The Staircase (2004) s01e08 Episode Script

The Verdict

[theme music plays] [no audible dialogue] - [Maher] It's always a surprise, huh? - [Palmbach] Holy cow! Yeah, "surprise" is an understatement.
Oh, my God! [Maher] It was when I got the phone call.
[Palmbach] Oh, yeah, jeepers creepers.
It was like one of those, "What, what, what?" - Yeah, it was 2:30 or 2:00 in the morning.
- [Palmbach] Oh, my God.
"Gee, Tom, you need to come.
" "God damn, I'm sleeping.
Why?" "Well, we found the blow poke.
" "Okay, I'm coming.
" [Palmbach] You push that with See, there's a bit of fresh metal, right? - That's because of the knife.
- [Rudolf] That's because of the knife.
[Palmbach] Right.
So, the rest of that, then, looks fairly oxidized.
To me Even, like, see inside the threads there? - Right.
- Thing's dirty.
- It's got grime on it.
- Right.
I mean, if you take a Q-tip, particularly down in this end here, it'll come off dirty, very dirty.
- So, it hasn't been cleaned.
- Right.
There's plenty of dust and debris on it.
And there's no There's nothing here that's jumping out and saying it looks like blood and there's no atypical positive reaction of blood.
So, you know, there's a safe feeling that there's nothing here.
[Rudolf] Okay.
We'll use it, and if we get fucked, we'll just sue you.
- Yeah, right.
Right.
- [Rudolf laughing] All right, bud, come help me put this back together, brother.
- [phone rings] - [Rudolf] Hey, Mike.
Yeah, I'm not worried about it.
Nah, don't worry about it.
I understand.
All right.
No blood on the blow poke.
Whatever.
I mean, whatever he used, there's no blood.
Yeah.
Okay? All right.
Bye.
It's one of those moments that could be a turning-point moment, you know, where the jurors sort of look at Hardin and say, "Now what are you gonna do? You know, you've been talking about this missing blow poke since May 5th.
And here it is.
And it's not bent, and it's not covered with blood, and it wasn't gotten rid of, and it's not mysteriously missing.
So, what What are you gonna say now?" It's one of those moments that trial lawyers enjoy.
Ah, geez.
Trial lawyers and filmmakers.
Don't be overconfident.
Do not be overconfident.
[Rudolf] Hi, Julia.
How are you? Good.
How are you? I'm good, thank you.
Oh, thanks.
[Rudolf] I'm telling you.
[Julia] Cram in this elevator with you.
That's fine.
You're welcome to.
Excuse me.
Any further evidence from the defendant? [Rudolf] Yes, sir.
At this time, the defense would call Detective Art Holland to the stand.
[clerk] Solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give the court and jury in the case now being heard to be the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? - Yes, I do.
- [clerk] Please be seated.
[man coughs] Detective Holland, good morning, first of all.
- Good morning.
- Um [Rudolf] After you showed us this item in May that the district attorney was contending was similar to the to the murder weapon, did you ever ask either myself or Mr.
Maher, or Mr.
Guerette, whether, after having looked at it and seen it finally in May, whether we ever had located the blow poke? No, I didn't.
Did you just assume that it was gone? Gone or put up somewhere.
[zipper unzips] [Rudolf] Let me show you what's been marked defense exhibit 280.
- [Rudolf] See that? - [Holland] Yes, sir.
[Rudolf] Now, this 280, that's a blow poke, isn't it? Is that what it appears to be? It appears to be a blow poke.
[Rudolf] And the metal tip at the end that's on this one isn't on that one, right? That's correct.
But other than that, if we look at the handle, for example it's pretty much the same thing, isn't it? [Rudolf] See this end here you blow into? [Holland] It appears to be.
You see a bunch of spider-web looking things on it? You see in the handle area there? See that? [Holland] It's hard to tell from the plastic.
All right.
Can you see the dead bugs in in the little - plastic thing there? - Appears to be.
