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80 Years Ago

Archives 01-10-2001

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com



He saw everything. He was there when it happened.

When a newspaper reporter asked about the incident, he said, "It was horrible. I don't know how anyone could do something like that."

When questioned by a television news personality about what had taken place, he said, "It was terrible. I hope they catch whoever did it."

When the cops asked how he knew so much about what had occurred, he said, "I want a lawyer."

He told his attorney the truth.

"You're telling me you did it?" his attorney said.

"Do I have to draw you a picture?" he said. "Yeah, I did it. Do you think I should plead insanity?"

"You've been watching too much TV," his attorney said. "Getting off on an insanity plea is a one in a million shot. Juries aren't usually that stupid, unless you get a jury like the one that let OJ go, and that won't happen, not in this state. This isn't California, the land of mixed nuts. Maybe I can plea bargain this thing down."

"I'm not pleading guilty to anything," he said.

"Have it your way," his attorney said. "When we go to trial, wear a suit and a tie. We don't want the jury seeing the tattoos on the back of your hands either. Keep them under the table or in your coat pockets. Get a haircut and wear glasses, not sunglasses either. The jury sees you in sunglasses, they'll immediately think you're guilty."

"I thought they had to presume I'm innocent," he said.

"Like I told you," his attorney said, "you've been watching too much TV. This is the real world, not Judge Judy. Being charged with a crime implies guilt. You better get rid of all your fantasies about the judicial system before we go to trial."

Except for whispered remarks to his attorney, he didn't say anything at the trial. He relied on the Fifth Amendment. Like the judge said, he didn't have to testify and the jury couldn't hold it against him.

He didn't know that much of what occurs during a trial is processed by jurors at a subconscious level. They could respond negatively to him not testifying and be unaware of it at a conscious level.

Experienced lawyers are aware of what goes on during trials at a subconscious level. That's why they try to mess with the heads of jurors.

Yawning when the other side is talking. Objecting when they know it will be overruled. Introducing evidence and testimony unrelated to the case to muddle the real issues. Shaking their heads and making faces when an important witness is testifying for the other side. Pretending to pay attention when an unimportant witness is testifying for their side.

Attorneys are full of tricks. Like a wise man said, "Lawyers are like magicians. They distract you with one hand while the other is untying a rabbit to pull from a hat."

Unfortunately for him, his lawyer didn't have a hat or anything to pull from it. Following six days of evidence and testimony about what he did, how he did it, why he did it, what he did before doing it, and what he did after doing it, the jurors went into the jury room and returned in less than half an hour, not a good sign for the defense.

After reading the verdict, the judge scheduled the case for a sentencing hearing.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge said, "Do you have anything to say in your behalf?"

"I didn't do it," he said. "I swear I didn't."

"A jury found you guilty of doing it," the judge said. "My job is to sentence you for doing it. Do you have anything else to say?"

Following his attorney's whispered advice, he said, "No, Your Honor."

While talking to his cell mate one evening, he said, "You know what I was convicted of doing?"

"Yes," his cell mate replied, "I know."

"That wasn't the first time I did it," he said. "I did it before, many, many times before."

"Don't be a fool," his cell mate said. "Keep your mouth shut about things like that in here. This place is full of snitches who'd rat you out for a reduced sentence. I'm not one of them. But you don't know that."

"I just wanted you to know I'm dangerous," he said.

"I know what you are," his cell mate said, "a punk. Now shut your big flap and go to sleep before I shut it for you permanently."

At his first parole hearing, he said, "I didn't do it. You have to believe me. I was framed."

At his next parole hearing, he said, "I've been saved by the blood of Jesus. I know I committed a grievous sin. I'm truly sorry for what I did. I'll never do it again."

After his release, he did it again and again and again. He continued doing it, until he met someone with a .357 who put an end to what he was doing.

At the funeral home, an aunt from out of state said, "I heard he spent time in prison. What'd he do?"

His sister replied, "You don't know what he did?"

"I wouldn't be asking," the aunt said, "if I knew what he did. What'd he do?"

His sister whispered in the aunt's ear.

"He did that," the aunt said. "How awful."

"Stop it," his grandmother said. "I don't want anyone in this family ever talking about what he did again."

And they didn't.


Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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