The Long Road Back Ch. 13bysexygirl76©
The next month flew by. As much as I begged for time to go by slowly, it seemed to fly by faster. I spent my time, reading or watching TV. Hawk took time off from work to help me prepare my case.
Mr. Wallace came over a few times but mainly it was just talking about what to say when I was on the stand and to go over what we talked about the night I got arrested.
Amy and Jericho said they had to get back to LA, because Jericho had to get back to work. They made me promise to keep them updated on what was going on and once I was clear that Hawk and I would make a trip down there to see them and the baby. Robert and Suzanne went back home but were over at the house everyday, going over strategies with Hawk and I.
I was surprised to see Terry at the house when I got home from jail, but after a lot of tears, and a long talk we worked everything out. We even got to meet the man of Terry's dreams about a week after I got home.
Mitch Armstrong was a short, portly man of about 30. He had thinning blonde hair, with brown eyes and seemed to cherish the ground Terry walked on. They had met two years ago at a company Christmas party. Neither one knew the other one was gay. As it happened, they ended up getting drunk and ended up in bed together. The next morning they confessed to each other how they felt about each other. They had been together ever since.
The first week I was home after my weekend in jail, Hawk would barely leave my side. The first night, he made love to me so slowly and carefully, I cried. He just held me telling me how much he loved and cherished me. After the first week I couldn't take anymore. "Hawk, please, go to work, go find Sheila's killer. Just go do something. You're driving me crazy." We were sitting on the couch with Robert and Suzanne discussing strategies. Hawk just looked at me. "Baby, please." I begged taking his face in my hands.
Hawk looked into my eyes for a minute as if he was searching for something. Then finally he nodded. "Okay. We'll be back later." He kissed me softly then looked at Robert. "Come on; let's get out of here for a while.
Robert nodded, then kissing Suzanne quickly he followed Hawk out of the house.
Everyday after that Hawk was out scavenging for Sheila's killer, sometimes with Robert, sometimes with Jeff, sometimes alone. Every night, he came home with the same frustrated look on his face. If anybody knew who killed her, they weren't talking. He talked to everybody over and over. Sheila's mom finally consented to talk to him but she just told him the same thing she had told the police. She came home and found Sheila lying on the kitchen floor. Then she burst into tears.
Finally it was the day I had been dreading; Possibly my last day of freedom. The day of the trial. I woke up slowly to Hawk spreading light kisses over my face. When he got to my lips, he probed gently for entrance, when I gave it to him, he swooped in. I felt him move over me and I automatically spread my legs, feeling him move against me until he was resting comfortably between me. He slipped into me easily, keeping his strokes long and slow. We made love like it would be the last time. Which it may well be. It took me a minute to clear my head enough to realize he wasn't wearing a condom. Ever since we got back together, we had been using protection. We were happy with John and weren't quite ready for another child yet. I moved my hips against him while I looked at him quizzically.
Hawk just moved a bit faster while he looked down at me. "Just in case this doesn't work out like I hope it will. I want to give you something. Something of me." He moved faster inside me. Suddenly I couldn't speak, I could only feel. I felt the pressure building until I finally crumbled. I cried out Hawk's name and heard him cry out mine as he joined me a second later.
Afterwards we lay holding each other, when I leaned up on my elbow to look at him. "Where were you last night?"
Hawk had come in late last night. He hadn't said a word, just pulled me to bed, made love to me then rolled over to go to sleep. Now I looked at him. He kept his eyes shadowed. I couldn't tell what he was thinking. He ran his finger lightly over my nipple. "I had a hunch come over me last night. I checked it out."
I moved closer to him. "Are you going to tell me what you found out or what kind of hunch?"
I had rested my head on his chest, but when he said that I looked up at him. "No? Why not?"
He ran his fingers through my hair, pulling me back down to his chest. "Because I don't want to get your hopes up. I don't want you going in there thinking that everything will be perfect and then it turn out wrong. I might be wrong." He sighed. "I don't think I am, but I might be." He kissed my hair.
I snuggled down against his chest, perfectly content. "How will we know whether you are right or not?"
He ran his hand down over my back. "I sent someone to check out a lead I had. If they show up at the courthouse then there is a pretty good chance that I'm right."
"Oh." I just snuggled closer to him.
Hawk looked over at the clock. "Baby, we got to get up."
"Hmmmm..." I moaned.
He pushed against me gently. "We got to get up. It's already 8:15. We have to be at the courthouse by 8:50 to meet with Mr. Wallace.
I groaned then sat up. "Yea, you're right." I looked at him. "I love you, Hawk."
Leaning forward, he kissed me gently. "I love you to baby."