[Rudolf] This doesn't appear to you to be mangled, does it? It doesn't appear to have any dents.
Does this appear to you, 280, to be the blow poke that Mr.
Hardin has been talking about being mysteriously missing since this trial began? - [Hardin] Objection, characterization.
- [judge] Sustained.
Does this appear to you to be the blow poke that Mr.
Hardin stated in his opening statement was mysteriously missing? Now, their problem is, if they send it out, they don't like the results, they're still stuck with them.
These prosecutors have talked about the missing blow poke and how it could have been the murder weapon.
Uh, could have been the murder weapon.
Today, the defense pulled out a blow poke and told jurors it wasn't missing at all.
They claim police just never saw it in the garage.
[cameraman] Yeah [coughing] We asked Jim Hardin if he was surprised by today's developments.
He said he wasn't, that he was expecting something like this to happen.
He was expecting something like He was expecting something like this to happen.
In general, I got a chance to look at the blow poke during lunch, and it's definitely not the same as the one that my Aunt Candace has brought in to court.
So, you know, there leaves a lot of speculation there as far as things go.
It has very very distinct differences between the two.
But, more importantly, the thing is that regardless if you produce an autop you produce a blow poke the day that you rest your case.
And, you know, I feel like it's just to really create a commotion and things.
And the fact is you can show that, you can claim whatever you want about it, it's not gonna change the autopsy report.
So it really doesn't put a hole in the prosecution's case the way that David Rudolf's attitude thought that it would today.
It doesn't change the fact that my mother's autopsy report says that she was beaten to death.
And if it was with the blow poke, if this was the blow poke, I don't know.
But it was with something, and that's how she ended up at the bottom of the stairs.
Nothing's gonna change that, and, you know, that's finalized.
- That was easy, wasn't it? - Okay, sure.
[laughs] Done and done.
Can I go home now? [Hardin] The defendant brought into court what they've described as a found blow poke.
With that, Candace Zamperini undertook to see whether she could locate the other blow pokes that she had given to friend and family members.
She's been able to locate two of those.
And they were sent to my office.
And I wanted to inform the court of that to make sure that you are aware of it.
So, we do not intend to offer that into evidence at this point.
So, I'm letting you know that they're available and that they can look at those and inspect them in my office.
[Rudolf] And I appreciate that.
I didn't get the fax yesterday 'cause I just didn't see it on the machine, but we'll take a look at it over the break today.
Thank you.
Are, otherwise, council ready to proceed? - [Rudolf] Yes, sir.
- All right, Mr.
Deputy? Now, this one came from Holland.
Come on.
- [Rudolf] Hmm! - [man] Okay.
[Rudolf] Not a bad way to end the case, huh? Make sure he says that - it's the same rounded edge.
- Yes.
Oh rounded edge.
Yeah, there's a little bevel there.
No screws.
Appears to be a little thread in there.
Don't, don't.
We got one is enough, Ron.
Leave it.
Don't break it.
God, they're both dirty.
These been in the basement, too? Yep.
Same color.
- Look down here.
- [Rudolf] I mean, that's The blow pokes match.
How big is that? Candace just can't keep her fucking mouth shut.
[Rudolf] Thank your stars.
I don't think I'd be here if she had kept her mouth shut.
[blow pokes clattering] [Rudolf] Defendant's 301 and 302 are the other two blow pokes that Miss Zamperini had sent to the district attorney's office that we just got over lunch, correct? [Holland] That's correct.
And have you had a chance, sir, to compare defendant's exhibits 301 and 302 with defendant's exhibit 280-A, the one that was found in Mr.
Peterson's home? I've only observed one of the two that was sent, not both of them.
All right, well, why don't you take a look at the two of them here, if you could? - [Rudolf] This is 280, the one that was - Yes, sir.
found in Mr.
Peterson's home, and this is 301, one of the ones that was sent.
Yes, sir.
