Law & Order Special Victims Unit s02e05 Episode Script

Baby Killer

In the criminal justice system sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous.
In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.
These are their stories.
Let go, it's mine.
Okay, now it's mine.
Hey, boys, here you go.
Come on, man, let's go.
Play nice.
Hey, Mama.
Get away from here.
Right now.
What, bitch? I think you need to chill.
Charlie, can you send Help! God, please, somebody help! Oh, Jesus! Come here.
Help! Somebody, please! Help me! Help! What? There was a shooting at P.
387 in East Harlem six year old girl, died at the scene.
They're bringing the shooter up now.
Why did we catch it? Brass thinks we're better equipped to handle him.
Bring on the pervert.
Does that look like a cold-blooded killer to you? Where are we on the parents? Both of them called in sick today.
Nobody knows how to find them.
Well, that fills in a few blanks for me.
Can you even charge a 7-year-old with murder? Technically, he just made the cutoff.
Benson? Yes.
You left a message.
Our son, Elias, was involved in a shooting? They gave this address, not a hospital, is he Oh, God! Please say he's alive.
Barrera, I'm sorry about the misunderstanding.
Elias wasn't the one who was shot.
Oh, thank God.
He was the shooter.
What? Sir, do you own a gun? No.
Does your son have access to one? I don't know how.
He's either at home, school, or his sitter's.
And who's that? Mrs.
Where's our son? We want to talk to him with you.
But we can't do that without your permission.
If you would sign a Miranda waiver Fine.
That's fine.
Just let us see him.
Okay, come with me please.
You run them through License Division? He had no guns registered.
Of course, the serial number was filed off the gun he used.
Punched them in the system, clean sheets.
No arrests, no warrant.
We were at the emergency room all morning.
My baby girl was born with a respiratory problem.
We had to leave her at the hospital.
Why don't you take a seat here.
Elias? It's okay.
All right.
Elias, why don't we have you sit right here.
Hi, Elias, I'm Elliot.
How are you doing? We're going to talk today, is that okay? Do you like school? What grade are you in? Second.
That's a good grade.
I like second grade.
What's your favorite subject? Okay.
We're going to talk a little bit about what happened today.
Okay? Do you know Carly Jackson? Yeah? What can you tell me about Carly? She's a girl.
You like Carly? No? How come? She's always bothering me.
How does she bother you? She chases me.
She tries to kiss me.
Can you tell me what happened to Carly at recess? She fell down.
What made her fall down? The gun.
The gun.
Who's holding the gun? Is Carly going to be okay? Elias, tell me who had the gun.
I did.
You know what, I think we should get a lawyer before we go on.
Okay, sir.
That's fine.
You get a lawyer.
We got a phone out there.
He has to stay with us, okay.
Get Fin.
Check out friends, family, neighbors, school anyone he could have got that gun from.
As slipshod as the screening process is, I doubt he bought it himself.
Watch it.
Watch your back.
Come on.
Elias and Carly fight a lot? Neither had been sent to my office.
Where were you when it happened? Over there.
I ran to her, called for help, and then I saw Elias.
Where exactly? Putting the gun in the garbage can.
Elias said that Carly picked on him.
Carly was the sweetest little girl.
Did we miss something? He wasn't a troublemaker.
He didn't even talk in line.
He's always been an angel.
What made Elias do this? That's what we're trying to find out.
Strada, do you keep a gun here on the premises? Please.
The kids you watch, could any of them have brought one in here? Absolutely not.
You wouldn't happen to have a phone list for the parents, would you? Of course I do.
Work and home.
By the phone desk over there.
Yeah, we'll need a copy of that.
Rudy, it's Buddy's turn.
Ma'am, are you responsible for every kid around here? Yes.
They don't talk to strangers they don't leave the courtyard without an adult.
I take my job very seriously, young man.
Okay, Sammy, where did Elias get the gun? From his pants.
Before that? I don't know.
Did he ever talk about having a gun? No.
When's the first time you saw the gun? When he shot Carly.
Why did Elias shoot Carly? I don't know.
She pick on him a lot? She kissed him all the time.
What would he do when she kissed him? His face would get all red.
