
Was she rattled, disoriented?
Was she acting in a way
that seemed abnormal?
no, she seemed very normal.
What about your nanny, Magda?
See her at home that morning?
I I don't recall.
Your father told you what
to say today, didn't he?
He told you to lie
about seeing him at home
that morning in order to perpetuate
- the lie that he killed Pell.
- Objection!
Nothing further at this time.
We need to poke holes
in this kid's testimony.
Check with the coach.
Pull phone, internet data.
If we can prove he was
telling the truth then
We can prove he's lying now.
I dug up everything
I could on Cyrus Nichols.
He seems like a really good kid
Straight-A student, debate
team, varsity water polo,
literally feeds the homeless on Sundays.
Does his story track
the day of the murder?
I talked to his water polo coach.
Confirms Cyrus was
at practice at 7:15 a.m.
And I found video of him a
block from the school at 7:12.
Doesn't really prove
that he saw or didn't see
his father that morning,
just means he went
to water polo practice.
[SIGHS] I know.
We're looking for a needle
in a haystack.
I might have one.
What do you mean?
Cyrus used his cell phone
to call his parents' landline
that morning at 5:49 a.m.
What? Why would he
Get a ping order right away.
On it.
What the hell's going on?
What was so important?
We looked into your son's
version of events.
And we learned that
he called your landline
the morning of the murder at 5:49 a.m.
So we pinged his cell.
And we eventually discovered this.
This is Cyrus at 5:09 a.m.
on the morning of the murder
walking down 122nd Street,
two blocks from the boathouse
where Pell was killed.
And this is Cyrus at 5:44 a.m.,
throwing away the pipe
used to kill James Pell.

If you tell us everything
that happened
we will do the best we can for your son.
Whatever they say,
it can't be used against the child.
Cyrus knew the pressure I was under
That we were under.
He overheard us arguing the
night before about James Pell
and how he was threatening
to destroy our lives.
He knew the agony that this was causing.
And Cyrus is a sensitive boy.
He carries the weight
of the world on his shoulders.
He always has.
I told him we would
take care of everything,
that this was not his problem.
But he
He killed James Pell.
It wasn't his fault.
He was afraid.
He was just trying to help.

Your Honor, the People have agreed
to drop the murder charges
against Michelle Nichols.
We have also agreed not to charge
Ezra Nichols with perjury.
The Nichols family understands
that it is in the best
interests of the child
to plead guilty in family court,
and the record will be sealed.
Do you understand what this means?
A judge in family court will be
sentencing you for murder.
Yes, ma'am.
I understand.
The case against
Michelle Nichols is dismissed.
Court Officer, please take
Cyrus Nichols into custody.
He's just a boy.
For God's sake, he's barely 14.
You okay?
A man is dead
and a family's been destroyed,
all because a good man blurted
out a stupid, hateful word.

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