Could you compare those two for the jury? Are they the same height? [Holland] The defendant's exhibit's a little taller.
The length's a little longer.
- Has a bevel there? - Yes, sir.
Threads inside? Yes, sir.
So, can we agree that the missing blow poke has been found? - [Black] Objection.
- [judge] Sustained.
We move 301 and 302 into evidence, Your Honor.
It's allowed.
[Black] Dead inchworm, got that photograph.
Oh, here's a little dust.
It looks like a spider leg here.
This was supposed to be something to make you think that blow poke had been there since December 2001, I guess.
Here's a cobweb.
That's significant.
Here's a little bit of goo or something.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we don't really know what this is.
You've been given no information about who found it, when it was found, why it was there.
So, I argue to you that defense exhibit 280-A is just a piece of nothing.
- [blow poke clatters] - Nothing.
We have never told you that we are absolutely certain that it was the blow poke that killed Mrs.
Peterson.
We do believe if it wasn't the blow poke that Candace had given them that it was something similar to that, and you've heard from expert testimony why we believe that.
But they talk about us doing something last-minute when they dared to pull that piece of evidence out in front of you two days before they rested.
Does that make common sense to you? You need to keep in mind we're not dealing with the average individual here.
We're dealing with a fictional writer.
Some people even say he's even a good fictional writer.
He is a person who knows how to create a fictional plot.
And then there's Brad.
Do you really believe that Kathleen knew that Mr.
Peterson was bisexual? Does that make common sense to you that it was okay with her to go to work while he stayed at home and communicated by email and telephone with people he was planning on having sex with? And this isn't just a computer relationship.
I asked Brad what they were gonna do.
He told you.
I don't mean to offend anybody, but he did say they were gonna have anal sex.
The only reason that meeting didn't take place was because of Brad.
It wasn't because of Mr.
Peterson.
He was fired up and ready to go.
And you honestly believe that Kathleen Peterson knew about that? Would have approved of that? And it wasn't just Brad.
You saw the rest of the things on his computer.
Once again, these things are so filthy, we can't even show them on TV.
Filth.
Pure-T filth.
This isn't people involved in a relationship.
This is just any which a-way.
This is called hard-core porn.
Do you think she approved of this type of activity while she's off at work or sleeping? I argue to you, that doesn't make sense.
And that's not the way that soul mates conduct themselves.
- [slams desk] - That is not.
[Hardin] Ladies and gentlemen, this photograph is the first photograph taken of Kathleen Peterson at the autopsy table.
It shows the very graphic, brutal nature of this killing.
Ladies and gentlemen, if a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then this photograph at least speaks a thousand words.
This photograph speaks a thousand words.
Look at all of these photographs that show that this woman was beaten.
I was thinking, "If a picture is worth a thousand words and if we only knew what Kathleen Peterson knew at the time of her death.
" And I started looking around the scene and in the stairwell and thinking, “What if those walls could talk? What would they say?" Ladies and gentlemen, these walls are talking.
Kathleen Peterson is talking to us through the blood on these walls.
She is screaming at us for truth and for justice.
It's all in these photographs.
Ladies and gentlemen, they've said Kathleen Peterson died of an accident.
We've said that she has died of murder.
And we ask that you return that verdict.
Thank you.
Let me tell you what my gut is.
My gut is that what we want to do is structure it around the whole reasonable doubt concept.
Okay.
Go through the stuff that we do have evidence for.
- [Maher] Mm-hmm.
- Uh That she fell, they've seen the stairs.
- They know how easy it is to fall there.
- Mm-hmm.
You know, that she that the blood on her feet, you know We could do the scenario of her being down on the ground for some period of time.
We can do all that and then to say, "But it's not our burden.
" - Right.
- And what this case really is about is whether they've proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
And then I think we want to hit the ten biggest reasonable doubts.
And then I think - And I want to discuss each - Mm-hmm.
and spend some time on each, but then I think I want to say, "Now, that's ten.
