Law & Order Special Victims Unit s18e02 Episode Script

Making a Rapist

1 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.
My dad used to have an expression.
He said, "The greatest sin any person can commit is the abuse of power.
" And the greatest abuse of power was rape.
It takes a woman a long time to heal.
And when the victim isn't believed, when she goes through the invasive process of having a rape kit put together, and then it's stuck on a shelf somewhere and then the rape kit is never, ever tested we fail.
We fail her.
We fail so many women.
I'm proud to say today we did not fail.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of law enforcement, the whole legal system, the victim's advocacy groups, and particularly my friend here, Lieutenant Olivia Benson of SVU, congratulations, Lieutenant.
[applause] Thank you.
Thank you.
Vice President, we are so honored to stand here today with you to announce that in beginning to clear the national rape kit backlog, we have taken rapists off the streets.
We have prevented future crimes.
We have given victims closure.
And we have also righted a terrible wrong.
16 years ago, Sean Roberts was convicted of a rape here in New York City that he did not commit.
By processing an untested rape kit in Detroit, we were able to identify the real rapist and set Sean free.
[applause] [camera shutters clicking] I want to thank everyone who tested the kits.
I've only been out of prison for a month, but it already feels like a second chance at life.
I bear no ill will towards Melanie Harper.
She's as much a victim as I am in this.
This is a fresh start for me, Melanie, and her daughter, Ashley.
We're looking forward to the next chapter.
And my mother and I want to make amends have Sean in our lives.
I'm getting married next month.
I've invited Sean to the wedding.
Thank you.
Thank you for everything.
Seems like you've all gotten close.
I'm just glad that Sean's forgiven me.
It was a honest mistake, Melanie.
At the time, you were sure it was him.
I was wrong.
We were both wrong.
- You ready to go, Mom? - Yeah.
Last time I saw you, you were six years old.
Now you're getting married.
Thank you.
We're taking Sean out for his birthday tonight.
It's the first time I can legally drink.
Well, have fun, and stay safe.
- You okay with all this? - I'm good.
I'm just glad he's out of jail.
[exhales] Me too.
[sighs softly] - Thank you.
- Okay, yeah, um [dark music] Detective Tutuola.
Melanie Harper asked for me? Inside.
She's a mess.
What are we looking at? Mother was sleeping, smelled smoke, called it in.
Girl was raped, strangled, stabbed, doused in bleach, burned.
Okay, Momma's here.
Momma's here, okay? Okay, it's gonna be okay.
We're going to the hospital.
It's gonna be Melanie, what happened? Oh, my God.
Oh, my God.
I came down and I I found her like this.
Did you see anything or hear anybody? Here, I'm right here.
I heard a man.
Did you recognize his voice? [panting] I think it was Sean.
Sean Roberts? The guy we just got out of prison? Yeah.
[siren wailing] [dramatic music] Ashley Harper was raped and stabbed, and you think that Sean Roberts is involved in this how? Well, Melanie said she heard Sean's voice in the house.
Well, we know that they went out together last night.
Did you talk to him yet? Well, considering the history, we figured we should talk to you first.
Okay, all right.
So what do we have? Um, there's no sign of forced entry, so Ashley probably did know her attacker, and there's a kitchen knife that's missing.
CSU's running the scene.
Whoever did this, they used bleach on her, they burned her got rid of all DNA.
Who else was in her life? She just got engaged, right? Right, we're tracking down her fiancée, and we're going through her texts, we're going through her social media.
Okay, so run down every single angle.
Uh, security cams in the house in the neighborhood.
Traffic cams.
Canvass the neighbors.
We need to be sure about every single detail on this.
[phone buzzing] [sighs] Okay, Carisi's here.
Loop him in.
Have him talk to the fiancée.
Rollins Rollins, you talk to Sean.
Pulling me off the case? No, actually, I need to keep you on you know, optics.
What's that mean? If you step away from the case, it'll look like you have a something personal with Sean, right? Give credibility to his lawsuit.
So just let Rollins take the lead.
Got it.
[sighs] Ms.
Harper, I'm so sorry.
What did the doctors say? She's still in surgery.