Did she try to kiss him that day? She was walking over.
Cabot's hell bent on charging the parents.
Parental responsibility.
It's a hot-button issue.
That's all it is.
Well, we've got no ammunition for her.
Nothing about this makes sense.
Child homicides never do.
What happened to that little boy to make him want to take a life? Elliot, you're searching for a way to make him a victim.
The only victim here is a dead little girl.
Hi, can we help you? Yes, I'm Sonia Paredes, Elias Barrera's teacher.
The limit for class size is supposed to be 32 students.
I have 40.
It must make it kind of hard to give each student the attention they need.
I was in the teachers' lounge when they told us.
When they said it was Elias, I got physically ill.
Paredes, is there something that you want to show us? After 20 years of teaching, nothing shocks you anymore.
I wish this had.
When did he draw this? Yesterday.
Carly had a ponytail.
Charge the boy.
With what? Murder.
He's seven.
Yes, and if he were six, I would send him home with his parents as the law mandates.
But he's not.
The law is not interpretive, Counselor.
It is to be very narrowly construed.
He can be charged.
He can, but you know as well as I do that the youngest they've ever convicted was 11.
Yes, but that was pre-Columbine.
Since then, there's been an epidemic of ever younger kids killing kids with no consequence.
People are fed up with it.
And you're bored of being the Chief Assistant DA.
I know you're looking to replace Lewin next fall but let me tell you, if you think you could put a little boy in jail just so you can prove you're tough on crime, you've got to be kidding.
He's old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.
But not to understand the consequences of his actions.
He brought a gun to school.
He knew what he was doing.
And this, that gives us intent.
Why don't you just apply for a change of venue to Texas so we can have him executed? No, Manhattan Family Court will be sufficient.
Cabot, am I reading this right you're charging a 7-year-old with murder? Yes, Your Honor.
Surely there's an alternative.
One has yet to present itself.
The commission of the crime by the respondent is undisputed.
And evidence supporting criminal intent has just come to light.
How does the minor plead? General denial, Your Honor.
Remand recommendations? The People have not ruled out the minor's home situation as a contributing factor.
We therefore ask for the removal of the minor from his home and ask that he be remanded to a detention facility pending trial.
Your Honor, the Barreras are a loving, law-abiding, nuclear family.
Elias should be released into their custody.
The Barreras have ties outside the country.
Flight risk is a significant issue with the People and the victim's family who is here today.
I'm ordering the minor be remanded to the Wagner Detention Facility.
I'm further ordering a clinical evaluation to determine whether or not he understands the charges against him and can help in his own defense.
No! Please, don't take my baby.
Mommy! Oh, please! Olivia, can you believe they ran this picture? Already a couple of hundred people hanging outside the courthouse.
Who'd have guessed there'd be backlash against charging a 7-year-old with murder? Amnesty International, Children's Defense Fund.
Alex Cabot.
I didn't want to charge him with murder.
I didn't have any choice.
Now that you've got him in the big house, is he spilling? Why he did it? Where he got the gun? No, he's completely withdrawn.
He won't even talk to the social worker.
How about spending less time on the kid we caught, more on the adult we didn't.
What did we send License Division? The names of parents of the other kids Mrs.
Strada watches.
Really? Well, guess what Reyna McCreary owns? He did not get that gun from my son.
The gun registered in your name is still in your possession? Yes, it is.
You mind if we take a peek at it? Yes, I do.
You satisfied? Put the gun down on the table.
You carry that around in your purse? You know, sometimes I don't leave the hospital till 3:00 a.
I have to take a subway, a bus and walk four blocks through this neighborhood to get home.
You know, carrying a concealed weapon is a felony.
I don't.
I leave it here so the appliances can defend themselves.
You have a child living here.
You have a safe place to store this gun? Of course I do.
Get a move on.
We're leaving in 10 seconds.
What's up? Raphael, right? Yeah.
You know Elias? Yeah.
You heard about what happened? Yeah, he popped that little girl.
Lightweight, compact hammerless.
So simple, even a 7-year-old can use it.
This one especially.
Safety's tampered with, hair trigger.