- I could do another 20.
- Mm-hmm.
- I could spend another four hours - Mm-hmm.
going through another 20.
" And just list them.
Ten is nice if they are not equally strong, but strong enough that none of them get to the point of being - I think we - We probably can, but I think it's important that they all be of substantial weight.
Otherwise, you're better with seven or eight.
No, I agree.
The blow poke's not missing.
I mean, the blow poke, it's sort of like what Clinton said, you know, "It's the economy, stupid.
" It's the blow poke, stupid.
I mean, it's here.
They They tied, they hitched their their star to this wagon from the very beginning.
I guess, you know, reasonable doubt number one is the blow poke is here.
- And it's not the murder weapon.
- Okay.
There's no cast-off.
[keyboard clicking] Okay.
There's no brain injuries.
[keyboard clicking] I think it's important for me to make the jury understand that this is not about whether we've proven Michael is innocent.
It's not even about whether Michael is innocent.
You know, in Scotland, they have a verdict that's either guilty or not proven.
And here we say "guilty" or "not guilty.
" Well, not guilty is not the same as innocent.
And not guilty is really the equivalent of not proven, not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
If I spend too much time arguing that he's innocent, in essence, I relieve the state of its burden of proof.
I invite the jury to weigh, "Well, is Rudolf right or is Hardin right?" Well, that's giving up a tremendous legal advantage that all defendants have and should have.
You know, what we've basically built into our system is the notion that we want to have guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt to avoid innocent people going to prison.
It's not perfect, but that's the goal.
And so, the real issue the real issue in this case is not whether we have proven that Kathleen Peterson died as a result of an accident.
No, that's not our burden.
The real issue the one that you need to focus on is whether the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt with proof that fully satisfies and entirely convinces you that on the morning of December 9th, 2001, Michael Peterson beat Kathleen Peterson to death with a blow poke in that narrow stairway that all of you saw just a few weeks ago.
And what I want to do this morning is to focus on the reasonable doubts in this case.
The first reasonable doubt: the missing murder weapon isn't missing and it wasn't used in a murder.
It doesn't get much simpler than that, does it? The state contended in its opening statement that they would prove that the blow poke was, as Mr.
Hardin put it, mysteriously missing.
Why was this blow poke so crucial to their case? You actually heard it from Mr.
Hardin in his opening.
He needed something that was light enough to cause the lacerations, but not so heavy as to fracture the skull.
So, he was sort of walking the tightrope.
And this was the tightrope he was walking.
Reasonable doubt number two: there is no credible motive and you don't just decide to kill your wife for no reason.
In opening statements I told you all that everyone who knew Kathleen and Michael Peterson knew that they were very much in love and happy.
And in fact, when Candace Zamperini spoke to the police in December 2001, she used the term "soul mate.
" And when she testified here, you didn't hear her say anything bad about the relationship.
Sometimes the absence of evidence speaks louder than anything that a defendant could produce.
If there was a single witness, one, anywhere, who could say one bad thing about their relationship, you know you would have heard it.
No one came in and testified.
Not Caitlin, who sat here for most of the trial.
Not any of Kathleen's co-workers, not any of Kathleen's friends.
Reasonable doubt number three: there is one thing that everyone who went to the scene of 1810 Cedar on the night of Dec 9th agrees on: Michael Peterson was in profound, deep shock and grief over Kathleen's death.
[Rudolf] The words you speak when you reach your verdict will be the most important words that Michael Peterson and his family will ever, ever, ever hear in their lives.
And the words that Michael Peterson spoke on December 9th, 2001, when he called 911 should guide your verdict as you deliberate it.
[operator] Durham 911.
What is your emergency? - [Peterson] 1810 Cedar Street, please! - What's wrong? My wife's had an accident.
- She's still breathing.
- What kind of accident? She fell down the stairs.
She's still breathing.
Please come.
- Is she conscious? - What? - Is she conscious? - No, she's not conscious.