She lost a lot of blood.
The the burns are It's okay.
My detectives said that you heard Sean Roberts' voice in your house last night? Yes, um, he and Ashley were talking.
Do you remember what time you heard them talking? Um, must've been about midnight.
And I took a shower, and then I - Right.
- I went to sleep.
So have you talked to Sean? I mean, maybe he saw We're gonna talk to him.
Listen to me.
Harper, can you think of anyone who would want to hurt your daughter? No.
No one.
What about the fiancée? Was he at the dinner? Zach? No.
No, he he didn't like Sean.
He and Ashley were arguing about that, so oh, I got to call him.
[gasps] Oh What? Ashley's engagement ring it wasn't on her finger.
[somber music] [crying] [rapping on door] Sean Roberts! Maybe we waited too long, and he got spooked, ran.
This guy's got 30 million reasons not to leave town.
[locks unlatching] Hey, Sean.
Can we talk to you for a minute? Why? Mind if we come inside? Yeah, I do.
What's this about? Ashley Harper was raped and murdered last night.
What? Oh, my God.
W-what happened? Ashley's dead? Melanie must be freaking out.
I-I have to go.
Before before you do, can we just ask you a few questions? You want to talk to me? You don't think that I do I need a lawyer? Why would you need a lawyer? Anytime you talk to the cops, you need a lawyer.
That's what you taught me.
Were you at Ashley's house last night? No, we we had dinner together, and then she left early.
You see her after dinner? - No.
- What time did you leave? 11:00, 11:30.
Where'd you go? Strip club.
Is there where you hurt your hand? - Yeah.
- Right.
Did you go alone? No, with a buddy.
- Ah.
- A buddy.
What kind of buddy? A guy from the inside, okay? Jeff Nichols.
Yeah, he was at my birthday dinner.
- He can vouch for me.
- Great.
Where can we find this Jeff? Uh, Hell's Gate Diner.
Now, if you're not gonna arrest me, then you need to leave, because I need to call Melanie.
[door closes] Sure ain't helping himself.
Put a unmarked car on this block in case he decides to run.
You think he really had something to do with this? I hope not.
Jeff Nichols? Uhhuh.
Were you with Sean Roberts and Ashley Harper last night? Yeah.
Yeah, after dinner, we went to the ballet on 10th Avenue.
Ask the stripper some Russian lesbian.
We were with her most of the night.
Sean told you to say that? - No.
- Listen.
Ashley Harper was murdered last night, so you're gonna need to come clean.
I am.
I swear.
Listen, dude.
You're on parole.
Don't lie to me.
I'll throw your ass back in prison.
Sean just called me begged me to vouch for him.
Said you guys were jamming him up just like last time.
Did he even come to the club? Yeah.
[sighs] But he came late about 2:00.
Uh, did you notice a cut on his hand? I don't remember.
Look, all I know is, Sean would never hurt that girl.
He adored her.
All night, he was a shoulder for her to cry on.
Why was she crying? Her fiancée.
She, she I don't know.
He was, like, threatening to break off the engagement.
I can't believe Ashley's really What, uh what happened? We're not sure.
We were hoping you could help us out with that.
What are you talking about? When was the last time you saw Ashley? Yesterday, before she went to dinner with that convict.
Sean Roberts.
Let me ask, were you and Ashley fighting about him? - What? No.
- Ah, wrong answer.
'Cause you sent half a dozen texts.
7:10, "It's over.
" 7:30, "I want my ring back.
" 8:00, "I'm gonna get that ring.
" - Should I go on? - No.
Come on, you must have known we were going to look through Ashley's phone.
You see, when you lie to us, it makes us curious.
I was pissed.
We made plans last night, and she blew me off for that guy Sean.
I get it.
He spent 16 years in prison, but and he was innocent, but that doesn't make him a saint.
Well, that's fair enough, but where were you last night after midnight? I was at a bar Dakota Bar.
The Dakota Bar.
That's two blocks from Ashley's house.
And my apartment.
Ask the bartender.
I was there from midnight until closing.
You were there the entire time? Four solid hours at the bar? - No.
- No? Some girl spilled red wine on my shirt.