Gangbanger, drug dealer.
Doesn't have the overkill they're partial to, but not bad as a backup piece.
Chambered round fits.
Add a full clip, they get that one extra bang for the buck.
And speaking of the bang the bullet Rodgers sent us, after the autopsy.
Hollow point? See the smooth edges where it peeled apart on impact? The tip was filed down in an "X" pattern, by hand.
Little girl didn't have a chance.
Neither did this guy.
It's hard to compare the lands and grooves because of their condition, but look at the base.
Here's a side-by-side comparison.
Same right twist, same riflings.
Where'd you get this one from? A 23-year-old.
Your gun's got a second body on it.
Shorty Esposito.
Latino male, 23.
Got smoked in the ticker.
Night before your case.
Close range.
Got dumped in an alley a couple of blocks from where your kid lives.
You getting anywhere with it? No, the case is cold.
We were hoping maybe your How do we know he didn't? M.
makes our shooter a good four inches taller than our stiff, so Want to swap five's? Two busts for drug possession, just short of enough for intent to sell.
Mother swears by all known saints he wasn't a dealer.
We think drug deal gone south.
Let's canvass the area between these two.
Got to be a link in there somewhere.
Hold on.
Elliot, look at his pants.
This can't be a coincidence.
Heck, we might have just found our link.
Yeah, that guy I maybe seen around.
Tell me about him.
He likes bubble baths and long walks.
I don't know jack about him.
I seen him on the block.
With anyone in particular? You been following this story? Who hasn't.
Little boy who shot this girl did it with the same gun that was used to whack this guy.
Tell us what you know about this guy? I know nothing about the guy.
The stuff he was into, I don't want to know.
And what stuff would that be? Mumbo jumbo.
Whenever I seen him, he's coming out of Nestor's.
You Nestor? Nicky Crow.
Nestor sold me the business last year.
And exactly what kind of business is this? Religious supplies.
For the practice of SanterĂ­a.
Then those would be sacrificial chickens.
It's legal.
Santeros won their Supreme Court case.
Relax, we're not from the ASPCA.
You know him? Yeah, he's a customer.
Know anything about it? Santeros don't sacrifice anything further up the food chain than goats.
Long Island cheerleader three years ago.
Mother and sister thought she was possessed by a demon and they suffocated her.
Santeras, right? That was an exorcism got out of hand, not a sacrifice.
Shorty Esposito, religious kind of guy? Keeping the rituals a secret comes from the slaves having to hide it from their masters.
That's not an answer.
Sure it is.
It's in the Constitution.
Freedom of religion.
It's like dogma not to talk about it.
I'd be violating his rights.
He's dead.
He doesn't have any rights.
You a priest? A Babalu? Babalu.
practice SanterĂ­a in New York.
They need to shop someplace they can trust.
Hey, maybe someone tried to drive an evil spirit out of him with a bullet.
My bet? That was his religion.
That guy right there on the corner, that's the steerer.
He brings the buyer to the money man.
And him hanging back with the gold chain that's the money man.
He never touches the dope.
They're all teens.
Maybe they know Elias through a little brother.
Somewhere around here.
He's the lookout.
What's your name, man? Sammy.
Sammy what? Sosa.
That's Mrs.
Morales' boy, Jamal.
Shut up, old man.
Hey, Jamal, you just focus all right.
You know this kid? No.
What about him? Nope.
Hey, how old are you? Ten.
Why don't you talk to him? Come here a second.
Know his name? Bobby Cruise.
He's in here all the time.
Yeah, with him? No, another one of those boys.
Eighteen or 19 years old.
Called Sweetness.
Sweetness? Real sweet tooth.
We saw Homicide.
They aren't doing any better.
Any luck on our sweet tooth? Former juvenile offender.
Now 19.
Placed in foster care at age eight.
Moving up to drugs, larceny, gun possession.
Given name is Antonio Strada.
Last person who posted bail was his great grandmother.
Good old Mrs.
My great-grandson has nothing to do with that little girl's death.
Strada, you know Elias got hold of a gun.
And you know, as well as we do, that Antonio has had gun troubles in the past.
He's changed.
He's getting his life together.