- How many stairs did she fall down? - What? Huh? - How many stairs? - The back stairs! - How many stairs? - [Peterson breathing heavily] No.
[operator] Calm down, sir.
- Calm down.
- No, 15, 20, I don't know! Please, get somebody here right away.
Okay, somebody's dispatching the ambulance while I ask you questions.
It's in Forest Hills, okay? Please! Please! Sir, sir, somebody else is dispatching the ambulance.
- [Peterson crying on recording] - Okay, is she awake now? [operator] Hello? Hello? You know, I think one of the more strange comments, and actually a very true comment, was what Candace said on the stand.
And she said, "I don't know who that Michael Peterson is.
" Well I don't know who that person is either who has been on trial, hearing all of these things and listening to all of these stories and Just incredible things.
I don't know who that person is either.
But it isn't me, I know that.
I know who I am.
And I can live with that.
I told you in the beginning, I've never been terribly concerned what other people think.
And I know that comes across as an arrogance, but I think that a lot of it has to do with peace, that I have never really ever sought to hurt anybody.
Yes, I've done some bad things.
Yes, I've certainly inadvertently hurt people and I haven't led the most exemplary life, but I've never consciously gone out to hurt anybody.
And I can in a very loose definition, live at peace with myself.
And if you can do that, it really doesn't make any difference where where that is.
So, I'll just probably just not be any different on Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, if I come back to this house or if I go somewhere else.
It's not going to change who I am and who I know I am.
It will be still me.
And the trappings certainly could be very, very different.
The environment certainly could be very different.
But that's just environment.
[judge] Members of the jury, all of the evidence has been presented.
It is now your duty to decide from this evidence what the facts are.
The defendant has been charged with first-degree murder.
Under the law and the evidence in this case it is your duty to return one of the following verdicts.
One, guilty of first degree murder; or, two, not guilty.
Take the jury to the deliberation room and once you get the verdict sheet, you can begin your deliberations.
[door closes] [ticking] - [laughter] - [Martha] No! - It was scary.
- That's so funny.
[Martha] Give them something to film.
- [Peterson] Leather.
- [Martha] Dad! - [Peterson] Some women and Germans.
- [chatter] [Martha] How far away is Rome? - Can I come to Paris with you when you go? - Yes! - Really? - Yeah, absolutely.
- Really? - Absolutely.
Absolutely.
- [squeals] - Ow! That's so exciting.
Do you still I mean, you've been practicing law for 28 years.
Do you still get butterflies in your stomach? Butterflies may not be quite the right word.
I still feel anxious.
I think I've gotten better at putting it out of my mind while I'm waiting, but when the knock comes on the door and they say they've reached a verdict, that's when Butterflies would probably be an understatement.
It's more like bats and birds and all kinds of things floating around.
How about for your client, for Mike Peterson? I mean, this has got to be a tough time, too.
He needs his space and he needs to be with his family.
And he needs to be with his kids.
And that's He doesn't need me.
He needs the people who have supported him and loved him his whole life.
Hand me my wine, will you? All right.
- [man 1] You want anything? - [man 2] Everything, pretty much.
Yeah, all right.
- Enjoy.
Could be your last.
- [both laugh] - Take a bottle with me to court tomorrow.
- You better.
God, well, it goes with all the other ones there, right? - What about the cyanide? - My entire bar is in evidence, right? - Have you got the cyanide capsule? - [both laughing] - You're going out like - Cyanide cap.
- Was it Himmler or? - Goering.
- Goering.
[laughing] - Right.
Mm! [Bill] Everybody, all the lawyers are handicapping this thing.
There's really hardly any possibility of a conviction.
It's They're either talking about an acquittal or they're talking about a hung jury.
Even Tom today told me that he expects an acquittal tomorrow.
And he said, "You know, if it goes beyond Wednesday" - [phone ringing] - "then we might be thinking a hung jury.
" Nobody's thinking conviction here.