I went home to change.
Then I went back to the bar.
Oh, that's very convenient for you.
I didn't kill Ashley.
Are you are you guys crazy? I have nothing to do with this.
As of now, who is our main suspect, Sean or Zach? - As of now? - Both.
Or an unknown.
I've been searching through Ashley's social media.
She's got a lot of male followers.
Okay, okay, so let's, uh What do we have on Sean? So, the timeline is tight.
Ashley was attacked sometime between midnight, when Melanie heard her voice And Sean's voice.
And 1:20, when Melanie called 911.
Sean claims he wasn't in the house.
But Sean doesn't have an alibi.
From 11:30, when we confirmed he left the restaurant, to 2:05 when he arrived at the strip club.
And Zach doesn't have an alibi either.
No, actually, he does.
The, uh, bartender at the Dakota Bar confirmed somebody spilled red wine on him.
He went home to change.
He was back in 15 minutes.
So back to Sean.
Well, we got Sean's hair at the scene, but he's been there a lot in the past few weeks.
There's no blood.
Even though he cut his hand? Bleach and fire.
That's the point.
Well, there's also the missing kitchen serrated knife, which the M.
thinks could be the murder weapon.
Look, I know no one wants to think Sean Roberts is good for this Maybe he's not.
Just, I mean look, two weeks ago, Ashley got a private DM from a guy named Charlie Dobkins.
She told him to stop looking in her window and being "creepy.
" Looking in her window? A neighbor, an ex? Find out.
Hey, we're looking for Charlie Dobkins.
Yeah, he around? Check the roof.
Roof, huh? Thank you.
Hey, Rollins, I think I got something.
This looks right into the Harpers' apartment right into Ashley's bedroom.
Uh, I got weed, pills, hand lotion, Coney Island whitefish - Hey.
- Underwear, women's jewelry.
You Charlie? Hey! Damn.
[suspenseful music] - Hey! - Hold up there, chief.
I didn't do nothing! I didn't! No? No? Then what's this? So, Melanie, it looks like, uh, we found your missing kitchen knife.
Where? On the roof across the street, with the neighbor's kid.
And he had pictures of Ashley on his phone.
How well did you and your daughter know him? Not well.
I always thought he was a little odd.
Well, it looks like he was stalking her.
We found a stash on his roof women's jewelry, underwear.
So it would be helpful if you could identify anything that that may have belonged to Ashley.
Did you find her engagement ring? Uh, no, we're looking for it now, though.
You think he did it? He's the one that killed Ashley? I promise, if he is, we'll find out.
Come on.
Let's go.
I want to call my mom.
Okay, sure, Charlie.
But first you need to talk to us about that love nest on your roof.
And then I can call her? One thing at a time, Charlie.
Did you take this picture of Ashley through her bedroom window? She was always standing in front of it, like she wanted me to see.
- Shyvon said it was wrong.
- Who's Shyvon? My girl, the one I use the condoms with.
So you got two girls, Ashley and Shyvon? You're a ladies' man? Shyvon's my girlfriend.
I just looked at Ashley.
And you took those photos, right? Yeah.
So what about last night? She was there posing, looking at you? Thought, "Maybe she wants to have sex with me?" Right? Do you think so? Yeah, Charlie, I do.
I mean, why else would she be posing in front of a window like that? I know.
It made me crazy.
And then that's what happened, right? She kept teasing you.
Maybe she wanted you to come over.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
She definitely liked to tease me.
[chuckles] I'm looking for Charlie Dobkins.
He got picked up by detectives.
Can I help you? I'm Charlie's mother.
This is his girlfriend, Shyvon.
You have to let him go, now.
Can't do that.
He's being questioned.
Charlie will just say whatever you want, but he didn't hurt that girl.
You got proof? Just tell him, Shyvon.
He was with me all night.
Lieutenant, he was just about to confess.
Except he didn't do it.
Well, the kid admits to watching Ashley, taking pictures And getting aroused by her last night.
He was having sex with his girlfriend at the time of the murder, and there's video lots of it.
You're crazy, Charlie.
They're gonna see us up here.
Yes, they are.