He helps me with the kids.
Takes them to the park for me.
He buys them candy.
The kids call him Sweetness.
The candy store that he takes Elias to alone is off a known drug corner.
Did you know that, Mrs.
Strada? No, I Sunday night, a young man named Shorty was shot and killed with the same gun Elias used to kill Carly Jackson.
The last time your great-grandson was arrested for gun possession he was with Shorty.
They did time together.
Strada, tell us where he is.
You don't understand, he had a horrible childhood.
His father was in prison, his mother who knows where his mother was.
Please, don't hurt him.
Antonio, police.
We want to talk to you.
Sweetness? Nobody in here.
Got blood on the walls.
Yeah, we got fresh blood right here.
We need backup.
Two-five-two, East 132.
Body's down here.
It's him.
I need an ambulance now.
Who did this to you? Who cut you, Sweetness? Who cut you? Machete.
What'd he say? I think he said Machet Machete.
Look at the pants, they're both camouflage.
This is not Carly, this is Shorty.
Meaning, Elias witnessed this murder.
When he drew this, he wasn't plotting out Carly Jackson's murder.
This was a cry for help.
He wanted somebody to know what he saw.
He's been through an interrogation, a court hearing taken from his family and placed in detention.
Why wouldn't he have said something by now? Look at the players involved.
Drug dealers and killers.
If Elias was drawn into this world at all, he knows what happens to people who talk.
So what are we going to do? When an accused stands mute, the only thing the system can do is interpret his actions.
You know our take on it.
Well, I know what my boss' will be.
He'll still see a bad apple who likes seeing people dead.
So Elias needs to talk.
His attorney won his motion.
He's back home until the hearing.
You know, you people have some nerve! It's been horrible for the Barreras.
They're prisoners in their own home.
The protesters, death threats, the media trying to sneak into the building.
You know, we try to be good parents, we do.
Social services is threatening to remove their baby girl.
Barrera, it is imperative we talk to Elias.
Why, so you can find something else to charge him with? Mrs.
Barrera, we believe that your son witnessed a murder the night before the shooting.
What? Oh, my God! Stay back.
Elias, you remember me, Elliot? How are you doing? We got a problem here, big man.
I hear you've been dragged into something bad.
Me and Sweetness, we talked.
Now, he says he's got you all hooked up and slinging for him.
What do you do with all the money that he gives you? Well, you buy games, new kicks, what? Crayons? Okay, Elias.
Your parents know about everything.
But you and me, right now Elias, you and me have got to fix this.
He puts little bottles in my pockets.
Okay, that's good.
You're doing great.
Now, you and me let's talk about the gun, okay.
Tell me about this.
He told me to stay in the room.
I didn't.
I saw him shoot the man.
What's that at the end of the gun? A pillow.
You could hardly hear the bang.
Why did Sweetness shoot Shorty? He didn't.
Isn't that him holding the gun? Well, who is it? Machete.
What did you say? Machete.
Do you know Machete? Well, how do you know his name? I heard Shorty say, "Stop, Machete, don't, please, don't.
" And then what happened? I heard sirens, and Machete ran away.
And what happened to the gun? Sweetness hid it in the couch.
And then he got a big suitcase.
And I hid in the closet because I was scared.
Then what happened? I heard him leave.
Why did you take the gun? I didn't want him to kill me, too.
Now, this is very important.
Where did this happen? My sister was in the hospital.
And you were at Mrs.
Strada's? Mrs.
Strada? What is going on? No one is telling me anything.
Strada, where were you Sunday night? Sunday between 10:00 and midnight.
I was asleep.
Are you a sound sleeper? Well, I take meclizine at night.
It knocks me out.
Hey, anything? Dried pee, Cheerios.
Old lady got kids? She takes care of them.
Our guy apparently cleaned up after himself.
Make sure you check sinks, drains, traps, sponges.
Trash cans, light switches, even lifted a few base boards.
No trace of blood yet.
Pillow's missing.
Okay, close the curtains.
We got blood.
Wheel marks.
Like the kind on a big-ass suitcase.
They just stuffed old Shorty in there and wheeled him on out.
Elias was right about the suitcase.