By 8:40, we were ready to go. Suzanne, Robert, mom and Jeff were all sitting the living room waiting for us. Suzanne had agreed to stay at the house to keep an eye on John and Rose. So a few minutes later, after giving John a big hug, the rest of us left the house. We drove to the courthouse, while the police officers who had been watching the house for the past month followed behind.
We arrived at the courthouse at 8:50 on the dot. We quickly found Mr. Wallace. We talked for a few minutes, making sure we were on the same page. By the time they opened the courtroom doors, I felt confident. Although as I took my seat next to Mr. Wallace, I couldn't help a shiver that went down my spine or the question of when I left the courthouse today, would it be through the front door or the back.
"All rise, the honorable Judge Amanda McKenzie presiding." The bailiff said. I quickly stood up, watching as the judge made her way to her seat. Once she was seated I sat back down. "The state vs. Crystal Anderson." The bailiff said putting a folder down on the judges desk.
"Thank you." The judge opened the folder then looked at Mr. Palestine. "Your opening statement sir?"
Mr. Palestine stood up, buttoned his suit coat then looked over at me. "Sheila Rodriguez was at the mall shopping for her daughter's birthday. When she ran into Mrs. Anderson. Assuming she was running into an old friend, she said hi. I doubt she figured on what happened." He moved in front of his table and started pacing. "In front of witnesses, Mrs. Anderson, threatened to kill Ms. Rodriguez. She then arrived at Ms. Rodriguez's house later that day and fulfilled what she had threatened, stabbing Ms. Rodriguez seven times in the back. We plan to prove this. Also, we plan to prove that Mrs. Anderson then returned to the scene of the crime later that night to rob Ms. Rodriguez. Thank you." Mr. Palestine walked back over to his seat.
The judge then turned to Mr. Wallace. "Mr. Wallace?"
Mr. Wallace stood up. "Mr. Palestine plans to prove that not only did my client kill Ms. Rodriguez but she also returned to rob her. This is impossible as it never happened. Neither of that which the District attorney is saying happened. Yes, Ms. Rodriguez is dead. We are not disputing that. But my client did not do the deed. During the time that Ms. Rodriguez was killed, Mrs. Anderson was at her home, asleep on the couch. We plan to prove that although as Mr. Palestine says Mrs. Anderson did in fact have motive and opportunity. She did not kill Ms. Rodriguez." Mr. Wallace then sat back down.
The judge nodded, and then turned back to Mr. Palestine. "Your first witness sir."
Mr. Palestine stood up, "I call Mr. Steve Roberts to the stand."
A tall man with jet black hair, moved towards the stand, I soon recognized him as the man who had pulled me off of Sheila. Once he was sworn in, Mr. Palestine began his questioning. "Mr. Roberts, can you please tell the court what you witnessed at the 3 stars mall on January 17th of this year?"
Mr. Roberts started speaking. He told how he and his brother had gone to the mall to meet his girlfriend who worked there. "She said she had to work late, so we told her we would come back later. We were heading back to our car, when we saw the victim and the defendant fighting. We quickly pulled them apart."
Mr. Palestine paced in front of the stand. "Did either of the women say anything?"
"Yes. Mrs. Anderson told Ms. Rodriguez that if she ever saw her again she would kill her."
Mr. Palestine looked at the judge then back to Mr. Roberts. "Do you know why Mrs. Anderson threatened Ms. Rodriguez?"
Mr. Roberts shook his head. "I have no idea."
I leaned over to whisper to Mr. Wallace. "He's lying. He knows what she said to me." Mr. Wallace just put up his hand not taking his eyes from the witness.
Mr. Palestine began his pacing again. "What happened next?"
"We held the ladies until the police arrived. When they said they were free to go, my brother and I left."
"Thank you Mr. Roberts, no further questions." Mr. Palestine walked back over to his table.
The judge looked at Mr. Wallace. "Mr. Wallace?"
Mr. Wallace stood up. "Mr. Roberts, you don't know why the defendant threatened Ms. Rodriguez?"
Again Mr. Roberts shook his head. "No sir."
Mr. Wallace looked down at the papers in front of him. "Isn't it true that Ms. Rodriguez said and I quote 'I should have let Jeremiah screw you that day you came over to my house? He wanted to but I said no cause you were my friend.'?"
"I don't recall." Mr. Roberts said looking very uncomfortable.
"Uh huh..." Mr. Wallace just stood there staring at him. "Isn't it also true that when it was brought up to the police, Mrs. Anderson said flat out that she hadn't meant what she said, she was just angry?"
Again Mr. Roberts looked uncomfortable. "Um...yes I believe she did."