Girlfriend said they spent the whole night together.
Time code's good alibi to 1:15.
There he is having sex, goofing off.
Charlie's on camera the whole time.
Okay, seen enough.
Okay, so how'd he get the knife? Girlfriend says he picked it up off the curb after he saw the killer toss it.
So he's not a suspect.
He's a witness.
So take him back to that rooftop, find out exactly where he was, what he saw, and when he saw it.
You were standing here, right? Now tell me tell me exactly who you saw.
I saw a white man.
- About his age.
- Right.
And he dropped something in the trash bags, and I wanted to know what it was, so I went down and got it.
Right, the knife.
Right? That's great, Charlie.
We got that, all right? So let's let's think about something else, maybe.
Like, what about the time? You said you saw the man after Shyvon got here.
Good, now was it before or after you and Shyvon had sex? Before, maybe.
- Uh - I need you to be sure.
You sure? After.
It was after.
- I'm not good with times - Okay.
Befores and afters like that.
Okay, you know what, Charlie? I like you, and I know you want to cooperate, right? Listen, so I need you to focus.
I'm gonna I'm gonna show you these pictures one at a time.
All right, you just you let me know who you saw.
- I can do that.
- All right.
Because you want to help Ashley, right? You liked her.
We know you liked her.
Yes, I did.
- Okay.
- She was pretty like you.
[chuckles] What about this guy? Uh, if I say yes, would would that be helping Ashley? And you? We just want the truth, Charlie.
Okay? That's all we want.
Don't say yes if you're not sure.
It's okay.
Yes, I'm sure.
[dark music] Sean Roberts? [banging door] NYPD.
Open up.
This is harassment.
We need to search the premises.
- You have a warrant? - Yes, we do.
My lawyer will be here any minute, just so you know.
Yeah, that's your right.
Got something.
Looks like Ashley's diamond ring.
Found it in the sink drain.
How did it get there, Sean? I don't know.
Sean Roberts, you're under arrest for the rape and murder of Ashley Harper.
You have the right to remain silent.
You have the right to I know my rights! I've been through this drill before! I was innocent then! I'm innocent now! All right.
Buchanan sure swooped in here fast.
Guy's got a nose for the big cases.
What did you find? Traces of blood on one of his shoes that could be Ashley's, and then, of course, there's the ring.
And you're the one who found it.
Search warrant, by the book.
That's right.
I was just looking in his sink.
Checked the drain there it was.
And we spoke to Zach, Ashley's fiancée, who confirmed that it was indeed her ring.
We have a strong case.
My client's civil lawyer extends his thanks.
The price tag for his lawsuit just went up for harassment.
We've got Ashley's engagement ring.
We've got her blood in his apartment and on his shoes.
But I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.
There is: Detective Tutuola.
He's the defendant in Sean's civil suit.
He's the one who found the ring, correct? A frame-up, really? That's your defense? I-I hope you're getting a discount, because your attorney isn't even trying.
Sean is not a murderer or a rapist.
He's never even committed a crime.
You think I would do that to Ashley? She was nice to me.
She treated me like I was decent like a normal human being.
You raped and killed her.
It's a hell of a way to thank her.
I wouldn't do that to her! I know what it's like to be raped! I went in when I was 18, 140 pounds.
What do you think happened to me? It's all right, Sean.
Take it easy.
We're done talking here.
Okay, then we'll be taking Sean to be processed and arraigned.
Is the jury gonna buy this frame story? He was innocent last time.
- The jury's gonna feel sorry for him.
- This case is different.
Let's hope we get the same verdict.
I'm ADA Rafael Barba.
I'll be handling your daughter's case.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
[somber music] I was hoping it was someone else.
We understand, but the evidence is what it is.
I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now.
You can't do this to me again! Hey, Detective, do you think I made you look bad? - Is that it? - Sean, enough! Is it the lawsuit? Hey, I won't take the money! Melanie Melanie, you know I wouldn't hurt Ashley! Don't let 'em do this! [crying] It's okay.
Ashley was crying about her fiancée.
So Sean joked that she should leave Zach for him, that that he was gonna be a millionaire.