He also said he heard sirens.
Let's find out what that problem was.
Party out of hand.
Somebody pulled out a knife.
Somebody else pulls out a Louisville Slugger.
Brawl spilled out into the courtyard.
You take any statements? Thirty-five.
Stopped everyone leaving the building.
If that's when our guy left the building, he might be one of them.
Mind if we borrow these? Great.
Off Elias' description, we've eliminated Which were brought down to eight suspects, five of whom have records.
And mug shots.
Already there, we put together a photo array, showed it to Elias.
He recognize any of them? Yeah, two.
Unless I'm one of them, I don't know why you're still standing here.
Because he's positive neither of them is Machete.
So who do we have left? The three who didn't have records, so no photos.
Kyung Kwon, Nicky Crow, and Bobby Cruise.
We've met them all, all on the selfsame corner.
So one of them's Machete.
Kwon owns a market, and was pretty helpful in getting us some IDs.
Yeah, maybe too helpful.
Crow profits off the piety of the local Santeros.
Cruise is a dope dealer.
Elias needs some points with the DA's office.
Call his attorney, s ee if he'll let him do some walk bys.
Are you up for this, champ? Is he gonna see me? Keep your mask down.
Don't say anything, okay? If you recognize any of these men as Machete, just squeeze my hand, okay? Okay.
All right.
Come on.
I'll be with you in a second.
Take him outside.
Nicky Crow, you're under arrest What're you doing? for the murder of Shorty Esposito.
Hold it.
You have the right to remain silent.
Look in the refrigerator.
Yeah, we're not hungry.
I never met one who wasn't.
In the fridge? Behind the box.
Behind the box.
What do we got? I'm a business man.
Take it.
Call it cost of doing business.
Call it Class B felony.
It's okay to talk now.
Machete can't hurt you.
He's in jail.
I hear you're a very good artist.
Do you draw all the time? Yeah.
Can you draw me a picture of how you felt that day in the schoolyard? You were really scared.
Why? I saw them behind the fence.
Who? Machete and them.
What were they doing there? They came to hurt me, too.
Elias who were you shooting at? Machete.
I didn't mean to shoot Carly.
What's going to happen to me? What do you think should happen to you? What's that? Hell.
You think you're going to burn in Hell for what you did? I know why you're here.
Well, forget it.
I already gave Machete to McCoy.
You should have seen his face.
It was the same look my dog I'm not here to pick up a case, I'm here to drop one.
Oh, no, we can't give that kid a free ride.
We only got Machete because of Elias' drawing.
That doesn't bring Carly Jackson back.
Her death is a tragedy, yes, but it was self-defense.
The vice principal at the school corroborates his story.
Machete and his gang were there.
Did she see them attack him? Draw a weapon? This is what he thinks is going to happen to him.
Well, I think that makes your case and proves that he knows the difference between right and wrong.
No, we are the ones who don't know the difference I'll be right there.
Fine, amend the charges to manslaughter.
I don't want to prosecute a child at all for a series of society's mistakes.
The Barrera's HMO wouldn't cover their baby's condition forcing them to work two jobs.
They had to find affordable daycare for Elias which we both know is nonexistent.
So they put him in Mrs.
Strada's illegal daycare.
An 82-year-old woman looking after 15 children whose great-grandson was using Elias as a drug runner and giving him access to a loaded semi-automatic handgun.
And don't get me started on the accessibility of handguns to minors.
This boy should not be put away.
Nobody in Sing Sing had a great childhood, Ms.
You start killing at seven, it's not a bad predictor.
You are unbelievable.
No, I am second-in-command and I have Lewin's full support in this.
Now, listen, people know what happened.
They want justice.
I need someone held responsible.
The death of Carly Jackson is the ultimate tragedy.
There are no easy solutions, but we in the DA's office have a moral imperative to do the right thing and I assure you that justice will be served.
I am placing full authority in the worthy hands of a person who has been intimately involved with every aspect of the case from the beginning.
Assistant District Attorney Alex Cabot.
Will you be prosecuting A Latino boy killed an African-American girl.
Are you at all concerned that if you don't prosecute it may ignite tensions in the neighborhood? We know this was in no way racially motivated.