"Thank you Mr. Roberts, I have no further questions." Mr. Wallace sat back down. Mr. Roberts left the stand, moved back to the seats behind us, stopped for a minute then walked out of the courtroom.
Mr. Palestine then called Mr. Robert's brother. He gave pretty much the same testimony as his brother. He also couldn't recall Ms. Rodriguez saying those words. Once again the stand was cleared. Next, Mr. Palestine called Mrs. Rodriguez to the stand. Sheila's mother told how she had come home to find her daughter dead on the kitchen floor. She had been killed with one of their knives. No she didn't know who killed her daughter. Mr. Wallace had no questions for her.
One by one, people from the mall came up to the stand telling what they saw that day. How they saw me arguing with Ms. Rodriguez in the mall. How I had dragged her outside. Mr. Wallace continued to counter every testimony but I knew it didn't look good for me. Mr. Palestine never did call Hawk to the stand but he did call my mother. She looked like a frail flower as she moved up to the stand. She held her head high as she was sworn in, and then looked at Mr. Palestine as she sat down. "Mrs. Daniel's, could you please tell the court how your daughter knew Ms. Rodriguez?"
Mom cleared her throat. "They went to school together."
Once again Mr. Palestine paced in front of the stand. "Would you say they were friends?"
Mom was quiet for a minute. "Yes I would say that. They were pretty close all through high school."
"Mrs. Daniel's can you tell the court what happened on June 14th 1997?"
Mom looked at him in shock. She looked at Mr. Wallace then back to Mr. Palestine. "Um...My husband and I separated."
Mr. Palestine stopped pacing. He looked at my mother. "How did Mrs. Anderson take this?"
"She was distraught."
Mr. Palestine started pacing again. "She was distraught. So distraught that she drove over to Ms. Rodriguez's house. Is this correct?"
"I believe so yes."
"Isn't it also true, that Ms. Rodriguez supplied your daughter with drugs and alcohol? Said drugs and alcohol thus leading you to send your daughter to foster care later on in the summer of that year?"
Mom's eyes met mine, and then she said weakly. "Yes."
"Isn't it also true, that your daughter arrived late last year from being gone for seven years?"
"I object your honor. What does this have to do with the case?" Mr. Wallace asked standing up.
The judge looked over at Mr. Palestine. "Mr. Palestine?"
"Your honor, if I am allowed to finish, I will be able to prove that Mrs. Anderson held a grudge against Ms. Rodriguez from seven years ago. It is the state's belief that Mrs. Anderson blamed Ms. Rodriguez for her being torn away from her family."
I looked at him in shock. "Oh you have got to be kidding me." I said under my breath. Mr. Wallace just placed his hand gently over mine.
The judge seemed to consider this for a moment. Then she nodded. "You may continue Mr. Palestine. Mr. Wallace, your objection is overruled." Mr. Wallace sat back down beside me.
Mr. Palestine turned back to my mother. "Well, Mrs. Daniels?"
"Yes it is true."
"Did your daughter at anytime confess to you that she blamed Ms. Rodriguez for her being sent away." Mr. Palestine started pacing again.
My mother shook her head. "No she didn't. She took the blame for her problems."
Mr. Palestine stopped pacing with his back to my mother. "She never told you she blamed Ms. Rodriguez?"
Again my mother shook her head. "No."
Mr. Palestine seemed to consider this. "I have no further questions your honor." He moved back to his seat.
Mr. Wallace stood up, and then moved towards the witness stand. "Mrs. Daniels, do you believe your daughter killed Ms. Rodriguez?"
My mother shook her head vehemently. "No."
"In the time that your daughter has been home, has she in any way, shape or form, made any reference to resenting Ms. Rodriguez?"
Again my mother shook her head. "No. As far as I know, Crystal hadn't seen Ms. Rodriguez since she was sent foster care. Until the day she met Ms. Rodriguez at the mall."
Mr. Wallace nodded. "She never showed in any way, through word or deed that she wished Ms. Rodriguez dead?"
"Thank you, No more questions." Mr. Wallace moved back over to his seat.
The judge looked at my mother kindly. "You may step down Mrs. Daniels."
Mom quickly left her seat; she smiled at me reassuringly, and then took her seat next to Jeff.
"Mr. Palestine?" the judge asked.
"The state rests your honor."
The judge turned to Mr. Wallace. "Mr. Wallace, your first witness please."
Mr. Wallace stood up. "I call Crystal Anderson to the stand."
I stood up on shaking legs, slowly making my way to the stand. Once I was sworn in I looked at Mr. Wallace. "Mrs. Anderson, please relate to the court what happened at the 3 stars mall on January 17th of this year?"