And how did she respond? She was playing along.
She was she was fine [sighs] Until Sean got drunk.
And then, uh, he started acting a little stupid.
So Ashley and Melanie left.
Okay, so how did Sean react? He felt bad.
Said he wanted to go to her house to apologize.
Okay, so Sean liked Ashley? Yeah, he really liked her.
He he thought she was hot.
[chuckles] He thought she liked him too.
So is that the real reason that Sean went to Ashley's house? 'Cause he really liked her? 'Cause he thought he was maybe gonna have sex with her? Objection.
- Sustained.
- Nothing further.
So, Sean never told you that, uh, he thought Ashley liked him or that he was interested in having sex with her, did he? Not exactly.
It just seemed that way.
So you're a mind-reader.
Any other special powers we should let the jury in on? - Objection.
- Nothing further.
Singh, in your expert opinion, how difficult is it to transition from being a wrongfully imprisoned inmate to a free citizen? It's exceptionally hard.
Almost impossible.
Why is that? Exonerees' attempts to reconcile their incarceration with their innocence can lead to intense suffering.
The trauma they experience is similar to the trauma suffered by veterans of war, torture survivors I'm sorry to interrupt you.
What about an exoneree who has been repeatedly raped in prison? Well, these individuals have even a harder time adjusting to life on the outside.
The rage and shame caused by the rape is unlikely to remain locked in prison.
Would someone like this have a difficult time socializing with the opposite sex? Dating and sexual relationships for someone with this profile are particularly challenging.
They tend to misread social cues and to act out in violent ways when they feel rejected or humiliated.
So in your expert opinion, a man who'd been wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years, was a victim of rape What is the likelihood that someone like this would be able to live a normal, law-abiding life upon release? Unfortunately, it's almost impossible.
Thank you.
Nothing further.
Have you ever met Sean Roberts? No.
So your expert opinions don't apply to him specifically, do they? They're based on other exonerees.
That's right.
So what you're saying is, your testimony is totally irrelevant to Sean and a complete waste of time? - Objection.
- Sustained.
Nothing further.
[tense music] Counselor, where would you like your witness? How are you, Charlie? - Nervous.
- All right.
Ah, you'll be fine.
Go have a seat over there.
I'll be right with you.
Right there.
How's he really doing? He's okay.
A little jittery.
The thing is, he's he's not the brightest bulb, but if you if you take it easy with him, he'll calm down.
You haven't been in the gallery.
- Just in case you change - Your mind and decide to call me.
You get why I can't, right? Well, I get why you think you can't.
The DA put Sean away for 16 years, not me.
I did my job.
I did it right then.
I did it right this time, too.
I know.
I just want you to know, I have nothing to hide.
I believe you.
Doesn't seem that way.
My girlfriend and I had just had sex on the roof, and that's when I saw Sean Roberts leave the house and toss something in the trash.
What time was this? 1:15.
Then what happened? I went to see what he tossed.
It was a knife.
I picked it up.
You saw Sean Roberts leave the Harper residence at 1:15 and throw a knife in the trash? Yes.
The knife has been previously entered as People's Exhibit A.
The same knife has been determined to have Ashley's blood on it.
Hello, Charlie.
So, you had a fun time on the roof with your girlfriend.
Lucky you.
Can I ask you something? Had you been smoking pot or drinking alcohol? [laughs] We smoked a little weed.
So, high on marijuana, through the black of night at 1:15 in the morning, you're absolutely positive you saw Sean Roberts down on the street? I think so.
It looked like him.
Plus, Detective Rollins, uh uh, yeah, I'm positive.
Plus Detective Rollins? Did she tell you to say something? No, not really.
I said I thought I saw Sean's face.
And she encouraged you to say it was Sean? Maybe she nodded or smiled.
She patted me on the shoulder and told me it was okay.
I thought she wanted me to say it was him.
Did she help you figure out what time you saw him, too? I guess.
I-I I wasn't sure if I saw Sean leave before or after Shyvon and I had sex.
But she She what? Sh Sh I know she's attractive.
But don't look to her for help.
Look at me, Charlie.
Why did you say what you did? I thought she would like it if I said after.