I'm sure no responsible member of the press would even think to put that kind of slant on it.
He hung her out to dry.
No matter what she does to Elias, it's lose, lose.
Half the city's going to hate her.
The other half won't be turning back flips.
I talked to the Barreras, Elias was formally expelled from school.
The State sent a tutor.
Don't let that get out.
The state of our educational system people will be killing to get one.
Is there anything we can do for Cabot? We've exhausted the pool of sacrificial heads for the platter.
It's out of our hands.
She needs to look at alternate solutions.
Liz, my career's on the line here.
And a little boy's future.
Believe me, I haven't forgotten about him.
I can't believe my boss did this to me.
That's what they do at the boy's club.
Why do you think I left? What would you do? I really shouldn't discuss the particulars with you while I'm on retainer by the defense.
I wouldn't make him another throw-away kid and just warehouse him.
I'd put him in supervised counseling.
That's not going to sate the public's bloodlust.
Someone has to be punished.
You know, I had a political future at one point.
Alex, the historical figures I respect the most aren't the ones who started wars, but those who brought about peace.
You have a real opportunity here.
The respondent clearly understands the difference between right and wrong.
At the time he pulled the trigger, he knew what he was doing.
He intended to cause physical injury or death to the boys at the fence.
Yes, he absolutely knows what's going on here.
He understands the role of the court he understands the role of the Judge he knows his attorney is here to help him.
He has the capacity to assist in his own defense.
Olivet, have you reviewed the State examiners' reports? I have.
Well, do you concur with their findings? They're absolutely right.
He does understand the procedures of the court and he knows his conduct was wrong.
But in my assessment, the minor he knows it was wrong, but at the time he pulled that trigger, he did not.
I have no more questions.
Olivet, you're familiar with the People's exhibit "H"? Very familiar.
I had him draw it.
And what exactly did you ask him to draw? A portrait of himself at the time of the crime.
There was no mention of fire in the police report.
He added that to the picture when I asked what he thought should happen to him.
And what do the flames represent? Hell.
That's taking the consequences of his actions to the ultimate extreme, isn't it? Obviously, he has the capacity to understand.
All children have some grasp of right and wrong.
I've seen children younger than seven who believe they're going to hell because they told a fib.
How do you explain his lapse in judgment at the time he pulled the trigger? He was in mortal fear.
Not only that, he was imitating behavior.
He had seen these men wave a gun to scare people, and he did the same.
He just wanted them to go away.
He was imitating behavior without understanding it the danger, risks, or morality.
And on what exactly do you base your findings on his capacity? Solely on his age and development.
He's 7 years old.
Thank you.
You may step down.
Your Honor the People defer to Dr.
Olivet's findings that the minor lacked the capacity to understand the consequences of his actions and therefore should not be held responsible.
The People are withdrawing charges? It's clear the respondent lacked the mens rea to commit a crime.
Therefore, we will not pursue the case.
I know some of you are not happy with today's decision.
But there's something I'd like you to hear.
We heard you loud and clear.
The killers of black children get off scot-free! This cycle of violence has got to stop somewhere.
Let it be here.
I'm Carly Jackson's mother.
I know you're all here out of concern.
And I thank you.
But I have a favor to ask.
Go home.
Take care of your children.
I'm just glad the city isn't burning.
You more than survived, you're a hero.
Actually, my boss is so happy, he said I could take Sunday off.
We were on our way to McMullen's.
How about we buy you a congratulatory drink? Sure.
Hey, Cap, you coming? Police, coming through.
Neighbors jumped him.
Would have killed him if we hadn't been a block away.
Who is he? A relative? Outraged citizen.
How old is he? Twelve.
Name's Thomas James.
Goes by TJ.
Anyone see it happen? Best we can put together, he tried to join a group of kids playing ball.
They shunned him.
He walks off, alone.
That's when TJ shows up.
Get off me, man.
Hey, leave me alone.
Can't kill a sister and just walk.
Hey, come on, man.
Leave me alone, man.
I ain't do nothing man.
Cycle never ends, does it? Welcome to the Gaza Strip.

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