But that is in fact what I wanted to talk to you about.
And that is and I always tell my clients, "You know, you got 10% chance of losing the case, or 80% chance, 50/50, or whatever.
" You know, I handicapped this thing extremely low, extremely low.
But on the other hand, pshh, lightning strikes.
You just never know.
- Twice sometimes.
- Yeah.
[both laughing] - Let's hope they believe that.
- [Jack] Same place.
[all laughing] [Bill] But anyway, in the event, in the unlikely event, there will not be time to talk right away 'cause they will take you right away.
There will be time later in the evening, you can talk, just like we did when you were in jail for that month in December, but it was a little bit different because we all got ready, and you know, took you down to the jail, and we had a lot of time to talk.
Right.
But I am convinced, especially after listening to the jury instructions today, that this judge has committed prejudicial error already in admitting What'd he do? That Ratliff stuff should never have come in.
Nobody that I've talked to can believe that that evidence was admitted.
And it's highly prejudicial, highly prejudicial.
So, I think it's reversible, easily reversible.
So, what I wanted to tell you, if we don't have time to talk tomorrow, you know, don't panic.
You'll spend a year in prison [all laughing] but you can do that standing on your head, you know? [Bill] But that's the important thing to keep in mind, it's the game's not over.
So, you're telling me to - Don't bolt for the door downstairs.
- Don't bolt for the door.
[all laughing] Okay, all right.
Just go Yeah, I've told You know, all my affairs are perfectly in order, you know.
- Todd knows what to do.
- Yeah.
Okay.
We've I told him, you know - More powers of attorney.
- I'm gonna take out my watch and just have $100 and just stick it in my pants and I'll fuck them.
- Yeah.
Yeah.
- [Bill] Yeah.
But mostly, the main thing, I want the kids removed from I want them taken out of here and this environment.
I want them to go on.
I mean, just absolutely go on.
I trust you, Jack, to take care of everything, take care of my kids.
- [Bill] Yeah.
- 'Cause they'll be a mess.
- They will be a wreck.
- [Bill] Yeah, I think that's right.
Oh, they will be a wreck.
[Jack] They'll be devastated.
No question.
They'll just be destroyed.
Margaret and Martha will be - [Bill] Yep.
- Yeah, they'll just be [exhales] So, bring them to Vegas, you know.
- [Bill] We'll send them out to - With Margaret's height, be a show girl.
[Peterson] Listen, she's got the genes now, right? That's fine.
Yeah.
[Bill] I don't think it's gonna happen tomorrow.
[Peterson] I don't think so either, but I mean, I don't even think we'll get a verdict tomorrow.
I'd be surprised.
But not terribly surprised.
I can deal with whatever happens, believe me.
You know, I was saying before that, you know, it's all up here, basically.
Milton.
"Make a heaven of our hell and a hell of our heaven.
" And I can I can deal with it.
I absolutely can.
It's too terrifying.
It's It would be like losing everything.
I mean, we still have the family, but we just lost our mother, we lost our sister.
And to lose our dad, who's basically I mean, he's the foundation of the family.
He's holding us together.
He's the strongest person in this family and I I wouldn't I don't think I'd be able to survive without him.
I don't I don't think I can I can't really think about it too much because it would just send me in too much of a depression.
I couldn't I couldn't live life without my dad.
People have told me, some of my friends have been like, "You know, Margaret, you really should think, plan just in case.
" And I I mean, there's not been one single time where I could believe, no matter how corrupt any system is, I could believe that they could come with a guilty verdict.
I mean it won't happen.
[exhales] [deputy] Remain seated.
Come to order.
Court's back in session.
[judge] All right.
Now I'm gonna bring the jury in, they're gonna tell me what their verdict is.
And I'm gonna need order in the court, getting this jury out of here, and doing the things that I'm gonna have to do.