And she was really nice.
So Detective Rollins encouraged you flirted with you to say you had seen Sean Roberts leave Ashley's home at 1:15? Objection: Mr.
Buchanan is putting words in this witness's mouth.
Answer the question.
I just wanted her to like me.
And she needed to solve her case.
So Detective Rollins encouraged you to see Sean Roberts, then you made her happy by saying you had seen him at 1:15 exactly? That's a good way of saying it.
[scoffs] Nothing further.
We got a guy on trial who was wrongfully convicted on bad eyewitness testimony, and you don't tell me that the kid waffled on the ID or the time.
He waffled.
He did not lie.
There is a big difference.
Now you're parsing degrees of deceit.
Listen, Buchanan is gonna turn this into you manipulating the kid to defend Fin.
Charlie's telling the truth.
He saw Sean leave the house, toss the knife after he and his girlfriend had sex, which was around 1:15 or so.
That's the truth.
I can't help it if the kid has a crush on me, or Hold on, so you were aware that he had an affection for you that he had a desire to make you happy? Lieutenant, listen.
I was there, all right? Rollins didn't lead him.
Don't make excuses for her.
That's not what the jury thinks.
Oh, come on.
You know what, Counselor? It's not Rollins's fault that Buchanan spun that kid upside-down and you didn't know how to stop him.
Okay, thank you.
We're done.
[sighs] Okay.
So where do we go from here? They're not gonna convict on Charlie's testimony.
Not anymore.
We need to double down on the physical evidence.
How do we do that? I entered the defendant's apartment with several officers and we began a search.
I looked in the sink.
I stuck a pencil in the drain and pulled out the diamond ring.
How many of the police officers were present at that time? At any given time, six to ten.
Detective Tutuola, um how do you know Sean Roberts? I arrested him for rape 16 years ago.
He was found innocent of that crime and released from prison a month ago.
Does that bother you? Sure it does.
But we went with the evidence we had.
Do you have, um, any kind of I don't know grudge, vendetta against the defendant? I do now he killed Ash.
- Objection! - Sustained.
Please refrain from drawing conclusions, Detective.
Yeah, I'm sorry.
I mean, honestly, I have no grudges against the man.
If anything, I was rooting for him when he got out.
Thank you.
Nothing further.
You must be embarrassed about putting an innocent man in prison for 16 years.
I didn't put him there.
I just arrested him.
And no, I'm not embarrassed.
I just did my job.
You say you're not embarrassed, even though convicting an innocent man obviously reflects poorly on you as a police officer.
Your job is to arrest guilty people, not innocent ones.
That's correct.
But it doesn't always go that way.
That's just the way it is.
It's just the way it is.
So given what's transpired, you'd obviously feel better about yourself, your reputation, the department's reputation, if Sean was found guilty of this crime, right? It would be vindication.
You've buried an innocent man, but that's no big deal, because he's a criminal.
And like I said before, I did my job right then and now.
By doing your job right, do you mean framing Sean Roberts again? Objection! Withdrawn.
[tense music] How'd it go? [sighs] As well as it could have.
Jury looks at a guy who was put away innocent, they hesitate.
They should.
Not this time, Melanie.
He's guilty.
There's no question about this.
No, but that's what you said last time.
None of us saw what happened.
I mean, if you really think about it, I mean, we're all just we're just guessing.
We're just filling in the blanks and and connecting the dots.
I found Ashley's ring in his drain.
How else could it have gotten there? According to Sean's lawyer I did not plant that ring, okay? Why would I? Think about it.
I'm sorry, I'm just I was just I was so sure last time, and then I was wrong, and I just I just can't trust myself.
Did you hear Sean and Ashley speaking that night? Yes or no? I'm not sure now.
That's not what you told me that night at the crime scene.
No one's asking you to say if he's guilty.
That's the jury's job, not yours.
He already served 16 years.
What if I'm wrong again? What do you mean, she won't testify? She told me she's not sure she heard Sean's voice not anymore.
What the hell did you say to her? You putting this on me? You're the last person she talked to.
Hold on.
Fin was trying to help.
It's not his fault that she got cold feet.