I began speaking, telling my story. How I had gone to pick up a birthday present for Hawk. How I had ran into Sheila at the coffee shop. I told about what we said to each other. How yes, I pulled her out of the mall because she was making a scene. How yes we had argued out by my car until it turned into a fight. How the Robert's brothers broke us up.
"Who actually threw the first punch so to speak?" Mr. Wallace asked.
I had to think about that for a minute. "Sheila did. She slapped me. I slapped her back."
"Why did she slap you?"
"I told her to grow up."
Mr. Wallace looked at me. "You told her to grow up and she slapped you?"
I nodded. "Yes."
Mr. Wallace laid his hands on the witness bench. "Did you threaten to kill Ms. Rodriguez?"
"Yes I did."
He moved back a little, and then started pacing. "Did you kill Ms. Rodriguez?"
I shook my head. "No I did not."
He looked at me again. "Where were you during the time that Ms. Rodriguez was killed?"
I took a deep breath. "I was at home, asleep on my couch."
Mr. Wallace nodded. "No further questions your honor." Mr. Wallace moved back to his chair.
"Mr. Palestine?" the judge asked.
Mr. Palestine stood up. "Was anyone with you at your home when you claim to be there?" He asked looking shrewdly at me.
"No further questions." He sat back down.
The judge looked at me. "You may step down Mrs. Anderson." I stepped down from the witness stand, walking very slowly back to my seat.
Mr. Wallace stood back up. "I call Joshua Mitchell to the stand."
Hawk walked to the stand. He walked straight and proud. After he was sworn in, he looked at Mr. Wallace. "Mr. Mitchell, what is your relationship with the defendant?"
"She is my girlfriend."
"Mr. Mitchell, can you please tell the court your version of events as you know them of what happened on January 17th of this year?"
"I came home from work. Crystal was in the kitchen making dinner. When she turned to look at me, I saw she had a black eye, as well as other injuries. I asked her what happened. She told me about what happened at the mall."
Mr. Wallace walked up to the witness stand. "How did she seem?"
Hawk looked at him confused. "Seem?"
Mr. Wallace moved his hand around. "Relaxed, scared, timid?"
"Oh..." Hawk smiled. "She seemed perfectly relaxed. Happy to see me as she always is." I couldn't help it, I smiled.
Mr. Wallace paced in front of the stand. "She didn't seem scared or unsure; she didn't wring her hands or look around. Like maybe she was hiding something?"
Hawk shook his head. "No, she was perfectly at ease."
Mr. Wallace nodded. "No more questions your honor."
The judge looked at Mr. Palestine. "Mr. Palestine?"
He stood up, "I have no questions for this witness your honor."
The judge nodded at Hawk. Hawk stood up and started walking back towards his seat. Then suddenly something at the back of the courtroom caught his eye. He moved towards some people standing by the door. Turning around, I saw him talking to a man and a woman. The woman was about my height, with my hair color. She looked like she wanted to be anywhere but where she was. The man had a death grip on her arm and was talking to Hawk quickly. I saw the man whisper something in the woman's ear and she nodded, then Hawk, moved quickly back up the aisle. He whispered something quickly in Mr. Wallace's ear. Mr. Wallace looked at him like he was crazy. "Are you sure?" He asked. I looked at them.
Hawk's eyes met mine for a brief moment, before he nodded.
"Very well." Mr. Wallace stood up while Hawk took his seat. "Your honor, the defense calls Ms. Sabrina Talner to the stand."
Every eye in the courtroom turned to look at the young woman making her way up to the stand. Once she was sworn in, she looked directly at Mr. Wallace. Mr. Wallace took his time straightening his papers, before he moved towards the witness stand. I sat there holding my breath. "Ms. Talner, I understand that you know something that can possibly alter the outcome of this case.
"Yes." She said weakly. Her eyes darted towards the back of the courtroom, and then she sat up straighter. "Yes I do."
Mr. Wallace stood on the balls of his feet with his hands behind his back. "What is this information you have?"
Ms. Talner's eyes went back to him. "I know for a fact that the defendant didn't kill Ms. Rodriguez."
Mr. Wallace looked at her. "Oh...how do you know this?"
Ms. Talner took a deep breath. "Because I killed her."
The courtroom was in an uproar. Mrs. Rodriguez fainted and the man next to her was trying to revive her. The judge was hitting her gavel over and over on the bench. Mr. Palestine was screaming for an objection. Finally the judge screamed as she raveled the bench one more time. "Silence or I will clear this courtroom." Nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody wanted to miss a thing.