So, to the members of the public, if you think you're gonna have difficulty accepting the jury's verdict and you're gonna make noise or do something else disruptive in the courtroom, I'm gonna give you an opportunity to leave right now, because if you disrupt my courtroom while I'm doing this and you cause a scene, I'm gonna have you arrested.
Mr.
Deputy, bring the jury in.
Tell them to bring all their belongings.
[deputy] Please take your seats.
[judge] All right, Miss Foreperson, I'm going to ask you some questions.
Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict - on the issue that was submitted to you? - Yes.
[judge] Have you marked, checked whatever the appropriate spaces - on the verdict sheet? - Yes.
- Have you signed and printed your name? - Yes.
All right, if you will give that sheet to the deputy, please.
[man clears throat, coughs] [judge] All right, Miss Clerk, if you will take the verdict.
[clerk] Ladies and gentleman of the jury, you have returned the following verdict.
State of North Carolina versus Michael Iver Peterson, file number 01-CRS-24821.
We, the 12 members of the jury, unanimously find the defendant to be guilty of first-degree murder, this the 10th day of October 2003, signed by foreperson Kristen Lyon Jones.
- Is this your verdict, so say you all? - [jury] Yes.
[judge] All right, Miss Clerk, if you will call the jury.
[clerk] Miss Jones, you, as foreperson, have returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - [Jones] Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
Juror Number One, Mr.
Harrison, if you'll you please stand.
Mr.
Harrison, your foreperson has returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - [Harrison] Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
Juror Number Two, Mr.
Higgins, if you'll you please stand.
Mr.
Higgins, your foreperson has returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - [Higgins] Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
Juror Number Four, Miss Blackwell, if you'll you please stand.
Miss Blackwell, your foreperson has returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - [Blackwell] Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
Juror Number Five, Mr.
Sarratt, if you'll you please stand.
Mr.
Sarratt, your foreperson has returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - [Sarratt] Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
Juror Number 12, Mr.
Hall.
Mr.
Hall, your foreperson has returned for your verdict that the defendant is guilty of first-degree murder.
Is this your verdict and do you still assent thereto? - Yes.
- [clerk] Thank you.
[judge] All right, Miss Court Reporter, the court finds a unanimous jury verdict, orders that it be recorded by the clerk.
Mr.
Deputy, you take the jury to your assigned place.
[camera shutters clicking] Mr.
Hardin, do you wish to be heard at all as to sentencing? Mr.
Rudolf? Judge, I don't think that the court has any discretion with regard to sentencing.
Obviously, we'll be filing a notice of appeal.
But with regard to sentencing, we don't wish to be heard.
All right.
Then, Mr.
Peterson, if you will stand where you are.
Is there anything you want to say before the court imposes judgment? I would just [camera shutters clicking] [Peterson] It's okay.
It's okay.
It's okay.
[judge] All right, then, Miss Clerk, the defendant is imprisoned in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for the remainder of his natural life, without the benefit of parole.
Mr.
Rudolf, do you wish to appeal at this time, or think about it? - [Rudolf] We'll file an appeal.
- [judge] All right, sir.
[girls crying] [deputy] Come with me, please, sir.
[girls crying] [chatter] [deputy] All stand.
[continues indistinctly] [chatter] [camera shutter clicking] They'll be on the other side, and the transport will be outside.
[continues indistinctly] [chatter] Gonna walk him right across here.
- Second car? - Yes, sir.
Go right in the passenger side, please.
- Hold up.
Go over here.
- You want me in this one? Unlock the door.
[man] Should be unlocked.
[sounds echoing] [door opens, closes] [Rudolf] If there's not at least reasonable doubt in this case, at least reasonable doubt, then I don't understand what I'm doing.
And so, when the jury came in, it didn't just disappoint me, it shook the foundations of my beliefs.
It shook the foundations of my beliefs in the justice system, in human beings, in my own abilities, in my judgment, in my sense of reality.
I mean, it didn't just surprise me, it truly stunned me.
It just blew me away emotionally and psychologically.
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