I feel for her.
I really do.
But she needs to testify.
After the Charlie debacle, she's the only one who can put Sean at the scene.
She won't cooperate.
Then I'll have to call her as a hostile witness and compel her testimony.
- [sighs] - Look, guys.
This isn't about Melanie.
It's about her daughter.
We need to get justice for her with or without cooperation.
I told you, I don't want to do this.
Permission to treat the witness as hostile, Your Honor? Permission granted.
You must answer the questions, Ms.
The night of your daughter's rape and murder, you heard the defendant's voice in your house.
He was talking to Ashley around midnight.
He was talking to Ashley around midnight I can show you the police report to help refresh your memory.
Okay, okay, yes.
I I heard Sean's voice.
I well, I thought I did, anyway.
I'm I'm not sure now.
You were sure then sure enough to tell the police.
I don't think that Sean would kill Ashley.
He cared about her.
He had his whole future ahead of him.
And yet you said you heard his voice in your house the night of the murder.
Well, yes, I said that, but But you didn't hear him leave, and you didn't hear anyone else come in.
No, but that's what I thought last time, and I was wrong.
What I did to Sean was unforgivable.
I told the jury he did it.
I pointed at him, and I said, "That's the man who raped me.
" And I was wrong.
That's why you're hesitant to identify him now because if you were wrong then, you might be wrong again now.
If Sean was there, then that would mean That means he killed her.
Is that what you were about to say? - Objection! - Let me rephrase.
Harper, you blame yourself for your daughter's death, don't you? Excuse me? You caused Ashley's death.
[tense music] You sent him to prison, where he was victimized and abused for 16 years.
Thanks to you, he learned how to become a killer and a rapist.
Objection is there a question anywhere here? Get to the point, Mr.
The point is, if you had not made that false identification 16 years ago, he never would've gone to prison, which means he never would've killed Ashley.
That's not true.
That's not true, or you don't want it to be true? Because, in your mind, if he killed Ashley, you killed her.
And that's too painful to accept.
That's why you don't want to testify.
[crying] I-I sent him there.
Every time he was beaten or raped, it was my fault.
I turned him into a rapist a monster.
And it was my fault.
I'm the I'm the guilty one here.
To feel this guilty, you obviously believe he killed your daughter.
Which means you are certain you heard Sean's voice in your house the night of the murder, around midnight.
Correct? Yes.
Unpleasant and tragic, but well done.
Let's hope the jury thinks so, too.
Looks like Buchanan got the message.
Barba? Mmhmm? I am open to discussing a plea.
It's too late.
We'll plead guilty to manslaughter.
He serves five years for a brutal rape and murder? Don't waste my time.
Wasted time? Ask Sean about that.
16 years of it.
If he serves five, that's 21 years.
You want to roll the dice with the jury, go ahead.
Murder two.
He serves a minimum of 15 years.
- Done.
- And he allocutes.
Everybody needs to know that we got it right this time.
[somber music] Sean Roberts,your lawyer tells me you'd like to plead guilty.
Is that correct? Yes, Your Honor.
Do you make this plea knowingly and voluntarily? I do.
Has anyone induced you or coerced you in any way into pleading guilty? No, Your Honor.
I understand you'd like to make a statement.
Melanie I'm so, so sorry.
I know how much you loved Ashley.
But I cared about her, too.
She gave me hope I could start over.
She wasn't afraid to be alone with me.
She didn't look at me like I was dirt, like everyone else.
Then that night, I was drunk.
I wasn't used to that.
I went over there to talk to her, to say I was sorry for how I acted at dinner.
And I told her how much I liked her And she just sort of laughed.
And that was it.
[crying softly] You can't let people laugh at you.
16 years, that's what I learned.
Things happened to me in prison things I swore I'd never do to anyone else I ended up doing to Ashley.
I didn't want to do it.
It just happened.
I'm sorry.
I know.
At least I know he did it this time.
It's not your fault.
Then whose is it? How are you? I'm good.
Bad guy went down.
That's all that matters.
Well, if you ever feel like talking Talking's overrated.
Justice sure isn't pretty some days.
Damn ugly this time.